"So what do you do in life?"
"I'm a physiotherapist"
"Really? Wow. Um what does a physiotherapist do exactly??"
This conversation occurs quite frequently in my daily life. I get asked all the time, what does a physio do? The field of Physiotherapy is still embryonic in Mauritius and most people don't know about it. Except for those who have already been to a physio before.
So what do I do?
Basically my job is about improving human movement, function and quality of life.
How do I do it?
By correcting any bodily dysfunction.
A broken arm or leg? The physio will help you to use it again by doing specific exercises or stretching, a process also known as reeducation or rehabilitation.
Pain in the back/shoulder/knee or any joint? The physio uses different means and equipment to alleviate pain, eg massage, hot/cold packs, ultrasound, TENS... Then we'll teach you how to take care of your joint and the exercises that will help you use it again normally.
Chest infection? The physio uses specific manual techniques (a bit similar to massage) to help you cough out secretions and to breathe more easily.
Had recent surgery and you can't walk like before? No matter the type of surgery you've had, the physio's aim is to get you back on your feet. We teach specific exercises to strengthen appropriate muscles and with the help of crutches or frame, help you to walk again.
So the main goal in any rehab program is to return the patient to his 'normal' life, so that he can perform the work and activities he was doing before his particular health problem.
In my next post, I'll talk about the pros and cons of being a physio.