I am often asked by friends and family members what I actually do as a Physical Therapist. The next question that follows is how much schooling it takes to earn a degree in Physical Therapy. What I gather is that the general public does not know much about my profession. This blog is a brief summary of the school requirements to become a Physical Therapist followed by examples of techniques or interventions we as a profession can offer our patients.
Students that are interested in pursuing physical therapy have to complete a Bachelor’s program in a science to have the opportunity to apply to Physical Therapy schools. Once the student is accepted into a Physical Therapy Program, he or she will endure a rigorous curriculum over a three year period to earn an Entry Level Clinical Doctorate Degree of Physical Therapy. The Physical Therapy Curriculum consists of traditional classes, hands-on laboratories and 8 to 12 week internships in different settings under the direct supervision of a practicing Physical Therapist. Upon graduation, one must then sit and pass a state licensing exam to receive his or her license to practice Physical Therapy. Finally, a Physical Therapist must complete continuing education requirements to maintain his or her state license.
A Physical Therapist possesses the knowledge to perform the procedures or techniques listed below:
- Clinician procedures to facilitate movement at restricted or painful joints of the spine or extremities
- These procedures utilize different degrees of force to accomplish goals
- Joint mobilizations are high level procedures that require the knowledge few healthcare providers possess
Soft tissue mobilizations
- Clinician procedures used to address soft tissue restrictions, muscle spasms or myofascial restrictions
- Aid in lymphatic drainage
- Utilized to remodel soft tissue that has healed imperfectly following injury
Passive range of motion
- Clinician guided motion of the patient’s extremities
- No active participation from the patient
- Utilized to improve extremity available range of motion
- Clinician generated stretch
- Utilized to gain soft tissue flexibility of extremities or spine
- Usually a static stretch held for 30 to 60 seconds
Joe and I at Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition have earned our Clinical Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree. We have also elected to pursue post-doctoral certifications in philosophies that incorporate manual therapy techniques to facilitate healing of soft tissue injuries, provide pain relief and improve range of motion. Our treatment approaches are based heavily on the above mentioned techniques and procedures along with thermal/electrical modalities to restore function and get patients back to their pre-injury status.
Ed Kinsella P.T. D.P.T. Cert. MDT
Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC
1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3
Allentown, NJ 08501