Physical therapists examine, evaluate, and treat patients who have conditions such as back pain, neck pain, burns, wounds, osteoporosis, developmental disabilities, carpal tunnel syndrome, and countless other conditions affecting an individual's ability to move freely and without pain.
Physical therapists are evidence-based health care professionals who offer cost-effective treatment that helps improve motion and relieve pain. Highly educated, physical therapists graduating today must have a graduate degree – either a master's or a clinical doctorate from an accredited physical therapy program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice.
How can a physical therapist help?
We've conducted extensive consumer research through nationwide focus groups and one-on-one telephone interviews. We learned that consumers, your patients, are really looking for three things:
- improved mobility and motion,
- an alternative to surgery and,
- to reduce the need for prescription medications, when possible.
Here's how a physical therapist can help your patients achieve these goals:
Improving Mobility and Motion:
Motion is essential to your patients' quality of life. Whether it is an everyday task such as emptying the dishwasher, a sports activity like golf, or an essential activity such as performing their job, a physical therapist can help your patient experience improved mobility and function. Physical therapists also help prevent injuries and promote a healthy lifestyle by improving strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination.
Providing a Conservative Option to Surgery:
While surgery can be the best course of treatment for certain diagnoses, there is evidence to indicate that physical therapists can offer an alternative. Considering conservative options to surgery is a hallmark of good care. Physical therapy is one of these options for many individuals.
When there is a need for surgery, physical therapists can enhance the outcome both before and after surgery. Additionally, for those individuals whose health conditions prevent surgery from being an option, physical therapists can be invaluable in helping them improve or maintain the quality of their lives.
Managing Pain Effectively Without Long-Term Use of Medication:
A physical therapist can help patients control pain, often reducing the need for long-term use of medications. Studies reveal that individuals who receive physical therapy experience greater improvement in function with less pain. While recognizing that medication is an essential component in the management of many acute and chronic conditions, physical therapists can provide an alternative to the long-term use of medications for the management of pain and certain other health conditions.
The following are health conditions commonly seen by physical therapists:
- Back pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Children's motor development and function
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Hand injuries
- Pelvic pain
- Sports injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Musculoskeletal disorders