You’ve heard about physical therapy, but what can it bring to your life?  Physical therapy helps restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients with injuries or disease., brought to you by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), is your source for information about how physical therapy can bring motion to your life.

What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapists (PTs) are movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. Physical therapists teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

What does a physical therapist assistant do?

PTAs perform components of physical therapy procedures and related tasks, as directed by a supervising physical therapist (PT). PTAs help patients who have movement difficulties due to injury or disease, by assisting the PT with therapies designed to improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disability. Patients may include accident victims and individuals with short and long-term disabling conditions, such as low back pain, fractures, head injuries, arthritis, heart disease, and cerebral palsy.