A Basic Introduction to Physical Therapy

Before 1920, most health problems that caused physical limitations were either treated with drugs or patients learned to live with their conditions. In 1920, the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association was formed and the physical therapy industry was born. Commonly known as PT, the therapy really became part of modern culture in the 1940s and 1950s when a polio epidemic struck. Today, PT is routinely prescribed to help patients suffering from injuries, disabilities, and pain.

The Idea Behind the Therapy

Doctors typically prescribe PT for patients who have trouble performing routine tasks. Therapy is designed to improve mobility, relieve pain, and improve balance. It can help stroke patients regain function. Many patients who have been severely injured benefit from regular sessions. Therapists help patients adapt to artificial limbs or work with braces. PT can help patients learn to use walkers and other assistive devices.

The Job of Being a PT

The specialists who practice PT are sometimes called physiotherapists. They need to have a detailed knowledge of how the parts of the body function separately and together. Therapists must be licensed in their states and have college degrees in the field. Depending on their specialties, they may have masters’ or even doctorate degrees. A patient’s first therapy session begins with an assessment. The PT gauges their client’s needs and develops a treatment plan. They check their patient’s balance, posture, and ability to do everyday activities like bending, reaching, and grasping. Treatments are based on a patient’s goals as well as an expert evaluation of what is possible.

Where People Get Therapy

Most PT takes place in medical facilities like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, or assisted living centers. Many colleges and sports teams have their own PTs and therapy centers. Therapists often go to patients’ homes, especially when illness or age makes travel impossible. Some PTs have private clients who hire them for personal therapy. Therapists usually meet these clients in their homes on a regular basis and help them reach their goals.

Therapists known at PT’s are professionals who typically help patients regain function lost due to illness, injury or disabilities. Also known as physiotherapists, PTs may practice in medical or sports facilities or patients’ homes.