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'Physiotherapy is a noble profession'

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Informs Dr. Pritika Lalwani, Head Physiotherapist at Mickey Mehta’s Health Beyond Fitness

I was always inclined towards science and aimed at doing something in the medical or paramedical field. I was contemplating between audiology and speech therapy and physiotherapy as I was keen to be in the rehabilitative field to serve the special population. My mother’s wish to always see me in a doctor’s coat and her constant support gave me the confidence to explore a career in physiotherapy. I did a Master in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (M.P.T) and I am a Certified Ante-natal/Post natal practitioner.

Physiotherapy is concerned with identifying and maximising quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. It is a profession where you assess, diagnose, treat and work to prevent disease and disability through physical means and caters to all the sections of the society from neonates to geriatrics including expectant mothers which is what attracts me. Being a physiotherapist is very rewarding. You work with patients one-on-one, see them progress through treatment, and know that you are really making a difference in their lives. It gives you the opportunity to work with such a wide variety of patients as opposed to confining yourself to a monotonous routine, so it never gets boring and you constantly are learning something new. The specialties include cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic, orthopedics and pediatrics, women’s health to name some of the more common areas. Physiotherapists practice in many settings, such as outpatient clinics or offices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, education and research centres, schools, industrial workplaces, fitness centres and sports training facilities.

For the first three years of the bachelors’ course we have the same subjects as M.B.B.S along with physiotherapy subjects. This gives us an understanding of the body as a whole. We not only understand the superficial aspect of the injury/ailment but know the physiology at a micro level which helps to treat the patient more accurately.

During my initial training days at D. Y. Patil college of Physiotherapy where I did my Bachelor’s, I remember entering the anatomy lab for the very first time. Seeing all the cadavers around, organs lined up on the front table and the sharp chemical smell made me dizzy. I soon got accustomed to it and it became a part of my daily routine. One of my favorite parts of my training days was to observe surgeries like cancer bladder, skin grafting and deliveries. Internship was very interesting with postings in different wards and the I.C.U.

NMIMS University, where I did my Masters, had a flooded Out-patient department. We would be on our toes continuously for at least eight hours a day. This course offered a trimester system, which means we had exams every quarter which made it a little stressful. Research is a part of the curriculum in UG and PG which makes it more interesting. My UG research was on the ‘Influence of various movements on blood pressure in hypertensive sub acute stroke patients’ which is published by a research journal. PG research was on ‘Co-relation between physical activity and fatigue and pregnant Indian women’.

 After working in a hospital environment for seven years during my Bachelor’s and Master’s I did not want to confine myself to the same set up but at the same time wanted to maintain the authenticity of the profession. Mickey Mehta’s Health Beyond Fitness was like a breath of fresh air. Being based on wellness and having a holistic approach were its most enticing characteristics. I undertake patient consultation, designing programs like ante natal/post natal for the pregnant population and a senior citizen program for the elderly, research on the latest developments in physiotherapy and alternative medicine and ergonomic advice to corporates.

Bachelor of physiotherapy is about a four and half year course including six months of internship. Masters is another two years in a private institute and three years in government. Post masters one can earn proximately 30k upwards. For an established professional, sky is the limit for remuneration. In India over 50 per cent need physiotherapy assistance. An established physiotherapist charges per session, per hour. It all depends how many patients you treat.

Physiotherapy is a profession with a very broad spectrum and gives you the opportunity to help and interact with almost every one. It is an upcoming field and is gaining importance in today’s world. The most disheartening fact is that many people are not aware about this profession altogether. Many do not understand its significance and hence do not follow the program diligently. This poses a problem in the outcome of the treatment sometimes resulting in a relapse. As of now I am very content working with Mickey Mehta and plan to do so for a couple of years. Eventually I aim at starting my own set up mainly to address women’s health.

For those who want to take up this profession I will say - Physiotherapy is a noble profession which gives you the opportunity to serve society where you give more than you get. If you aspire to help people achieve a better quality of life through your hard work and dedication, then this could be a good career option. Helping people to attain or regain the ability to walk and carry out daily life chores can lead to a great feeling of personal satisfaction.

As told to Monarose Sheila Pereira

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