What is a Physical Therapist? According to the American Physical Therapy Association
Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat people of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
PTs also help prevent conditions associated with loss of mobility through fitness and wellness programs that achieve healthy and active lifestyles. PTs examine individuals and develop plans using treatment techniques that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disabilities. They provide care in hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more.
Care provided by a physical therapist will begin with an examination and clinical evaluation. The physical therapist will design an individualized plan of care which may include interventions such as therapeutic exercise; functional training in self-care and home management (including activities of daily living) and in community and work integration or reintegration; manual therapy, such as mobilization and manipulation; uses of devices and equipment, such as assistive, adaptive, orthotic, or prosthetic devices; electrotherapeutic modalities, physical agents, and mechanical modalities, such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
A PT must have a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapist education program before taking a national licensure examination from the state in which he or she practices. Most programs in the US are now at a doctorate level.