Today, there are more than 30,000 physiotherapists across India. However, even at such a large scale, it is surprising at how less people know about physiotherapy as a profession. Most people have preconceived notions that this is only for sports persons or athletes especially with cricket having made it popular. This article sets out to dispel some of these myths and layout the facts. First, let it be clear that physiotherapists are registered professional practitioners having a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from a recognized university/college and are specialists. Physiotherapists use a wide range of procedures and equipments to treat patients.
MYTH 1: It is necessary to get a referral from your doctor before going to a physiotherapist.
FACT: It is NOT required to get a referral for physiotherapy. One can go to a physiotherapist directly. She/He will evaluate and treat the client. The patient can be rest assured of being in good hands.
MYTH 2: Physiotherapists are like personal trainers/ masseurs/fitness advisors.
FACT: Most personal trainers, masseurs, chiropractitioners are not professionally qualified. They undergo a week or more of certificate course but nowhere is the knowledge as deep as that of a physiotherapist. Many fitness centers have physiotherapists who help the clients in their fitness regime and guide the trainers. Therapists have in-depth knowledge of movements and muscles and in treatments to correct these disorders.
MYTH 3: Physiotherapists are only for sports personnel and athletes.
FACT: This is the most common and completely false preconception. Of course, physiotherapy gets a lot of media attention for its role in training of athletes and treatment of sports injuries. But, physiotherapy helps everybody. Right from a newborn with delayed milestone, to young teenage athletes, to middle aged persons with neck and back pain to arthritis to geriatric/ old age care. Physiotherapy helps at all stages of life.
MYTH 4: I can postpone physiotherapy. The pain will go. The body will self-heal.
FACT: This is partly true. Our body is a masterpiece. It self-heals most of the time. BUT, it should be allowed to do so. Continuous and repeated traumas don’t let out body to self heal. The pain is an indication that something somewhere is wrong. Physiotherapy helps to align our body and relieve pain. Postponing therapy causes more damage.
MYTH 5: About ten sessions of Physiotherapy are enough. I will be pain-free forever.
FACT: This is the most common and most dangerous myth. How many sessions and what type of treatment is correct for a patient can be decided only by a physiotherapist. The treatment helps to relieve pain and align the body but maintaining it takes a lot of effort on the client’s part. It is a continuous effort.
MYTH 6: Let me do the equipment treatment at the center. I will do the exercise at home.
FACT: Any physiotherapy session is not just about equipments. They are to relax the muscles so that exercises can be done effectively. Complete physiotherapy session will only make a difference.
MYTH 7: My physiotherapist is a saint. Whatever she/ he are doing is best for me.
FACT: One must definitely trust the physiotherapist but awareness and alertness is the need of the hour. The patient should always question the treatment plan. Discuss it with the therapist. Check the details on the web. If any doubts, clarify with the therapist. Check the therapist’s credentials. Take a second opinion. Once you are satisfied follow all the instructions and advice of your therapist.