Because more people are living longer, and the remarkable improvements that have been made in treating people with such conditions as head traumas, heart attacks, strokes, as well as people who are the victims of serious accidents such as a trip and fall or car accident, the demand for physical therapists has drastically increased in recent years. Physical Therapists are licensed therapists that treat patients that suffer from a variety of conditions that limit their mobility and require enhanced treatment to help them recover, or live with, and manage their physical impairment.
A physical therapist treats patients by creating and implementing a physical rehabilitation program that is specially designed for their medical needs. Special exercises and physical therapy equipment are used to aid in recovery and improve physical limitations. These therapists can assist a broad range of age groups, from infants to seniors. Areas of disabilities can include arthritic conditions, muscle and tissue injuries resulting from an accident or sports injury, head injuries, bone fractures, back injury and pain, and such impairing conditions as cerebral palsy and heart disease. Treatment involves reducing pain, improving motor function, boosting muscle performance, and improving posture, balance, and coordination. As well, the therapy is used to improve range of motion. Therapeutic programs are designed to promote overall physical health and well being and help a patient successfully participate in their daily routine.
Physical therapy treatment involves using such therapeutic devices as ultrasonic devices, electrical stimulation such as the TENS machine, weights, exercise machines such as treadmills, hot packs or cold compresses, whirlpools, ultraviolet and infrared lamps, as well as deep tissue massage. The therapist will also create home treatment plans where the patient can further continue with their therapy. As well, part of their treatment program will be helping patients learn to use such medical devices as wheelchairs, artificial limbs, braces, crutches, and more. The therapist will work with physicians or as part of a larger group of health professionals.
Physical therapists can work in a variety of medical settings such as hospitals, sports team training facilities, fitness centers, health and wellness clinics, nursing homes, extended care facilities, military recovery facilities, rehabilitation facilities, schools, private homes, and in certain types of work places. Their job duties can include: examine and evaluate the patient’s particular needs, consult with the relevant health care providers, create and implement a treatment plan, monitor the patient’s progress and make any necessary adjustments, and create an in-home treatment plan for self management.
New medical developments have resulted in an increased survival rate among trauma victims and patients with serious health conditions causing physical impairment. Because of innovative developments in medical treatments, many conditions that limit ones ability to function properly can now be treated. As well, advancements in physical therapy have made it a vital component in a patient’s successful recovery. The demand for physical therapists shows no signs of slowing down and the future seems to indicate that there will be an increased need for these therapists in many different medical areas.