What is physiotherapy?

Physical therapy is used to restore the patient’s function.

A surgeon may be able to reattach a limb or repair a broken bone, but physical therapy is often needed to restore the patient’s function. Physical therapy, broadly speaking, involves direct manipulation of muscles, joints, and other parts of the body affected by an injury or chronic illness. It often involves strength training, heat treatments, massage, and supervised exercise. Individual regimens often depend on the type of injury or condition, the age of the patient, and the specialized treatments prescribed by a medical professional.

Physical therapists often work with people who have difficulty walking to help strengthen their legs.

Sometimes physical therapy is used to treat the injury itself and other times it is used to help the patient compensate for the loss of use. Physiotherapists can use strength training, for example, to make life in a walker or wheelchair more bearable. Other forms of therapy can actually improve the patient’s range of motion or realignment of the affected area. Patients may have to learn to use their non-dominant hand or develop a new walking style to accommodate a prosthesis.

Physical therapy often works to help people become more mobile.

Physical therapy may also involve the use of braces, walkers, or other mobility aids. Patients can be encouraged to exercise injured areas while using supportive devices. Water therapy can also be used to reduce the amount of weight placed on an injured limb. Therapy sessions can also duplicate conditions patients may experience at work or at home during a typical day.

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A career in physical therapy requires a high level of commitment to one’s personal fitness.

The field, like other medicine-related occupations, continues to grow in demand. Professional physical therapists undergo at least four years of college-level training, with a heavy emphasis on human physiology and biology. Most candidates also spend years working directly with experienced therapists before seeking their own licenses to practice. There are many different jobs available to someone with a degree in this field, including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, professional sports teams, and hospitals. Many people continue their training and become supervisors or private physicians for home health care needs.

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