A Physical Therapist, or PT, is a medical professional who provides treatment to physically challenged patients suffering from ailments related to physical impairment. Physical therapy, also called physiotherapy, is one the Medical profession that, by utilizing scientific principles, therapeutic exercise, health history, diagnosis, mobilization, and minimal invasive techniques, attempt to restore a patient’s ability to function independently. Physical Therapists are authorized by the Physical Therapy Association of America. In general, a Physical Therapist can diagnose, treat, and prevent physical disorders, pain, or injury through the application of techniques such as strength training, stretching, massage, balance and coordination, movement management, manual resistance training, sport-specific conditioning, weight loss/body maintenance, or ultrasound.
A Physical Therapist’s job requires extensive training and certification in addition to actual practice in order to become a licensed therapist. It is not uncommon for Physical Therapists to acquire additional education and certification in other areas to supplement their education and enhance their employment opportunities. A Physical Therapist can be found working in both medical and rehabilitation settings, depending on the type of Physical Therapy they are employed to perform. Typically, a Physical Therapist provides patients with rehabilitation services, which typically include exercise instruction, skill and mobility instruction, stretching or strengthening programs, or other medically supervised exercise programs.
A Physical Therapist will be responsible for treating a wide range of ailments, injuries, or conditions. The typical scope of work for Physical Therapists includes the care of patients with cardiopulmonary conditions, cardiac problems, neurological disorders, orthopedic conditions, pain problems, burns or wounds, and musculoskeletal issues. A physical therapist can choose to specialize in a particular field, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or sports medicine, to focus on a particular ailment, or they may choose to be generalist Physical Therapists. Regardless of a Therapist’s education or specialization, they must receive specialized training from a certified institute that provides oversight and continuing education for Physical Therapists who wish to specialize in their specific area of expertise.
In order to develop a treatment plan for a particular patient, physical therapists work closely with their clients and their doctors to create a treatment plan that will address the needs of the individual patient and coordinate with the goals of the patient’s health care team. A Physical Therapist develops a treatment plan by working closely with the patient and their medical history to determine the cause of the condition, evaluate the severity of the condition, and develop a treatment plan that will address the specific needs of the patient. The plan typically consists of detailed instructions for exercise, nutritional advice, massage, medications, and any other treatments that will be necessary for the patient’s condition.
Physical Therapy also includes the use of hands-on treatments such as exercises and stretches. Hands-on treatments are used in conjunction with the other therapy methods to help restore function and prevent further injury or damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body. Most physical therapists evaluate patients using clinical standards of manual therapy and recommending exercises that will strengthen the patient’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments while improving flexibility. When performing these exercises, physical therapists use standard equipment that is safe for the patient and does not require too much physical exertion.
During a physical therapist’s evaluation, he or she will take into consideration the medical history of the patients as well as their environment and current lifestyle. Once all of this information is gathered, the physical therapist will develop an individualized plan for each patient that meets the needs of the patient. Usually, the majority of patients can return to normal activities within one to three days, although some patients may have to stay in the hospital for a few days before they are released. All patients should be monitored closely to ensure that there are no further complications developing.