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Physical therapy

The Science of Healing - Physical Therapy

The science of healing

Physical therapists help people with conditions such as:

  • Back pain
  • Joint and soft tissue injuries such as fractures and dislocations
  • Neurological conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury or Parkinson’s disease
  • Connective tissue injuries such as burns or wounds
  • Cardiopulmonary and circulatory conditions such as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Workplace injuries including repetitive stress disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sports-related injuries

Some physical therapists seek advanced certification in a clinical specialty, such as orthopaedic, neurological, cardiovascular and pulmonary, pediatric, geriatric, sports physical therapy or electrophysiological testing and measurement.

Regions Hospital - Rehabilitation Institute - The art of caring - Physical therapy

The art of caring

When a physical therapist sees a patient for the first time, he or she examines that individual and develops a plan of care that promotes the ability to move, reduces pain, restores function and prevents disability. The physical therapist and the patient then work side-by-side to make sure that the goals of the treatment plan are met.

Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may "mobilize" a joint (perform certain types of passive movements at the end of the patient’s range of motion) or teach exercises to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists may use other techniques such as:

  • Electrotherapy
  • Ultrasound (high-frequency waves that produce heat)
  • Hot packs and ice (when appropriate)
  • Fitness/wellness programs that prevent loss of mobility

It is important to know that physical therapy can be provided only by qualified physical therapists or by physical therapist assistants working under the supervision of a physical therapist.