What is Physical Therapy and What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

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What is Physical Therapy and What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
If you ask a person what they think of when they hear the words "physical therapy" a large percentage will tell you that they think of rehabilitation therapy for patients with injuries ranging from an accident or loss of mobility to a sports injury. They also think of other patients that need rehab therapy for illnesses which relate to musculoskeletal problems and are hospitalized for these problems.

A smaller percentage may tell you that they think of physical therapy as working with some kind of exercises to work the muscles similar to what a chiropractor does while another percentage does not really know what the words "physical therapy" mean. In light of the fact that there are many preconceived notions of what physical therapy means let’s first clarify what physical therapy is before we discuss what a physical therapist does and how they can help you.

What Physical Therapy Really Means
Physical therapy involves the process of manipulating different body parts to decrease pain, improve mobility and function, and improve bodily strength to help the individual enjoy a better quality of life. Physical therapy also involves helping people prevent injuries and improve energy levels by staying physically fit.

Although physical therapy includes an individual evaluation to come up with a plan for treatment, the plan can be associated with an injury or illness or it can also consist of a plan for an ongoing health program which will help you enjoy a better quality of life by having the energy to do and enjoy more things. If you are having difficulty coming up with a long term health plan, physical therapy can be of tremendous benefit since it will be individualized to help you meet your health and fitness goals.

How a Physical Therapist Can Help
A physical therapist is highly educated and licensed to help people achieve their health and fitness goals. For this reason, a lot of people think of physical therapists as physicians who help you to overcome an injury or illness. While this is partially true you can also consult with a physical therapist to come up with a personalized program to improve and maintain health and prevent injury over the long term.

Regardless if you have an injury or illness or you simply want to increase your chances of continued good health and longevity, a physical therapist will do a complete evaluation which includes reviewing the status of muscular, skeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and lymphatic systems as well as any other health concerns. The physical therapist will then work closely with you to determine what needs to be done to improve your health and longevity.

A physical therapist can also help you to learn what important aspects of your health you should focus on and what some of your personal goals are for achieving good health and wellness. This saves you time because the areas you should focus on are individually designed in a program that specifically suits your needs. This takes the guesswork out of coming up with a program you may think is beneficial to your health but you do not know for sure. For example, if you have specific shoulder problems, a physical therapist can help you come up with a plan to gain more use of your shoulder through rehab therapy without risking injury. If you have arthritis, your physical therapist can help you with a plan for treatment for the area of your body which is specifically affected by the disorder.

Essentially a physical therapist can help you to gain control over your health without the use of drugs. The physical therapist will get to the root of the problem and then work with you on a treatment plan until your goals are achieved for overcoming the precise health problem. If there is a health concern that requires the attention of a physician then the physical therapist will refer you to the appropriate health professional. So, physical therapy involves a lot more than rehab therapy and can significantly help you to maintain overall good health and well being for the long term.

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