The Science of Movement – An Interview

By Priya Prasad

“What I understand from my career of 14 years and one lakh patients is that movement is very important for everyone, movement is life.”

In India, there is little awareness of the benefits of physiotherapy. In developed countries, patients are first offered physiotherapy before opting for any surgical procedure. Dr C Anand Jyothi, owner of Sri Sugam Physiotherapy Institute tells me why this is so. An inspired and committed individual, Dr Jyothi recounts his inspirational journey into the field of physiotherapy.

What is your specialisation?

I’m Anand Jyothi and I’m a physiotherapist specialised in musco-skeletal, manipulative and sports physiotherapy. I’m the chairman of Sri Sugam Physiotherapy Institute since 1999.

What kind of work do you do here?

I’m a specialist, a physiotherapist. As we all know, physiotherapy is a movement science so we deal with movement and posture. We deal with all types of people, young and old who have movement dysfunction; for example, those who are not able to walk, stand, bend or perform any daily activities.

We also provide prevention treatment for the sporting group of people. Sports persons require more physical intensity, physical strength and stability. Different sports need different types of stability. Let’s say, if you see a basketball player, the stability is different from a golfer and a football player; they always move on one leg to kick the ball; a tennis player moves on both legs but uses one limb, the right hand, more often. We deal with movement analysis and biochemical evaluation for sporting people. We correct their body mechanics. For example, certain elite athletes have some difficulty with the back hand stroke, so we’ll do a video analysis and then give a sports-specific exercise to improve that particular technique, not just general training.

Other than that, we provide physiotherapy services pre- and post-surgery. Generally, in India, the awareness for physiotherapy pre- and post-surgery is very less. People think that after surgery the treatment is over. But in Australia, where I studied my post graduation, the rehabilitation after surgery, even for caesarean pregnancies, joint replacement or spinal surgery, will be around six months to one year, where we will take patients through different phases of rehabilitation, from non-weight bearing and weight bearing exercises, strength training , stability training and functional training. We follow this method at Sri Sugam.

The clinical diagnosis is key to physiotherapy practice. For example, consider somebody with neck pain, they may have a different muscle problem or sometimes a postural [problem], they may have a booking chin and rounded shoulder. We don’t just treat the pain, we understand which structure is causing the pain, it may be a muscle or the area around the neck or it may be a nerve root. Sometimes contributing factors like pillows can cause the neck pain. This diagnosis is quite different from a medical diagnosis or what they do in an investigative procedure such as MRI scan and X-ray.

What was your inspiration for setting up this clinic?

Physiotherapy has been a childhood dream. I’m from Vellore and I’ve been inspired by my school teachers who have helped the community. When I was in school, every three to four months, the teachers would take us to a rehabilitation centre on Sundays, like the cerebral palsy home.

During my undergraduate years, I realised that we treat patients every day. When I used to work at the government hospital, I would see at least 70–100 patients per day. But at the end of the day, to be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing. We know how to treat the patients but if they would ask me a question, I wouldn’t know how to answer them. During my final undergraduate year, I realised I needed to expand my knowledge. I heard about an extension Master’s degree programme in Australia.

In India, physiotherapy is not a very popular profession. It is the case in present times as well as 13 years ago.  When I went to Australia, my first class was on clinical reasoning. When I was an undergraduate, I never reasoned. If the patient has knee pain, then I would prescribe four exercises, similarly for other aches and pains; we have a recipe of treatment. But in my first class on clinical reasoning, I learned that we must think first before touching the patient. We would talk with the patient for at least half an hour to 45 minutes or even one hour.

What I understand from my career of 14 years and one lakh patients is that movement is very important for everyone, movement is life. That’s why our caption at Sri Sugam Physiotherapy is ‘Keep Moving.’ We kept it very simple. When people lose movement, they become dependent and definitely lose their morale, their confident level and they become sick.

Are your services restricted only to the middle class and elite sections of society?

From the health point of view, people from all walks of life come here. We treat car drivers, gardeners, IAS and IPS officers. When it comes to pain it’s not a matter of affordability. Relief is of utmost importance. In Sri Sugam, as a matter of policy, we have a CSR activity for poor people. We sometimes charge less or at times, give treatment free of cost. We do this unofficially.

We support a lot of schools. I provide honorary, i.e., free services, at the Paralympics Association of which I am a part. We also have an association where we provide a bit of sponsorship and some people themselves become sponsors.

For 14 years, from 1999, we have worked only through word of mouth. Right now we have crossed more than 1, 25,000 patients which is huge in rehabilitation.