Physiotherapy of the Locomotor System

What is musculoskeletal physical therapy?

Physiotherapy of the locomotor system or musculoskeletal physiotherapy is a combination of techniques and strategies that help restore movement and function to bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons and nerves.

This type of alterations are produced either by trauma in an accident or as a consequence of the normal activity of each person. Regardless of the cause, they always present pain, alterations in posture and movement.

The task of the physiotherapist is to detect these alterations and try to reverse them so that they return to their natural state. Techniques include teaching exercises, practicing particular movements and finding alternative ways of performing a task.

The specific combination of techniques will depend on the condition being treated.

Who can benefit from physical therapy?

A locomotor physiotherapist can treat people with:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain or neck pain.
  • Repetitive strain injury.
  • A sports injury or work-related injury.
  • Osteoporosis
  • Knee or hip replacements.

What is the treatment?

Treatment depends on the particular condition you have, but may involve:

  • Manual therapy to improve mobility.
  • Hydrotherapy.
  • Electrotherapy.
  • Counseling on pain management and coping strategies.
  • Exercises to do at home and (sometimes) free enrollment in group exercise programs.

How do you prepare for a physical therapy appointment?

It is important that the patient comes to the appointment with all the information the physical therapist may need, as well as an idea of what he or she wants to get out of the treatment. Therefore, it is helpful to go prepared with:

  • A list of any medications you are currently taking.
  • A clear description of your symptoms, when they occur and the intensity of any pain you experience.
  • Loose, easily removable clothing if you are in pain, as the physical therapist needs to inspect you.
  • An idea of what goals you would like to prioritize in your treatment: what do you currently struggle with and what do you want to do more easily? What gets in the way of your life the most?
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Alternatives to physical therapy

In some cases, if the physical therapist is the first health care professional the patient sees, the patient may be referred to a different type of specialist. This may be because the physical therapist has reviewed your symptoms and believes it would be beneficial to have further diagnosis to identify a particular condition or your symptoms may require a different form of treatment.