What is Physical Therapy?

What is PT?

Physical Therapy (PT) is a health care profession whose purpose is to restore function and movement, manage pain, promote health and wellness and improve the quality of life for individuals with movement limitations stemming from all systems of the body.  PT professionals can be found in hospital settings, long term care facilities, nursing homes, home health care, outpatient settings, private practice offices, school systems and wellness facilities.  Some physical therapists can also be found in occupational settings and work places.

Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants work together as a team in some settings to address mobility issues that may arise from:

  • The musculoskeletal system – such as fractures, ligament sprains, muscular strains and injuries, overuse injuries, surgeries, joint replacements, arthritic conditions and painful joint conditions including back pain
  • The nervous system – such as nerve compression injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, chronic neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease), stroke, chronic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, balance limitations and pediatric developmental movement challenges
  • The cardiovascular and pulmonary systems – after heart attack, patients with COPD, post COVID-19 complications, peripheral vascular disease
  • The integumentary system – to promote wound care and healing, prevent movement limitations during and after wound healing and to manage edema
  • The genitourinary system – to promote pelvic health related to the musculoskeletal and nervous system causes of bowel and bladder incontinence, pregnancy and post-partum complications, post-prostatectomy complications, general pelvic pain, and pain related to sexual functioning

The goals of seeing a physical therapy clinician are to restore movement by:

  • increasing range of motion
  • improving strength and stability
  • improving endurance
  • decreasing pain
  • improving balance and coordination
  • preventing more serious medical procedures, like surgery
  • to improve the ability of an individual to perform the work and daily tasks that their life requires
  • And the big one… to improve the quality of life for all in our communities!

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