Physical Therapy, also called biophysical therapy, is a medical health profession which, through use of evidence-based physical therapy, diagnosis, treatment, management, and exercise prescription, helps individuals suffering from diseases or conditions that are the result of physical damage. Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who treat disorders of the musculoskeletal system through a combination of treatment methods including exercise, manual therapy, power training, sports counseling, and other exercises and devices. Physical therapy is a science that is currently undergoing continuous development. The scope of physical therapy includes rehabilitation, physical growth, geriatric, neurological, and cardiac patient care.
There are four major components of physical therapy, which include assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. This process encompasses many areas of physical disorder prevention including occupational, environmental factors, and psychological factors. Occupational therapists are involved in preventing disorders of the musculoskeletal system that cause pain and disability by correcting conditions that affect daily activities, such as use of muscles, bones, and joints. Conditions that affect daily activities are called functional problems and can be acute or chronic.
Conditions that may affect therapy are acute or chronic. Acute therapy is used to treat injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system for less than six weeks; while on the other hand, pediatric therapy is generally used for treating children. Both these categories require specialized training from a licensed physiotherapist. Some of the disorders that may affect physical therapists include cervical spondylosis, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, back pain, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy. Physical therapy can also provide symptomatic relief for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
There are some basic principles that govern the treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. These include principles of exercise physiology, human anatomy, kinesiology (study of mechanics), psychology of movement, and rehabilitation. Principles of exercise physiology include determining the appropriate resistance, controlling and stimulating muscle groups, monitoring heart rate, temperature, and pulse, and identifying and regulating goals. Principles of human anatomy include understanding the body’s systems and functions, understanding neuromuscular function, defining and distinguishing between muscular and skeletal disorders, studying function at different levels, distinguishing between trauma and pathology, determining cause, understanding functioning loss, and setting goals and expectations.
The training of physical therapists requires a college degree, two years of graduate work, and experience in a variety of clinical specialties. The number of years of experience required to become an effective PT varies from state to state. In the United States, requirements for certification vary from state to state. In addition to obtaining a national certification, physical therapists may also become certified in state or local areas. The actual requirements for certification will vary from state to state and will often be determined by the practitioner’s location.
Physical therapy and orthopedics can offer many benefits to patients with various injuries or conditions. PT can provide relief for patients with sports injuries, paralysis, severe pain, geriatric and developmental conditions, traumatic brain injuries, heart conditions, brain injuries, neuromuscular disorders, and many other medical conditions. Conditions treated through PT may include physical therapy, applied kinesioloy, exercise, occupational and hand therapy, and chiropractic care. Physical therapy and orthopedics are also commonly referred to as occupational and physical therapy. These treatments are generally covered by insurance policies as medically necessary treatments. However, it should be noted that coverage may vary significantly between private health insurance companies and government programs.