Physiotherapy or Physical therapy.. What is it??
In India, most people are unaware of what exactly is physiotherapy and what a physiotherapist does. The plight of physiotherapists is such that despite slogging for years, we hardly get any recognition or a decent amount of remuneration.
In India, the condition is such that despite we being given the prefix “Doctor” there is hardly any respect or awareness about this profession. Yes, the awareness is increasing but not at the level that it should. We physios are willing to dedicate our lives in the service of humanity just like other medical professions but there is lack of opportunity for us to do so!!
Another problem physiotherapists face is constant attempts of other medical faculties like MBBS, Orthopaedics and other branches in trying to put down the profession.
Not all of them are like that of course! There are so many wonderful and respectable doctors from other medical fraternities that I have met, but there are some of them who aren’t so happy about the growth of physiotherapy! I wonder why!!!
The awareness about what physiotherapy is, is lacking in the medical professionals as well as among common public.
Anyway, Let me get started with the basic introduction. These points are just very very basic and simple to understand!
Physiotherapy is a four and a half year degree course in India. All over the world, the duration of the course varies but mostly the base remains the same. It is a drug-less field where a patient gets cured through the help of exercises, certain treatment and hands-on therapy done by the therapist and also with the help of certain electrical modalities as and when needed.
I slogged for four and half years to become a physiotherapist. I also went on to do a certified course in Manual Therapy from Australia.
So what does a physiotherapist do?
1. A physiotherapist treats the patient with the help of exercises and electrical modalities.
2. A physiotherapist is basically involved in the rehabilitation of the patient and getting him back to his normal daily life.
3. A physiotherapist can independently diagnose and treat a condition.
4. A physiotherapist can treat a variety of conditions including neurological, orthopaedic, cardiovascular and respiratory, medicine and surgical cases and also gynaecological, obesity and geriatric (old people) cases. If you have any back pain, sports injury, post surgical rehab, paralysis, parkinson’s disease or celebral palsy or if you need exercises pre and post pregnancy, you should consult a physiotherapist.. These are just a few examples I am stating. There is much more to it.
5. It is a vast and INDEPENDENT profession which has a masters degree and PhD too.
6. A physiotherapist consults doctors from other fields like surgeons, orthopaedics , general physicians,etc to get to know the root problem of the patient and the treatment provided by others. If needed he will send the client/patient to other doctors when the treatment needed is something more than or not related to what he/she does.
What a physiotherapist does NOT do?
1. A physiotherapist does not perform surgery
2. A physiotherapist does not prescribe medicines.
3. A physiotherapist is not a Massage Therapist for God’s Sake! (height of stupid thinking!)
4. A physiotherapist does not give injections.
5. A physiotherapist is NOT a technician who will listen to other doctors dictating what they should and should not do.
Kindly be aware of people who claim to be physiotherapists and do not have a proper medical or anatomical understanding or a physiotherapy degree. Please be careful of quacks in this practice who are ruining the reputation of physiotherapy.
This post is an urge to all physiotherapists to come together and form a council and stand up for our rights. If we need to change the system we must remain in the system and bring about a change. Simply cribbing about the condition of physiotherapy in India isn’t going to help.
Get up, get going and take action! Stand up and fight!!!
Dr. Manasi Joshi. (PT)
B.P.Th, C.O.M.T Australia, Writer and Blogger.