According to the World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT), physical therapists operate as independent practitioners, as well as members of health service provider teams, and are subject to the ethical principles of WCPT. Physical Therapists are able to act as first contact practitioners, and patients/clients may seek direct services without needing referral from another health care professional. Currently the entry level in the work force of physical therapy is a doctorate degree. A therapist can hold a DPT (doctor of physical therapy, t-DPT (transitional doctor of physical therapy), PHD, MSPT and PT degrees accordingly. Physical therapists can also hold different certifications and focus on different areas of expertise with further educational training.
Physical therapists work with those who have sustained injuries, disabilities, and restrictions in their physical function and everyday life. Impairments and limitations can be the result of disease, injury, or pathological processes. Physical therapists examine, evaluate, diagnose, develop treatment plans, and provide prognosis and treatment for each patient on an individual basis. Through different modalities such as exercise, joint mobilization/manipulation, ultra sound, soft tissue massage, muscle energy techniques, dry needling, laser therapy, heat/cold, and electrical stimulation to name a few; physical therapists work to restore function, improve mobility, and decrease pain with the goal of re-establishing a patient’s prior functional level.
As a physical therapist I get to help people from many diverse backgrounds. My clients can include adults and children. The great thing about physical therapy is that the treatments can be as varied as one wishes depending on the setting and the population.