When it comes to physical therapy, physiotherapists believe that anyone can benefit from this form of treatment as those with different medical conditions, illnesses or injuries can apply this and still benefit. Physical therapy is all about the treatment of disease, injury, or any deformity by physical methods such as massage and exercise rather than using drugs or surgery. Vincent Rwamamara, a Kigali-based physiotherapist says anyone with an illness or condition that requires this form of treatment, enrolling in physical therapy program can help individuals return to their prior level of functioning. Physical therapy can improve sports performance Photos: Net He says this can also encourage activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injury and improve the overall health and well-being of an individual. This form of treatment, he says is always considered a conservative approach to managing different problems as its known for reducing or eliminating pain. For instance, Rwamarara mentions that therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques such as joint and soft tissue mobilization can help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function to reduce pain. Celestine Karangwa, a physiotherapist at TCM Technology Clinic in Remera-Kigali, says the beauty about physiotherapy is that it can help one stay away from going through a surgery, depending on the kind of illness they have. He explains that this is so because if physical therapy helps one eliminate pain or heal from an injury, surgery may not be needed and that even if surgery is required, one can still benefit from pre-surgery physical therapy. Besides, Karangwa says physical therapy also helps in improving mobility especially if a patient is having trouble standing, walking, or moving. “Physical therapy can help, this can be done through stretching and strengthening exercises, which helps restore one’s ability to move,” he says. According to Karangwa, for those recovering from a stroke, its common to lose some degree of function and movement after stroke, however, physical therapy comes in to help strengthen weakened parts of the body and improve one’s balance too. Rwamarara says physical therapy can also improve stroke patients’ ability to transfer and move around in bed so that they can be more independent around the home. In addition to this, Rwamarara says this form of treatment can also help one recover from or prevent a sports injury. He explains that physical therapists understand how different sports can increase your risk for specific types of injuries. With this, he says they are in a position to design appropriate recovery or prevention exercise programs for a patient to ensure a safe return to their recovery. Meanwhile, studies have shown that physical therapy also helps improve your balance and prevent falls. When you begin physical therapy, it’s indicated that one will get screened for fall risk. If they’re at high risk for falls, therapists will provide exercises that safely and carefully challenge their balance as a way to mimic real-life situations. Therapists also help you with exercises to improve coordination and assistive devices to help with safer walking. Again, when the balance problem is caused by a problem in one’s vestibular system, Physical therapists can perform specific maneuvers that can quickly restore proper vestibular functioning, and reduce and eliminate symptoms of dizziness.