Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have injuries, including accidents, sports injuries, medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
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. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.
Physical therapists diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities. They restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
They prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.
Physical therapists assume leadership roles in rehabilitation; in prevention, health maintenance, and programs that promote health, wellness, and fitness.
From teaching someone to walk again to relieving the pain of severe arthritis, a day in the life of a physical therapist (PT) can be challenging, but immensely rewarding. In their role, physical therapists either treat a wide range of patients with varying physical problems or they may specialize in a certain type of care, such as sports injuries.
In many cases, you’ll form long-term relationships with patients and be rewarded by seeing their hard work pay off. In fact, you’ll act as both a doctor and a cheerleader in many scenarios. The job involves a deep understanding of the human body as well as a compassionate nature since many patients may be struggling with negative emotions related to their injury or disease.