The primary physical therapy practitioner is the Physical Therapist (PT) who is trained and licensed to examine, evaluate, diagnose and treat impairment, functional limitations and disabilities in patients or clients. The Master of Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Physical Therapy degrees are no longer offered, and the entry-level degree is the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, which typically takes 3 years. Physical Therapist (PT) who hold a Masters or bachelors in Physical Therapy are encouraged to get their DPT because APTA’s goal is for all Physical Therapist to be on a doctoral level. Physical Therapist entry-level educational programs be based on university or university-level studies, of a minimum of four years, independently validated and accredited.
The physical therapist professional curriculum includes content in the clinical sciences (e.g., content about the cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, metabolic, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, integumentary, musculoskeletal, and neuromuscular systems and the medical and surgical conditions frequently seen by physical therapists).
These professionals are licensed orthopedic physical therapist , Geriatric physical therapist and Neurological physical therapist who possess specialized certification in orthopedic physical therapy , Geriatric physical therapy, Neurological physical Therapy .
Curricula for the Physical Therapist professional degree include:
- Screening to determine when patients/clients need further examination or consultation by a physical therapist or referral to another fitness and wellness , health care professional.
- Evaluation: Evaluate data from the examination (history, systems review, and tests and measures) to make clinical judgments regarding patients/clients.
- Diagnosis: Determine a diagnosis that guides future patient/client management.
- Prognosis: Determine patient/client prognoses.
- Plan of Care: Collaborate with patients/clients, family members, payers, other professionals, and other individuals to determine a plan of fitness and wellness care that is acceptable, realistic, culturally competent, and patient-centered.
- Provide effective culturally competent instruction to patients/clients and others to achieve goals and outcomes.
- Prevention, Health Promotion, Fitness and Wellness: Provide culturally competent physical therapy services for prevention, health promotion, fitness and wellness to individuals, groups, and communities. Apply principles of prevention to defined population groups.
- Students completing a Doctor of orthopedic Physical Therapy program are also required to successfully complete clinical internships prior to graduation.
Types of Physical Therapy
orthopaedic Physical Therapy
orthopaedic physical therapist diagnose, manage and treat disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic Physical Therapy also help people recover from orthopaedic replacement surgery. This specialty of orthopaedic physical therapy is most often found in the out-patient clinical setting. Orthopaedic physical therapist are trained in the treatment of post-operative joints, sports injuries, arthritis and amputations, among other injuries and conditions. Joint mobilizations, strength training, hot packs and cold packs, and electrical stimulation are often used to speed recovery in the orthopaedic physical therapy setting. Those who have suffered injury or disease affecting the muscles, bones, ligaments or tendons of the body may benefit from assessment by a orthopaedic physical therapist specialized in orthopaedics physical therapy.
Geriatric Physical Therapy
Geriatric physical therapy covers numerous issues concerning people as they go through normal adult aging. These include (but are not limited to) arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hip and joint replacement, balance disorders and incontinence. Geriatric physical therapist develop individualized programs to help restore mobility, reduce pain and increase fitness.Those who have suffered injury or disease affecting the muscles, bones, ligaments or tendons of the body may benefit from assessment by a orthopaedic Geriatric physical therapist specialized in orthopaedics physical therapy.
Neurological Physical Therapy
Neurological physical therapist work with individuals who have a neurological disorder or disease. These include Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and stroke. Common problems of patients with neurological disorders include paralysis, vision impairment, poor balance, difficulty walking and loss of independence. Neurological physical Therapist work with patients to improve these areas of dysfunction.
Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation physical therapists treat a wide variety of people with cardiopulmonary disorders as well as those who have had cardiac or pulmonary surgery. Primary goals of this specialty include increasing patient endurance and functional independence.
Pediatric Physical Therapy
Pediatric physical therapy assists in early detection of health problems as well as the diagnosis, treatment, and management of infants, children, and adolescents with a variety of injuries, disorders and diseases that affect the muscles, bones, and joints. Treatments focus on improving gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, strength ,fitness and wellness and endurance as well as cognitive and sensory processing and integration. Children with developmental delays, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and torticollis are a few of the patients treated by pediatric physical therapist.