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Physical Therapists

By:   |   Jul 08, 2018   |   Views: 11   |   Comments: 0

Physical therapy is a health care profession that provides treatment to individuals to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and function throughout life. This includes providing treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors. Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well being. It involves the interaction between physical therapist, patients/clients, other health professionals, families, caregivers, and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists. Either a physical therapist or an assistant acting under their direction performs physical therapy.

Physical therapy has many specialties including cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic, orthopedic and pediatrics, to name some of the more common areas and the physical therapist offers his/her expertise in the aforementioned areas.  Moreover physical therapists help relieve muscle and back aches, chronic problems such as arthritis, even heart and lung issues. Injuries especially caused during sports related incidents are treated by physical therapy as well. Moreover it acts as a stress relieving mechanism.

Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from, for example, back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and injuries related to work and sports. Physical therapists evaluate and diagnose movement dysfunction and use interventions to treat patient/clients. Interventions may include therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy techniques, assistive and adaptive devices and equipment, and physical agents and electrotherapeutic modalities.

Physical therapists as often is the case specialize in a particular area so that they can offer their expertise in a certain area or field. As mandatory for Doctors, Physical therapists too need four years of college, which at the end earns them a certified expert label. This is not commonly renowned and therefore people tend to mistake physical therapists for a coach or counselors at first.

However coaching and counseling is undoubtedly an important aspect of physical therapy. As is seen this is what most of the physical therapists are seen doing. They have to act as counselors guiding the patient as to the exercises they need to do. They sometimes even accompany them during their jogging/walking sessions. They sometimes even guide them during swimming sessions to make sure that they are practices the exercises that they are supposed to.

In many countries, the profession of physical therapy has grown to become the largest allied health profession, in third place only behind medicine and nursing in the number of graduating health care students. Physicians like Hippocrates and later Galenus are believed to have been the first practitioners of physical therapy, advocating massage, manual therapy techniques and hydrotherapy to treat people in 460 B.C. After the development of orthopedics in the eighteenth century, machines were developed to treat gout and similar diseases by systematic exercise of the joints, similar to later developments in physical therapy. In 1887, Physical Therapists were given official registration by Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare. Other countries soon followed. In 1894 four nurses in Great Britain formed the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago in New Zealand in 1913, and the United States' 1914 Reed College in Portland, Oregon, which graduated "reconstruction aides." Treatment through the 1940s primarily consisted of exercise, massage, and traction. Manipulative procedures to the spine and extremity joints began to be practiced, especially in the British Commonwealth countries, in the early 1950s. Later that decade, physical therapists started to move beyond hospital based practice, to outpatient orthopedic clinics, public schools, college/universities, geriatric settings (skilled nursing facilities), rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and medical centers. Specialization for physical therapy in the U.S. occurred in 1974, with the Orthopedic Section of the APTA being formed for those physical therapists specializing in orthopedics. In the same year, the International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy was formed, which has played an important role in advancing manual therapy worldwide ever since.

This world is full of diverse individuals; there are many instances when we come across children with disabilities in our immediate environment or even family. However there are certain cases that can be worked upon and those children can grow up to become as normal as everyone else. For example suppose a child who is born with cerebral palsy has a good likelihood to recover partially by the time he/she is an adolescent provided that the child receives appropriate physical therapy. The mechanism is such that if the brain can receive a certain stimulus, then neurons can begin to form, which fosters the recovery and thus overcoming the disability. Moreover activities requiring mobility are usually a learning process, one is not naturally born how to ride a bike or swim, rather they have t be taught and it can be perfected upon by practice. For example a physical therapist that is teaching a child who cannot crawl can do so by placing the child on his belly on a soft inflated balloon type ball. This would be a gradual process but with consistent endeavor both on part of the child and the therapist, it can lead to a fruitful result. With time, when one sees improvement, the ball can be replaced by a padded board on wheels. Gradually the child would develop the muscle tone and grasp the understanding of the entire process, eventually learning how to crawl.

Older patients that have trouble with a mobility problem usually triggered because of an injury or stroke sometimes also need to teach their body how to walk again. Water walking is an appropriate therapy in this regard. Water walking workouts and water aerobics are a no-impact way to strengthen your body, and good cross training from walking on land. Like all water exercises, water walking is easy on the joints. The water's buoyancy supports the body's weight, which reduces stress on the joints and minimizes pain. Through water walking, the body rebuilds the muscle tone and the brain can regenerate the neurons that may have been affected during the incident or injury.

Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art often practiced for health reasons. It is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: its hard and soft martial art technique, demonstration competitions, and longevity. Consequently, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims. Some of tai chi training forms are well known to Westerners as the slow motion routines that groups of people practice together every morning in parks around the world.

Researchers have found that intensive tai chi practice shows some favorable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. Tai chi's gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.

Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates in Germany. As of 2005, there are 11 million people who practice the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States.

Pilates called his method Contrology because he believed his method uses the mind to control the muscles. The program focuses on the core postural muscles, which help keep the body balanced, and which are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilate's exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles.

There is much to physical therapy that what meets the eye. The benefits are most relevant to the brain functions as most physical therapists aim to control the mind to facilitate body movement and regeneration of muscles. It wouldn't be inappropriate to refer to them as "brain programmer" as essentially that is what is being done. Physical therapy is something that all of us encounter sooner or later in our lives for whatever reason we may be having.

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