Definition provided by Association of Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
Physical Therapists (PTs) and Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA's) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.
PT's and PTA's can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PT's examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PT's and PTA's work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
PT's and PTA's provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant practices.