Physiotherapy is the physical treatment and management of a condition which enables people to reach their maximum physical potential. For people with muscular dystrophy or a related neuromuscular condition, physiotherapy is crucial in ensuring they lead as fulfilling a life as possible.
A thorough physiotherapy programme will help people with muscle-wasting conditions:
- to minimise the development of contractures and deformities through a programme of stretches and, where appropriate, exercises
- to anticipate and minimise any secondary physical complications
- to identify and prescribe aids and equipment
- to advise on moving and handling
- to monitor respiratory function and advise on techniques to assist with breathing exercises and methods of clearing secretions.
It is important to remember that any routine or programme should be recommended by a physiotherapist or other specialist. Stretches and exercises should be tailored to you as an individual. Exercises should be at a moderate level and not cause severe fatigue, and weight training and eccentric exercise should only be done with the permission of an expert. Over-activity may cause more harm than good for an individual with a muscle-wasting condition.
How can I access physiotherapy?
You have a number of options available when trying to access physiotherapy. In most cases you can access physiotherapy through the NHS. In some areas you can self-refer, allowing you to access physiotherapy directly. To find out more about physiotherapy in your area, contact your GP surgery or ask at your local NHS hospital. To find your local Primary Care Trust (PCT), use the NHS service directory.
Physiotherapy can also be accessed privately through a private practitioner. If you decide to go this route, you will have to pay for the service. If you would like to find a private physiotherapist in your area, search here Physio2u.