Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

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Physical_Therapy

Physical therapists provide services that help restore
function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or
limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering
from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and
promote overall fitness and health. Their patients include
accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions
such as low back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures,
head injuries, and cerebral palsy.

Therapists examine patients' medical histories, then test
and measure their strength, range of motion, balance and
coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration,
and motor function. They also determine patients' ability
to be independent and reintegrate into the community or
workplace after injury or illness. Next, they develop
treatment plans describing a treatment strategy, the
purpose, and anticipated outcome. Physical therapist
assistants, under the direction and supervision of a physical
therapist, may be involved in the implementation of the
treatment plan. Physical therapist aides perform routine
support tasks, as directed by the therapist. 

Treatment often includes exercise for patients who have
been immobilized and lack flexibility, strength, or
endurance. They encourage patients to use their own
muscles to further increase flexibility and range of motion
before finally advancing to other exercises improving
strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. Their goal
is to improve how an individual functions at work and
home.

Physical therapists also use electrical stimulation, hot
packs or cold compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain
and reduce swelling. They may use traction or deep-tissue
massage to relieve pain. Therapists also teach patients to
use assistive and adaptive devices such as crutches,
prostheses, and wheelchairs. They may also show patients
exercises to do at home to expedite their recovery.

As treatment continues, physical therapists document
progress, conduct periodic examinations, and modify
treatments when necessary. Such documentation is used to
track the patient's progress, and identify areas requiring
more or less attention.

Physical therapists often consult and practice with a
variety of other professionals, such as physicians, dentists,
nurses, educators, social workers, occupational therapists,
speech-language pathologists, and audiologists.

Some physical therapists treat a wide range of ailments;
others specialize in areas such as [[pediatrics]], [[geriatrics]], [[orthopedics]], [[sports medicine]], [[neurology]], and [[cardiopulmonary physical therapy]].

/Qualifications