Physiotherapy is the obvious treatment choice for muscular or skeletal problems, or to help with recovery from many types of injury. Because things that fall under the umbrella of physiotherapy include exercise and massage, it's not hard to see the link between these sorts of medical problems and physio treatments.
But there are plenty of other things physiotherapy can be helpful in treating, and dementia is one of them. A debilitating and distressing disease, dementia can quickly leave people struggling to live a normal life. With regular physiotherapy sessions, people with dementia can begin to see improvements in the following areas.
Even in the early stages of dementia, people may begin to find that things are becoming more difficult for them. Although this is partly because of memory loss and other cognitive impairments, reduction in mobility also plays a part.
By working with the dementia patient to improve their mobility, a physiotherapist can help the person stay independent for longer. They'll be able to do normal activities like cooking and going to the toilet without assistance, which has a big impact on quality of life.
Pain and discomfort
As dementia begins to advance, patients sometimes experience difficulty in letting other people know when they're in pain. By carrying out an examination, a physiotherapist can often spot parts of the body where someone might be in pain, so they can work to solve the issue and make the person more comfortable.
Although it's in its early stages, there's evidence that physiotherapy can help to slow the onset of cognitive impairment that dementia sufferers face. It can't prevent it from happening, but slowing it down can really help someone to live a longer, fuller life.
It's most likely because of increased exercise, and developing an exercise regimen under the guidance of a physiotherapist ensures the patient doesn't attempt things that would be too difficult for them and that appropriate movements are used.
In combination with medication and other treatments, physiotherapy can make dementia more manageable, for as long as possible.
Falls are a big risk among dementia patients, partly because of the cognitive effects and partly because of increased movement difficulty. By dealing with the physical side of things, the risk of falling can be vastly reduced, so the person is less likely to suffer an injury while at home or out and about. This helps to further increase independence, as there's less need for outside assistance.