Physical therapy helps develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability to a body threatened by age, injury, disease or environmental factors. Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention and rehabilitation. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well being. It involves the interaction between physical therapist (PT), patients/clients, other health professionals, families, care givers, and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists. Physical therapy is performed by either a physical therapist or an assistant (PTA) acting under their direction.
PTs utilize an individual's history and physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis and establish a management plan, and when necessary, incorporate the results of laboratory and imaging studies.
Physical therapy has many specialties including cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic, orthopedic and pediatric.