A physical therapist is a licensed and trained medical professional who has experience in diagnosing and treating physical abnormalities, maintaining physical function, restoring mobility, and promoting proper function. Licensed physical therapists are available in different healthcare facilities, including private practices, outpatient offices, nursing homes, rehab centers, sports and fitness, hospices, and research centers.
During study years, physical therapist studies areas such as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, behavioral sciences, pharmacology, and musculoskeletal studies. The treatment they offer not only benefits the physical body, but even mental health. A physical therapist is trained to take care of patients in different phases, starting from diagnosis to preventive and restorative stages to healing. In some cases, physical therapy is used as a standalone option, and in others, it is used to support other treatments. Most patients are referred to a physical therapist, but others seek therapy themselves. No matter how you get to a physical therapist, you can expect the following:
- Undergo a physical evaluation and exam, including certain testing procedures, health history, movement and flexibility, evaluation of posture, and muscle and joint performance.
- You will also receive a medical diagnosis, prognosis, and a detailed plan of care on your long-term goals.
- Receive physical therapy treatment that is based on the therapist’s diagnosis and evaluation
Usually, patients will be trained on exercises that they can do comfortably at home, to help them to function effectively.
A physical therapist treats a wide range of conditions depending on their specialty. Some of the conditions that benefit from this particular type of treatment:
- Cardiopulmonary conditions
- Hand therapy conditions
- Back pain
- Joint disorders
- Neurological conditions
- Sports-related injuries
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Depending on the need for treatment, these are some of the benefits of physical therapy.
- Avoiding surgery
- Fall prevention
- Improved balance
- Recovery from paralysis or stroke
- Improved mobility and movement
- Management of age-related problems
A professional physical therapist can help an athlete maximize his or her performance through strengthening different parts of the body. Also, a therapist will advise you about different benefits that are specific to your needs for treatment and medical history.
Finding a Physical Therapist
The truth is that finding a physical therapist involves a wide range of factors that include insurance acceptance, the reason for treatment, specialty, and geographical location. Usually, insurance companies have lists of physical therapy locations that participate in certain health plans. Healthcare providers have a list of therapists in an area they do recommend.