Little Known Facts about Physical Therapy

Have you heard of Bessie Blount? She was a famous physical therapist that treated soldiers in World War II. After the war, from seeing many amputees, she patented a device that allowed them to feed themselves. Here are some other little known facts about physical therapy you may want to know.

The clinician that performs physical therapy has received a bachelor degree in Physical Therapy which is 4 years or a Masters which is an additional 2 plus years or a Doctorate which is an additional 3 years. Applicants go through rigorous training once they are accepted into a program, which is very difficult in itself. Nationally, only about 10-30% of applicants are accepted with some states accepting a higher percentage like North Dakota. The rigorous requirements lead to what some would consider a formidable payday.

Physical therapists treat newborns and all ages up to the elderly. They work in all healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, and home health agencies. They are even employed by some emergency rooms.  Their specialties range from orthopedics (bones), cardiac (heart), pulmonary (lungs), wound care and neurologic (brain and spinal cord) rehabilitation. They can even treat vertigo (dizziness).

In many states, physical therapists can evaluate and treat patients without having to see a doctor first. This is called Direct Access and the list of states is growing that accepts this. Most states still require a doctor’s order first especially if you want your insurance to pay for it.

When seeing a physical therapist, the patient needs to do their part with the exercises they advise. They can only give their expert opinion and suggestions on modifications of movement but the patient needs to follow through. A treatment plan will help the patient meet their goals.

Sometimes people don’t always see their therapist as a partner in their healthcare and feel they are pushing them to hard. They think that if they tell them the exercise is easy, they will make it more difficult. That is far from the truth.  A therapist is a partner in helping. Honesty is the best when dealing with them as maybe the exercise is suppose to be easy at this point in the treatment. Likewise if the exercise is too hard, they need to know that also so they can modify it for a better result.

Physical therapy massage is not like a spa massage. The massage from the physical therapist will be very concentrated to the muscle or joint that needs to be less tight. It is not like going to the spa or health club. Tightened muscles take different pressure and work and maybe a different technique combined with heat or ultrasound with the massage.  Your therapist knows best.

Some diagnoses require some pain when doing the exercise such as range of motion after a knee replacement or if your shoulder is ‘frozen’. However, most exercises should be relatively pain free. This is especially true if you are suffering from low back pain. Here the therapist will tell you to stay away from positions or thinks that will aggravate the condition.

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