Physical Therapists give a service that restores mobility, mitigates pain and prevents any permanent physical disabilities from an injury or a disease. The patients range from accident victims with low back pain, arthritis, fractures and head injuries to cerebral palsy.
Physical Therapists first look for the medical history of the patient and then they measure the patient?s strength, motor function, balance, coordination, respiration, muscle performance and range of motion. They determine the ability of the patient to reintegrate into the society and the workplace after any injury. Then they create the most adequate treatment plan with a treatment strategy.
Physical Therapists support patients to use their own muscles to improve strength, balance, endurance and coordination. The main objective is to progress in the individual functions. They also use techniques such as electrical stimulation, cold compresses, traction or deep tissue massage, ultrasound and hot packs to reduce pain and swelling, and some assistive and adaptive devices like wheelchairs, prostheses and crutches.
Physical Therapists document all the progress of the patients, including periodic examinations, and any change in the treatment.
Physical Therapists treat several ailments or specialize in sports medicine, pediatrics, cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurology, and orthopedics physical therapy.
Physical Therapists usually work 40 hour per week, but some of them work part time because sometimes they have to kneel, crouch, lift and stand for long periods.
In 2002, physical therapists had more than 137,000 jobs in hospitals and in offices of other health practitioners. They also work in rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, home healthcare agencies, adult daycare programs and in several schools.
All the physical therapists must pass a test to have the license. Some physical therapist programs include courses in biology, chemistry and physics before they enter to the specialized courses such as biomechanics, therapeutic procedures, manifestations of disease, examination techniques, human growth and development, and neuroanatomy. Most of the courses are supervised clinical experience.
Physical therapists must have excellent interpersonal skills because they have to interact with the patients to increase the education in the therapy.
Physical Therapists can earn from $57,300 to $86,000 per year. The pay depends in the area that they specialized or work, for example, home health care services pays $62,480, offices of other health practitioners $58,510, offices of physicians $57,640 and general medical and surgical hospitals $57,200.