It has been my experience in the past 11 years as a physical therapist (PT) that there is a considerable amount of misunderstanding as to what PT truly means and looks like.
Merriam-Webster's defines physical therapy as "therapy for the preservation, enhancement, or restoration of movement and physical function ... " Whoa! I even spared you the 50 additional words! So what does that really mean?
My personal view of what physical therapy means is utilizing the science of how the body moves and works while implementing the art of touch, encouragement, hands-on feedback, and complex problem solving to help an individual achieve their goals toward improved health. Like many other healthcare providers, I would feel confident in saying we all became PTs to help people.
One problem in finding a consistent definition is the wide array of settings in which PTs practice. I have personally worked in outpatient, inpatient (hospital), prison, home health, hospice, long-term care, assisted living, and school settings. There is a huge variation in conditions of the patients, in addition to significant differences in abilities. A good PT is able to adapt to all of these situations, and the answer always lies with listening to the patient.
PTs have at least a masters degree, and most have doctorates now. We provide the following services: expert analysis of movement disorders, injury prevention, ergonomic assessment, occupational/athletic/activities of daily living retraining, sports performance, pain control, and adaptive equipment assessment. There certainly is more to this list. In short, PTs are highly educated health care professionals who treat a wide array of injuries, dysfunctions, and prevention.
We are just one spoke in the wheel. It takes many spokes to make the wheel function properly and eventually balance out toward normal working condition. I encourage you to seek out a PT who may be able to help you improve your current activity level, maintain your healthy lifestyle, or simply help you get back to normal following an injury or surgery. We are here to help!
Tyson Damitz, DPT, is the director at Ivyrehab PT located at 1805 E. Hoffer St. or at 765-450-7261. Ivyrehab accepts almost any insurance and offers many payment options. Ivyrehab accepts Direct Access without a prescription for qualifying insurance plans.