Physical Therapy

Physical therapy maximizes the quality of life for people with diseases, disorders, or injuries that impair physical functioning or movement. They help people to regain their ability and mobility to accomplish daily tasks.

A physical therapist's purpose is to 1) promote health through exercise and sports, 2) to prevent functional impairments by addressing socio-economic, health, and environmental problems, 3) provide treatment to those with impairment, and 4) modify home or employment access so clients can resume their usual social roles.

What Physical Therapists Do

  • Examine, assess and evaluate client needs.
  • Formulate a diagnosis and plan of treatment.
  • Consult with other healthcare professionals concerning clients.
  • Implement treatment plans by providing the necessary interventions.
  • Summarize the outcome of a client's treatment and make recommendations to the client for improving or maintaining post therapy functioning.

Should you see a physical therapist, he or she will work to reduce any pain and swelling you may have, and help you increase your flexibility, endurance, and strength. You might find yourself doing basic exercises, lifting weights, or learning a complete exercise program.

Therapists also manipulate their client's limbs and joints in specific ways, provide education to clients and families, apply cold or heat, use hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation or ultrasound technology.

Physical Therapist Specialties

  • skin problems, wounds / burns
  • cancer related issues
  • heart and blood vessels
  • lung and breathing problems
  • nerves and related muscles
  • muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, and bone
    • There are also physical therapists who are board-certified in areas such as sports, geriatrics, orthopedics, and neurology.

      photo by John Nyboer

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