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What is a physical therapist?

By Brooke Roth, DPT, LAT

Are you a recreational athlete that has shoulder pain every time you get done playing? Have you had back pain on and off for the past few years? Do you have arthritis and your knees are sore? If you said yes to any of these questions, you may benefit from seeing a physical therapist.

Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed healthcare professionals that can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility. PTs apply research and techniques to help people return to function and normal daily activities following a surgery or injury. All PTs are required to have a graduate degree, either a master’s or clinical doctorate, to practice. There is a national licensure exam and a state license PTs must have as well in order to practice.

Physical therapists work in many different settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. Physical therapists can treat many different conditions including: arthritis, back pain, vestibular, post-surgical, sports injuries, tendonitis, balance issues, strokes, sprains, strains, women’s health and much more.

Each person that walks through the door will receive an individualized treatment plan to meet their needs and personal learning style. PTs may use all or very little equipment during treatment sessions depending on the treatment style of the PT and the patients’ needs. Some exercise equipment includes: medicine balls, bands, free weights, weight machines, treadmills, bicycles and more. As much as physical therapy sessions are important to both progress exercises and treatments, patients are also given a home exercise program to do on their own. This is just as important, as the physical therapy sessions. This will allow the patient to successfully continue with exercises at home and help prevent re-injury when formal physical therapy is completed.

At Agnesian HealthCare, the Sports, Spine & Work Center physical therapy staff work closely with patients, physicians and many other health professionals toward the common goal of treating and preventing injuries. There are physical therapy sites in Fond du Lac, Waupun, Mayville and Ripon and about 45 physical therapists and physical therapist assistants total. Collectively the staff is highly educated with a great amount of experience. Talk to your physician about your needs; and if physical therapy is right for you we will be here to get you back to where you need to be.

 

References:

http://www.apta.org/AboutPTs/

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/WhyTherapy/AboutPTs/

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/NPTM/Default.aspx

http://www.agnesian.com/services/services/physical-rehab-(outpatient)

 

About Sarah Schultz

Sarah is a Licensed Athletic Trainer at Sports, Spine and Work Center. She provides Athletic Training services at Campbellsport High School and provides Industrial Services to the community through WorkSTEPS testing, the Work Hardening Program and doing ergonomic evaluations. She is an avid cyclist and barefoot runner. Sarah’s other interests include dynamic stretching, core strengthening, rehabilitation, muscle recovery techniques, and sports nutrition.

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