By Felix Achanda
The public has been urged to seek physiotherapy services immediately they feel physical discomfort in order to prevent advancement of physical illness to irreversible or difficult-to-treat levels.
Mrs. Sarah Konzie a Physiotherapist and Orthopedic Manual Therapist says most Kenyans ignore physical problems such as continuous pain or seek over-the-counter painkillers, reaching to physiotherapists when the illness is at levels that cannot be treated.
“Most people seek physiotherapy services when it is already too late normally after treating the symptoms (pain) via painkillers and the medics can’t do much,” she said.
She added that one need not be referred by a doctor or hospital in order to seek physiotherapy services.
Physiotherapists are trained health professionals who know how to assess, diagnose, treat and discharge patients with physical difficulties which often arise from injuries, diseases or routines.
Physiotherapy treatment includes mechanical movements, exercises, manual techniques manipulation, soft tissue mobilization physical agents and hydrotherapy. The non-use of medicine prevents overreliance of painkillers and protects one from the side effects of drugs.
Physiotherapy also offers professional massage. Their massage is different from spa or luxury massage as is offered by professionals who are trained to handle various physical difficulties.
“Physiotherapy massages which is offered by professionals who understand human anatomy and is curative unlike spa massage which is for relaxation purposes. People with pain or are sick should not seek luxury massage as a curative measure,” she said.
Timely physiotherapy may prevent abnormal tissue growth (nodules), permanent disability and deformities (the services can also manage/cure those problems after they occur). The services also manage/prevent pain. People with back pains, post-surgery pain, inflammations or any other pain or physical discomfort should urgently seek physiotherapy services.
Physiotherapists work with occupational therapists, orthotics/prosthetic specialist in rehabilitation medicine. Occupational therapy involves fine movements to aid patients recuperate from physical difficulties such as a child having difficulties doing normal stuff liking sitting and neck movement.
Neuro-rehabilitation is segment of physiotherapy that specializes in neuro-rehabilitation, cardio rehabilitation, sports rehabilitation and women health rehabilitation among others.
Prosthetics/orthotics deals with the provisions of implants/artificial devices that replace a missing body part which may be lost trauma, disease or a condition present at birth.
Despite the role physiotherapy plays in healthcare it is importance is not recognized.
“There is lack of access to physiotherapy services for millions of Kenyans, especially the rural population,” Said the Head, Physiotherapy Department at Kenya Medical Training Center Mr. Daniel Kangutu.
According to him there are four physiotherapists for a population of 120,000 against the world health organization recommendation of 6 for 10,000 people.
Among the challenges physiotherapists face is difficulties in finding jobs, understaffing, overworking, and working in underequipped facilities and their services not being covered by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).