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Depression is a state of low mood and reluctance to carry out or join in with activity. Physiotherapy can help to improve mood, body image and confidence via exercises to increase fitness, muscle strength and balance.

Symptoms of depression

The symptoms of depression are an inability to enjoy pleasurable activities and withdrawal from social events. Individuals may have feelings of worthlessness, guilt, regret, self-hatred and present with low confidence and self-esteem. You may have problems sleeping or might want to sleep all day and still feel tired. Similarly, some people find depression increases appetite and others do not wish to eat at all. Individuals with depression need support from a variety of health professionals as well as their family. It may be difficult to concentrate at work and remember tasks due to the altered sleeping habits and fatigue. In the severely depressed individual, there may be thoughts of death and suicide.

Exercise is an improtant tool in combating depression amongst all agesAbove: Exercise is an improtant tool in combating depression amongst all ages

Causes of depression

It is thought that depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. Biologically, low levels of a chemical called serotonin in the brain may cause the messages to be sent in unusual patterns along the nerves causing depression. Psychologically, depression is associated with the development of personality and how you learn to deal with crisis at an early age. Socially, factors such as marital problems, loneliness, unemployment and poverty are known to increase the risk of developing symptoms of depression.

Diagnosis of depression

Depression will be diagnosed by a general practitioner or psychiatrist after taking a detailed subjective history taking into account all biological, psychological and social influences. If the individual is having thoughts of self-harm or suicide they will be referred to mental health services for specialist care and support.

There are lots of conditions which cause the symptoms of depression, for example bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual syndrome and dementia. It is important that your doctor confirm the correct diagnosis to target treatment appropriately.

Treatment for depression

The most common treatment options for depression are medication and psychotherapy. Anti-depressants and psychotherapy are delivered on an outpatient basis to teenagers and adults to good effect. Electro-convulsive therapy is also used for the treatment of severely depressed adults but this is not common practice.

Physiotherapy for depression

Research shows that light to moderate exercise is extremely helpful and beneficial to those individuals with depression. Following a detailed assessment of the individual, your physiotherapist will formulate a problem list and plan a series of structured treatment sessions that are delivered to achieve specific goals. For example, you may set a goal to be able to manage the stairs 5 times a day or to jog to your local shop. No goal is too small and your physiotherapist will teach you a range of exercises to help you work towards achieving your goal.

Your progress will be monitored and re-assessed regularly using standardised outcome measures to show your physical improvements. Physiotherapy sessions can be held at home, in the clinic, in your local gym or in the hydrotherapy pool. Hydrotherapy is water based exercise therapy in a warm shallow swimming pool. Our hydrotherapy pool has ramp access and is suitable for any level of mobility and ability. Your physiotherapist will teach you a range of strengthening and balance exercises or relaxation techniques depending on your needs. A physiotherapy treatment plan may include: Physical exercise increases your heart rate and the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Your physiotherapist can take you to a local gym and show you how to use a range of equipment including treadmills, exercises bikes, rowing machine and weights to improve your exercise tolerance and fitness. Regular cardiovascular exercise is great for your physical and mental well-being as it decreases blood pressure, improves muscle tone and encourages weight loss. The benefits of physiotherapy for the individual with depression are:
  • Improved mood
  • Improved motivation and confidence
  • Improved self-esteem and self-worth
  • Improved body image and muscle tone
  • Improved participation in activity
  • Improved sleeping habits
  • Improved muscle strength, fitness and balance
  • Decreased pain

Why for depression

At we have a clear understanding of the causes and problems associated with depression. Our experienced clinicians can provide thorough assessment and treatment to elevate the symptoms of depression and improve overall quality of life for the individual and their family.
  • Knowledgeable, experienced physiotherapists
  • Positive, motivated staff
  • No waiting lists
  • Flexible appointment times
  • Treatment at any stage of depression
  • Access to hydrotherapy
  • Access to gym and swimming pool
Our physiotherapists are positive and motivated individuals with a sensitive approach to the treatment of depression. Physiotherapy can significantly help to improve symptoms and promote good health and well-being. Sessions can be provided at any of our clinic locations, at home, in the gym or hydrotherapy pool for your convenience. To book an appointment or have a free telephone consultation with a specialist physiotherapist regarding depression, please contact us now on 0330 088 7800. Alternatively, you can book an appointment with us online today!

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