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A kinesiotherapist is a registered allied health professional trained in the use of scientifically based exercise principles to enhance physical and functional capabilities of an individual. Kinesiotherapists are specialists in movement science. They can treat a client under a prescription from a licensed physician, physicians’ assistant or nurse practitioner.
A kinesiotherapist must have extensive knowledge of exercise and movement. They develop, monitor and modify exercise routines for individuals to regain strength and function after an injury, illness or prolonged inactivity. Their expertise can encompass a variety of mobility skills other than exercise, such as ambulation, driver training, and prosthetic and/or orthotic rehabilitation, which is the use of bracing or artificial limbs to assist in increasing functional mobility.
In addition to a standard exercise program, kinesiotherapists often employ the use of such things as aquatic therapy and adaptive fitness, conditioning and exercises in a home setting to increase the client’s independence. In addition to exercise, endurance and general conditioning is another focus of the kinesiotherapist to improve overall functional abilities. Functional ability is the capacity to perform daily activities.
The kinesiotherapist sets individualized goal-specific plans of treatment based upon the physical limitations and general overall conditioning of each client. They are responsible for demonstrating, implementing and supervising the individual exercise programs and making adjustments as necessary, based upon the client’s abilities and progression. They instruct, mentor and educate clients on the importance of the specific exercise routines.
The kinesiotherapist must understand and relay important information and techmiques related to the biomechanics and ergonomics of movement. Biomechanics is basically how things move – the mechanical application of movement. For example, it is important to know when you walk, the heel should strike the ground first. If the entire foot hits the ground, retraining and employing the use of specific exercises may increase your stamina and decrease pain symptoms.
Ergonomics, on the other hand, is the relationship between body mechanics and the task being performed. In other words, kinesiotherapists can evaluate your job and how you do it, and recommend modifications. In some instances, simple techniques such as more frequent weight shifts can be employed. In other cases, a task-specific exercise program may strengthen overused muscles, make movements more efficient and assure good body mechanics are utilized. For example, a simple modification of bending at the knees while lifting coupled with a back strengthening program can significantly decrease the incidences of low back pain.
The kinesiotherapist is, in general terms, an expert on proper movement and conditioning. Their main goal is to reduce debilitation, or weaknesses, and enhance functional capabilities. In other words,the kinesiotherapist can help you get your life physically up par.