Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function to as near normal as possible when someone is affected by a brain injury. Neuromuscular (brain, nervous system and musculoskeletal system) specialist physiotherapists play an essential role in the multidisciplinary team, working with brain injured persons. The role of a physiotherapist starts right from the acute stage (initial days after the injury) of brain injury through the rehabilitation phase to the long term care.
In the acute stages, the physios work with the injured person to maintain/ improve their respiratory status, commonly known as chest physio. This helps the injured person to clear the secretions from their airways thereby minimizing chances of infections and promoting weaning of tracheostomy tube if appropriate. Physios also deal with maintaining range of motion of the joints in the body by exercises and positioning them. Physiotherapists contribute to the multisensory stimulation program (sometimes called as coma stimulation) along with the other members of the team. Also, early mobilization of the patient from bed to chair/tilt table, standing, walking are also carried out whenever possible.
Physical therapists are closely involved in the care and wellbeing of athletes including recreational, semi-professional (paid) and professional (full-time employment) participants. This area of practice encompasses athletic injury management under 5 main categories : Sports rehabilitation
1. Acute care - assessment and diagnosis of an initial injury;
2. Treatment - application of specialist advice and techniques to encourage healing;
3. Rehabilitation - progressive management for full return to sport;
4. Prevention - identification and address of deficiencies known to directly result in, or act as precursors to injury, such as movement assessment
5. Education - sharing of specialist knowledge to individual athletes, teams or clubs to assist in prevention or management of injury
Physical therapists who work for professional sport teams often have a specialized sports certification issued through their national registering organisation. Most Physical therapists who practice in a sporting environment are also active in collaborative sports medicine programs too (athletic trainers).