Physical Effects of Ageing

The natural ageing process affects the body in many ways, including a reduction in muscle strength and bone density and an increase in body fat and joint stiffness, all of which contribute towards a change in older people’s mobility and balance. Additionally, the over 60s are more susceptible to a number of conditions, such as Arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease. All these factors can have a significant impact on the independence and quality of life for older people, and it is therefore crucial to ensure that steps are taken to maximise their physical wellbeing.

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

We do not have to accept physical deterioration as an inevitable part of ageing, and this is where Physiotherapy plays an important part. Although treatment can’t stop the ageing process, it can certainly help to reduce physical ailments and improve patients’ quality of life.

Liz Webster has 40 years experience as a Physiotherapist and has particular expertise in treating the over 60s. As older people often have multiple medical conditions or physical issues, the assessment and treatment is more complicated and requires specialist experience.

Following a detailed assessment, Liz will be able to identify factors which are preventing patients from being as active and independent as they would like to be, and will put together a comprehensive individual treatment plan. Depending on the patient and their issues, this may include massage, manual manipulation and ultrasound therapy to reduce joint and muscle pain and improve movement.

Liz will also provide advice on how to exercise safely and effectively in order to improve balance, strength, co-ordination, flexibility and even memory. By participating in regular exercise, the risk of certain illnesses will also be reduced, thereby vastly improving the quality of life.

She can also give advice on gait correction and the safe use of walking aids such as a stick, crutches or a frame.

Conditions Treated With Physiotherapy

Falls
Figures show that 1 in 3 people aged over 65 fall each year and this rises to 1 in 2 people over 80. Physiotherapy treatment and exercise programmes can be used to improve patients’ strength, balance and stability and therefore reduce the risk of falls.

Fractures
Injuries such as fractured wrists or hips are particularly common amongst older people. Physiotherapy helps patients to rehabilitate following broken bones and to return to their previous physical abilities.

Musculoskeletal Conditions
Physiotherapy can be used to treat a whole host of musculoskeletal conditions, including back and neck pain, knee and hip pain and discomfort caused by other joint, ligament and muscle injuries.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is the loss of more than 30% of bone density and is particularly common amongst the over 60s. The condition makes fractures more likely. Physiotherapy treatment and exercise programmes can be used to strengthen muscles and increase bone density through weight-bearing and balance activities.

Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common degenerative joint condition and affects hundreds of millions of people of all ages, but particularly older people. In severe cases it can lead to the need for knee and hip replacements. Physiotherapy treatment helps patients with Osteoarthritis and other Arthritis conditions, including pain management of painful joints, improving joint movement and strength and advice on how to walk correctly and the use of walking aids.

Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disease caused by the loss of cells in the part of the brain which controls automatic movements. Symptoms include tremors, stiffness of muscles, slowness of movement and loss of facial expressions. Physiotherapy can improve posture, walking, balance and arm functions, thereby making the patient’s movements easier and more controlled, and improving independence and safety.

What to Expect from an Appointment

You will begin with an Initial Assessment appointment, which will last for around an hour. Liz will talk to you about your issues and carry out a physical assessment, including looking at your strength, range of movement, balance and walking. From this, Liz will set specific goals and put together an individual treatment plan and exercise advice. Follow up sessions last either 30 minutes or an hour, depending on your individual needs.

We charge £45 for an Initial Assessment, £35 for a 30 min follow-up session and £50 for an hour. We are also able to treat patients with private healthcare insurance and arrange payment directly with your provider. The number of sessions required varies between patients, but we aim to achieve a significant improvement within 3-4 sessions.

Overall it is clear that Physiotherapy and regular physical activity are extremely effective ways of maintaining good physical health in older people. For further advice or to make an appointment with Liz Webster, please call 01423 884162 or email info@elizabethwebster.co.uk.