Physical Therapists Provide:
Intensive Education and Clinical Expertise
Physical therapists apply research and proven techniques to help people get back in motion. All physical therapists are required to receive a graduate degree - either a master's degree or a clinical doctorate - from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body's ability to move and function in daily life.
More and more physical therapists are now graduating with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. More than 92% of the 210 accredited academic institutions nationwide offering professional physical therapist education programs now offer the DPT degree - and more than 75% of all 2008 PT graduates hold a DPT degree.
Caring to Suit Your Needs
Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. Physical therapists diagnose and treat people of all ages, including newborns, children, and elderly individuals. They may consult and practice with other health professionals to help you improve your mobility. In most states, you can make an appointment with a physical therapist directly, without a physician's referral.
Ailments a Physical Therapist Treats:
- Back Pain
- Knee Pain
- Overuse Injuries
- Sports Injuries
- Shoulder Pain
What to Expect from a Physical Therapist
The Optimal Combination of Treatments
Blending science with inspiration, your physical therapist will teach you how to prevent or manage a health condition and help motivate you during your treatment so you can function optimally. Your physical therapist will work with you to help you understand your body so you will achieve long-term health benefits.
A Personal Wellness Plan Tailored for Your Needs
Your physical therapist will examine you and develop a plan of care using a variety of treatment techniques that help you move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Your physical therapist can also help you prevent loss of mobility and motion by developing a fitness- and wellness-oriented program tailored to your specific needs. Your physical therapist may choose to team with a physical therapist assistant (PTA), an educated and licensed clinician working under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist, for components of your care.
Partnership in HealthPhysical therapists and PTAs are your partners throughout your journey to restoring and maintaining motion so that you can function at your personal best.
What to Expect from a Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are educated and licensed clinicians that work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist to improve your mobility and help you move forward.
PTAs must complete rigorous academic and clinical education associate degree programs; pass a national licensure examination; and be licensed or certified by the states in which they work (the exception is Hawaii, where there is no licensure/certification for PTAs).
Working closely with the physical therapist, they may provide components of your care such as therapeutic exercise, functional training, deep soft tissue massage, and physical modalities such as electrotherapy and ultrasound. PTAs may also provide instruction in exercise, proper body mechanics, and other injury prevention and wellness topics.
PTAs work with physical therapists to treat patients of all ages who have medical problems or other conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. They work in all settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.
Further PT Resources:
American Physical Therapy Association - APTA.org