What does a Physical Therapist do?
A Physical Therapist is a health professional with at least a 4-year degree that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of various diagnoses that limit physical functioning. A Physical Therapist evaluates components of movement including:
- Range of motion
- Body mechanics
- General mobility (walking, stair climbing, getting in and out of bed or chairs)
After evaluation, the Physical Therapist will develop a treatment program unique to each individual to help decrease deficits and restore function.
A Physical Therapist may work in a variety of settings:
- A clinic treating sports and orthopedic injuries
- A clinic that specializes in workplace injuries
- A hospital treating patients who have had surgeries, illnesses, strokes or other neurological events that limit function
- A school working with children who have neurological or orthopedic disabilities
- A facility that helps people return home after illness or injury
- An inpatient rehabilitation facility that provides intensive therapy to individuals who need improved function before they return home after a serious illness or injury
- In a patient's home, working with many of the conditions listed above with people who cannot travel outside of their homes
Important components of every treatment program include:
- Education about the cause of the problem
- Instruction in exercises to improve function
- Patient participation. Compliance and participation by each patient is crucial to the success of the therapy program.