Monday, September 29, 2008

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Licensed physical therapists have many roles in the healthcare field. PTs can be involved in orthopedics, sports medicine, cardiac rehab, neurological rehab, acute hospital care, pediatrics, home care, and geriatrics. Many physical therapists currently practicing have either a bachelors or masters degree, and most schools are now transitioned into doctorate programs. I am involved in sports medicine and outpatient orthopedics at Performance Rehabilitation in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. I am lucky that we see a large degree of athletes, post-operative patients, and a wide variety of injuries. Our practice employs many experienced therapists with various specialties, and we frequently learn from and feed off of each other. PTs are always learning through continuing education and through their peers to help patients receive the best possible care. We typically see patients 2-3 times a week for 4-10 weeks depending on their injury, and patients goals range from 'returning to sports' to 'walking without pain,' and we do our best to help patients accomplish their goals. Treatment usually consists of manual therapy techniques, stretching, function based exercises, modalities, and sports-specific drills, with the goal of having the patient complete a home exercise program on their own.

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