Scope of Physiotherapy in India | Physiotherapist | Assam down town University

Physiotherapy or Physical Therapy originated in ancient Greece in the age of Hippocrates as a means to use massage to ease bodily pain. Considered as one of the oldest methods to cure physical ailments, the use of physiotherapy to prevent and cure physical dysfunctions in patients has gained prominence in today's time. Increasing levels of stress due to constant workload, mechanisation and sedentary lifestyle, early age stroke, accidents, lifestyle diseases are taking a toll on people. Many people are seeking rehabilitation to maintain and regain their mobility. This has meant that physiotherapy has been slowly and steadily gaining importance in the healthcare industry as an alternative to mainstream medical care. Physiotherapy is described as a health care profession concerned with identifying and maximising quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, and rehabilitation. It uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well being, taking into account various health status.

Courses and duration:

Students can pursue a Bachelor degree in Physiotherapy after their 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as the main subjects. A Bachelors degree is a 4 years degree course. This includes at least six months of internship. Many students also opt for a Masters degree in Physiotherapy, which is a 2 years master degree course. Students can also opt for a diploma course in Physiotherapy or pursue a doctorate degree in the discipline.

Students can specialise in areas like Paediatrics, Geriatrics, Orthopaedics, Sports Physical Therapy, Neurology, Clinical Electrophysiology, Cardiopulmonary Therapy and so on.

Role and responsibilities of a physiotherapist in the health sector:

Physiotherapists are qualified healthcare professionals. They are often referred to as “movement specialists” as they are trained to assess various physical conditions through body movements.   Physiotherapy is a promising and rewarding profession, but it also entails important responsibilities. After clearing the licence examination, physiotherapists have a great scope, but with vital responsibilities as well. Some of the important responsibilities that physiotherapists have to shoulder are:

• Prescribing remedial exercises

• Physical treatment by electrotherapy modalities like diathermy, ultrasonic therapy, contrast bath, whirlpool therapy, infra-red therapy, ultraviolet therapy, etc.

• Muscle strength evaluation and quantification

• Evaluating balance in neurologically affected patients

• Wheelchair and gait training with or without ambulatory aids.

• Apply manual therapy, mobilisation, manipulation of soft tissue techniques etc.

• Improving the status of patients with cardiopulmonary dysfunction.

• Aid in-home evaluation to make the environment barrier-free and accessible.

Scope of Physiotherapy in the healthcare sector:

India faces a dearth of physiotherapists and this can be attributed to the lack of awareness about the scope and prospects of this procession. Once awareness spreads amongst the masses about its benefits, it would be in a lot more demand. Considered as an allied health professional service, physiotherapists have numerous career options to choose from.

With the mushrooming of health, fitness and wellness centres, the career prospects of physiotherapists seem much brighter. Physiotherapists also have ample scope in hospitals, nursing homes, residential homes, rehabilitation centres. Physiotherapists can set up clinics where they can practice privately. They can also get employment in community health centres, primary health centres, fitness centres, special schools, mental health care centres, old age homes and so on. Physiotherapists also play an important  role in academia. They can teach pupils about the prevention of injuries, injury management, and rehabilitation.

Lifestyle and stress related ailments like backache, stiff shoulders and neck, arthritis, knee pain being common amongst urban Indians, Physiotherapists can be of much help to patients suffering from these problems. They can actually help them to lead a normal life. Therefore, the chief aim of a physiotherapist is to improve a patient's quality of life by using various modes of exercise, physical movement and massage. Their methods of treatment alleviate pain, restore the function of different body parts and help gain agility amongst patients. Again, in case of permanent injury or disease, the physiotherapists’ task is to lessen the effects of dysfunction of any body part.

Physiotherapists with excellent soft skills and research skills can opt for research and development works in pharmaceutical companies and institutional laboratories located in western countries where the pay package is a lot more attractive. In most of these countries, physical therapists play an important role in the fitness routine of a common man.

Initial remuneration of physiotherapists varies from place to place. A good physiotherapist who has a sound knowledge of their discipline and an experienced hand can earn an attractive salary in this profession.

To be a successful Physiotherapist one needs to have a heart to help people regain their mobility and quality of life. Being patient, caring, compassionate, empathetic, having good interpersonal skills to communicate with people are other necessary skills that a physiotherapist should possess.

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