What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical base. It has widespread clinical applications in the preservation, development, and restoration of optimal physical function. Everyday, physical therapists in the United States help approximately 1 million people to:
- Alleviate pain with the use of modalities such as: therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation, hot and cold appliances, water, massage and manipulation
- Prevent the onset and progression of impairment, functional limitation and disability
- Promote changes in physical function and health status resulting from injury, disease, or other causes
- Restore, maintain, and encourage overall fitness and optimal quality of life
Physical therapists participate in the development of healthcare policies and appropriate standards for the delivery of physical therapy services. Physical therapy is covered by almost all federal, state, and private insurance plans. Currently the training of physical therapists involves, first obtaining a master or doctorate degree in physical therapy from an accredited university. Once the degree is obtained the therapist must take a rigorous national board examination. If the therapist passes the examination, he or she will be allowed to practice in the state which they choose. Training to become a physical therapist assistant requires attending a two year accredited college to obtain an associate degree. He or she must also pass a state licensure examination and will then be able to work under the supervision of a physical therapist.
Physical therapists and assistants must attend continuing education courses in order to renew their license in the state of Texas every two years. According to the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners (TBPTE), when physical therapy services are rendered they are performed under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. In order to protect the public, the board requires the therapist to display an original license in plain view. Patients are encouraged to ask any individual claiming to practice physical therapy to present an official license. If the individual is unable to produce the information the a complaint can be made to the TBPTE at 1-800-821-3205
Physical therapists continue to play an integral role in the delivery of health care services in the community. They can be seen in hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, sports and work environments. If you had an injury, suffer from pain, immobility, headaches, or are unable to function at your normal level ask your doctor for a referral to a licensed physical therapist.