In most countries around the world, non-communicable diseases (NCD) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Cancer, lung disease, stroke, and diabetes are some of the major non-communicable diseases whose treatment continues to cost billions of dollars every year around the world. The negative effect of these diseases in terms of productivity is incalculable.
Although they come with risk factors, these diseases are mostly preventable, so they should hold no one captive. To keep them at bay, one only has to maintain healthy behaviours like taking healthy diet, getting involved in physical activities now and then and shunning tobacco use.
If the medical system in every country becomes oriented towards prevention or wellness, the prevalence of these lifestyle diseases would drastically fall worldwide. However, the current orientation continues to be geared towards treating disease and illness.
Consequently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has had to label these lifestyle diseases both pandemic and epidemic. Furthermore, the same organization has recommended that new solutions be developed to tackle this growing problem.
Healthcare providers are now urged to raise these health concerns with their clients and patients. Physiotherapists are considered to be better positioned to advance the value of health and wellness to their patients and clients.
How Our Therapists Promote Health and Wellness in Patients
According to WHO, health is a state of complete mental, physical, and social well-being; it is not merely the absence of disease. For this reason, efforts to improve health have to be comprehensive, going beyond physical health.
Wellness, on the other hand, is defined as “the sense that one is living in a manner that permits the experience of consistent, balanced growth in the physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, and psychological dimensions of human existence.”
At Prime Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services, our skilled and knowledgeable physiotherapists have devised a wellness program that put into practice the principles behind these two definitions.
Their approach to every lifestyle-related health problem is to incorporate health and wellness concepts. Through this, they physiotherapists deal not with the disease, but the possible underlying causes. The patients get to understand that their well-being is in their hands; they only have to exercise more control over their health to improve it.
Our physiotherapists are also competent in identifying and instructing patients on the everyday habits that promote health. These include:
- Dental hygiene
- Skin care
- Weight Control
- Personal hygiene
- Tobacco avoidance/cessation
- Avoidance of contagious or infectious diseases
- Adequate sleep quality and quantity
Our physiotherapists also have extensive knowledge in the epidemiology of diseases and injury, factors influencing injury prevention and safety. This knowledge adds to their competency and enables them to provide the right prescription for each condition. It is essential that every patient be enrolled in the appropriate wellness program that suits his individual needs.
It should be understood that our physiotherapists also perform non-invasive, hands-on interventions that are in line with a biopsychosocial paradigm.
The following is a review of five health-promoting behaviours and the approaches our physiotherapists use to promote health among our patients and clients:
Physical activity promotion is considered the most crucial area of health promotion. Unequivocal evidence continues to support the idea that physical activity improves wellness and prevent a wide variety of lifestyle diseases.
To date, physical activities remain the most effective intervention our physiotherapists can incorporate into every plan of care devised for the patients. An aerobic class is one of these interventions; it is essential in:
- Losing weight,
- Reducing fatigue,
- Managing stress,
- Increasing mobility
- Reducing the risk of developing stroke or hypertension
- Increasing stamina
- Reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer, among which are colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
That is why at Prime Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services, we mainly focus on physical activities. We understand the role the physiotherapists should play in spearheading the importance of physical activities, thus our physiotherapists engage in physical activities more than the general public so that they can be the role models.
Patients are encouraged to be less sedentary by reducing the time they spend sitting. Prolonged sitting has been shown to result in poor health, with complications such as obesity, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.
Physiotherapists can use these approaches to improve the physical activity levels of clients and patients:
- Promote self-efficacy for exercise.
- Educate clients and patients about the importance of the physical activity.
- Encourage goal setting and monitoring outcomes.
- Inform the patients and clients of the current recommended minimum guidelines for physical activities.
- Find out perceived roadblocks to physical activity.
- Build strong social support.
- Explore and include working strategies for helping clients and patients to prevent relapse.
In addition to these procedures, Prime Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services has invested in modern fitness equipment and competent trainers who work hand in hand with the physiotherapists to give the patients the desirable results.
Nutrition and Weight Management
Generally, physiotherapists tend to be more conscious of healthy diet compared to the overall population. They also maintain a healthy weight and take in generous servings of vegetables and fruits per day. For these reasons, physiotherapists are better placed to provide fundamental nutritional advice to the public confidently.
At a time when obesity is prevalent across the world, related information is timely more than ever. By practicing what they preach, the physiotherapists add credibility to their own weight management and nutrition sermons.
In spite of all these knowledge and professionalism they have, physiotherapists are neither given due recognition nor used effectively in school settings to highlight the ways obesity in children can be kept in check.
Moreover, physiotherapists can go as far as educating teachers, pre-schoolers, and even parents about obesity prevention. Until the school settings are changed to accommodate more physical therapy programs, physiotherapy clinic remains the only place one can get much of the information.
How We Approach Nutrition Management
While medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes require more specific nutrition counselling that is beyond the scope of practice of physiotherapists, we still fulfil a vital role in screening for and identifying health complications that have a connection to poor nutrition. We have the requisite knowledge and necessary skills to achieve this.
