Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Navigating a 20-Year Physiotherapy Journey from India to Saudi Arabia

The future of physiotherapy is very golden and inspiring. The field of physiotherapy is growing very well, especially the field of sports - Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT)
Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT), Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (2005-2010)
Pediatric Physiotherapist, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT), Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (2005-2010) Pediatric Physiotherapist, Saudi Arabia

Welcome to another section of Docscopy. Dr. Darshit Patel, MD, along with Priya Bairagi (Content Writer), Himani Negi (Copy Editor), and Snayini Das (MBBS Student and Content Writer) from MedBound Times, had the opportunity to interview Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT). He completed his Diploma in Physiotherapy at Apex Para Medical College, Charminar, Hyderabad (1998–2000). He then pursued his Intermediate in Physiotherapy at H.B. Junior College, Hyderabad from 2003–2005 and later earned his Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, India, between 2005–2010. He addresses misconceptions, emphasizes evidence-based practices, and offers insights into both nations' healthcare systems. Dive into his story and perspectives on the evolving realm of physiotherapy.

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT) performing the posterior-anterior glides of the knee joint.
Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT) performing the posterior-anterior glides of the knee joint.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Welcome to MedBound Times, Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan. First of all, we would like to begin with the introduction. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): As you know, I am Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan. I belong from Hyderabad, but in the year 2000, I relocated to Saudi Arabia. Since then, I have been practicing in Saudi Arabia as a physiotherapist till now. It has been more than 20 years here now.

Priya Bairagi: Can you tell us about your journey in the field of physiotherapy? And how you became interested in pediatric physiotherapy?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): It’s not basically about pediatrics. I also deal with patients from sports rehabilitation and other rehabilitation as well; but, I have been quite involved in pediatrics for a long time. That’s why I am known as a pediatric physiotherapist but actually, that’s not the case.


My journey as a physical therapist is very hard and I have a very inspiring story. I don’t know whether the time will allow us to discuss it or not, but it’s quite an interesting and very inspiring story. I started working as a physical therapist in Saudi Arabia in the year 2000. At that time, I had gained some certification in India and I came here to Saudi Arabia. But being here, I upgraded myself. I did my Bachelor’s from here, and I used to go to India on and on for appearing examinations. So, it has been quite a hard journey for me but by God’s grace, I have come up with all of my hard work and struggles and I am in this position now.

Priya Bairagi: According to your profile, you did your Bachelor’s from Sikkim Manipal University and then you moved to Saudi Arabia. What was the particular reason for that?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Because I have some family responsibilities to deal with. Then I started working here and once you have made a name in a foreign country, it’s very hard for you to move from there to your native country. So, this is how life is going on.

Priya Bairagi: Within the 20 years of your experience, what changes have you observed in the field of physiotherapy?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Yeah, physical therapy, especially in Saudi Arabia, has been touching the skies nowadays. Because of the new generation of Saudi Arabia, a lot of evidence-based practices have been implemented in the current practice. Physiotherapy, as called massage therapy earlier - no, it’s not massage therapy! Now physical therapy is currently being practiced throughout the world in evidence-based practice. This is how physical therapists are trying to involve themselves in practicing the most evidence-based practice available on the clinical guidelines. This is how the evolution of physiotherapy has been improving year by year. If you see Saudi Arabia, it is becoming a medical hub nowadays.

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT) preparing the patient for joint mobilizations.
Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT) preparing the patient for joint mobilizations.

Priya Bairagi: In your opinion, what are the most essential skills that a physical therapist should possess?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): That’s a very interesting question. The most important things are observation and assessment. If you don’t observe and assess, you won’t be able to plan a perfect treatment plan for your patient. For me, observation and assessment is the most vital part of your clinical evaluation.

