The art and science of physical therapy – why and when it’s needed
Have you experienced the pain of a broken bone, badly pulled muscle or sprain? Have you had a stroke or do you suffer from arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis? Perhaps you’ve suffered a significant joint injury without being able to repair the damage. If so, your recovery – or ongoing treatment – may include a series of prescribed physical therapy sessions to aid with the healing process.
Merriam-Webster defines physical therapy – also referred to as physiotherapy or PT – as: “therapy for the preservation, enhancement or restoration of movement and physical function […] that utilizes therapeutic exercise, physical modalities (such as massage and electrotherapy), assistive devices, and patient education and training.”
What do physical therapists do?
A physical therapist’s work is demanding and requires a keen knowledge of the human body and how it works mechanically. It also requires a high level of physical stamina to manipulate patients correctly.
Treatment begins by evaluating a patient’s movement dysfunction, followed by devising a specialized treatment plan that includes therapeutic training and different types of exercises and equipment specific to the injury or condition. Physical therapists work in tandem with orthopedic surgeons, primary care physicians, nurses and other medical and social science professionals who share in the patient’s rehabilitation and future well-being.
What training is required to become a physical therapist?
Training is vigorous. Students wishing to become physical therapists must first graduate from an accredited college or university with a degree related to biology, psychology, physics, chemistry or the like, along with other general requirements in humanities. Students must then apply to attend an accredited physical therapy program in order to earn a master’s or doctoral degree. Upon being accepted into a physical therapy program, the courses will become more focused on the physical therapy practice, including classes in clinical medical science leading to hands-on clinical education. Following graduation, students must then pass a state-administered national exam in order to become licensed to practice.
For more information about physical therapy, visit:
– Physical Therapist.com, https://www.physicaltherapist.com
By Holly Harmon for Puget Sound Orthopaedics