A physical therapy or rehabilitation therapy is basically the attempted rehabilitation of a physical condition, usually after diagnosis by a physician. Physical therapists often use techniques such as strength training, stretching exercises, balance, and coordination activities and even massage to help with the healing process. Physical therapists can be found in a variety of different places including gyms, hospitals, and private practices. Some people may choose to go to physical therapy school for a more specialized type of training. There are many reasons to seek out therapy for a physical condition.
One of the most common reasons to seek out the services of physical therapy specialists is a diagnosis of an injury or ailment. This could be from a car accident or even a fall. Once a patient is diagnosed with an illness or injury that requires care, they will then likely go to a physical therapist for treatment. The benefits of physical therapy specialists include: being very trained in the area of their expertise, obtaining board certification that proves their specific field of expertise and having a license that gives them the authority to practice. If one chooses to take further schooling to advance their career path, it will always be possible to do so as well. However, it will not always be necessary.
It is important to know that there are many different types of physical therapy specialists. Many physical therapy specialists are now using a combination of manual therapy and modern equipment that help patients with movement, balance and coordination. A physical therapist specializing in manual therapy will work with patients to help them regain strength and range of motion that they have lost as a result of a physical ailment or injury. Manual therapy is often used along with other methods of care to help patients achieve maximum results.
The term advanced practice physical therapy was first coined by a group of doctors who were trying to make the term more defined. Advanced practice physical therapy (APPT) was created to help physical therapists identify with patients and develop a higher level of personal care. APPT includes exercise recommendations, nutritional advice, nutritional supplements and other techniques that help patients increase their fitness levels. A physical therapist may also perform therapeutic massage, which is becoming more common among advanced practice physical therapy specialists.
Physical therapists that participate in APT programs will receive instruction from either an orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular, neurological, pulmonary specialist or another approved school of physical therapy. Once a therapist has received an APT certificate, they can choose to continue education in specific areas of physical therapy. In some cases, physical therapy specialists may choose to specialize by focusing on a certain type of disorder or injury. Physical therapists that decide to specialize in a specific discipline of physical therapy may learn a great deal about the history of that discipline and how to care for patients in that area.
While advanced practice options allow physical therapists to get further specialized training, they generally stay in the same field for the rest of their careers. For example, if a physical therapist decides to become an orthopedic, they usually choose to specialize in orthopedics, but they may also want to become a podiatrist or an internist. Some physical therapists choose to be an emergency room doctor so they can treat patients suffering from a variety of injuries. These individuals will generally work in a hospital or emergency room setting, but they can also find employment as a general practitioner in many health care settings. Physical therapy continues to be a popular career for many people, but advanced practice options and expanded knowledge are not always required for those who enjoy the job.