A physical therapist (PT) works with patients to improve their movement and relieve pain from injury or illness. They design treatment plans based on research, medical expertise and the patient’s unique needs. They use hands-on techniques and equipment to ease pain, increase mobility and promote health and wellness. PTs work in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centres and home healthcare agencies.
Many people seek out a PT after surgery, or to manage long-term conditions like arthritis. Some PTs specialize in treating women’s health issues, such as pelvic pain or osteoporosis. Others focus on sports injuries. PTs are also trained to diagnose and treat diseases that affect the cardiovascular, neurological and endocrine systems.
When choosing a PT program, consider its length, location and student experience. Some programs offer shorter durations that compress academic requirements into a smaller timeframe, helping you to manage costs and enter the field sooner.
It’s important to communicate with your therapist about how you feel during treatment sessions, and ask questions if you don’t understand an exercise or its purpose. Your therapist will likely be happy to explain things further. Also, be prepared to undergo some discomfort during PT sessions; it’s not always “no pain, no gain.” However, your therapist will only allow you to push yourself as far as you can without further damaging the affected area.