Usenet 2015-12-08 15:17:44
Giving the healing touch
By Syed Amir Ali Hashmi
When medication fails to cure the ills, when athletes
tear tendons, dancers sprain their knees, accident
injuries require medical help, a physiotherapist steps in
where a physician leaves off.
A physiotherapist helps in the recovery of people who
could be incapacitated due to injuries sustained in an
accident, or for some other reasons. His job involves
curing illnesses of patients suffering from ailments,
such as arthritis, polio, rheumatism and neurological
disorders. Even heart patients are sometimes referred to
“The basic function of a physiotherapist is to examine a
patient before his treatment. He conducts tests on
muscles and nerves to assess the degree of dysfunction,”
says Amir Ateeq, a practicing physiotherapist.
Despite holding such importance in our lives, the
profession is largely unsung. “But now the awareness
about the physiotherapist is spreading and students are
opting for the course,” says Ateeq.
Physiotherapists prescribe and oversee a regimen of
muscles and joints strengthening exercises, stretching,
and other non-surgical treatments. They also use
electrical stimulation and ultrasound to relieve patients
of pain associated with injuries or terminal illnesses.
Patients are taught to use crutches, prostheses, and
wheelchairs, and are helped to learn to cope with their
injuries on a day-to-day basis.
“From prenatal stage of a child to old age ailments,
physiotherapist work side by side a doctor. ,” says Dr V
K Sherke, Superintendent Physiotherapist, AIIMS.
To become a practising physiotherapist, a Bachelor’s
degree, or a Diploma in physiotherapy is a must. There
are institutes that offer short-term courses (of three to
four months’ duration) in physiotherapy. However, the
Indian Association of Physical Therapists recognises only
18 of them.
Students have to study a wide range of subjects in the
course, such as anatomy, physiology, pathology,
pharmacology, psychology, medical and surgical conditions
and other topics related to therapeutic application,
biomechanics, kineseology, disability prevention and
“A physiotherapist can specialise in sports medicine,
cardiac therapy, pediatric therapy and geriatric therapy.
Students can also opt for Masters in physiotherapy with
specialisation in the subject. Further he can pursue
research in the field,” says Dr Sherke.
As per a study, one out of every ten thousand people in
India require physiotherapist. It is important to
remember that there are barely 6,000 physiotherapist in
“The opportunities of employment are in the Government
and private hospitals’ rehabilitation departments,
medical rehabilitation centres, health institutions and
defence medical centres. With the demand for
physiotherapist on the rise with each passing day, one
can also opt for private practice,” says Dr D R Belsare,
chief physiotherapist, AIIMS.
However, there is a vast difference in the level of
monetary returns for employed professionals and private
Where Government employees usually get a salary of around
Rs 10,000 at the start, private practitioners can earn
much more. But, the difference lies in the level of
investment required in finding space and installing
medical equipment in setting up a clinic.
Teaching is yet another option open to those who have
specialised in physiotherapy. Physical therapists work in
hospitals, schools, home health agencies, amd nursing
homes; others have strong client bases to open their own
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