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Manage Diabetes With Physiotherapy

Manage Diabetes With Physiotherapy

Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting people of all ages and walks of life.

The disease can cause a number of long term complications, resulting in disability, reduced quality of life, and premature death.

Exercise plays an important role in diabetes.

Physiotherapists are experts in exercise prescription for people with chronic illnesses and are therefore able to provide advice on physical activity and promote self-management practices. Physiotherapy can help with the management of complications associated with diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to regulate the levels of sugar in the body either by not producing insulin in the pancreas,type 1, or if it is able to produce it it its not able to produce it properly,type 2.

Insulin is one of the main hormones that regulates blood sugar levels and allows the body to use sugar(glucose) for energy.when insulin doesn’t function correctly it accumulates in the blood as opposed to been used by the cells.

Type 1 type diabetes- usually occurs in children or people under 12 usually caused by a virus which has damaged the pancreas and has reduced its ability to produce insulin which in they need to inject themselves on a daily basis of insulin

Type 2 is mainly caused by insulin resistance (when the body can’t metabolise carbs normally or use insulin effectively). Insulin resistance  occurs due to a genetic predisposition as well as lifestyle factors, including lack of exercise and a poor diet high in carbs, which results in weight gain and obesity (a person with insulin resistance has to store any excess carbs as fat, thus the condition gets worse with age, as long as a high carb diet is eaten).

Symptoms of diabetes

– increased thirst

– increased hunger (especially after eating)

– dry mouth

– frequent urination

– unexplained weight loss

– excessive weight gain

– feeling weak and tired

– blurred vision

– slow healing cuts or sores

– numbness or tingling in hands and feet

– headaches

– itching of the skin

– impotency


– obesity

– high blood pressure

– high blood cholesterol concentrations

– arterial damage

– heart disease

– greater risk for development of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease

– blindness

– amputations, especially of the feet and legs

– chronic kidney failure

The role of the physiotherapist

In today’s world type 2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic and in fact 90 % of diabetics are type 2.

Physiotherapy can play a very important role in helping patients deal with type two diabetes from helping with a diet plan,(i advise high fat low carb,or what is better known as a Ketogenic diet),exercise, proper footwear and insoles, and orthotics which would need to be flexible and fairly cushioned.

Other treatment modalities such as massage, electro acupuncture, laser therapy, which is very beneficial in helping reduce ulcers and open wounds which are very common in a diabetic foot.

What is very common with people with diabetes is frozen shoulder, this is where the shoulders range of motion gets restricted at the glenohumeral joint(shoulder socket).

The affected person is unable to lift their arm up sideways or front ways more than a few degrees, and also if they try to increase the range it will intensify the pain.

Frozen shoulder can be very debilitating and very difficult to treat so it is advised that early intervention through physiotherapy be started using different techniques such as manual therapy and passive stretching which would be done by the physiotherapist, also a home care programme will be given for specific exercises.

The diabetic foot can be very serious and often patients lose their foot or in some cases even there whole leg {amputation} due to complications.

It is of utmost importance that the diabetic patient is given appropriate leg and foot exercises because the nerves in the leg are damaged thus a patient will not feel hot or cold  and can pick up injuries like a cut in their foot.

Because they don’t feel it it is open to infection because the wound has not been treated,so by giving the diabetic patient daily foot and leg exercises we are helping the leg to keep muscle tone and nerves stimulated as well as making them aware of the dangers of a foot infection they will have a better chance of avoiding such a catastrophic outcome

Exercise plays an enormous role in the management of diabetes and especially with the diabetic foot, exercise helps keep muscle tone, as well as the increased blood supply to the nerves which help them stay healthy and less likely to get infected with wounds, ulcers and skin irritation.

As we know exercise increases the heart rate which helps the cardiovascular system, which in turn will give us more energy and help reduce the risk of heart disease, fatigue obesity, arterial damage and high blood pressure, all of which are conditions associated with diabetes.

There is a lot that a physiotherapist can do for you, and help is just a phone call away.

Don’t let diabetes steal your energy or affect your lifestyle.

I am here to assist you and help you fight diabetes the right way. Stay healthy and be informed.

If you have questions- feel free to reach out! It’s my passion to help you experience pain relief and powerful healing!

Living a healthy lifestyle should be our way of LIFE!