The skin, the largest and most complex organ in our body, performs several vital functions. Among other things, it is very important for human behaviour because it is directly related to the physical appearance. We know that the discomfort and psycho-emotional effects are frequently more serious than the physical changes caused by the disease, interfering negatively in the quality of life of the individual.
It is here that dermato-functional physical therapy (kinesiology) intervenes. This is a new area of physiotherapy which deals with examining and treating disruptions that are based on alterations in the functionality of the tegumentary (skin) system. Through a therapeutic relationship and based on the psycho-physical and social conditions, it seeks to stimulate, improve or adapt to the individual so that he or she can have a better quality of life.
The involvement of dermato-functional physical therapy is divided into two main sections: reconstructive and cosmetic. We are now going to focus on the first one, particularly in the rehabilitation of burned patients.
Use ofkinesiology in burned patients
The act of preserving life and the rehabilitation of burned patients are the great accomplishments in this area of expertise. The involvement of the kinesiologist or physiotherapist in this type of injury is of vital importance in order to prevent and mitigate the potential physical effects, reduce the length of time spent in hospital, as well as to improve the patient’s quality of life and reintegration (not only physically, but psychologically) into society.
Until very recently, the therapeutic approach of the kinesiologist could only start after hospital discharge. Nowadays, the role of the physiotherapist is primarily of a preventive nature.
The earlier treatment starts, the better future results will be
If this is not the case, the patient may develop after-effects, especially on account of being immobile or having adopted the ‘anti-pain’ position, which will affect not only the patient’s appearance, but also their quality of life.
The rehabilitation process comprises several stages in which the goal is the functional and social recovery of the patient
During this process the kinesiologist uses several methods and therapeutic techniques, the most important ones being general and respiratory physiotherapy through active and passive movements, in addition to therapeutic exercises; massage therapy, whose therapeutic resource is massage techniques; and electrotherapy (TENS, ultrasound, laser, etc.).
The main objectives of these techniques for the rehabilitation of the burned patient are:
- maintain and restore the range of motion of each joint and body part
- reduce oedemas
- improve circulation in the affected region
- maintain and/or restore functional movements
- provide proper alignment of scar tissue
- prevent after-effects, or if the patient already has them, assist in the treatment
- create conditions for a return to daily activities in the fastest and most independent way possible
As far as the treatment plan is concerned, ideally, an intensive physical therapy programme should be completed each day, or twice daily if possible during hospitalisation and then once per day after discharge.
This programme is flexible, with changes and adaptations made daily based on the patient’s needs.
At Best Doctors we believe in prevention and, in this regard, are aware of the importance of early intervention through physical therapy in burned patients.