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Physical Therapist Job Description

Debopriya Bose
Physical therapy is a health care profession that aims to maintain and improve movement and functional ability of individuals. Here's more information about this profession.
Physical therapists' job is both demanding as well as challenging. They often work with physicians and health care professionals to restore motor skills, balance, coordination, and overall endurance and physical fitness of people who have met with an accident or are suffering from a congenital disease.
With the increase in life expectancy, the older population is increasing in number. This pushes up the need for rehabilitation and long-term care for them. Studies indicate that the number of physical therapy jobs are going to grow much faster than the average for all other related occupations.

Education and Training

Start with the right kind of education. To be a trained professional, one needs to have at least a master's degree in physical therapy. Doctorates in physical therapy are also given by certain institutes. Individuals applying for these courses need to have a bachelor's degree, which should have prerequisite courses that are required by various universities.
To start with, one should have a science background. However, to be able to practice, graduates must pass state examinations and acquire a state license. Many states require physical therapists to continue taking courses along the way in order to be able practice.

Job Description

Injuries due to accidents can debilitate a person's ability to move around. After the wounds have healed, many individuals are referred by their physicians to physical therapists who help them bring their bodies back to normal working conditions.
These professionals concentrate on improving the motion, flexibility, and endurance of the injured parts of the body. Their aim is to restore proper motor control and relieve any pain or discomfort that the patient may be suffering due to an injury.
They first diagnose the cause and type of injury that the patient suffered and understand the treatment they have undergone. They may also refer to the medical history of patients. Depending upon the findings and understanding of the case at hand, the therapist plans out a treatment regime. Of course, treatment for each patient is unique as per the need.
Physical therapist also recommends proper exercises for patients. They may use massage therapy to improve the conditions of the muscles, and ice and heat compresses to reduce pain and treat swelling. Therapeutic tools include whirlpool baths, ultrasonic machines, infrared, and ultrasonic lamps.
They teach patients how to use stationary bicycles, parallel bars, lift pulleys, and weights. In case patients need to use a wheelchair, braces, crutches or artificial limbs, a physical therapist explains to the patients as well their family members how to use and care for such equipment. They also monitor and maintain a record of patients' progress.
Besides treating those suffering from injuries due to accidents, physical therapy is also useful for neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS or brain injury.
They are also helpful in treating infants and adolescents with congenital birth defects that result in them losing their motor skills, balance, and coordination. For example, physical therapy is recommended for cerebral palsy to help children overcome physical disabilities.
They most commonly work in hospitals and nursing homes. However, they also find employment in sports sector to improve endurance, fitness, and treat injuries of sportspersons. Some schools and universities employ them to ensure the overall health of the students, and of the sports team in particular.
The median annual salary is between US $58,136 and $89,285, and varies according to the location, experience, and type of employment.