K J Somaiya

Physiotherapy awareness is on the rise in the metros. But the same is not true for rural areas/ industries.  Physiotherapy will have a better reach if the awareness in the rural area would increase, believes Dr Shweta Manwadkar, Principal K J Somaiya College of Physiotherapy.

Q The Government is focusing more and more on health and wellness centers under Ayushman Bharat scheme. How do you see role of physiotherapy in creating a healthier India?

The scope of physiotherapy is from womb to tomb. The role is to address and manage issues of movement dysfunction for any disease or health condition.  Impairment in movement leads to dependency creating a great healthcare burden on our country. The role of Physiotherapist in preventing dysfunction and diseases goes a long way. By making individual functional, independent and bringing them back to the community, we indirectly enhance the economic growth of the country. There is a rising population of old age people having better access to healthcare. Physiotherapy helps them in healthy aging and providing better quality of life.

Q Tell us how physiotherapy is useful for treating health issues like back pain and spinal injury.

There are several causes of back pain. Physiotherapists are competent to diagnose the reason for back pain and address each impairment tailor-made to the needs of the individual patient. Electrical modalities may be used for pain relief. There are many mobilization techniques much in use these days and are highly effective.  A strong emphasis is on daily exercises, postural correction and ergonomic advice, to prevent recurrence.

Our densely populated country with traffic snarls and potholes on roads have made people prone to road accidents and spinal cord injury. These patients are treated at all physiotherapy centres so that they can live an independent life without being a burden to the society. Good physiotherapy centers are disabled friendly with ramps for wheelchair access, special bigger patient friendly toilets with enough room for wheelchair inside the toilet.

Wheelchairs too need to be customised for every patient. In addition to this K.J. Somaiya College of Physiotherapy also has van service for patients which has a wheelchair access making commuting easier.

Q What are the opportunity and challenges of this sector?

With the increasing awareness about physiotherapy over the last few decades, quality physiotherapy is in demand.

Also, different specializations in the field of physiotherapy have come to the force.  People are now aware of cardio respiratory physiotherapy which is required not only in the ICU (Set up) of an hospital but also as a part of rehabilitation and fitness “ regime. This is needed to everyone leading a hectic and stressful life in the cities.

As per the need in the community and as per his/her own area of interest, a physiotherapy graduate can further choose to do specialisation in musculoskeletal sciences, Neurosciences, cardiorespiratory PT, community based rehabilitation, sports etc.

Although physiotherapy awareness is on the rise in the metros, the same cannot be said of the so called ruralareas/ industries.  Physiotherapy will have a better reach if the awareness in the rural area can increase. This is being done by the Community health expert through various outreach programmes.

Q Shed some light on availability of quality affordable physiotherapy treatments in our country.

 Although the physiotherapy services are free in government and municipal centres across the cities. But these centres are very few thus overburdened with the sheer number of patients requiring physiotherapy. Charitable and trust institutions fill this deficiency.

K. J. Somaiya College of Physiotherapy is one such institute where physiotherapy services are made available to everyone at a very low cost while providing quality care, without long waiting hours.

It has been seen many medical colleges dont have courses on physiotherapy. What can be done on this front?

Every medical college should run a course in physiotherapy and all the doctors need to be made aware of the scope of Physiotherapy which is need of the hour.

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