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Investing in physiotherapy: Importance, techniques and cost-effectiveness

Physiotherapy helps improve quality of life by reducing pain, restoring movement, and promoting overall wellness. You could invest in this form of rehabilitation revolution

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

I had an accident recently that left the humerus bone in my right hand broken. What followed were 10-inch sutures/stitches and a six-inch-long titanium implant in the arm. But surgery could solve only half the problem. The bigger challenge now was rehabilitating the arm. Intensive physiotherapy sessions helped bridge the gap between the orthopaedic surgery and bringing the arm back into action.

Why is it important to invest in the right kind of physio sessions? And who exactly is a physiotherapist? Aditya Kashyap, a Delhi-based marketing pro who recently had a spinal fracture, says: “If you can find the right physiotherapist, he can work magic on you. He will bring you back to your feet and enable you to return to your work and routine with an erect spine. A physiotherapist prescribes you exercises and motivates you to remain fit, and bonus — he doesn’t give you medicines.”

And what exactly is the role of physiotherapy? According to Dr Imraan Khan, consultant head physiotherapist at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai: “A physiotherapist has a thorough knowledge of the body’s biomechanics. So, if there is any problem with one’s physical movement, a physiotherapist can detect the primary cause and suggest exercises. When a specific body part is weakened after an injury, one needs to regain lost functions after undergoing a surgery. It is possible to target specific areas and release the stress in muscles without causing any pain under the guidance of a physio.”

Like orthopaedics, there are several disorders where physio is of importance. According to Dr Meinal Chaudhry, director for radiodiagnosis and intervention radiology and chief of strategy for digital marketing and corporate communications at Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, “the most common ailments we see are neck and back pain, joint or muscular pain, PIVDs or slipped disc, cervicogenic headaches, sacroiliac joint strain, osteoarthritis (OA) knee, rotator cuff tendinosis and adhesive capsulitis plus post-operative care. Conventional physiotherapy, along with a combination of manual therapy and exercises, plays an important role in treatment planning with a focus on precautions to offload mechanical forces and work on biomechanical correction.”

Non-invasive techniques

Physiotherapists are in ideal position to promote health and wellness in their patients by performing non-invasive, hands-on interventions consistent with a biopsychosocial paradigm. One may need physiotherapy in case of sports injury, back, shoulder, knee, and neck pain, vertigo, jaw pain, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, urinary inconsistency, whiplash, sciatica, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, fracture, cancer, sprain, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, joint replacement, and even pelvic floor dysfunction.

Physiotherapy packages are available at all leading service providers. Take for example the case of Portea. It president Dr Vishal Sehgal says: “Earlier, physiotherapy was a prescription-driven treatment, but it has now transcended to a more doctor-driven approach. We offer customised packages, including those for pulmonary, neurological, musculo-skeletal and post-surgical rehabilitation, general fitness, and sports injury prevention and management. We also support teleconsultations and video consultations for patients.”

The pricing or package varies among Tier-I, -II, and -III cities. However, the basic physiotherapy charge ranges from Rs 450 to Rs 1,000 per visit and can even be upwards of Rs 2,000 per session depending on the complexity of the medical issue.

What are the different types or techniques of physio?

Based on one’s underlying problem, one is advised various types of physio techniques after complete evaluation. The physio can either suggest manual therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, dry needling, acupuncture, taping, joint mobilisation, stretches and exercises, hydrotherapy, strengthening programmes, hot and cold applications, diathermy, ultrasound and phonophoresis, and range of motion (ROM) exercise. One should be able to improve their quality of life by following the advice of the physio. Also, missing the physio sessions can delay recovery.

A big misconception is that physiotherapy is like massage, says Delhi-based physiotherapist Dr Ritik Dwivedi. He says a physiotherapist is a doctor with a deep understanding of nerves, muscles, bones and their interlinkages with one another. Physiotherapists help restore a person’s functions, strength, and movement. This is achieved through various means, such as manual therapies, exercise programmes, and electrotherapy techniques, among others.

How much is too much?

How much time and money should one be prepared to invest in physio? Though these are some of the common and simple questions among patients, there is no clear answer. The duration of the treatment depends on an individual’s healing rate and the condition being treated, which can differ from person to person. Generally, soft tissues take 4-6 weeks to heal; therapy can also take that much time. That said, you don’t necessarily need daily sessions in most cases. A good therapist sets goals after a thorough assessment and discussion with you. S/he sets appointments to reach those goals, tracks your progress and guides you accordingly. When you are taking physiotherapy sessions, you should consider setting your goals in discussion with your therapist, and focus on achieving those goals rather than setting a date and time by which to complete the treatment.

Since one patient might need multiple sessions, most physiotherapy set-ups offer tailored packages. You should definitely ask your physiotherapist about available packages and discounts before starting your sessions.

Price chart

These are some of the different types of treatment that physiotherapists prescribe and their approximate cost per session. The number of sessions depends on the complexity of the medical issue, the patient’s health profile and rate of recovery

Types of Physiotherapy Ballpark Pricing Per Session (Rs)
Hydrotherapy 2,300-4,700
Sports Injury Physiotherapy 800-1,700
Ortho Physiotherapy 500-1,300
Neuro Physiotherapy 700-1,800
Neuro Rehabilitation 500-1,200
Chest Physiotherapy 500-900
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy 500-700

Source: Business Standard

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