Physical therapy focuses on evaluating and treating problems with physical functioning abilities. This can be due to an injury, disability, diseases, or other health conditions.
Physical therapy is provided by trained professional Physical therapist. Physical therapists are experts in mobility and physical performance and promote, maintain, or restore health through physical examination, diagnosis, patient education, physical intervention, and rehabilitation. (Also, Read Physical Therapy Course)
How is it done?
First, a Physical Therapist will evaluate, assess and examine the overall functioning of your body. It includes:
- Physical examinationfor analyzing
- range of motion
- joint mobility
- pain and neurological function
- cardiovascular performance
- Specific tests
- Diagnostic tests like X-ray, MRI, CT-scan, etc.
- Observations both objective and subjective
- History taking
- Questionnaire regarding the condition.
Then, the therapist plans a treatment protocol, specific and tailor-made for the condition to come up with the mobility goals and to reach to them. This plan will be made keeping in consideration patient’s lifestyle, job, bodily condition and requirements.
Next, the therapist will discuss the treatment plan with the patient, educate him about the condition, the diagnosis and prognosis of the condition, explain the whole procedure and set-up a schedule according to the course of the rehab.
The treatment basically consists of:
- A set of exercises and stretches prescribed by the professional physical therapist
- Use of therapeutic modalities like ultrasound, or electrical stimulation
- Use of different methods like icing, heating
- Use of manual mobilization and manipulation techniques
- Muscle training
- Use of assistive devices, braces, supporters, etc.
- Lifestyle modifications.
Conditions Physical Therapist Treat
A Physical Therapist is professionally trained to treat a ton of conditions. Theses are some common conditions a physical therapist may encounter within practice:
|Joint Conditions, Diseases and Pain||Stroke (Hemiplegia, Paraplegia, Quadriplegia)||Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy|
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome||Multiple Sclerosis||Bladder bowel dysfunction|
|Frozen Shoulder||Muscular Dystrophy||Delayed Milestones in children|
|Replacement Surgery Recovery||Guillain-Barre Syndrome||Acute Respiratory Distress|
|Sprains and Strains||Vertigo, Migraine||Postural Imbalance|
|Tennis Elbow||Bell’s Palsy||Accidental Injuries|
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy succors a person with personalized medical care specific to the needs as mentioned:
- It helps decrease and/or eliminate pain
- It reduces swelling and inflammation of joints
- It manages neuromuscular chronic conditions
- It optimizes physical activity and sport performance
- It promotes coordination, balance and muscle strength
- It improves breathing, cardiovascular functioning and endurance
- It helps promoting wound healing
- It assists patient with restoring normal movement for sitting, standing, walking and running
- It augments effective recovery from surgery, major illnesses and disabilities, like stroke, accidental injuries, parkinsonism, etc.
- It provides an alternative to surgery and prescription drugs
- It educates and even train patients in injury prevention
- It aids age-related health issues
- It treats gynecological health issues
Specializations in Physical Therapy
Because the body of knowledge of physical therapy is quite large, Physical Therapists tend to specialize in a specific clinical area. These include:
Treat injuries and adverse conditions of the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary
Help patients manage and heal from a variety of heart and lung conditions like bypass surgeries, COPD.
- Clinical Electrophysiology
Treat conditions related to nerve and muscle damage caused by compromised sin integrity, or wounds.
Treat patients with various neurological disorders, injuries and impairments.
Treat physical conditions in young people from newborns to teenagers.
- Sports Medicine
Treat amateur and professional athletes. Are experts in injury management and rehabilitation.
Experts in helping patients with musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis
Experts in helping patients with progressive neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Work with patients who are undergoing treatment or recovering from cancer
- Women’s Health/ Gynecology
Help pre- and postpartum women experiencing issues such as incontinence and pelvic pain
- Wound Management
Treat both superficial and deep wounds with emphasis on the relationships between body systems
Finding a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists usually are associated to a hospital or have their personal clinics where they provide treatment. They also work in:
- Outpatient clinics
- Sports medicine centers
- Nursing homes
- Assisted living homes
- Rehab centers
- Offices and work sites
- Schools or colleges
- Fitness clubs
- Private health centers
- Aged care facilities
- Community health centers
Training to be a physical therapist
To practice as a Physical Therapist in the NJ, one needs to:
- Earn a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy; study a given number of units: Anatomy, Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Kinesiology, Psychology, Research Methods, etc.
- For the development of skills, one must complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in their interest of subject.
- Complete your Clinical Experience required according to the degree program
- Pass the State License exam.
- Meet the licensure requirements: The Therapist must be at least 18 years old, have cleared the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), and have passed a criminal background check.
- An optional Clinical Residency Program/ Become a Board-certified Clinical Specialist
- Maintain the licensure; must complete at least 15 hours of continuing education.
Not only the academics, but a Physical Therapist should be trained overall to confidently and efficiently treat the patient. For this the Physical Therapist must have the required skills and traits. These skills are:
- Theoretical understanding
- Critical thinking
- Clinical experience and decision making
- Communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Problem solving skills
- Empathetic and encouraging
- Knowledge of the human body, medical conditions, modalities, etc.
- Manual mobilization and manipulation techniques
- Ruling out injuries from an X-ray, MRI, CT scan
- Use of assistive aids, braces, etc.
Core values followed by Physical Therapists in NJ
Active acceptance of the responsibility of the diverse roles, obligations and actions
Regard for or devotion to the interest of patients
Identify or sense something of patient’s experience and consider the needs and values
Practice of using the techniques and modalities and work towards development
Abiding by ethical principles or standards; truthfulness, fairness, etc.
- Professional Duty
Commitment to meeting one’s obligations to provide effective services to the patients, to serve the profession, and to the health of the society
- Social Responsibility
Promotion of a mutual trust between the profession and the larger public for health and wellness