Physical therapists help patients regain their independence. They help patients improve their mobility, strength, and regain lost motor functions. Physical therapists may also assist patients who have conditions or birth defects which negatively impact motor functions and movement.
They support patients through recovery and, in some cases, can help patients avoid invasive procedures such as surgery. Physical therapists are experts on how the body moves. They are trained to identify what prevents the body from moving properly and how to treat these issues.
Though most patients visit physical therapists after injuries have occurred, a physical therapist’s skills can be used before injuries happen. They can identify potential problem areas and provide treatment to prevent these issues from worsening over time.
The impact you have on your patients’ quality of life is immeasurable. As a physical therapist, you provide relief and independence to your patients. You help patients regain the strength and flexibility to resume activities they stopped due to pain or discomfort.
As a physical therapist, you do more than improve the overall health of your patients. You could…
Surgery is a big deal. No matter how skilled the surgeon, there is a chance complications may occur and cause patients more problems. Surgeries such as hip replacements, ACL repairs, and back surgeries encourage patients to undergo physical therapy after the procedure.
Physical therapy post-surgery helps patients regain optimal movement in their joints and strength after being bedridden during recovery. As a result, some patients prefer working with physical therapists before even considering surgery.
Physical therapists create individualized plans based around their patient’s needs and refine their plan as the patient progresses. They aim to provide pain relief or management by identifying and treating the source through non-invasive measures. They use a combination of technology, physical exercise, workout equipment, and coaching to treat their patients.
Did you know physical therapists can have specialties? The following is by no means an extensive list of every specialty a physical therapist can pursue. The list below shows the variety of options available to physical therapists.
Pediatric physical therapists work with babies, toddlers, and young adults. This clientele may have sustained a serious injury which makes movement and play painful. They may also have pre-existing, genetic, or neurological conditions which may limit or delay a child’s motor skills.
Geriatric physical therapists work with older adults to help them maintain their health when facing age-related ailments. As we grow, our range of motion narrows, our bone health decreases, and our balance falters. Geriatric physical therapists help patients remain physically active as long as possible by improving their strength and balance.
Neurological physical therapists work with patients whose movement issues stemmed from injury to or a disease of the nervous system. They also work with patients whose medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, make moving difficult. These patients may have suffered an injury to the brain or spinal cord, central nervous system, or a stroke.
Orthopedic physical therapists work with patients with injuries to the bone, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. These patients may suffer from arthritis, neck pain, ACL tears, ankle sprains, hip injuries, and lower back pain. This clientele can vary from athletes who suffered a sports injury to office workers suffering from carpal tunnel.
Physical therapists often explain the injury, how it occurred, and how their treatment plan aligns with a patient’s desired result. They check with patients throughout treatment to ensure they are not making injuries worse. Physical therapists keep their patients’ wellbeing at the center of their treatment plans and adjust the plans as they go.
As patients continue through their treatments, they regain confidence in their abilities. Their excitement is palpable as they progress, improve, and resume activities they thought were no longer in their reach. This newfound confidence would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of a physical therapist.
Physical therapists can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, specialty clinics, nursing homes, or can perform home visits. Some physical therapists have also opened their own businesses to work for themselves. Many physical therapists spend most of their day standing.
However, physical therapists who specialize in aquatic therapy may spend most of their days in water.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for physical therapists is expected to grow by 17% between 2021-2031. This growth is a result of aging baby boomers seeking retirement and an increase in obesity across the US. Physical therapists are needed to assist these individuals in maintaining mobility and overall wellness.
This dramatic growth in such a short time span means physical therapists will be highly sought after in upcoming years. Programs such as Berry College’s Exercise Science and Pre-Physical Therapy program offer hands-on training and paid internship opportunities.
Physical therapists are experts on how the body moves and can provide a non-invasive approach to pain relief and management. Their services can be used as preventative measures or they could help patients recover after an injury or surgery. They can work in a variety of specialties and with a diverse range of clientele.
Physical therapists can be found in a variety of work settings such as a clinic, hospital, or perform home visits. Though each physical therapist has a specialty, they all strive to improve their patient’s quality of life through increased mobility.
They educate their patients throughout the process and adjust their treatment plans according to each patient’s needs. They aim to help their patients become even stronger and more flexible than they were before their injury.
Over the next 8 years, the field of physical therapy is expected to grow much faster than other occupations. With baby boomers retiring and increased obesity across the US, physical therapists are needed to help them maintain mobility.