Physical Therapist

Physical therapists (or PTs) are primary healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat people of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities. Working with doctors and occupational therapists, they promote patients’ overall fitness and health.

Physical therapists develop a plan for each individual patient to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with patients to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles. This includes providing services in circumstances where movement and function have been diminished by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors.

Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Physical therapy involves the interaction between physical therapist, patients/clients, other health professionals, families, caregivers, and communities where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon.

PTs use an individual’s history and physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis and establish a management plan. PT management commonly includes specific exercises, manual therapy, education, manipulation and other interventions.

Physical therapy has many specialties including cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic, orthopedic and pediatrics. PTs practice in many settings, such as outpatient clinics or offices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, education and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial workplaces or other occupational environments, fitness centers and sports training facilities.