Physiotherapy: A Holistic View is Needed

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Dr Nayeem U Zia

As World Physiotherapy Day has passed, it is imperative for all of us to make the importance of physiotherapy felt in society. Though physiotherapists in this part of the world have been making tremendous efforts to ascertain it, some more work must be done.
Besides the importance of physiotherapy in orthopaedics, it plays vital role in the field of neurology, cardiology, pulmonology, geriatrics, Sports Medicine, community medicine, paediatrics, gynaecology, oncology, intensive care and so on. Therefore, the role of physiotherapy must not be confined to orthopedic problems, (which unfortunately still prevails in the valley). Professionals need to undertake the job of disseminating the distinctive role played by discipline and practice of physiotherapy in other medical specialties.
In the wake of a steep rise in life style disorders, it would be prudent if people start looking at physiotherapy beyond its role in orthopedics. In lieu of this, physiotherapists too need to communicate with commoners and other healthcare professionals the diversified implications of physiotherapy across the spectrum in the medical field. We , as a society, are very precise in following western societies so closely yet selectively. We ought to follow them in other spheres of life particularly in healthcare.
Neuro physiotherapy is gaining popularity world over because of its magical results. Damage to brain and spinal cord leads to disruption of signals reaching to the affected parts of your body this results in loss of movement and sensation, uncoordinated movement, weak muscles, spasticity and tremors.
Research reveals that neurological physiotherapy is able to kick-start the message pathways that damaged brain is struggling to use, to make new pathways through repetitive actions and exercises. For quite some time, neuro rehabilitation using evidence based treatment approaches has delivered promising results that help the ailing society to live with dignity and quality.
Cardio respiratory physiotherapy is an area of physiotherapy that specializes in the prevention and rehabilitation of patients with heart and lung diseases. These conditions may manifest themselves as shortness of breath, persistent cough, increased work of breathing or the reduced ability to exercise. It is now widely recognized that appropriate exercise can be an effective disease prevention strategy and is integral to the management of those with a variety of cardio respiratory conditions. A physiotherapist undertakes a comprehensive assessment of the cardio respiratory system, endurance and mobility and tailors treatment programs to patients’ unique needs.
Physiotherapists have made their presence felt in the realm of gynecology and obstetrics too. The physical changes to a women’s body as related to pregnancy are multiple. Pregnancy leads to change in center of mass, more pressure on the organs, and increased weight that result in back pain, pelvic pain and urinary incontinence. In fact, over two thirds of pregnant women experience back pain, one fifth experience pelvic pain and over 40% experience urinary incontinence in their first pregnancy with half remaining incontinent at eight weeks post-partum. Therefore, physiotherapy consultation plays a vital role in minimizing most of the complications related to pregnancy and the journey thereof.
One might not associate physiotherapy with cancer treatment, but the discipline is about repairing damage, improving mobility, alleviating pain, reducing stiffness and improving the quality of life. It is an important factor in recovering from cancer as it works to strengthen and heal the body. Many people with cancer experience physical difficulties, such as problems with strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination.
There are many such domains where physiotherapy proves to be the mainstay of management. Therefore, it is high time for all of us to broaden our vision and have a bird’s eye view at Physiotherapy as a health care specialty.

The author is a physiotherapist at JK Health services. He can be reached at: