Paralysis is a chronic medical disease characterized by a loss of muscle function in the body accompanied by sensory loss. The patient is unable to control the paralysed muscle consciously. Most common causes of injury are stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and head injury. There are 4 types of paralysis and the effect may be complete or partial. The effect may be confined to only one space or multiple areas; and it may affect one or both sides of the body. Paralysis, on one hand, can be brief and may last for a short time; if not, it can be long term or permanent too.
Physiotherapy is a health care profession wherein diseases are assessed, diagnosed and treated via exercise. It is also used to prevent a particular disability or disease. Science has yet to discover a cure for paralysis but the aim of physiotherapy is to make the patient as independent as possible. Depending on the affected area and the extent of paralysis, physiotherapy is started.
Doctors recommend physiotherapy for paralysis for the following reasons
- Physiotherapy should be started immediately because it improves blood circulation and relaxes the affected muscles. It can also inhibit the advancement of paralysis and develop muscle tone and the general well-being of the patient.
- If the brain has suffered a severe external injury, physiotherapy assists in reducing the swelling and fastens the recovery process.
- It aims at making the patient mobile and fully functioning.
- Physiotherapy focuses on the maintenance of respiratory function.
- Prevents pressure sores and contracture.
- The physiotherapist sometimes works on unaffected muscles to compensate for the paralysed ones. Physiotherapy maintains and builds muscular strength in the affected areas. This action prevents deformation of limbs.
- Physiotherapy training helps in managing paralyzed bladder and bowel movements.
- Physiotherapy helps in building the morale of the patient and motivates the patient to be independent.
- A side effect of Paralysis is post-traumatic depression that includes anxiety, denial hostility. The patient is often angry which may worsen his condition. Physiotherapy helps in controlling these feelings and gives the patient hope.
- A physiotherapist suggests adaptive and modern equipment such as a splint, orthosis, braces as well as a cane for the disabled person depending on the severity of the condition.
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