​What is Physical Therapy? 

Physical therapy helps patients reduce pain and restore or improve mobility. In many cases, physical therapy helps patients avoid expensive surgeries and long-term prescription medication use. By focusing on restoring function, reducing pain and preventing injury through a variety physical methods, physical therapy can help an individual achieve a healthy, active lifestyle.

Learn about what physical therapists do in this video from APTA​:

Physical therapists can work in a variety of settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics 
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Schools
  • Fitness centers and sports training facilities
  • Homes
  • Hospices

What will you do as a physical therapist?

As a physical therapist and a highly-educated, licensed health care professional, you will help patients improve their quality of life and get them moving again. By using scientifically-based treatment techniques focused on restoring mobility, reducing pain and preventing injury you will help patients prevent and manage conditions, and achieve long-term health benefits.

Every patient is different. You will work with your patients to evaluate their condition and determine the best plan of care that will help them start moving better with long-term results. As a body movement expert, you may also work with patients to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs.

Conditions treated by physical therapists include:​

  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Developmental delays
  • Back pain
  • Balance
  • Headaches
  • Burns
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Hand injuries
  • Pelvic pain
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) 

For more information about the physical therapy profession, visit APTA.org.