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Funding physical therapy education, research, and community services


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About Physical Therapy

Discovering Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can improve your ability to move and function, while also benefiting your general fitness and health.  The American Physical Therapy Association describes physical therapists as “experts in the science of healing and the art of caring.”

The Science of Healing

Physical therapists provide conservative management of a wide variety of conditions. In many cases, patients are being sent to physical therapy instead of surgery.  Physical therapists help people of all ages with orthopedic conditions such as low back pain or osteoporosis; joint and soft tissue injuries; neurologic conditions, including developmental disabilities; connective tissue injuries; cardiopulmonary and circulatory conditions; sports injuries; and workplace injuries including repetitive stress disorders.

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, in families' homes, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.

The Art of Caring

When a physical therapist sees a patient for the first time, he or she examines that individual and develops a customized plan of care that promotes the ability to move, reduces pain, restores function, and prevents disability. The physical therapist and the patient then work side-by-side to make sure that the goals of the treatment plan are met.

Therapeutic exercise and functional training are the cornerstones of physical therapist treatment. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may "manipulate" a joint (that is, perform certain types of passive movements at the end of the patient's range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function.

Physical therapists may use other techniques such as electrotherapy, ultrasound (high-frequency waves that produce heat), hot packs, and ice in addition to other treatments when appropriate.  Physical therapists will also work with individuals to prevent loss of mobility by developing fitness and wellness oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

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"Anything of value in life
only multiplies when it is given."
- Deepak Chopra
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