Physiotherapy is a branch of Paramedical Sciences that deals with the management of various conditions of the Neuromuscular, Skeletal and other systems in the body. No drugs or surgical instruments are used, only physical means like Heat, Cold, Sound, Water, Radiations, Electricity, Message and Exercise are used as therapy.
Physiotherapists also train the permanently disabled and handicapped people to make the best use of their abilities. They also play significant role in training sportsmen and in treating any injuries caused while playing. The demand for physiotherapists in the country is immense, especially with increasingly sedentary life – styles. From infants to the elderly, physiotherapists mainly treat people of all ages referred to them by medical practitioners.
It is said that while doctors add years to the life of the patients, physiotherapists add life to their years. Physiotherapy is one of the most I important rehabilitative services which are today needed in a community. It is a vital therapeutic supplement of the medical profession that is integral to the treatment of most patients. Physiotherapy, as a profession, is defined as a science that seeks to alleviate movement dysfunction, and to promote optimal health and functions of the human body.
Physiotherapists treat the patients through exercise therapy. They treat the patients by using other therapeutic agents, including heat Radiations, Electricity, Sound, Water and Message.
Physiotherapy is used to cure weak muscles and other disorders in the body. Physiotherapists treat a wide range of ailments and for that they need specialization in areas like Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Orthopedics, Sports Physical Therapy, Neurology, Clinical Electrophysiologic and Cardiopulmonary Therapy.
Patients with problems such as difficulties in shoulder and knee joints, paralysis, inborn and acquired deformities etc. are referred by the to physiotherapists medical practitioners, who then take on the responsibility of restoring them to health.
Physiotherapists help in recovering and rehabilitating of a patient from a state of incapacity, due to genetic defect or the result of an accident or an illness.
So, the physiotherapists must have a thorough knowledge of the human anatomy and the way the. bones, muscles and nerves move. The job of a physiotherapist, which is preventive, restorative and rehabilitative, is challenging but it is also very lucrative at the same time.
He is qualified to perform a history and physical examination, conduct assessments to determine a diagnosis process, select appropriate physical therapy interventions to treat the dysfunction in the patient’s body, and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.
Physiotherapists use many therapeutic intervention techniques to treat a patient. Some of these techniques are Manual Therapy, ENS ( Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation ) used to control pain, Ultrasound Technique, Electrical Muscle Stimulation, Manipulation, Acupuncture, etc. Although the work of a physiotherapist may tend to be physically strenuous as it involves physically lifting and supporting patients, their profession brings with it much satisfaction, since it involves relieving patients from pain and helping them to recover from specific physical ailments.
The work done by the physiotherapists involves helping those who have been unable to perform their tasks due to accidents, illness or birth defects, to regain normal bodily functions as soon as possible.
For this, they are required to have thorough knowledge of the way the various body parts move and function.
This is essential for assessing and evaluating the problems of the patients. Physiotherapists work, not only for the injured alone, but also for a whole range of people, including small children, polio patients, athletes, industrial workers and elderly people suffering from ailments such as arthritis and rheumatism. Physiotherapists treat conditions like joint pain, various kinds of deformities, muscular atrophy, weakness, paralysis, fractures, stiffness, heart, chest, skin and gynaecological conditions, amputation, etc.
With the help of special exercises and therapy, various ailments including arthritis, spondylitis, neurological disorders and heart conditions are treated. Therapy includes techniques to restore bodily functions and prevent further physical disabilities. These Techniques – Manual or Mechanical, or a combination of the two – include itself the application of heat and radiation, electric and water therapy, diathermy and massage, to cure weak or deformed muscles and bones. The hands of a physiotherapist play a very important role in physiotherapy.
In movement and mobilization, physiotherapist will first observe and feel the joint and then ask the patient to move the limb. This helps in understanding why the problem has arisen and where does it lie.
Another important area of their work is with the mentally challenged and the mentally ill patients. In maternity wards, a physiotherapist may advise expectant mothers on relaxation techniques and prenatal exercises which can help them to regain muscular strength after delivery. Paralyzed and handicapped patients are taught to perform basic physical movements to restart their bodily functions. Thus, a physiotherapist’s main job is to help and improve the quality of life to assist in the rehabilitation of the patient.
Occupational Therapists ( OT ) work with individuals who are in conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally or emotionally disabling and help them to recover or maintain daily living and work skills so that they can live independent, productive and satisfying lives.
They not only help clients to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also compensate for their permanent loss of function. Physical exercises can be used to increase strength and dexterity, while paper and pencil exercises can be chosen to improve vision and discern patterns. A patient who is suffering with short-term memory loss following an accident may be encouraged to make lists to aid recall.
Somebody who is having coordination problems might be given exercises to improve hand – eye coordination. OTs in advanced countries also use Computer Programs to help their clients improve decision – making, abstract reasoning, problem solving and perceptual skills, as well as memory, sequencing and coordination – all of which are very important for independent living.
Physiotherapy Career Prospects :
Employment opportunities for physiotherapists are tremendous. A physiotherapist could be employed in the rehabilitation departments of hospitals, under the Central and State governments, municipal corporations and private bodies.
Not only in India but there is also a lot of demand for physiotherapists in the USA, Canada and Australia. The demand of physiotherapists is rapidly increasing. Moreover, the increasingly sedentary urban life – styles and lack of exercise has brought on a whole gamut of body aches and pains, which requires the assistance of specialised physiotherapists. Physiotherapists can also choose the field of teaching, while those with adequate capital can establish their own private clinics.
The growing awareness of the role that Physiotherapy can play in enabling the physically handicapped to lead productive lives has also increased the demand for trained professionals.
Students who have science background can opt for a career in Physiotherapy. To become a practicing physiotherapist or be employed as a professional in a hospital or clinic, one – should have a B.Sc. degree or a diploma in Physiotherapy from a reputed and recognized institute. One could also go in for Post Graduation. The basic eligibility for courses in Physiotherapy is 10+2 passed or equivalent examination with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English. At least 50% marks should be secured in each of these subjects.
Selection : The admission to institutes is through Entrance Examination. There is a Common Entrance Test ( CET ) for the course in Bachelor of Physiotherapy. Admission is mainly based on CET scores. Duration : There are both degrees level and Short – Term Courses available in Physiotherapy but all of them may not be recognized by the government. Degree Level Courses in Physiotherapy generally range from 3 to 4 years while Short – Term Courses are usually between three months and a year.
For a Degree level course, the last six months involves an internship period at a hospital.
The initial remuneration of physiotherapists in government hospitals varies between 3,000 and 5,000. On the other hand, the private hospitals offer a relatively better package. Most well – run private hospitals offer a starting salary around 7,500 which could go up to 10,000 per month.
The remuneration for established private practitioners can go up to almost 20,000 – 40,000 per month. Some hospitals also pay the physiotherapists according to the number of patients he / she attends. Most physiotherapists, after gaining an experience of around five years, could start their own practices. In this case, they charge according to the number of hours given to individual patients, usually around 250 – 400 per sitting.