What does a physical therapist do? 

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Physical therapists are trained health care professionals who collaborate with medical doctors to aid the full recovery of patients suffering from chronic health injuries that affect mobility. Also, they attend to patients across different age groups with musculoskeletal, cardiac or neurological injuries. 

What are the duties of a physical therapist?

Physical therapists work in a variety of health facilities such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sports centers, nursing homes or research institutions. They get client referrals from physicians or surgeons or directly at the health facility where they work.

They execute their duties often with their hands or use methods like exercise stretches, infra-red or ice to initiate the healing process.

Their duties entail:

Clinical diagnosis: Reviewing a physician’s report if a client was referred. This helps to identify any underlying medical conditions and to understand what the patient needs. They carry out physical examinations to determine the injury level and make their own physical diagnosis.

Treatment: Initiating a treatment plan based on the physical diagnosis. A treatment goal is set and they calculate the number of therapeutic sessions the client must go through to achieve the goal.

Therapeutic sessions may involve using hands for joint exercises, use of electric muscle stimulators, exercise balls or ultrasound.

Counseling: Educating and counselling patients on lifestyle adjustments and how to stay fit.

Monitoring: They track and keep a record of how a patient responds to therapy. This helps to decide whether to elongate the therapeutic sessions or not.

How to hire a physical therapist?

Hiring a PT may be difficult when you need a few physical therapy sessions. Some professionals  work part-time and set their availability hours and a fee per hour. This helps private individual clients to set their budgets and schedule appointments in advance.

Here are 2 effective ways to hire a physical therapist:

  • Write and post your job description on a job listing website: Write a job description that states the therapist type you want to hire and set application requirements like only licensed physical therapists can apply. Then post this job post on free job listing websites like Indeed.
  • Ask for referrals: Ask friends and colleagues if they know and can refer a qualified physical therapist to you.

Qualifications

Physical therapists earn a doctor of physical therapy degree (D.P.T.) from an accredited program. However, they require a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field to gain admission into a D.P.T. program. The doctor of physical therapy programs takes 3 years to complete. Students take hours of courses across basic medical science subjects like anatomy, physiology, kinesiology etc.

Career opportunities 

PT’s may choose to sub-specialize in a specific therapeutic area and undergo advanced training. They enroll in clinical residency training programs for physical therapists who are passionate about a clinical subspecialty. Here are some areas of specialization:

Orthopedic physical therapists: These individuals are specially trained to handle only musculoskeletal injury-related cases.

Neurological physical therapists: They care for individuals with neurological conditions associated with a physical disability such as Parkinson’s;s disease.

Pediatric physical therapists are those licensed to handle physical movement disabilities in children.

Geriatric physical therapists focus on physical injuries that affect only elderly people.

 The United States of America Bureau of Labour and Statistics projects that the demand for these therapists will increase by 18% between 2019 to 2029.

Their services are essential as the cases of movement disorders continue to rise due to the high rate of cardiovascular diseases.

How much does a physical therapist make?

The average physical therapist earns $91,000 per annum. Although, this may depend on factors such as type of employer, skills and experience. 

Conclusion

Physical therapists are licensed medical practitioners who collaborate with medical doctors to aid the full recovery of patients who suffer movement disorders. They use their hands to carry out multiple exercises on their clients and medical devices to facilitate the recovery process. Individuals interested in becoming physical therapists need to earn a doctor of physical therapy degree from a college.

Freelance physical therapy researchers can be hired to write articles on specific topics or create educational content on specific treatments.


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About Author

Medical content writer with a specialty in blog posts, case studies and white papers for startup medical businesses, medical device, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare technology companies. Christopher is also a practicing medical doctor.

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