Obtaining a physical therapy degree involves completing a thorough educational programme. To practice, one will usually need at least a bachelor physical therapy degree, but to become accredited, a masters or doctoral degree is normally required, as is the completion of a national exam and licensing exam.
A physical therapy degree contains a variety of important and challenging subjects, like anatomy and physiology, as well as biomechanics, cellular histology, pathology, biology and neuroscience, to name a few.
Working in this field involves diagnosing and treating a variety of medical problems and disabilities which inhibit people from effective movement and functioning. The therapist will need to examine the patient to determine what could be causing the condition that is making movement difficult or painful, and there after will usually develop a treatment plan.
People of all ages with problems related to injury, disease or ageing can be treated by someone with a physical therapy degree. Sometimes environmental factors also have an impact on the movement problems. The goal of the therapist is to help the patient to develop new ways of moving to increase functioning and decrease their pain.
The work will also often involve helping to exercise injured muscles and joints to prevent the muscle from wasting away from a lack of use. Fitness and wellness oriented programmes will also need to be developed to suit the needs of each patient and to help them to live healthier lifestyles.
The general focus is on attaining, maintaining and improving functioning and movement ability. Areas that may need special attention include strength and flexibility, range of motion, posture and balance, mobility and coordination.
All of this work in helping patients is usually very rewarding. The practitioner will also have the opportunity to interact and consult with various other health care practitioners such as occupational therapists, doctors and nurses. Possible work settings include private practice or clinical setting such as nursing homes, clinics and hospitals. One could also work in rehabilitation centres or gyms, or could work with professional sports teams to assist with proper healing of injuries.
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