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The Facts About Physical Therapy

There is a high probability that you already know what a physical or an occupational therapist does, even if you have not been treated by one personally. It is likely that you have heard about how a therapist helped a friend or family member get through a knee surgery, a shoulder Injury, or recover from a hand injury. But, who are we? How are we trained? How is a PT different tom an OT? How might we be able to help you?  Abiity would like to share with you our background and give you the facts about therapists .... 

What is a Physical Therapist?

Physical Therapists (PT's) are licensed health care professionals who diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional status in all age populations. Following a one-on-one, hour long evaluation of an individual's impairments, a physical therapist designs an individualized plan for physical therapy care for each patient.

A PT is able to choose from a wide array of therapy interventions in order to alleviate impairments, improve functional status, promote overall fitness, reduce risks of re-injury or progression of impairment and improve a patient's quality of life as it relates to movement and health.

What is a Occupational Therapist?

Occupational Therapists (OT's) are Incensed health care professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and management of upper extremity dysfunction. This includes any type of injury from the shoulder down to the fingertips. An occupational therapist or physical therapist may choose to specialize and become certified as a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). In order to receive this title, a therapist must have a minimum of five years of clinical experience, including 4000 hours of direct practice in hand therapy, as well as successfully pass a comprehensive exam of advanced clinical skills. Ability is proud to have several CHS in our clinical settings!

What Do Therapists Do?

Physical and Occupational Therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional limitations resulting from, for example, back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, bums, amputations, tendon and ligament tears, stroke, MS, birth defects, and injuries related to work and sports. Therapy care is provided by PT's, OT's, CHT's, as well as physical therapy assistants (PTA's) and occupational therapy assistants (COTA's) who work under the direction and supervision of a PT or OT. Therapists work together as a team to provide therapeutic interventions to treat their patients.These treatments may include exercise. functional training, manual therapy techniques and adaptive devices and equipment, and physical agents and elector therapeutic modalities.

Where Do We Practice?

Therapists have an extremely versatile work arena and are found practicing in hospitals, outpatient clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing homes, retirement communities, patient's homes, education and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial workplaces, fitness centers and sports training facilities. The ability to practice therapy in so many different settings allows for continual career growth and job satisfaction.

Education and Licensure

The minimum educational requirement to become a physical therapist or occupational therapist is a post baccalaureate degree from an accredited-education program. The majority of programs now require a master's degree and many physical therapy programs are transitioning to a Doctor of Physical Therapy, (OPT) degree. During their course of education, students participate in many clinical internships and fieldwork experiences in order to apply their skills in a clinical setting. After graduation, candidates must pass a state-administered national examination for licensure. State licensure is required in each state in which a therapist practices. Therapists are also required to keep up their skills and learn new skills through continuing education courses in order to maintain licensure.

How Do You Find A Therapist That Is Right For You?

Finding the right physical or occupational therapist is similar to finding the right doctor or dentist: a recommendation from family or friends. checking your health insurance network, looking at telephone listings, or doing your own research. Ability Rehabilitation is a wonderful place to start!