Physical therapy or physiotherapy (often abbreviated to PT) is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that remediates impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention (therapy using mechanical force and movements). It is performed by physical therapists (known as physiotherapists in many countries).
Physical therapy is a professional career which has many specialties including sports, neurology, wound care, EMG, cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, orthopedics, women's health, and pediatrics. Neurological rehabilitation is in particular a rapidly emerging field. PTs practice in many settings, such as private-owned physical therapy clinics, outpatient clinics or offices, health and wellness clinics, rehabilitation hospitals facilities, skilled nursing facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, education and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial workplaces or other occupational environments, fitness centers and sports training facilities.
In addition to clinical practice, other activities encompassed in the physical therapy profession include research, education, consultation, and administration. Physical therapy services may be provided alongside, or in conjunction with, other medical services.
A Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA) is a health care worker who helps to teach clients to effectively cope with their limitations in movement, daily functioning and activity. A PTA works under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist.
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