is a branch of medicine dealing with a large number of immobility and
pain conditions, with a variety of techniques to maintain and/or restore
a patient’s health. In the process, it helps the patient to promote his
own emotional comfort level too.
Physiotherapy is concerned with
identifying and maximising the movement potential of patients, including
those with a congenital physical disability. Physiotherapy can help
relieve pain and maintain mobility and independence.
Most musculo-skeletal problems are
caused by wear and tear resulting from poor posture, sedentary habits or
lack of exercise. We seldom realise that we ourselves invite problems
for our healthy body. The body is designed to tolerate repeated
movements or sustained postures up to a point, but after it reaches a
critical level, the rate of wear and tear increases. At the extreme end
of the spectrum, patients will have severe musculo-skeletal,
neurological or nerve root pain problems. Physiotherapy helps them to
overcome such chronic pain problems. Physical exercise therapy, under
the watchful and caring eye of a physiotherapist, is widely used for
back, neck, upper limb and lower limb complaints.
Apart from chronic back pain, stiff
neck, stiff joints, spondylosis, slipped disc, broken bones and sprains,
gynaecological problems, conditions associated with old age and physical
disabilities also require a rehabilitation programme, which is part of
physiotherapy. Most people are not aware of the term “occupational
hazard”. If you sit or stand for long periods of time, you undergo
certain postural changes, which if neglected lead to varying degrees of
pain. Different exercises and movements are required depending on each
individual case. Guidelines that we think might be detrimental for one
may not be so for another because each body has a different genetic
make-up. Thus the physiotherapy programme is tailored to suit each
individual need. Physiotherapy exercises can be very simple at times.
Patients do not even identify them with heavy physical exercise. The
brain’s control over the body influences the change in habits that often
helps to remove the pain problem.
The Godrej Colony Dispensary has a
dedicated team of doctors in Sunita Dave, Parag Dave and M.G. Bhatia
(whom I had consulted for penning this piece, apart from consulting my
good friend Dr. Paresh Thakkar), who look after the patients with a set
of rehabilitation programmes tailor-made to suit their individual needs.
Many of us may not be aware of the professional services in
physiotherapy that they provide but must have taken advantage of the
same as and when necessary. I for one can vouch for this from my
A classic case I can cite is that of my maternal uncle who had sustained
65 per cent electrical burns, most of them on his chest, due to
accidental electrocution. He was treated with the most modern techniques
of physiotherapy by Godrej doctors during his rehabilitation programme,
for right wrist drop and right radial nerve palsy. The patient, who was
in shock and in a critical state, is today making phenomenal progress,
nothing short of a miracle, thanks to the doctors’ empathy with and
understanding of the patient’s psyche.
Life these days is such a powerful
package of momentous activities that one missing link in its fragile
chain is overlooked by all of us. That missing link is exercise ____ so
vital for strength of body and mind! And, God forbid, if we were to need
the assistance of a physiotherapist, rehabilitation will be that much
more prolonged and painful just because we continue to betray our body’s
demand of half an hour’s moderate exercise. Let us not forget that
exercise increases rather than saps energy and also has a well-recognised
tranquillising effect on mind and body.
“It is good to have things which
money can buy, but it is better to have things which money cannot
buy. Comfort and even luxury can be bought with money, but no amount
of money can buy good human values, which have to be acquired
through sincere efforts. Happiness is generally equated with wealth,
the acquisition of which in today’s materialistic world is
unfortunately given the topmost priority, unmindful of the means by
which it is begotten.
“The beauty and wonders that
Nature provide us in abundance are woefully taken for granted. If we
had to pay to see the gorgeous miracles in Nature, then perhaps we
would appreciate Nature more. Blessed and privileged are those who
can enjoy the glory of a sunset or dance to the melody of a songbird
or marvel at the sight of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon
and all this for free!”
Extract of a message for a youth
symposium organised by the Theosophical Order of Service on 24
October, 2003 at Deolali.