Physical Therapist Maria nunez

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.

Physical therapists typically do the following:

Review patients’ medical history and any referrals or notes from doctors, surgeons, or other healthcare workers

Diagnose patients’ functions and movements by observing them stand or walk and by listening to their concerns, among other methods

Develop individualized plans of care for patients, outlining the patients’ goals and the expected outcomes of the plans

Use exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and equipment to ease patients’ pain, help them increase their mobility, prevent further pain or injury, and facilitate health and wellness

Evaluate and record a patient’s progress, modifying a plan of care and trying new treatments as needed

Educate patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process and how best to cope with challenges throughout the process

Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; neurological disorders, such as stroke or cerebral palsy; injuries related to work and sports; and other conditions.

PAY

The median annual wage for physical therapists was $84,020 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,790.

RELATED OCCUPATIONS

Audiologists

Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat a patient’s hearing, balance, or ear problems.

Chiropractors

Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal adjustments and manipulation, and other techniques to manage patients’ health concerns, such as back and neck pain.

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.

Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides

Physical therapist assistants, sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain.

Recreational Therapists

Recreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses.

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