As treatment continues, physical therapists document the
patient's progress, conduct periodic examinations, and modify treatments when necessary. Besides tracking the
patient's progress, such documentation identifies areas requiring more or less attention.
Physical therapists often consult and practice with a variety of other professionals, such as physicians, dentists, nurses, educators, social workers, occupational therapists,
speech- language pathologists, and audiologists.
Some physical therapists treat a wide range of ailments; others specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, neurology, and
cardio-pulmonary physical therapy.
Physical therapists also use electrical stimulation, hot packs or cold
compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain and reduce swelling. They
may use traction or deep-tissue massage to relieve pain. Therapists
also teach patients to use assistive and adaptive devices, such as
crutches, prostheses, and wheelchairs.
Contact the therapists near you for details of services. Do the comparison among different
ones before making your decision.
Contact Medicare or Medi-cal for
Directory of Physical Therapists
find the best physical therapist in your area
A physical therapist is a trained professional who performs and teaches exercises and other physical activities to aid in rehabilitation and maximize physical ability with less
pain. He / she is trained or licensed to provide treatment to help injured
or diseased people achieve maximum physical restoration through physical agents (heat, light, water, electricity, massage and
exercise) and promote overall fitness and health. Their patients include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.
All states require physical therapists to pass a licensure exam before they can practice, after graduating from an accredited physical therapist educational program.
There are approximately over 150K physical therapists in the US. Nearly 6 out of 10 physical therapists
work in hospitals or in offices of physical therapists. Others work in home health care services, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and offices of physicians.
Therapists examine patients' medical histories and then test and measure the
patients' strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. They also determine
patients' ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness. Next, physical therapists develop plans describing a treatment strategy, its purpose, and its anticipated outcome.
Physical therapist assistants, under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist, may be involved in implementing treatment plans with patients. Physical therapist aides perform routine support tasks, as directed by the therapist. (Physical therapist assistants and aides are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Treatment often includes exercise for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility, strength, or endurance. Physical therapists encourage patients to use their own muscles to increase their flexibility and range of motion before finally advancing to other exercises that improve strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. The goal is to improve how an individual functions at work and at home.