How we use physiotherapy in our mental health and learning disabilities services
Physiotherapists are experts in human movement and function
This could be movement of:
- An individual joint (elbow, wrist, hip, knee etc.)
- A limb (arm or leg)
- A body segment (trunk - including movement required for breathing, head or neck)
- The whole body (how someone walks or gets from one position to another)
They help people affected by injury, illness or disability using movement and exercise, manual therapy such as massage and therapeutic handling, and by giving education and advice.
Physiotherapists in mental health and learning disabilities services have extra skills, knowledge and experience. They can adapt traditional physiotherapy assessment and treatment to the needs of someone with mental ill health or a learning disability who may be unable to access general physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists can help to...
- Manage underlying physical conditions which are more common in people with mental ill health or a learning disability
- Offer expert management of pain, mobility and movement
- Help to prevent ill health and promote healthy lifestyles
- Help manage anxiety by teaching relaxation, breathing techniques and exercise
They can also help with:
- Stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Cerebral Palsy (Neurological - how the brain and nerves work together)
- Pain, especially back pain, sports injuries, arthritis (Neuromusculoskeletal - how the brain, nerves work with the skeleton and muscles to produce movement)
- Chronic heart disease, rehabilitation after heart attack, management of swelling (Cardiovascular - how the heart and the circulatory system work together)
- Chest complaints such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis (Respiratory - how the lungs work)
They also often use alternative and complimentary therapies like acupuncture and reflextherapy. Often physiotherapists working in mental health and learning disabilties services are trained in cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness, so that they can give the best possible support to our service users.
Our physiotherapists work with the other people involved in providing someone's care and treatment as part of a 'multidisciplinary team' (or MDT).