New Patients

Unless you or a family member has ever been physically injured, you may not be very familiar with what physical therapy is and how we can help you rehabilitate your injury. This section will explain these. If you decide that you would like us to provide your physical therapy, please review our FAQ section and print our patient forms. Then bring the completed forms to your first visit. This will save you time.

Click the headings below for more information.

The Profession of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy prevents, identifies, corrects and alleviates acute or prolonged dysfunction of movement. Disabilities and/or movement dysfunction may be due to accidents, injury, strain, or to the normal wear and tear of aging leading to weak muscles and ligaments. Years of poor posture can also cause muscle and joint disorders. The result is usually pain and restricted movement. Begun in time, physical therapy can often prevent permanent damage and relieve pain and discomfort. If deterioration in a joint is neglected, it might cause life long disability and loss of function.

Physical Therapy demand growing due to:

  • Increasing Focus on Injury Prevention
  • More Active Population
  • Health Concerns for an Aging Population
  • Increasing Need for Cost-Effective Health Care

Physical therapy was established during World War I with the need to restore function to persons with disabilities in army hospitals and to those with poliomyelitis.

Today, physical therapists treat:

  • People of All Ages and Health Conditions
  • Infants with Birth Defects in Motor Development and Functional Abilities
  • Burns and Wounds to Prevent Abnormal Scarring and Loss of Movement
  • People with Strokes to Regain Movement, Function, and Independent Living
  • Patients with Cancer to Regain Strength and Relieve Discomfort
  • Spine and Extremity Pain, Loss of Motion and Weakness
  • People with Cardiac Injuries to Improve Endurance

Physical therapists also:

  • Teach Preventive Exercise Programs
  • Teach Programs to Promote General Health and Fitness
  • Teach People in Postural Improvement
  • Teach Industrial Safety and Health

As clinicians, physical therapists:

Examine patients
During an examination, the physical therapist performs tests and measurements that provide information about the status of the musculoskeletal, neurological, pulmonary, and cardiovascular systems, and the individual's functional independence. Some examples of typical examinations include:

  • Movement Pattern and Posture Examinations
  • Muscle Performance Examinations
  • Gait and Balance Examinations
  • Neuromotor Development and Sensory Integration Exams
  • Aerobic Capacity or Endurance Examinations
  • Ventilation, Respiration, and Circulation Examinations
  • Identify potential or existing problems
  • Perform tests and measurements
  • Perform evaluations
  • Establish a diagnosis
  • Determine a prognosis
  • Provide interventions
  • Evaluate the success of those interventions
  • Modify treatment to effect the desired outcome
  • Provide prevention and wellness programs
  • Consult
  • Screen
  • Educate
  • Engage in critical inquiry
  • Serve as administrators

Interventions include:

  • Therapeutic Exercises
  • Functional training in self care and home management
  • Functional training in returning to work and community activities
  • Prescription, fabrication, and application of assistive equipment
  • Manual therapy techniques to restore joint movement
  • Airway clearance techniques
  • Debridement and wound care
  • Physical agents and mechanical and thermal modalities
  • Electrotherapeutic modalities
  • Educate their patients
Patient Related Education

Physical therapists use patient-related instruction to educate not only the patient but also families and other caregivers about the patient's current condition, treatment plan, and future transitions to home, work, or community roles.

Specialization

Some physical therapists acquire specialized knowledge through extensive clinical experience and educational preparation in specialty areas of practice. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties certifies physical therapists annually through the administration of a national certification examination. The areas of specialist certification include the following:

  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Clinical Electrophysiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Sports Physical Therapy

For answers to commonly asked questions, please visit our Patient FAQs page.