Physiotherapy helps people recover from injury. It’s also beneficial in alleviating pain, be it knee pain, back pain, joint pain, etc. Physiotherapy includes simple movement exercises and sophisticated treatments like Electrical Stimulation. It must be practiced under the supervision of registered physiotherapists in their clinics. However, in case of older adults with severe inflammation, it is difficult to move. Similarly, for people who are bed bound, it’s advisable to do physiotherapy at home. In case of severe physical injury too, it’s good to do physiotherapy at home.
Benefits of doing physiotherapy at home
Doing physiotherapy at home has several benefits, including -
1. Fast healing – Doing physiotherapy can help heal a wound fast. Licensed practitioners use several therapies, including manual therapies, e-stim, etc., to improve circulation of blood and oxygen to reach a wound and heal it fast. However, if you’re doing physical therapy at home, manual therapy can be helpful.
Older adults suffering from diabetic foot ulcers (caused due to diabetes); people with venous and arterial disease often have difficulty in healing wounds; people with pressure injuries (caused due to the use of equipment like splint, tubing, etc.) can benefit from physiotherapy.
2. Improves of quality of life – Lack of movement due to pain, diseases (like a stroke), skin injury, etc., often degrades quality of life. Older people who suffer from arthritis can improve their mobility and reduce pain with regular physiotherapy exercises.
Similarly, older adults with urinary incontinence and lymphedema can benefit from physiotherapy.
3. Prevents falls – As people get older their risk of falling increases significantly. One out of four older adults fall every year1 in the U.S. Physiotherapy can help prevent fall, slips and tumbles.
4. Manage pain - Occasional pain is bearable. However, chronic pain due to arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. often hinders movement. With physiotherapy pain can be managed and dependance on pain killing drugs like opioids can be reduced.
5. Reduces risk of fractures – Older people are at high risk of fractures when they fall. Physiotherapy can improve movement, thereby reducing the risk of fractures. If you’re doing physiotherapy at home, this further reduces the risk because there’s much less movement.
6. Saves time – People taking physiotherapy sessions at home save a lot of time, which is usually spent in going to the clinic and coming back.
7. Personalized care – At home physiotherapy sessions are usually more personalized than in-clinic sessions as the therapist bonds well.
How to prepare for a physiotherapy session at home
There are usually two reasons to do physiotherapy at home: Home routine (usually prescribed by physiotherapists as part of the complete regimen) or inability to go to clinics due to mobility issues.
If you’re doing your exercises at home as part of the routine, you can prepare by -
- Staying connected with your physiotherapists
While doing your exercises keep your physiotherapist on call. So, he/she can correct you in case you go wrong anywhere. This will also keep him/her updated of your progress.
- Keep a family member close to you
Always keep a family member with you when you’re doing your exercises. So, they can support you in case required or help you in case you accidently hurt yourself.
If you’re unable to go for in-clinic physiotherapy sessions, and require a physiotherapist at home, you can prepare for the session by -
- Understand your condition
Your physiotherapist will come prepared, but it’s also important for you to know your condition well. So, you can take the best possible care of yourself.
- Keep your prescription handy
Physiotherapy needs vary based on physical conditions, medical history, and individual needs. Your physiotherapist will look to create a personalized care plan for you based on your medical prescription.
- Know your physiotherapist
It’s good to know who your physiotherapist is. So, it’s easier to bond. Since you would be spending enough time with your physiotherapist, it becomes more comforting to do the exercises.
How to do physiotherapy at home for back pain
You can do the following physiotherapy exercises at home to manage back pain.
Abdominal bracing with leg raises
- Lie down on a flat surface and brace your abdominal muscles.
- Then, slowly raise your leg one after another.
Abdominal bracing with bridge
- Lie down on a flat surface and brace your abdominal muscles. So, your hands facing down.
- Then slowly, move your hips up. So, your hips are raised, while your back touches the ground.
- Stay in the position for 10-15 secs, repeat 10-15 times.
- To perform cat/cow stretches, bend on your knees with hands touching the ground. So, you look like a cattle on all its four legs.
- Then, slowly arch down your back and move your neck up. So, your chest comes out. Hold this position for 10-15 secs.
- Repeat with back arched-up and head bent down. Hold the position for 10-15 secs.
- Repeat the position 10-15 times.
Quadruped arm and leg raises
- To perform this exercise, bend your knees. So, your palms and knee touch the ground.
- Then, raise one of your arms and keep it straight, while raising your alternate leg. For example, if you raise your right arm, raise your left leg. Hold the position for 10-15 secs.
- Repeat the exercise 10-15 times.
How to do physiotherapy at home for knee pain
You can do the following physiotherapy exercises at home to manage knee pain.
- To perform this exercise, sit on a flat surface with one of your legs bent and back straight.
- Then slowly tighten your thigh (quad muscles) of the straightened leg. So, the toes face upwards. As you tighten your thigh, you will also experience the back your knee pushing against the ground.
- Now move slowly move your feet back and forth. Repeat the movement 10-15 times with each leg.
Small arc quad sets
- To perform this exercise, lie on a flat surface with your legs bent.
- Then take a foam roller and put it under one your legs.
- Now move your feet backwards, so it tightens your thighs.
Straight leg raises
- To perform straight leg raises, lie on a flat surface with your elbows touching the ground and your upper body lifted. Bend one of your knees and straighten the other leg.
- Then tighten your thigh and slowly raise your leg to about 30 degrees. Hold the position 10-15 secs.
- Repeat with the other leg. Do the exercise 10-15 times.
Wall-assisted squats can put intense pressure on your knees. Please consult your physiotherapist/geriatrician before performing this exercise at home.
-To perform wall squats, stand against a wall with your back touching it.
- Then slowly, bend your knees while your back touches the wall.
- Hold the position for 10-15 secs and move upwards.
How to do physiotherapy at home for shoulders
Strength of shoulder decreases as we age. Some people tend to experience pain due to the decreasing muscle mass in shoulder. Physiotherapists include a set exercise that mobilize rotator cuff and other muscles in the shoulder. If you’re experiencing pain in your shoulders, you can do the following physiotherapy exercises at home for shoulders.
Close external rotation
-To perform this exercise, take a resistance band and bring your elbows to your sides. So, they touch the body. Ensure your elbows are at 90 degrees.
- Then slowly, pull the band and bring it together. Repeat the exercise 10-20 times.
- You will experience some tension in your rotator cuffs.
Front external rotation
- To perform this exercise, take a rubber band and place both your hands in front, at the level of your shoulders.
- Now slowly, stretch the band outwards. So, you shoulder blades squeeze in.
- Then slowly bring the band to its original position. Repeat the exercise 10-20 times.
Diagonal external rotation
- To perform this shoulder exercise, sit in a cross-legged position and rest both arms on your knees. Keep a resistance band between your hands.
- Now pull the resistance band with one of your arms diagonally. So, it reaches above the height of your head. However, don’t go behind your back.
- Repeat this exercise 10-20 times with both arms.
Upper back rotation
- To perform this exercise, sit on a flat surface with your back straight and your feet about 2ft wide.
- Put your hands behind your head.
- Now slowly rotate your back to one side until you feel the tension in your back, and the bring it back to center.
- Repeat the same for the other side. You can do this exercise 10-20 times for each side, depending on your strength.
Physiotherapy is essential at times. It can help recover from injury and manage pain. However, it’s not always possible to visit clinics to do the exercises. Older adults and people with injuries who need physiotherapy can perform the exercises at home themselves.
Alternatively, people with physiotherapy needs can avail physiotherapy at home from service providers like Senocare.