Physical therapy is a personal and direct approach to meeting an individual’s health needs.
For people with health problems resulting from an injury or a disease, the physical therapist assists in the recovery process: helping restore function, improving strength and mobility, and relieving pain. For surgical patients, physical therapists help to regain use of an affected limb or to relearn activities of daily living such as walking or dressing.
Physical therapists also train people in staying well and safe from injury by teaching the importance of fitness and showing how to avoid injury at work or at play. The physical therapist evaluates a patient’s joint motion, muscle performance, functional ability, posture, balance, and coordination, need and use of braces, the function of the heart and lungs, the performance of activities required in daily living, and developmental activities.
Physical therapy techniques include therapeutic exercise, joint mobilization, a range of motion exercises, therapeutic massage, activities of daily living training, and ambulation training. Physical therapist assistants work directly with the physical therapist in implementing treatment plans for patients. Physical therapy technicians perform routine support tasks, as directed by the therapist.