Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec Retour
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Head trauma and stroke

Injuries and accidents such as stroke and head trauma can cause lesions at various levels in the brain and result in all sorts of changes to body functions.

These neurological injuries generally require patients to undergo rehabilitation therapy to regain a broad level of physical function and maintain a certain quality of life. Physiotherapy treatments are recommended to accelerate and optimize recovery.

Physiotherapy is also a method of choice for treating certain degenerative diseases and other central nervous system impairments such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and dementia. For these conditions, the goal of physiotherapy is to minimize the effects of the disease and help maintain functional capacity.

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Heart and pulmonary problems

A number of diseases affecting lung function result in symptoms that can interfere with daily activities, including shortness of breath, coughing, accumulation of secretions, and fatigue. Respiratory physiotherapy can very effective in treating pulmonary system and breathing problems to improve patient quality of life.

Physiotherapy professionals employ various techniques and exercises to improve lung ventilation, clear airway secretions, improve respiratory control, and alleviate related symptoms.

In addition, cardio-respiratory physiotherapy is effective in helping patients get back in shape gradually and safely.

Pulmonary rehabilitation and cardio-respiratory rehabilitation are effective physiotherapy approaches, principally in treating the following conditions:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Congestive heart failure and other heart diseases
  • Heart or lung surgery
  • Deconditioning
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Chronic Pain

Chronic pain limits the ability of many individuals to engage in their everyday work and leisure activities. A constant presence, it impacts the quality of family life and sometimes leads to isolation.

There are a number of possible causes of chronic pain. Physiotherapy is effective in relieving pain related to poor posture, muscle tension and weakness, and inadequate performance of certain movements.

After a thorough assessment, the physiotherapy professional will be able to develop a customized and personalized treatment plan to help patients control their pain and regain a better quality of life.

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Back pain

Back pain affects the quality of life of a large segment of the population. Onset can be sudden or insidious and may restrict daily activities at home, work, or during leisure time.

The causes are varied and the symptoms numerous; they include severe pain in the back and legs, numbness in the lower limbs, weakness in the legs and trunk, loss of sensitivity, etc.

Physiotherapy professionals have the knowledge and expertise necessary to assess the problem, determine the cause, and establish an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual.

Physiotherapy can be used to reposition vertebrae, relax tissues and muscles, relieve tension, reduce pain, stabilize an unstable area, strengthen and improve control of back muscles to help regain full physical mobility, and address numerous other issues, depending on the patient’s needs.

The following are some of the many types of back pathologies and injuries that can be effectively treated with physiotherapy:

  • Low back strain
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal or sacroiliac instability
  • Scoliosis
  • Vertebral fractures
  • Sciatica
  • Facet syndrome
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Joint injuries

Body joints, whether in the neck, back, arms, or legs, can sustain various injuries as a result of trauma, repetitive use of a body part, or misalignment of bone segments.

The signs and symptoms associated with these injuries can bring about significant restrictions in one's daily life. Physiotherapy is the preferred approach for treating joint injuries and can help in the recovery of function.

  • These are some examples of joint injuries:
  • Ligament sprains
  • Partial and full dislocations
  • Capsulitis
  • Synovitis
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Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis stems from the gradual breakdown of cartilage and primarily affects the hips and knees.

Physiotherapy can help control the pain and prevent the worsening of this joint disease.

Although osteoarthritis is primarily known to restrict knee and hip movement, it can also affect other body parts (back, neck, shoulders) and interfere with daily activities.

Physiotherapy can be effective in treating other knee pain problems, such as patellofemoral pain syndrome, which can cause kneecap area pain during certain physical activities or in certain positions. It can also be used to treat the traumatic injuries that frequently affect various parts of the knee structure (e.g., menisci and ligaments) that can significantly restrict movement.

Regardless of the origin of the knee pain, physiotherapy professionals are trained to identify the causes and determine the most appropriate treatments for each condition.

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Dizziness and lightheadedness

Vestibular rehabilitation is a physiotherapy approach of choice to relieve dizziness and lightheadedness originating from the inner ear or brain dysfunction. It is also effective in treating balance problems caused by vestibular damage.

A comprehensive physiotherapy exam can reveal the causes of dizziness and aid in the selection of effective treatments to help patients regain their independence and a good quality of life.

Vestibular rehabilitation is used to treat various pathologies:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and other positional vertigos
  • Problems of peripheral origin such as labyrinthitis, neuritis, Meniere's disease, and problems resulting from ear surgery
  • Problems of central origin such as brain stem and cerebellar stroke, multiple sclerosis, benign tumors, vestibular migraine, and problems resulting from brain surgery
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Motor development problems

Pediatric physiotherapy specializes in childhood motor development. It aims to ensure that children seamlessly acquire motor skills (rolling, crawling, walking, running, jumping, etc.) without compensations, delays, or asymmetries.

A thorough physiotherapy exam can verify the integrity of the child's muscles and bones and identify any signs and symptoms indicating a compromise in motor development.

Pediatric physiotherapy is helpful in treating the following:

  • Torticollis/plagiocephaly (flattening of the skull)
  • Scoliosis
  • Prematurity
  • Hyptonia (floppy baby)/hypertonicity (rigid baby)
  • Neurological impairments (congenital muscular dystrophy/cerebral palsy, stroke, etc.)
  • Genetic syndromes (Down syndrome, etc.)
  • Neuromuscular diseases
  • Coordination and balance difficulties
  • Abnormal gait (toe walking, walking with feet turned inward)
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Incontinence and genital pain

Perineal and pelvic rehabilitation is a field of physiotherapy that yields excellent results in the treatment of health problems related to male and female genital functions.

The pelvic floor muscles play a major role in urinary and fecal continence, body stabilization, and sexual functions. Like with other body muscles, pain can result when these muscles weaken, become tense, or suffer from impaired coordination.

Therefore, the goal of perineal rehabilitation is to stabilize urinary system functioning, increase pelvic floor strength, and reduce chronic pain.

Here are some examples of conditions that can be evaluated and treated by physiotherapy professional:

  • Bladder problems (urinary incontinence, unusually frequent urination, difficulties urinating, etc.)
  • Problems related to the rectum and anus (constipation, involuntary leakage of gas or stool, anal pain, etc.)
  • Problems with the vulva and vagina (pain during intercourse; pain in the vulva, clitoris, and vestibule; prolapse; etc.)
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Muscle injuries

Different parts of a muscle can be injured as a result of trauma, misuse, or repetitive use of a body part. Inflammation from an injury can cause swelling (edema), pain, loss of strength and flexibility, and restrictions in the use of the muscle.

Physiotherapy can be effective in helping the muscle regain its function.

Muscular injuries can originate in the muscle itself, in the tendons, or the junctions between muscle, tendon, and bone. Here are some examples:

  • Contusions
  • Tears
  • Overstretched muscles
  • Tendonitis
  • Tenosynovitis
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Loss of balance

Loss of balance affects a good many, usually elderly, people, and can lead to injurious falls.

The normal aging process leads to decreased functioning in a number of systems considered essential for maintaining equilibrium such as the proprioceptive system (at the muscle and joint level), the visual system, and the vestibular system. Furthermore, some injuries may cause leg weakness or lack of control can lead to loss of balance.

Physiotherapists and physical rehabilitation therapists are professionals skilled at determining the causes of balance issues. They have many tests at their disposal to help them select appropriate treatments for improving balance reactions and body stability.

They are also trained to recommend and teach patients how to use walking aids like canes or walkers if their condition requires.

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