Physical Therapy is a profession to diagnose and treat people of all ages who have been injured or have experienced medical problems that affect their ability to move or perform daily life functions. These healthcare professionals work with a wide range of patients, including athletes, children, and adults. PTs can help people in a wide range of settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, schools, fitness facilities, and nursing homes. We are the only Charlottesville physical therapy clinic to provide both physical therapy and chiropractic.
The primary goal for physical therapy is to restore a patient’s function and independence. PTs examine each patient in order to develop a customized rehabilitation plan. Physical therapy treatment plans typically incorporate various techniques designed to improve movement, reduce pain, restore functionality, and prevent long-term disability. PTs will also help patients prevent future loss of mobility with overall fitness programs that can lead to healthier and more active lives.
The Physical Therapy Profession
Building on an established theoretical and scientific foundation, physical therapy has many clinical applications that help restore, maintain, and promote a patient’s physical functionality. Every day more than 750,000 people receive physical therapy in the United States. Physical therapy (sometimes called physiotherapy) is provided only by qualified physical therapists (sometimes called physiotherapists) or physical therapist assistants (PTAs) working under the supervision of a physical therapist, and each state requires that PTs complete specific requirements in order to be licensed to practice.
Physical therapists perform a wide range of mobility-related treatment functions, including:
- Diagnosis and management of movement dysfunction and enhancement of physical and functional abilities.
- Restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function for movement, fitness, and quality of life.
- Prevention of symptoms and of impairment progression due to disease, disorders, or injuries.
Physical therapists play a key role in the healthcare system, including providing leadership in patient rehabilitation. PTs also help to develop both the standards for physical therapy practice and healthcare policies. Federal, state, and private insurance plans cover physical therapy treatment, and many patients find that physical therapy significant improves their quality of life.
A typical physical therapy session will involve a thorough examination, including documenting a patient’s history, reviewing the patient’s status, and testing and measuring patient performance to identify potential and existing problems. This information will help a PT to diagnose a patient, to determine whether a patient’s problems can be addressed through physical therapy, and to develop an appropriate plan of care.
Synthesizing their evaluations and a patient’s goals, PTs will provide appropriate interventions and instructions for clients, re-examine patients to determine progress, modify inventions as needed, and develop discharge plans – which might include on-going exercise and lifestyle changes.
Adapted from the American Physical Therapy Association’s Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, 2nd Edition (2003)