We encourage our patients with weight problems or signs of malnutrition to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day. Additionally, they are to drink not less than six glasses of water per day. Where appropriate, we refer the patient or client to a nutrition specialist.
Sleep deprivation has been associated with several serious health problems such as:
- Sleep disorders
- Heart attack
However, sleep deprivation remains an under-recognized public health issue even though these health problems continue to grow steadily. Many people suffer from a chronic sleep disorder, and it is highly likely that patients and clients seeking physical therapy could be among those affected. These problems directly affect wellness and longevity, which in turn affect overall daily functioning.
Thus, it is essential that physiotherapists to be well-informed about optimal sleeping habits so they can be able to support. Adequate sleep is also vital in improving functional motor learning and chronic pain.
At Prime Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services, our physiotherapists have undergone training in information about sleep deprivation and sleep disorders. These include the pathophysiology, etiology, diagnosis treatment, and prevention of sleep disorders. With this knowledge, they evaluate the sleep habits of clients and patients to help formulate the best approach to counsel.
An average adult requires 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Change of behaviour has proven to be crucial in improving the quality of sleep. The following instructions can help if followed:
- Go to sleep only when you are sleepy
- Let the bedroom be for sleeping alone and go there straight away when you are sleepy. Reading, watching TV or eating should not form part of your sleeping room.
- Whenever you cannot fall asleep after 15 minutes, get out of the bed and engage yourself in some relaxing activity. While at it, shun stimulating activities.
- Make it a habit to get out of bed at the same time every day
- Avoid napping late in the day (that is, after 3 PM).
- Participate in daytime physical activities regularly
- Make the bed comfortable
- Sleep in a quiet, dark room
- Avoid taking stimulants like nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol in the evening.
- Eat regular meals and do not go to bed hungry.
2. Smoking Cessation
In the United States, most cases of morbidity and premature mortality are caused by smoking or tobacco use. The good news is that there are many behaviour change interventions that can help smokers to overcome tobacco dependence. Health care systems and clinicians have, in many instances, identified tobacco use by the patients and encouraged them to quit.
Physiotherapists are now expected to be competent in tobacco cessation education so they can assist the clients and patients with smoking habit. This education is necessary because:
- The physiotherapists regularly meet the clients and patients during many of the physiotherapy courses.
- The use of tobacco weakens several body organs and systems, therefore negatively affecting healing time and how the body responds to physiotherapy treatments.
- Non-invasive methods like counselling and education used by physiotherapists are one of the most effective approaches to smoking cessation.
- Many patients with disabilities tend to be smokers compared to those without physical limitations. In fact, the prevalence is twice as high in comparison.
At Prime Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services, we aim to break this culture. Our physiotherapists have undergone additional training in smoking cessation and are not reluctant to ask the patients and clients about their smoking habits and to provide timely advice to quit smoking.
We have developed the “5 A” approach which entails:
- Ask — the first step is asking the patient about tobacco use.
- Advise — then the patient, if a smoker, is provided with advice to quit.
- Assess — this involves assessing the patient to be sure he/she is determined to stop smoking.
- Assist — in this step, the patient is assisted to quit through counseling or referral.
- Arrange — finally, a follow-up arrangement is made.
3. Stress Management
Stress is a non-specific body response to any demand which can occur in response to negative or positive circumstances. Positive stress is the kind that is motivating and short-lived. It is mostly within one’s coping abilities. On the other hand, negative stress is harmful to health and wellness. It is also known as chronic stress.
The techniques designed to address distress and negative situations are called Stress Management. Such conditions have the potential to cause stress-related illnesses leading to poor coping skills. Stress, like wellness, is a perception; both have physical, psychological, and emotional dimensions.
Managing stress calls for various broad interventions which can include emotionally, socially, physically, spiritually, psychologically, and intellectually focused activities. Which method is taken will depend on the etiology of the stress and how an individual is affected by the stressor.
Managing stress is part of a physiotherapist’s entry-level curricula. It is due to the fact that there exists a close relationship between illness/injury and stress. Stress management is an important therapy to apply to many patients who seek physiotherapy.
Some of the interventions physiotherapists use to manage stress include:
- Sleep hygiene
- Physical activity
- Healthy nutrition
- Positive attitude
- Time management
- Success or thriving in life
These approaches include both physical and non-physical dimension of wellness.
At Prime Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services, we have a framework to address stress. The steps include:
- Identifying the ultimate stressor
- Incorporating a coping strategy or a relaxation to relieve the identified stress.
- Finding solutions to help avoid, keep in check or manage the stress
- Improving overall health
- Thinking outside the box to come up with an alternative response to the stressor.
Would you like to be part of a wellness program? Do not wait any longer. In Nairobi Prime Physiotherapy And Rehabilitation Services is more than prepared to provide you with a practical fitness and wellness program.