Understanding the Role of Your Physical Therapist

If your physician has recommended that you see a physical therapist, you may have questions about what you will experience during your treatment. Physical therapy is a specialized type of care that is focused on helping individuals increase their range of motion and ability to function. This is critical treatment for many individuals who have suffered injuries or other setbacks in their physical condition. When you meet with a physical therapist for physical therapy, they will review your course of treatment with you before you begin. If you are in need of assistance with any of the following, physical therapy may be an optimum choice in lieu of surgery or medications:

·         Improvement of movement or an increase in range of motion.

·         Relief of pain.

·         Recovery from a sports injury or preventing injuries.

·         Recovery from surgery.

·         Treatment of a physical disability.

·         Rehabilitation following an accident, injury, or stroke.

·         Improvement of balance to reduce the likelihood of falling.

·         Recovery after giving birth.

·         Management of a chronic illness such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart disease, or diabetes, among others.

·         Adapting to using an artificial limb, a cane, or a walker.

·         Improvement of control over one’s bladder or bowls.

Physical Therapists are Licensed Health Professionals

A physical therapist is often referred to as a PT or a physiotherapist. To earn their professional license, they must undergo specialized graduate training and education that is focused on physical therapy techniques and methodology. A physical therapist may have a master’s degree or a doctorate in physical therapy but must earn national certification and be licensed in any state in which they practice.

Undergoing Physical Therapy

A physical therapist will begin by considering your current medical condition and the issues you’re facing, whether it’s limited mobility, recovery from an accident, or a different challenge. They will develop an action plan that is tailored to your needs. This will involve hands-on treatments that they will perform on you over a period of time that will depend on the severity of your condition. They may also instruct you in how to perform certain exercises on your own that can help you reach maximum recovery. A physical therapist will often treat a patient in tandem with treatment they are receiving from their primary care provider or other healthcare professionals. A physical therapist will consult a patient’s physician when appropriate in order to maximize the quality of care and ensure that the patient receives the treatment they need.

Physical Therapy Assessment

During your initial physical therapy session, your physical therapist will do an assessment of your needs. This will include getting your medical history and questions about any physical pain or limitations you may be feeling and how your condition might be impacting your ability to perform everyday tasks and movements such as these:

·         Your ability to balance.

·         Your ability to bend, move, grasp, or reach items.

·         Your ability to climb or descend steps.

·         Your ability to walk.

Once your assessment is complete, your physical therapist will develop a treatment plan for you based on your unique needs.