What is physical disability? - Abafields Home Care
Physical disability in wheelchair

What is physical disability?

Physical disability comes in many different forms and can affect different people at different stages of their lives.

No matter what the physical disability you’re up against, learning to identify and overcome the unique challenges it presents you with can help you to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Physical disability can be defined as a condition that affects a person’s physical performance by limiting physical functioning, mobility, dexterity, or stamina.

Not all physical disabilities are equal; some physical disabilities may only cause slight challenges with dexterity or stamina, whilst other physical disabilities may render a person immobile.

The effect of a physical disability on a person’s day-to-day life can be extremely varied and far-reaching. People with a physical disability may have problems with a variety of essential functions including holding or gripping things, mobility, speech, or eating.

The areas of their life that are affected and the severity of the challenges they face depends on the nature of being differently able.

Whilst some people may be born with their disability, others may acquire it later in life due to an illness or accident.

Sometimes, physical disabilities can impact a person’s daily life by making performing some tasks challenging. In these instances, it is important that the person seeks the appropriate help and support to overcome these challenges.

Different types of physical disability

There are many different types of physical disability, some with more debilitating effects than others.

Some physical disabilities are chronic, or long-term disabilities that a person will live with their entire life, whilst others may be temporary as a person recovers from illness or injury.

Other types of physical disability may fluctuate in their severity from one day to the next.

One thing they all have in common though is that they can make aspects of day-to-day life challenging.

Some of the commonest physical disabilities include:

  • Arthritis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Amputation
  • Epilepsy

What are the three commonest physical disabilities in the UK?

Three of the commonest types of physical disability are arthritis, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injury.


Over 10 million people in the UK suffer from arthritis, a condition that causes painful, inflamed joints. Arthritis can affect joints all over the body including those in the knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, elbows, shoulders, and hips. Arthritis can range in severity, but advanced or severe arthritis can cause considerable pain and mobility problems.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a neurological condition that usually occurs whilst a baby is in the womb or during birth. The condition impairs a person’s motor functions, affecting their movement, coordination, and sometimes their speech too. Cerebral Palsy is not a progressive condition so it will not get worse with time.

Spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injuries can occur at any stage of a person’s life, often out of the blue due to an accident. Injuries to the spinal cord can be temporary or permanent and can cause a wide range of disabilities, both physical and neurological. In some cases, spinal cord injuries can cause paraplegia or tetraplegia, where a person loses control of some or all their body’s sensory and motor functions.

How to overcome physical disabilities

Whilst living with a physical disability can be challenging, there is no reason why you cannot still live a comfortable and fulfilling live.

The challenges you need to overcome will depend on the physical disability that you are facing. Reduced mobility or cognition could make it difficult to live independently, but there is plenty of support available to help you to do so.

Some of the most important advice for overcoming physical disability includes:

Come to terms with your disability

– Coming to terms with and making peace with your disability can be an important step towards finding the confidence and motivation to overcome any obstacles your disability has thrown at you.

Have a positive mindset 

– a positive outlook doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it is important to try to foster one if you want to stay motivated to overcome challenges and move your life forward.

Find out what resources are available

– Do your research and ensure that you are making use of any assistive equipment or technology that is available to you that could make your life easier. This could include adjustments in the home, specialist equipment, and assistive technologies and apps. You may also be eligible to government schemes or grants to help you acquire the equipment you need.

Accept help from friends and family

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help or accept help when it would benefit you or make your life easier. Overcoming the challenges you face can be difficult, and you’ll benefit from having a support network behind you.

Seek professional help or care when required

– There are plenty of professional disability care services available that can help you to live a more comfortable, stress-free, and independent life. Home care services can be particularly useful for those that need help with everyday activities like food preparation and personal hygiene. Equally though, employing a professional care service to come and help with domestic chores and food shopping once a week can be a big help.

If you’re struggling with day-to-day tasks and your life could be made easier with a little bit of help, don’t hesitate to get the help you need to lighten your load and allow you to focus on the bigger things. 

Abafields Home Care for people with physical disabilities

Here at Abafields Home Care, our team of professional home care givers are experienced at helping people with a wide range of disabilities to retain their independence by caring for them in their homes.

We offer both general care and specialist high dependency care services. Our home care services are completely bespoke and can be tailored to your precise requirements, providing as much or as little support as you need.

Whether you need a carer to pop in once a week to help with your grocery shopping or a specialist live-in carer to provide intensive high dependency care, we can provide a reliable and compassionate care service to meet your needs.

For more information about any of our home care services for the differently abled, or to discuss your requirements in more detail, please give our friendly team a call on 0161 804 5060.