What does a physical therapist do?
Now that we’ve discussed the differences and similarities between PT and OT, let’s break down what a physical therapist does in more detail.
What are the goals of physical therapy?
The overall goals of PT focus on:
- improving or restoring movement, strength, and range of motion
- decreasing pain
- preventing your condition from getting worse
- educating you on ways to maintain your overall fitness and functionality
When is physical therapy needed?
PT is often recommended when a condition affects your movement or range of motion. PT can be used for:
- improving mobility after an injury
- recovery following a surgical procedure
- pain management
- joint conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis
- neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and recovery after a stroke
- hand conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger
- urinary incontinence
- lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis
- heart conditions, such as heart failure and recovery after a heart attack
What type of therapy can you expect?
The type of therapy you’ll receive will be tailored to your specific needs. The physical therapist will carefully review your medical history and current health condition to develop a plan and goals for your therapy.
Physical therapists use a variety of techniques, including:
- targeted exercises
- hands-on manipulation
- application of hot and cold
Where can you receive physical therapy?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including but not limited to:
- outpatient clinics or offices
- inpatient facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes
- home health agencies
- fitness centers