Many achievements of medicine in everyday practice, in hospitals and in rehabilitation are unthinkable without physiotherapy. The priority objectives are the treatment of pain and the removal of dysfunctions. This not only involves the musculoskeletal system: problems of the nervous, heart and vascular, metabolic or respiratory systems can all also be positively influenced by physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy is not just a means to restore or to heal: it is also particularly suited to preventive action once a danger or vulnerability has been recognised. If irreversible problems with bodily functions already exist, physiotherapy can initiate coping processes.
The three areas of physiotherapy are thus:
- Prevention: prevention of the emergence of illness (“primary prevention”) or the prevention of the recurrence of a similar illness (“secondary prevention”).
- Therapy: early and long-term treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, supporting other treatment measures for acute illnesses, improving quality of life in old age.
- Rehabilitation: measures to restore capacities that make it possible to take part in daily life despite physical difficulties, compensating for or mitigating loss of functions, improving quality of life, etc.
Physiotherapy is thus a central form of treatment. It is possible at any age and is for many ailments even more effective than treatment with drugs. However, although it is derived from natural active principles, the methods must be selected and applied by a professional. The right choice of the best method for the intended purpose is an art that belongs in expert hands.