Therapy is not new to people. People have been performing therapy in some form or another for thousands of years – whether it be prayers to deities, praying to an elder member in the community, or even having faith in the doctor. However, since ancient times when people would seek out members of their tribe to fix an illness they suffered from there has been one crucial element that has always existed: A person who can fix the ailment.
Physical therapy is a relatively new form of treatment that focuses on strengthening and rehabilitating the body to ease or eliminate pain caused by an injury or illness. The first known use of physical therapy as we know it today was performed on soldiers during and after World War I, where therapists had their patients do manual labor – moving rocks, picking up sticks, etc. – to aid in the recovery process.
Today, physical therapy is relevant not only to people who have suffered an injury or are dealing with a chronic illness but also to athletes and older adults. Professionals within this field design treatment programs based on their patients’ needs while exercising, stretching, and performing functional activities. In addition, therapists instruct patients on how to avoid injury and pain in the future.
Physical therapy is a dynamic field that has grown considerably since its early days. If you are interested in finding out more about this field, read on! We will cover what a physical therapist does exactly, what education and training they need to achieve their career, and what job prospects they can expect.
What Does A Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists, also known as PTs, assess and treat patients of all ages who have issues with movement or pain that limits their daily activities. As stated earlier, physical therapists design treatment plans for their patients based on their individual needs and goals. PTs work with a variety of patients, including those who are recovering from surgery, have joint pain, are pregnant, or are seniors.
Therapists often use different techniques when treating their patients, such as exercise, mobilization, and manipulation. In addition to hands-on treatment, PTs also educate their patients on how to prevent future injuries. This could include proper body mechanics or movement strategies that patients can use in their everyday lives, such as getting out of a chair, squatting down to pick up an object from the ground, reaching for objects above shoulder level, etc.
In order to become a physical therapist, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited physical therapy program. After completing a degree program, you will then need to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) in order to become licensed. PTs must renew their license every two years and complete continuing education credits in order to keep up with new developments in the field.
The job outlook for physical therapists is positive. Employment of PTs is projected to grow by 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. This increase is due to the aging population and the growing demand for rehabilitation services.
PTs can expect to find job opportunities in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, private practices, schools, and long-term care facilities.