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Physical Therapy : What to Expect

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Updated November 30, 2008


Physical therapy is a health care specialty concerned with treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system and it's interaction with physical movement.

Physical therapists are licensed professionals who hold a master’s or doctorate degree in physical therapy. They work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, out-patient facilities, schools, and nursing homes.

What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a health care specialty involved with evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to restore maximal functional independence to each individual patient. To achieve this goal, physical such as exercise, heat, cold, electricity, and massage are utilized.

What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists are licensed professionals who work with people that have sustained disabilities, impairments, or limitations in their overall physical function. These deviations can be the result of disease, injury, or pathological processes.

How Long Does Physical Therapy Take?
How long will physical therapy take is a common question asked by many patients. Although the question itself is a simple one, the answer is much more difficult.

How Do I Set Appropriate Rehabilitation Goals?
Setting goals is the best way to achieve a successful rehabilitation outcome. When starting physical therapy, you must think what is it that you want to accomplish at the end of your program. The goals you set should be important to you. However, they must also be realistic and attainable. Your physical therapist will then work with you to devise an appropriate treatment program to help achieve your rehabilitation goals.

What Conditions Does Physical Therapy Treat?
There are many conditions for which physical therapy is one of the key forms of treatment. Due to this there are several specialty areas in the field of physical therapy. Although this is well known throughout the profession, it is often overlooked by the general public. Here is a brief description of the five most common specialty treatment areas in physical therapy.

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