Disability may affect people in numerous ways even though a person may have the same disability as another individual. According to the statistics of the World Bank, 15 per cent of the total population of the world experiences disability in some form or the other. The prevalence of disability is higher in developing nations across the globe.
Poverty is one of the major contributors to disability by aggravating the risks of malnutrition, lack of access to education, polluted environment and no access to safe drinking water and sanitation. On the other hand, disability surges the chance of poverty through lack of educational opportunities and employment, coupled with an additional cost of living with a disability.
What is a physical disability?
Physical disability refers to a long-term physical condition that impacts an individual’s body by limiting his/her physical functioning, dexterity, and mobility. The loss of comprehensive physical abilities results in the inability to perform body movements like moving the hands and arms, standing or walking or even controlling the voluntary muscles.
It’s worth mentioning that physical disability is not about defining the physical condition an individual is suffering from, but how it influences their daily life. Physical disabilities can be innate or acquired from any injury or accident. They can stem from congenital or hereditary issues, or acquired from infections, diseases, brain injuries, severe accidents or as a side effect of other clinical conditions.
Four common types of physical disabilities
There are several types of physical disabilities and each of them impacts individuals differently. Here are the most common physical disabilities:
1. Arthritis and with musculoskeletal disorders
As Mayo Clinic opines, arthritis refers to the tenderness and inflammation of the joints. Common symptoms include swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. According to CDC, arthritis is a leading cause of disability for adults in the US. Various kinds of arthritis include septic arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, thumb arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis is a kind of musculoskeletal disorder that affects the movement of the body. It is the leading cause of disability among people of working age. Some of the most common musculoskeletal diseases include tension neck syndrome, tendonitis, strained muscles and tendons, carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated or ruptured disc and degenerative disc disease.
2. Cerebral Palsy or CP
A major disability among children, cerebral palsy affects muscle coordination and movement. It refers to a class of disorders that affect the ability to keep up the balance while moving. CP is caused by damage to the brain cells or abnormal development. While it takes place when an individual is young, the impacts linger all through life.
The four major kinds of CP are ataxic, spastic, dyskinetic, and mixed. Each of these types have a specific kind of disorder related to it. The affected individual tends to experience stiffness of muscles, uncontrolled movement, and poor coordination.
3. Injuries to the spinal cord
Damage to the spinal cord can cause injuries resulting in loss of movement, feeling, and other important functions. Trauma and diseases are mostly responsible for spinal cord injuries. The two primary kinds of spinal cord injuries include incomplete and complete injuries.
In a complete injury, the affected individual cannot function below the point of injury. When the injured person has limited sensation beyond the point of injury, it is called incomplete spinal cord injury.
4. Visual impairment
Visual impairment is an irreparable vision loss stemming from trauma, congenital, diseases, and degenerative issues. Such individuals cannot respond to medication, refractive corrective lenses, and even surgery.
Medical professionals consider visually impaired individuals as afflicted with one of three primary disabilities including a peripheral field defect, visual acuity that’s lower than 20/60, and a lessened peak contrast sensitivity. Such individuals either suffer from reduced vision, partial sightedness, or complete blindness.
Australians impacted by physical disability are a group of people who have to deal with immense challenges in their day to day lives. Sometimes they may need extra support to communicate and access the right professional services. This is where the role of an NDIS support coordinator is valuable.
The NDIS does not only provide the necessary funds to people impacted by physical disability, but has the overarching goal of supporting NDIS participants live a more secure and independent life. If you yourself have a physical disability or know someone who does, you must seek the support of an NDIS physiotherapist right away.