CHENNAI: On World Physiotherapy Day, physiotherapist A Venkataganesh talks about the scope, challenges and advancements in the field of physiotherapy Dumbbells, swiss balls and cycling machines. No, this is not a gym, we’re at a physiotherapy clinic which resembles the clinical version of a gym. Physiotherapist A Venkataganesh is busy attending to one of his patients. We are seated next to a skeletal apparatus in his cabin. The bones and joints are fixed by the prototype of nuts and bolts. There is a picture board that explains the different types of muscles in our body.
Venkataganesh has been in the field for 20 years. His interest towards exercise and bio mechanics drove him to take up physiotherapy as a career. He has a Bachelors degree in physiotherapy and a Masters degree in psychology. He went on to pursue his international diplomas in orthopedic manual therapy, myofascial therapy and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilisation. “Physiotherapy is a medicine through exercise. We need to walk the talk. And to do that we need to be fit, understand the body movements, and impart the knowledge to patients. When people are in pain they open up to listen. Targeted exercise when said to give an immediate relief becomes a cultivated habit. Pain relief is the greatest incentive for them.”
The therapist has been a yoga instructor for 15 years. He is currently working with a tennis academy in OMR. From experience, he believes that if there is no diversion for a therapist then it eventually leads to exhaustion after four years. Handling multiple patients can be physically and emotionally challenging. Venkataganesh is a cyclist and he has trained in tai chi, martial arts, silambam and Russian ballet. He has also studied books on dance, which he uses to study the dynamic postures of a patient. “Presence of mind and serious self discipline are the most important qualities that help maintain calm. I brought in yoga into physiotherapy in 2004. Meditation helps me live in the moment.
Emotionally, we should have detached-attachment. One has to see things as they are. As long as there’s weakness there is pain. The option is not to get emotional but stronger,” says the therapist highlighting two of his specialties. One is the suspension therapy for diabetic patients, and the other is incline plane to improve the joint and strength pressure. “Above the age of 65, it gets tougher. The case of terminally ill patients is similar. We can give therapy to an extent but the cooperation from the body is not effective,” the therapist adds.
Occupational hazards are common and physiotherapy is not an exception. “Standing for hours causes strain on the legs, stiffness in lower back, wrist, shoulder and hip. We need to train harder,” he says. The therapist believes that with increased awareness among people for a quality life, the scope for physiotherapy has also widened. Some of the sectors include outpatient, health and wellness, rehabilitation, fitness and sports. “Earlier we used to examine people when they’re stationary. Now everything is monitored in motion. The initial criteria used to be to check a person’s balance, endurance and coordination.
Now we have the advancements in science and medicine to work on power, agility and explosive power. We can go one step beyond the muscles to study the soft tissues lying beneath and strengthen the muscle fibres. In fact, I can work on improving just the energy level of the patients through yoga. There is more to just easing pain in functionality,” says Venkataganesh while stressing that patients must be listened to very carefully by paying attention to the gestures. Hidden cues are important in this field.