Shree Bharatimaiya College of Optometry & Physiotherapy   

What is Physiotherapy?

What is Physiotherapy?

In India, most people are unaware of what exactly Physiotherapy is and who Physiotherapist is.The awareness about what physiotherapy is lacking in the medical professionals as well as among common public.

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.

Physiotherapy is treatment to restore, maintain, and make the most of a patient's mobility, function, and well-being. Physiotherapy helps through physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, and health and fitness.Physiotherapists get you involved in your own recovery.

What does physiotherapist do ?

  • A physiotherapist treats the patient with the help of exercises and electrical modalities.
  • A physiotherapist is basically involved in the rehabilitation of the patient and getting him back to his normal daily life.
  • A physiotherapist can independently diagnose and treat a condition.
  • 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.
  • It is a vast and INDEPENDENT profession which has a Masters degree and PhD too.
  • 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.

Physiotherapy Myths :

Myth 1- A person needs a referral to see a physiotherapist.
Yes, there are physicians and surgeons who refer a patient for physiotherapy, but that doesn't not mean you always need their referral to get yourself checked by a physiotherapist. A person can visit a physiotherapist directly and get checked by him/her. In case the physiotherapist feels that the condition cannot be cured by physiotherapy, he will redirect the person to the appropriate specialist.

Myth 2- Physiotherapy is just applying electrical machines and modalities.
Physiotherapy is a rehabilitative science and branch of medicine which focuses primarily on exercise to help a patient get better. Electrical modalities or machines are add-ons which provide temporary relief from pain but to get long term results, proper rehabilitative program is essential.

Myth 3- Physiotherapists only treat muscle, ligament or tendon related problem or sports injuries.
Although a large portion of physiotherapy includes muscle, ligament and tendon related injury treatment and sports related injuries, a variety of other conditions is also treated by physiotherapy.

Not only are physiotherapists specialized in diagnosing and treating all musculoskeletal pathologies in any area of the body, some also follow advanced courses in vestibular rehabilitation, mental imagery for chronic pain, pelvic floor rehab for urinary incontinence, etc.

Even in cardiac conditions, neurological conditions, old age problems, child physiotherapy and pre and post pregnancy, physiotherapy plays a vital role.

Myth 4- Physiotherapy is a temporary fix and if you don't see immediate results, physiotherapy does not work.
Physiotherapy is a lasting therapy and the aim is to not just cure a condition but also to prevent a patient from falling prone to an injury again.

A good, authentic and well learned physiotherapist will always know that physiotherapy gives long term benefit and not just a temporary fix.

You do see immediate results in certain conditions, but in long standing cases like a stroke patient, physiotherapy may take time, but that does not mean it is not working. Just that the progression towards a result may take some time, patience and persistence and follow up from the patient's side.

Myth 5- Surgery is the only option available.
In many cases, physiotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of conditions—from rotator cuff tears and degenerative disk disease, to meniscal tears and some forms of knee osteoarthritis.

In fact, physiotherapy is the best form of cure and in most cases is successful in preventing people from undergoing surgery, unless of course, the condition of the patient is beyond the scope of physiotherapy or cannot be cured by it.

Myth 6- Physiotherapy means massage.
This is the most hilarious and common one. Physiotherapists are NOT masseuses or spa people giving massage.

Techniques called as Mayofascial Release(MFR) or Deep Tissue Release (DTR) are done where in the physiotherapist will release an affected group of muscles or a particular muscle which can be at times really painful and not at all compared to a massage! The physiotherapist has studied and has the anatomical knowledge regarding the position and location of each muscle and treats it accordingly if and when required.

Scope of Physiotherapy/Future in Physiotherapy :

Physiotherapy career can rise to a variety of challenging & interesting jobs in the health care system. As a Physiotherapist, you can get specializations in the fields such as geriatrics, cardiorespiratory, geriatrics, orthopaedics & neurology. You can also get a doctorate degree & work in the research field. In future, there is a wide scope of physiotherapy. It is a wide range of career option in India as well as in abroad.

Physiotherapists are required in each department of a hospital, be it ICU or geriatrics, and they can also choose to work independently or be part of a multidisciplinary team. You can enjoy flexible working hours as a consultant, choosing the number of hours you work every day.

Physiotherapists are also recruited by Private clinics, Government hospitals, Private and Government Nursing homes, Community Health Centres, NGOs, Sports Teams and Franchises, Gyms, Fitness clinics etc.
Here are some common job profiles available in front of BPT graduates-

  • Physiotherapist
  • Rehabilitation specialist
  • Consultant
  • Sports physiotherapist