By: Dr. Aqib Sagheer
Physiotherapy as described by World Physiotherapy is a health care profession concerned with human function and movement and maximizing physical potential. It is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation.
It uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, taking into account variations in health status. It is science-based, committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice and delivery Physiotherapists and Physical Therapists (PTs) work within a wide variety of health settings to improve a broad range of physical problems associated with different ‘systems’ of the body. In particular, they treat neuromuscular (brain and nervous system), musculoskeletal (soft tissues, joints and bones), and cardiovascular and respiratory systems (heart and lungs and associated physiology).
Physiotherapists work autonomously, often as a member of a team with other health or social care professionals. Physiotherapy practice is characterized by reflective behaviour and systematic clinical reasoning, both contributing to and underpinning a problem-solving approach to patient-centric care. People are often referred for physiotherapy by doctors or other health and social care professionals. Increasingly, as a result of changes in health care, people are referring themselves directly to physiotherapists (first-line access) without previously seeing any other health care professional.
Trends in Canada and Australia, for example, are even exploring the role of the physiotherapist within the triage system of emergency departments. Physicians like Hippocrates, and later Galenus, are believed to have been the first practitioners of physiotherapy, advocating massage, manual therapy techniques and hydrotherapy to treat people in 460 B.C. After the development of orthopaedics in the eighteenth century, machines like the Gymnasticon were developed to treat gout and similar diseases by the systematic exercise of the joints, similar to later developments in physiotherapy. The earliest documented origins of actual physiotherapy as a professional group date back to Per Henrik Ling “Father of Swedish Gymnastics” who founded the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics (RCIG) in 1813 for massage, manipulation, and exercise. In 1887, PTs were given official registration by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare. Because the body of knowledge of physiotherapy is quite large, PTs tend to specialize in specific clinical areas. These include: MSK / Ortho CardiopulmonaryNeurologyPaediatrics Medicine Rheumatology Older People / Geriatrics Medical Conditions Pain Women’s Health Oncology Extended Scope Public Health Stroke is the main cause in the world for paralysis in which one side of the body becomes weakened and having hearing speech impairments and having difficulty in walking
Physical therapists are specialists skilled and educated in proper rehabilitation methods. They are knowledgeable about surgical procedures and treatment goals and work closely with your referring physician in order to develop individualized rehabilitation programs.
Physical therapists blend their knowledge about surgical procedures and rehabilitation with what they identify about your body—providing the ultimate customized care. They will look at your movement patterns, habits, and limitations; evaluate your rate of healing; and design a program that will help you return to action. A patient with stroke needs a physiotherapist to enable him to walk make them independent. Different hospitals in Pakistan are doing work and focuses especially on rehabilitation like Shifa International Hospital Islamabad in which physiotherapists are working in different departments like in surgical ice orthopaedics and others Physiotherapists enable the patients to make them independent. Physiotherapy is an important intervention that prevents and mitigates the adverse effects of prolonged bed rest and mechanical ventilation during critical illness. Rehabilitation delivered by the physiotherapist is tailored to the patient’s needs and depends on the conscious state, psychological status and physical strength of the patient. It incorporates any active and passive therapy that promotes movement and includes mobilization.
Early progressive physiotherapy, with a focus on mobility and walking whilst ventilated, is essential in minimizing functional decline. Many people, especially in Pakistan, are unaware of the benefits of physical therapy despite that they just want painkillers. Due to a lack of awareness and not having education they are unable to know about it. In COVID 19 Physiotherapist also plays a role with other multidisciplinary teams and helped the patients to breathe. There are many techniques which are used for breathing that physiotherapists used for their patients.
8th September is World Physical THERAPY DAY it is celebrated all over the world for the awareness of physical-related issues .it is celebrated to raise awareness about the crucial contribution of physical therapists and chronic pain therapies done by them to keep people well and fit. This day marks the unity and solidarity of the global physical therapy community .it is an opportunity to recognise the work that physiotherapists do for their patients. All the importance of physiotherapists are accepted worldwide but in Pakistan, they are not having jobs many of them are jobless and having mentally stressed.
They lack a council, and numerous institutions are awarding Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees while failing to meet the requirements, which would lower the calibre of physiotherapists. I kindly ask the government to act so that the HEC CRITERIA are met.
As it was once said, “Knowledge is power.” I also urge young physiotherapists to work hard in their studies to advance their knowledge and abilities. I also implore them to raise awareness of physical therapy in their communities and assist those who are dependent in becoming self-sufficient.
The writer is a Doctor of Physical therapist (DPT)/MS-SPT and currently working in a private hospital in Islamabad.