Scopes and Branches of Physiotherapy in India
Physiotherapy in India picked up steam post lockdown. Including methods and physical agents to restore body function, physiotherapy also helps to alleviate pain. It is mainly used for rehabilitation and prevention of illnesses, injuries and problems caused by mechanical or functional defects of the human body. Physical agents that are used in physiotherapy are massage, electrotherapy, ultrasound therapy, paraffin baths, physiotherapy exercises etc.
Physiotherapy is used as a complementary treatment in certain diseases; while in some diseases, physiotherapy can be applied as the only form of treatment. This treatment is usually overseen by a physiotherapist, who specialises in a particular area such as neurology or sports injuries. The physiotherapist uses several methods to treat patients such as medications, manual therapy, exercise therapy, electrotherapy, dry needling etc.
Even though the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends one physiotherapist for every 10,000 citizens, there are only 5,000 qualified physiotherapists in India. As a result, there is a strong need for people to understand and enter this field for for-profit and paced growth. Below we have mentioned different branches of physiotherapy from which you can choose and pursue your journey in the same.
The field of Paediatrics Physiotherapy is primarily concerned with the management of physical problems in children. It will be of immense help to parents, paediatricians and other medical professionals who are involved in the care of children with physical disabilities.
Physiotherapy for newborns, infants, children and adolescents focuses on the rehabilitation of physical disability after illness or injury. It aims to enhance both quality of life and developmental potential. The scope of Physiotherapy for children includes treatment for various musculoskeletal disorders, which are common in this age group. These include spine pain, wry neck, hip dysplasia, knee pain, postural deformities etc. Physical therapy also helps improve the gross motor skills of children with cerebral palsy and delays in neuromuscular maturation.
Obstetrics physiotherapy is a specialized field of physiotherapy which deals with the rehabilitation of mothers after childbirth and delivery. In India, there is a huge shortage of Obstetric physical therapists. It also deals with the assessment and management of pelvic floor disorders, pain and dysfunction in the lower back, sacroiliac joint pain, syphilis pubis dysfunction, all related to pregnancy. The scope of Physiotherapy in Obstetrics in India is to provide physical therapy management for pregnant women, newborn babies and also postnatal mothers during and after the delivery.
Sports physiotherapy in India is a new concept. It was not known to the people of this country until the past few decades. Even now, it is restricted to major cities like Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai etc. Sports physiotherapy is based on the fact that the human body is designed for physical activity and so it should be regularly exercised to keep both mind and body healthy.
Sports physiotherapists can play a vital role in the prevention, rehabilitation and management of various musculoskeletal injuries in athletes. They are often involved with training teams in strengthening programmes, correct use of equipment's, fitness screening and injury prevention programmes. They also provide clinical services for athletes including assessment, treatment and rehabilitation related to musculoskeletal injuries. The scope is very vast with a lot of scope for improvement even in our country where there are only a few qualified physiotherapists who are working in this field.
Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with disorders that affect the nervous system. It involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the central and peripheral nervous systems. Physiotherapy in India has scope for physical therapy in cases of nerve damage, muscular disorders, neurological disorders etc. Physiotherapy is also used for rehabilitation from injuries or accidents or post-surgery. It helps to restore joint mobility, reduce pain due to various conditions. This section describes neurology and its scope in physiotherapy.
Orthopaedic Physiotherapy is a specialized area of physiotherapy which deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disorders related to bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, nerves and spinal column.
The main aim of physiotherapy in orthopaedics is to decrease pain by enhancing the range of movement of the affected joint or limb. Treatment includes restoration of mobility, strengthening exercises and pain management.
Geriatrics Physiotherapy is a branch of physiotherapy that deals with the rehabilitation of geriatric patients. Geriatrics physiotherapy focuses on preventing falls, reducing bedsores, improving balance and coordination, preventing pressure ulcers, treating incontinence and improving the general quality of life.
India has started adopting geriatrics physiotherapy as an integral & crucial aspect for the holistic management of geriatric diseases, especially chronic illness where there is a high risk of developing complications due to immobility. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared that Global Ageing will be one of the major challenges to face humanity in the 21st century.
The Physiotherapist thus becomes the key player in treating this patient population and has become an important member in all multidisciplinary team approach for the treatment and management of geriatric diseases.
Cardiovascular physiotherapy deals with the treatment of disorders related to the heart and the blood vessels. This includes prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation of disorders associated with congenital defects, diseases, traumas, surgical interventions, and ageing. It is a health care profession that deals with the effects of heart disease on patients who are mostly post-myocardial infarction (heart attack). Cardiovascular Physiotherapy also deals with the prevention of complications arising out of conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease and heart failure.
The scope in this field is wide open in India because there are very few people who can do this job well. The demand for this branch is increasing every day.