The aging is a physiological natural process by which all pass sooner or later, however, there are ways to prevent this natural wear. The moderate physical activity, for example, is one of the best ways to grow old healthily.
In this context, physiotherapy has a lot of work ahead of it in the prevention and treatment of age-related injuries or pathologies. This branch of physiotherapy that is dedicated to patients over 65 years of age is called geriatric.
What is geriatric physiotherapy?
The geriatric physiotherapy is an essential field in treating various diseases of aging, such as pain, loss of balance, articular functionality, elasticity or muscle mass.
The set of geriatric techniques are aimed at both the prevention and treatment of different pathologies resulting from age, which cover a wide range from diseases.
What are the most common pathologies derived from aging?
The most common injuries are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Muscle atrophy and weakness
- Heart and lung disease (COPD)
- Hip fractures (with its corresponding prosthesis)
- Knee fractures
- Immobility syndrome
- Falls and / or instability
- Loss of balance
When is geriatric physiotherapy applied?
Within this branch of physiotherapy, there are a series of common pathologies that can be treated effectively, delaying their progress.
- Bone diseases, such as osteoporosis or arthritis.
- Kidney diseases, such as urinary and faecal incontinence.
- Age-related injuries, joint replacements or hip fractures are common.
- Coordination and balance disorders.
- Neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- Functional limitations related to mobility.
- Heart and lung diseases.
Applications of geriatric physiotherapy
As far as possible, geriatric physiotherapy is responsible for reducing pain, improving balance, re-educating gait, improving joint sensitivity and functionality, recovering lost movement, strength, elasticity and muscle flexibility. The physiotherapist is in charge of designing a personalized treatment, taking into account the condition and needs of each patient.
What are the principles on which physiotherapy for the elderly is based?
- In general, disability is considered to be due to a disease process or injury, not old age. Aging does not necessarily mean having pathologies.
- The effects of biological aging reduce the efficiency of the body’s systems, but throughout life, optimal function is maintained in each individual by continuing to use these systems to their maximum capacity. Hence the importance of preventive physiotherapy.
- The physiotherapists have a role key to allowing older people use a number of body systems to improve mobility and independence.
- When neither improving nor maintaining functional mobility is a reasonable goal, physical therapists can help to help older people stay comfortable and pain-free.
- Prevention of the development of problems in old age through health promotion.
What are the advantages of geriatric physiotherapy?
Geriatric physiotherapy offers a non-pharmacological alternative, which in many cases helps to alleviate the symptoms of multiple pathologies, both acute and chronic, most of them related to the locomotor system, with the aim of improving the quality of life of the elderly.
In addition, physiotherapy for the elderly is not only indicated in people suffering from pathologies, but also as prevention and helps to maintain a good general state of health.
In short, it will help you age in the healthiest way possible and improve your autonomy.
In advanced age, the appearance of neurological problems is common. That is why geriatric physiotherapy is so closely related to neurological physiotherapy.