Dr. Darshit Patel: What made you choose physiotherapy in the first place and later on, what made you move into the pediatrics segment and sports physiotherapy? Can you give us some idea about the cases that you usually see related to pediatric physiotherapy?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): First of all, what makes me a physical therapist is the fact that I was a sportsperson in India. I used to represent Hyderabad as a hockey player. I used to play national games and also played at district level at my school. It was my passion to do some hard work and physical therapy is a challenging and very hardworking profession as you know. I also like to do adventures- this is what makes me choose the profession of a physical therapist. I was interested in involving myself in sports physical therapy but it has a long journey to come up; it’s not an easy job. You need to work like an athlete off the ground and on the ground, you need to perform well. So, while achieving these aims, I started participating in pediatrics also. I achieved a good name in the field of pediatric rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia; especially, in Madina Munawwarah, all the people know me by my name as a pediatric physical therapist.

Saudi Arabia has the highest rate of congenital abnormalities in children due to genetic mutation and some other causes. So, my primary involvement in pediatrics is cerebral palsy. We have a lot of patients with cerebral palsy- about 6 to 7 among 8 cases are of cerebral palsy. Also, there are many patients with genetic mutations like Dandy-Walker syndrome, and Angelman syndrome. All these patients with cerebral palsy and genetic mutations are referred to me.

Dr. Darshit Patel: What differences have you observed since you studied in India and then moved to Saudi Arabia? Do you think there’s enough awareness or recognition when it comes to physiotherapy comparing both countries?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Honestly speaking, before the period of the coronavirus pandemic, physiotherapy was not well known among the different societies and different corners of the world. It was mostly known as massage therapy. But, during the post-Corona period, since the physiotherapists put their lives into saving the patients of Corona, now, physiotherapy has gained a lot of name and recognition throughout the world. Now, physical therapy is a very disciplined and well-mannered profession in the current era.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Have you seen any differences when it comes to physiotherapy especially after the FIFA World Cup and especially when Ronaldo decided to move towards the Middle East? Do you think there are some changes in the system or the basic management when it comes to sports physiotherapy?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): No, honestly speaking, I didn’t see any such change. Because, for FIFA, the management of sports injury in soccer is guided by FIFA 11+ Sports Injury Prevention program. So, all the sports physiotherapists who are involved in treating soccer players, have to stick to the guidelines of the Injury Prevention Program. And it’s a very good program; in the last Meta Analysis I reported, there has been a 47% decrease in the non-specific knee injury rate in the teams who implemented FIFA 11+ Sports Injury Prevention program in their warmup program.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Apart from physiotherapy, if you had a choice, what other profession would you have gone into?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Sincerely speaking, I would like to go into the detective field.

Dr. Darshit Patel: And what makes you choose the detective field?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Because I am a kind of detective person- digging holes from anywhere, trying to take out this data and search out that data. So, all these make me a detective person.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Have you read any novels or watched any series/movies which specifically inspired you for this?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Sherlock Holmes we used to read - The Hound of Baskervilles.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Do you often travel to India?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Yeah, I traveled last year and that was after 8 years. There is no exact time or tenure that I specifically travel for. But it has been a long time for me since I have gone there. Last time, I stayed in India for just 10 days and then came back because of work. Because of my responsibilities at work, I don’t get enough time to travel anywhere or even to give some time for myself.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Do you have any advice for the young, budding physiotherapist and what would you suggest to them regarding the future of physiotherapy?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): The future of physiotherapy is very golden and inspiring. The field of physiotherapy is growing very well, especially the field of sports. Because, nowadays, due to franchises, the sports events like IPL, football tournaments, kabaddi tournaments, and basketball tournaments, are creating opportunities for sports physical therapists to come up with a role in the field. So, as a physical therapist, I would like to advise them to be strict with evidence-based practice and follow the recent advances in physical therapy. Look at the ways to differentiate and assess things. Two patients or two athletes are not the same- in the matter of physical health or in the matter of being prone to develop injuries.

Dr. Darshit Patel: From your practice, is/are there any case(s) that you distinctively remember and that have laid an impact on you?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Yeah, when you are involved in neurological cases- it is the area where you are being seen as a physiotherapist, where you have to show your real skills and where you have to work very hard to improve the quality of life of your patient. So, for me, I have treated patients for around 6 or 7 years just to make them walk and live independently. So it’s not just one or two, there are lots of cases I have seen where after the intimation of physical therapy, the lifestyle of not just the patients, but their families also changed because of the burden they were lifting before starting physical therapy. Many cases make you feel proud that you have worked with these cases, that you have some role in their lives, that you have changed their lives, and that you have removed some burden from their families.

