Over the years, there has been a tremendous change over the attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy. Decades ago, the only people deemed suitable to treat any injured person, no matter what the injury, was a medical doctor. Anyone else who tried to use manipulations or massage or even exercise therapy was considered by the medical community to be a dangerous quack who had no business in the profession. Patients recovering from illness or operations or even childbirth were encouraged to stay immobile and get plenty of bed rest. Nurses would often turn patients so they wouldn’t develop “bed sores” from lying in the same place for too long.
The attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy was passed on to patients as well as insurance companies who refused to pay benefits for treatment from non-doctors. But physiotherapy is not a new science, it is an ancient art that has been practiced for thousands of years. Gradually, people who were dissatisfied with treatment they were receiving from their doctors, or who didn’t want to become hooked on painkillers, began seeking alternative medicine to relieve their aches and pains. Many found success with physiotherapy and told others. The medical community began to take notice and also began to realize what Hippocrates knew about movement and blood clots in immobile patients. As a result, over the past few decades, the attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy went from being dismissive to acceptance.
One of the first modern benefits of physiotherapy was seen during the polio epidemics of the 1930s and 1940s. With the help of those who understood something about physiotherapy, many children were able to walk. Sadly, many who relied on the sole knowledge of medical doctors remained crippled. It was evident, even then, that manipulation, exercise and massage could benefit children suffering from this crippling illness, but it still took many more decades before physiotherapy was accepted into the forefront of medical society.
Today, doctors work alongside physiotherapists to provide the best care and recovery options for their patients. While a doctor can diagnose an illness, relieve symptoms with medication, perform surgeries and recommend the best treatment for an illness, disease or injury, a physiotherapist can enable a person who is recovering from such procedures to make a much quicker and safer recovery. Years ago, women who gave birth in the hospital were advised to lie down as much as possible and often spent a week in the hospital after a vaginal birth. Today, women are encouraged to move around as much as possible and are often released after only 48 hours after giving birth. Nature has not changed; but attitudes about movement and medicine has evolved. It is no longer considered advisable for people to stay immobile for weeks on end without some sort of physical therapy. This is where the physiotherapist comes in.
The attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy has improved greatly over the years and particularly during the past several decades. Today there are thousands of opportunities in this field for those who wish to aid the recovery of patients in a safe, effective manner.