Physical therapy is a dynamic and exciting healthcare profession that helps people with many types of medical diagnoses. The profession has grown over the years and therapists can now specialize in pediatrics, sports medicine, neurology, home health, geriatrics, orthopedics, aquatic therapy, wound care, electrotherapy, occupational health, women’s health, acute care, education, administration, research and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. A physical therapist will evaluate and treat those with musculoskeletal disorders, neurological dysfunctions and those with other types of disease, injury or illness. The physical therapist assistant helps the physical therapist with patient treatment programs.
Physical therapists, who have thorough knowledge of the body, use therapeutic exercise, education, manual techniques, and modalities to treat patients to help lessen disability, decrease pain, and improve overall body function. Physical therapists also use special tools called modalities when treating patients, which help aid in the healing and recovery of an injury. Electrical stimulation, hot packs, cold packs, traction and ultrasound are only some of the modalities one may require during a treatment session with a physical therapist. As part of treatment and the rehabilitation process, a physical therapist will often stretch, strengthen, facilitate muscles, challenge balance, test coordination abilities, teach home exercise programs and enhance basic mobility skills.
Rehabilitation is not done solely by the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, but by the team efforts of many health professionals. Physical therapists will coordinate treatment plans with doctors and other health professionals to maximize the patients potential. This multidisciplinary approach helps achieve patient goals and individual treatment outcomes as quickly and as effectively as possible.