Physical Therapy Services
Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.
What Physical Therapists Do
Physical therapists use a variety of treatments to help build strength, improve movement, and strengthen skills needed to complete daily activities.
Physical therapists might guide kids through:
- developmental activities, such as crawling and walking
- balance and coordination activities
- adaptive play
- aquatic (water) therapy
- improving circulation around injuries by using heat, cold, exercise, electrical stimulation, massage, and ultrasound
- training to build strength around an injury
- flexibility exercises to increase range of motion
- instruction on how to avoid injuries
- safety and prevention programs
During a visit, a physical therapist may:
- measure a child’s flexibility and strength
- analyze how a child walks and runs (the child’s gait)
- identify existing and potential problems
- consult with other medical, psychiatric, and school personnel about an individual education plan (IEP)
- provide instructions for home exercise programs
- recommend when returning to sports is safe