If you have a musculoskeletal injury or condition, physical therapists can help you recover by improving your mobility, reducing your pain, and restoring your function. While this is widely known, here are some interesting things you might not know about physical therapy (PT).
How did it all begin? The profession of physical therapy began during World War I in response to the need to treat injured soldiers. The benefits of PT have since been proven so great that it is now an integral part of strengthening and recovery.
Where do physical therapists work? Besides physician practices like Tucson Orthopaedic Institute, physical therapists can work in a number of other settings, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.
What else do physical therapists do? Most people probably associate PT with orthopedic rehabilitation, but there are several other types of physical therapy, including neurologic rehabilitation (e.g., working with stroke patients and spinal cord injuries), acute care, post-operative care, cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab, lymphedema management, pelvic floor therapy, and burn/wound care.
Can physical therapists treat anything other than musculoskeletal disorders? Besides disorders of the bones, muscles, and joints, physical therapists can treat balance problems such as dizziness and vertigo (a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear), headaches, concussions, jaw pain (such as TMJ), lymphedema, urinary incontinence, COPD and other cardiopulmonary conditions, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders.
What kind of credentials do physical therapists have? When physical therapy was first recognized as a profession, PTs only had to have a bachelor’s degree to practice. Today PTs have advanced degrees. Masters degrees became the required norm during the 1990s, while most of today’s PT graduates obtain a doctoral degree (DPT).
Do physical therapists do massage? Physical therapy is a hands-on therapeutic treatment. While PTs are trained in massage, it is not the type of massage you may have received from a massage therapist at a spa. Physical therapists use massage to reduce tightness and improve mobility of the muscle, soft tissue, or joint that is inflamed or in pain. It is typically referred to as manual therapy, manipulation, or mobilization. So massage is part of the therapy process to reduce pain and increase mobility.
How many physical therapists are there? In 2014, there were 210,900 PTs in the US. This number is expected to rise by 34% through 2024. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Do I need a referral to receive physical therapy? It depends on where you live. Arizona and 21 other states allow unlimited direct access to PT. This means that you can see a physical therapist as often as you want for as long as you want without a referral from a doctor. However, you should check with your health insurance company first to make sure they will reimburse you for your physical therapy sessions.
For orthopedic physical therapy in Tucson, call Tucson Orthopaedic Institute today. We offer physical therapy in East Tucson [(520) 784-6570] and Northwest Tucson [(520) 382-8201]. Contact your preferred location to make an appointment.