Also commonly referred to as a PT, a physical therapist works in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists typically evaluate and treat patients with physical symptoms/conditions. As stated by the American Physical Therapy Association, a physical therapist “examines, diagnoses, and evaluates the extent of physical problems requiring physical therapy interventions, and treats patients who are suffering from physical injuries or disabilities by teaching them various therapeutic exercises and activities that strengthen muscles, improve mobility, and relieve pain.”
With so many varying types of roles in the healthcare industry, and even in the physical therapy category, it’s no wonder people get confused. Here are some of other questions we get asked about:
How is a physical therapist assistant different?
A physical therapist assistant, also referred to as a PTA, is also someone who helps patients in this same environment. While they must have proper certifications themselves, PTAs work under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist. At OSI Physical Therapy, we have both physical therapists and physical therapist assistants on our staff.
Where do physical therapists typically work?
Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants can work all over the world, in settings such as private clinics, rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, nursing homes facilities, colleges and in the military.
When should I see a physical therapist?
Whether you experience chronic pain, have recently suffered an injury, want to correct bad form/posture, want to work on strength and flexibility, or even just want to prevent injury –– physical therapy offers an extremely wide range of services that benefit many prevalent issues. For more information, check out this great article on some of the many benefits physical therapy can offer.
Do I need a doctor’s referral for physical therapy?
No, a prescription or doctor’s referral is not necessary for most people to be seen by a physical therapist. However, some insurances such as Medicare/Medicaid do require a prescription. It’s always smart to call your insurance provider first, just to make sure.
How should I choose a physical therapist?
We always suggest you start the process first by checking with your insurance provider. That way you will know what your insurance covers, and if anything is required from your doctor. Then, you can always ask your doctor, friends or family for suggestions, or perform a local Google search to find a physical therapist near you. Once you’ve found one or two that you are interested in, feel free to give them a call, some clinics offer a free phone consultation to answer any questions you might have. Keep in mind, you want to find someone who you feel comfortable with, because you are putting your treatment plan in their hands!