therapists, sometimes referred to as simply PTs, are healthcare
professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from
newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other
health-related conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limits their
abilities to move and perform functional activities as well as they
would like in their daily lives.
therapists examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment
techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore
function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals
to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness
and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional
problems resulting from, for example, back and neck injuries,
sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke,
multiple sclerosis, conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida,
and injuries related to work and sports. Physical therapy care and
services are provided by physical therapists and physical therapist
assistants who work under the direction and supervision of a physical
therapist. Physical therapists evaluate and diagnose movement
dysfunction and use interventions to treat patient/clients.
Interventions may include therapeutic exercise, functional training,
manual therapy techniques, assistive and adaptive devices and equipment,
and physical agents and electrotherapeutic modalities.
therapists often consult and practice with a variety of other
professionals, such as physicians,
speech-language pathologists, and
also may show patients how to do exercises at home to expedite their
Some physical therapists treat a wide range of ailments; others
specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports
medicine, neurology, and cardiopulmonary physical therapy.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.