What Is Physical Therapy?

The American Physical Therapy Association describes Physical Therapy as a form of health care that prevents, identifies, corrects, and alleviates acute or prolonged dysfunctions of movement of the musculoskeletal (muscle-joint) system. Disabilities and/or movement dysfunction may be due to injury or strain, or to the normal wear and tear of age leading to weak muscles and ligament. Years of poor posture can also cause muscle disorders. The result is usually pain and restricted movement. Begun in time, physical therapy can often prevent permanent damage and relieve pain and discomfort. If deterioration in a joint is neglected, it might cause life long disability or even complete loss of functions. The physical therapist is a key member of the total health care team, trained to improve movement and function, relieve pain and expand mobility potential through evaluation and programs of treatment, physical therapists can help existing problems and provide preventive health care for people with a variety of needs.