Dr. Darshit Patel: When we talk about medicine or healthcare, the best result is achieved when there is proper coordination between different health-science professionals, as in, a multidisciplinary approach. Have you seen any discrepancies, e.g. when you are dealing with an orthopedic surgeon? Do you feel there are any discrepancies or is it going well?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): No, I believe there are still some discrepancies, especially, in the cases of pediatric neurology. We, as physical therapists, suddenly don’t advise any patient to have a tendon-lengthening surgery until we have tried conservative management for some time. Whereas I have seen many orthopedics, even the orthopedic surgeons, I am sorry to say, not giving any chance for conservative treatment even when there is no need for tendon-lengthening or reconstruction of the foot or some type of corrective surgery. You need to give at least 6 months or a year just to have a look at what effect, physical therapy or conservative management can have on the patient. We, as physical therapists, feel that we should not advise a patient directly to have tendon-lengthening surgery, especially in children. So, this is my point of view about it.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Do you think people should include physiotherapy sessions when they are visiting their doctor and that there should be some arrangements made at every healthcare facility?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Yeah, this is a basic need of physical therapy because physical therapy is just not a profession. It should become a trend in the lives of people because our workstyle has changed- from more active to sedentary, we are moving on to an even more sedentary life. I feel honestly there must be a special department of physical therapy in every healthcare sector, where people can experience a patient-centered or client-centered approach to dealing with their conditions or problems.

Dr. Darshit Patel: What suggestions would you give to people who are older than 45 years old?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Take good care of your health, because this is the time when your body is going through severe psychological changes or I may say, physiological regression. So, add a good diet, good physical activity, maintain a healthy lifestyle and take care of your cardiac health.

Dr. Darshit Patel: With the sudden advent that the gym culture has achieved, do you think it is suitable for the general population or do you think it needs to be properly monitored?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): If you have come across recent incidents due to gym activities, you probably have noticed young people being reported dead in many cases. The gym is not a bad thing- you can try but don’t put yourself to extreme levels, by doing extreme lifts, which you are not capable of in the current space. Don’t take any type of proteins or steroids or synthetic steroids, or amino acids- you are not going to achieve anything good with those, it will hurt your cardiac health, kidneys, and especially the retina (eye health). So it’s my advice not to go to extreme levels. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can have some gym sessions twice or thrice a week but don’t go to extreme levels.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Do you have any future career goals and what are they?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): My future career goal is to complete my Masters in sports. It’s always been my dream, as a sportsman or as a physical therapist, to appear in the Olympics from India. I hope to achieve this goal one day.

Dr. Darshit Patel: Apart from your current profession, what all hobbies do you have? Do you get time to work on them?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): No, as I said, the life of a physical therapist is like the life of an athlete or a track runner. Off the field, you have to work hard, and on the field, you have to perform hard- so the life of a physical therapist is not an easy thing to go on with. I hardly get time. I have one hobby though- drawing/painting and I do that sometimes.

Himani Negi: If a person is pursuing Bachelor's in Physiotherapy in India, will it be valid in Saudi Arabia? If someone wants to switch countries, what is the procedure for budding physiotherapists?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): Indian physical therapists or Indian staff, in whatever field they might be, are much respected in Saudi Arabia because we, Indians have a good name worldwide. As we are good in education and good in clinical practice and skills, so we have a good reputation in foreign countries.

To answer the second question, yes, you have to take an examination like Saudi Commission for Health Specialties and you have to acquire your practicing license from here. To acquire the license, you need to go for a primitive examination, the same as in Doha, Qatar, and the UAE. So, you will get an opportunity and once you get an opportunity, then you need to go for your license-giving examination.

Snayini Das: For any budding student in the field of healthcare or physiotherapy, what are some of the tips that you would like to share?

Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan (PT): The tips that I would share are to be updated with current evidence and practice; this is the most vital part of your practice. Especially, in the physical therapy field, you have a major role in direct interaction with patients. So, my excellent tip for them is to stay updated with current evidence, practice, and protocol or to stick to the guidelines of the current evidence practice.

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