Physical Therapy

Modern medicine, with its drugs and advanced surgical methods, has not found the answer to all the disabilities that afflict man. Medical professionals often have to resort to massage, exercise, and other methods of physical manipulation to treat certain diseases and conditions. Also known as physiotherapy, physical therapy can trace its origins to England in the late nineteenth century, when The Society of Trained Masseuses was formed by nurses and midwives hoping to give official recognition to their massage practices.Physical therapists deal with musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, and neurological conditions. Patients who require physical therapy include those with permanent disabilities, those who have lost the function of their limbs due to an accident, or those with disabling conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, head injuries, cerebral palsy, and low back pain.Apart from restoring function, relieving pain, and improving mobility, physical therapists also help to maintain overall fitness and health. Through a range of exercises, and with the help of other stimulants such as hot and cold compresses, they help patients improve flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Physical therapists also help patients get used to assistive walking devices such as crutches and wheelchairs. The aim is to encourage such patients on the road to recovery and to help them function effectively at work or at home.Physical therapists practice either privately or in a hospital, or in a fitness center or clinic, with almost 25% working only part-time. Physical therapy is a demanding job, requiring strength and high fitness levels. A physical therapist has to be able to lift a patient and will often spend most of his time crouched or bent over a patient. Physical therapists often have to work over weekends to fit in with a patient’s schedule.Considered a part of conventional medicine, physical therapy requires considerable training. Many universities in the U.S. offer graduate programs in physical therapy. On graduation, physical therapists also have to pass a licensure exam before they can practice in any state in the U.S.Physical therapy often achieves what medicine cannot, making it a deeply satisfying and challenge field of work.

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