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What is Physical Therapy?

Though most people have heard of Rehabilitation, not everyone knows that physical, occupational and speech therapy fall under Rehabilitation, so I thought I’d explain these therapies in a three-part series starting with physical therapy. Therefore, you’ll be an informed patient if you ever need Rehabilitation care.

A physical therapist helping a senior man to do a lateral arm raise with a dumbell.

About Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a non-invasive health care specialty that helps people develop, maintain and restore maximum body movement and physical function as quickly as possible and to the best of their ability. Physical therapy can help:

  • Relieve pain
  • Improve movement or ability
  • Prevent disability or surgery
  • Recover from a stroke, accident, injury or surgery
  • Improve balance to prevent falls
  • Manage a chronic illness like diabetes, heart disease or arthritis
  • Control bowels or bladder
  • Adapt to an artificial limb
  • Acclimate to using assistive devices like a cane or walker

Before treatment, a physical therapist assesses a patient’s conditions, issues and needs. At Carroll Lutheran Village, we develop customized recovery plans based on each patients’ unique assessment.

About Physical Therapists

Their Role
Think of physical therapists as movement experts. They use hands-on care, exercise and patient education, to help patients with their movement whether that be for those who have an injury, disability or other health condition or those who want to prevent problems from occurring.

They diagnose and treat people of all ages including newborns and those nearing the end of their life. Physical therapists examine each patient, then develops a treatment plan to improve movement ability, reduce or manage pain, restore function and prevent disability.

They help patients achieve fitness goals, regain or maintain their independence, and lead active lives.

Work Location
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, patient homes, schools, sports and fitness facilities, workplaces and nursing homes. Some nursing homes only provide physical therapy to their residents.

At CLV, we provide physical therapy to CLV residents and residents in Carroll County and surrounding counties (e.g. Baltimore, Howard and Frederick counties) in the Health Care Center’s Rehabilitation suite. We also provide care in the home of CLV residents because of our unique partnership with HomeCall.

Education and Licensure
Physical therapists in the U.S. have earned a doctorate degree in physical therapy, accredited by the commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, and passed the state’s licensure exam.

They typically study for three years primarily focusing on biology/anatomy, cellular histology, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, ethics/values, management sciences finance, sociology, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, cardiovascular and pulmonary, endocrine and metabolic and musculoskeletal.

Take Away

Remember, physical therapy can help patients recover from an injury, relieve pain, prevent a future injury or deal with a chronic condition, and it is after a thorough evaluation when a physical therapist can create a patient-centered treatment plan.

Learn more about CLV’s Rehabilitation services and specialties including occupational therapy and speech therapy. If you have any questions about our services, call 443-605-4137.

About the Author

Michael Winebrenner is the director of rehabilitation at Carroll Lutheran Village. He has his doctorate in physical therapy and has worked in the field for over 20 years.

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