Physical Therapy

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What is a physical therapist?

Physical therapists (PTs) help patients, including accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, joint pain and other injuries.

What education does a PT have?
In order to work as a physical therapist, one must first graduate from a physical therapist educational program with a master’s or doctoral degree. Then he or she must pass a licensure exam for the state they are employed in.

What can a PT do?
Physical therapists provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health.
Therapists examine patients’ medical histories and then test and measure the patients’ strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. They also determine patients’ ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness. Next, physical therapists develop plans describing a treatment strategy, its purpose, and its anticipated outcome. Treatment often includes exercise for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility, strength, or endurance. Physical therapists encourage patients to use their own muscles to increase their flexibility and range of motion before finally advancing to other exercises that improve strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. The goal is to improve how an individual functions at work and at home.