Physical therapists improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries and disease. Treatment often includes exercise to improve strength, balance, coordination and endurance for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility. Physical therapists also use electrical stimulation, hot and/or cold compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain, improve the condition of muscles and related tissues, and to reduce swelling. They teach patients to use crutches, prostheses, and wheelchairs to perform day-to-day activities. Most importantly, a physical therapist educates patients and their family members about home care and how to use exercise to speed healing and regain normal function of the body.
A physical therapist can specialize in different areas of the field such as fitness, wellness and sports medicine. They are qualified to work in clinics, rehabilitation centers, acute-care and general hospitals, private and governmental agencies, the school systems with handicapped children, or be self employed.