A Beginner's Guide.
Who are Physical Therapists?
Physical Therapists (PT's) are movement specialists who treat individuals of all ages who have health related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. They can work with patients to offer preventative care or even to develop fitness programs to promote healthier living.
What qualifications do PT's have?
PT's are required to receive a graduate degree from an accredited PT program. As of 2015, all accredited PT programs are Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs in which a student will receive a doctorate after successful completion. In order to practice, students must pass a national licensure examination. A PT must also acquire state license in each state he or she wishes to practice in. There are several areas of practice that PTs can specialize in, such as Neurology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Women's Health, Geriatrics etc. Seeing a specialized clinician can ensure effective and efficient care.
Where do PT's Practice?
You may encounter PT's in a variety of settings. From inpatient facilities, tofree standing outpatient clinics, to schools, or even at workplaces. PT's can be found working with a large population base to help promote wellness.
What can a PT assist me with?
PT's are qualified to help treat patients with a range of conditions. From working with a patient prior to surgery for preventative care, to helping a patient after the surgery to assist with healing, a therapist helps promotes well-being, and maintenance of functionality. Commonly, PT's work with patients who experience joint or muscle pain, loss of balance, feelings of dizziness, difficulty with gait, spasticity, concussions, and lymphedema.
How can I find the right PT for me?
Most importantly you should know that in all 50 states in the US, you can use some form of direct access to visit a PT without a physician's referral. You have the freedom to choose your PT! Here are a few tips to help you find the right PT for you:
· Make sure you find a Licensed PT. Always make sure you are receiving care from a qualified professional.
· Do some research to find a PT who specializes in the area you need care in.
· Find out if you will be receiving care from a PT or a PTA. PTA's are licensed therapy assistants who provide care under the direct supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist.
· Check with your insurance plan if your PT facility is in network with them, as they will offer you services at a lower contracted cost than out of network providers.