There was a challenge created by some of my colleagues to promote the profession of Physical Therapy. Although physical therapists offer an amazing service that is a proven alternative to surgery and pharmaceuticals, much of the public do not know or are confused by what we do, so it is important for us in the profession to shed light on what we can offer society.
In one sentence, physical therapists optimize function and movement to its maximum potential, before and or after an injury.
We are a Doctoral profession that undergoes 3 intense years of graduate school, followed by continuing education to understand how to help the body properly heal itself. We do this to become the number 1 doctor patients run to when pain is keeping them from doing what they love to do. Let’s face it: unless it’s a traumatic emergency situation, pain will not drive you to see any doctor. Pain is always present, but when pain becomes a roadblock to your favorite activities, that is when you will seek out help. Physical therapists are the best doctors around for those musculoskeletal problems.
Physical therapy is an extensive field which I like comparing to martial arts. Fighting is fighting, however martial arts is a specific type of combat, and within martial arts there are different subsets and specialties such as karate, jiu jitsu, and taekwando. In the same regard, Medicine is medicine, there are many different branches of medicine with Physical therapy being one (movement/exercise is medicine). Within physical therapy there are specialties and subsets under the physical therapy umbrella enabling Physical Therapists to provide solutions to a wide variety of problems you may have. Here are a few:
- Pain Specialists: We specialize in pain science, chronic or acute.
- Neurologic Rehabilitation: We provide rehab to stroke patients, spinal cord injury patients, Parkisons patients, children with cerebral palsy, or any patients with other neurologic problems that affect the musculoskeletal system.
- Amputees: We work with amputees of all origins: trauma, frostbite, diabetes, and congenital diseases.
- Wound Care: Like amputee care, PTs provide care to wounds of all origins, such as trauma, frostbite, diabetes, and congenital disorders.
- Cardiopulmonary Specialists: We can be cardiopulmonary specialists and provide therapy to cardiac patients.
- Acute Care: We work in hospital settings with post-surgical patients or in nursing homes with geriatric patients.
- TMJ: Some clinicians in our field are experts on Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
- Gait: We can specialize in walking and running analysis.
- Pelvic Floor & Women’s Health: We can be pelvic floor gurus that work with women after pregnancies or men with incontinence issues.
- Orthopedics: More commonly known, we rehab muscle and joint pain, sports injuries, joint replacements, and many more.
- But MOST importantly, we are Listeners.
- Physical therapist are really all about YOU, the patients. We are healthcare clinicians that Listen and make your goals top priority.
Now with that being said, they are YOUR GOALS, and YOU play a huge role in your own therapy. The body heals itself; we do not magically heal you. If you have been dealing with a problem for years, it will not go away after 45-60 mins of treatment. There are 24 hours in a day and we typically only see you for 1 of those hours, so you have to do your part. We are your coaches, decision makers, and guides on your journey through AND after rehab. After you are back to golf, gardening, or shopping, we prevent you from getting injured again. Many of us have other degrees and are qualified to help you with wellness, fitness, nutrition, massage, aqua aerobics, group therapy, and much more. WE ARE TRULY HERE FOR YOU.
Thank You for Your Attention.
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Edited: Ffrancesca Famorcan