For individuals living with a disability, physiotherapy is more than just a treatment—it serves as a form of support to enhance mobility, independence and overall quality of life. By combining specialised techniques, tailored exercises and empathetic guidance, physiotherapists work hand in hand with people with a disability to help them overcome physical challenges and achieve their full potential.
What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapists help manage conditions that affect the muscles, bones, nerves, and other body parts. These professionals utilise hands-on techniques, exercises, prescriptions, and specialised equipment to improve mobility. Physiotherapy also heightens flexibility and range of motion, manages pain effectively, enhances quality of life, and enables individuals to reach their full potential.
A physiotherapist assesses a patient’s condition, needs and goals to create a tailored plan and recommended treatments. Here are some of the standard treatment methods that physiotherapists may suggest for people living with a disability:
- Muscle re-education to assist in increasing flexibility, strength, mobility, and balance
- Breathing exercises and airway clearance techniques
- Manipulation and mobilisation of joints to help reduce pain and increase the range of motion
- Acupuncture, massage, and dry needling to assist in reduced stiffness and pain
How does physiotherapy support participants?
Most physiotherapists will support participants in managing the physical struggles experienced with a disability. The main objective of these professionals is to improve the health and independence of their patients. Here’s how physiotherapy can support people living with a disability:
- Supports participation in various activities
Physiotherapy helps to increase one’s ability to be active and engaged in daily tasks for physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing. A physiotherapist can recommend stretching routines, as well as exercises to build muscle strength and improve mobility, which can significantly contribute to achieving personal goals.
- Boosts confidence
As physiotherapy can help to develop and enhance physical abilities of a person, this can lead to a greater sense of independence and self-confidence. It can help enable participants to do daily tasks more efficiently, manage anxiety and help reduce stress and depression, as well as make interacting with others a little bit easier.
- Regain balance and strength
Physiotherapists can assist in identifying, diagnosing and treating certain balance and strength issues in people living with a disability. Balance issues can result in dizziness and at times physical discomfort, as well as lead to falls and other injuries. By participating in physiotherapy sessions, exercises and active movements can be taught to improve position awareness, visual tracking and more.
- Improves mental and social well-being
Physical activities learnt in physiotherapy sessions can offer emotional, cognitive, and social benefits to a person with a disability, guiding a more holistic approach to one’s wellbeing. Physiotherapy can also involve group-based activities and interactions, fostering friendships and a sense of belonging to the community.
- Improves posture
NDIS physiotherapy is one of the best ways to correct body posture and rebalance the body. Back pain and joint degeneration can be improved through regular physiotherapy treatment by releasing shortened and tight muscles. Performing daily tasks such as bending down or reaching high can be made a little easier for those living with a disability by muscle strengthening and maintaining body alignment.
- Helps with fine and gross motor skills development
Motor skill delays can be caused by congenital conditions such as a developmental disability, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, or secondary impairments due to neurological disorders such as stroke or multiple sclerosis. Physiotherapy can play a large role in developing and improving motor skill abilities, and example activities can include:
- Gait training
- Feet and ankle alignment using shoe inserts
- Assignment of at-home exercises
- Stretching exercises
- Tactile play, such as sand or water play.
- Recovery from Injury
- Recover from injuries
NDIS physiotherapy can also be helpful for people who have been in an accident, have fallen or have had a surgical procedure. Physiotherapy sessions can help in recovery and stretching muscles to reduce pain and stiffness, enhance mobility and build strength to avoid more damage.
What conditions do NDIS physiotherapy cover?
Numerous individuals require assistance in their daily activities. NDIS physiotherapy services are available to support those living with a disability, including:
- Acquired brain injury
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Intellectual and psychosocial disability
- Neurological injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Genetic and chromosomal disorders
- Spinal cord injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer disease
Physiotherapy can be vital for individuals with complex care needs to help make performing daily tasks easier. The main objective is to assist each person to live a more independent, relaxed life. The program is tailored to each client’s specific situation, using customised treatments aligned with their disabilities to achieve personal goals.