Physical Therapy

What is Physical therapy?

Author of Article: DR. Gajanan Bhalerao (PT).

Physical therapy is also called as physiotherapy. Physical therapy or physiotherapy (often abbreviated to PT) is a health care profession that re mediates impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, and physical intervention (therapy using mechanical force and movement). It is carried out by physical therapists (known as physiotherapists in most countries) and physical therapist assistants (known as physical rehabilitation therapists or physiotherapy assistants in some countries). In addition to clinical practice, other activities encompassed in the physical therapy profession include research, education, consultation, and administration. In many settings, physical therapy services may be provided alongside, or in conjunction with, other medical or rehabilitation services, including occupational therapy. [1]

Physical therapy involves the interaction between therapist(s), patients or clients, other health care professionals, families, care givers, and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and diagnosed and goals are agreed upon.[2] Physical therapy is performed by a therapist and sometimes services are provided by a physical therapist assistant (PTA) acting under their direction. Physical therapists and occupational therapists often work together in conjunction to provide treatment for patients. In some cases, physical rehabilitation technicians may provide physiotherapy services.[3]

PTs are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities as well as they would like in their daily lives.[4] PTs use 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. Electrodiagnostic testing (e.g., electromyograms and nerve conduction velocity testing) may also be of assistance.[5]  PT management commonly includes prescription of or assistance with specific exercises, manual therapy, education, manipulation and other interventions. In addition, PTs 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, providing services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. This includes providing therapeutic treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors. Functional movement is central to what it means to be healthy.

Physiotherapists get you moving and keep you moving. Physiotherapists are highly-educated experts in physical function, movement and mobility. They have advanced knowledge of how the human body moves and what stops it moving. Physiotherapists use specialized hands-on treatment to restore, maintain and maximize optimal function and quality of life. Physiotherapists:

  • Assess, diagnose and treat physical symptoms and limited movement caused by injury, aging, disability, or health condition.

  • Help patients understand what’s causing their condition.

  • Work with patients to restore, maintain and maximize movement, flexibility and physical independence.

  • Develop customized treatment plans that help patients take back control.

  • Teach patients how to restore, maintain and/or maximize movement, reduce pain, and manage any chronic symptoms.

  • Teach patients how to stay well, avoid future injury and achieve the best quality of life they can.

A physical therapist seeks to identify and maximize quality of life and movement potential through prevention, intervention (treatment), promotion, habilitation, and rehabilitation.

Habilitation means making somebody fit or capable of doing something.

Rehabilitation means making somebody fit or capable of doing something they can no longer do properly or at all, but used to be able to – i.e. restoring an ability or abilities.

Promotion means the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health.

Physical therapy is a clinical health science

Physical therapy is not alternative therapy. It is a clinical health science. Physical therapists study medical science subjects, including anatomy, neuroscience and physiology in order to acquire the health education needed for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, etc., of patients with physical problems.

The physical therapist works in hospitals, GP (general practice, primary care medicine) practices, and the community. In the vast majority of countries a physical therapist must be fully qualified and registered by law. In order to become registered the physical therapist must have graduated with a university degree in physical therapy or a health science university degree that included a physical therapy course.

A qualified physical therapist is an expert in the examination and treatment of people with cardiothoracic, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular diseases; focusing on conditions and problems that undermine patients’ abilities to move and function effectively.

Physical therapy is based on science

According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, UK:

“Physiotherapy is science-based, committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice and delivery. The exercise of clinical judgment and informed interpretation is at its core.”


What is  physiotherapy – BPT/MPT course ?

BPT- Bachelor of Physiotherapy  is four  year course with 6 months of internship. It is approved course from Maharashtra university of health sciences Nashik.

MPT –Master of Physiotherapy is 3 year post graduate course after BPT.   It is approved course from Maharashtra university of health sciences Nashik.


Physiotherapy has evolved in different field of rehabilitation. There are multiple masters program courses are available in educational institutions.

  1. Master of  Physiotherapy in Musculoskeletal condition

  2. Master of  Physiotherapy in neurological condition

  3.  Master of  Physiotherapy in Cardio Pulmonary condition

  4. Master of  Physiotherapy in community health

  5. Master of  Physiotherapy in sport Rehab

  6. Master of  Physiotherapy in Hand rehab

PhD in Physiotherapy it is four year PhD program under Maharashtra university of health sciences Nashik.

How physiotherapy works ?

The aim of physiotherapy is to help restore movement and normal body function in cases of illness, injury and disability.

As well as treating specific problems, your physiotherapist may also suggest ways to improve your general wellbeing – for example, by takingregular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight for your height and build.

Physiotherapists take a holistic approach, looking at the body as a whole rather than focusing on the individual factors of an injury or illness. The person being treated is directly involved in their own care.

Physiotherapy approaches

Physiotherapists use a wide range of treatment techniques and approaches. Some of these are described below.

Movement and exercise

Physiotherapists use therapeutic exercises designed to improve mobility and strengthen the affected area of the body. They need to be repeated regularly, usually daily, for a set number of weeks.


  1. Physical therapy.

  2. “Policy statement: Description of physical therapy”. World Confederation for Physical Therapy.

  3. “Discovering Physical Therapy”. American Physical Therapy Association. Archived from the original on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2008.

  4. “Physical Therapists”. careerswiki. Retrieved13 November 2014.

  5. American Physical Therapy Association Section on Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management.“Curriculum Content Guidelines for Electrophysiologic Evaluation” (PDF). Educational Guidelines. American Physical Therapy Association. Retrieved 29 May 2008.

  6.  American Physical Therapy Association (17 January 2008). “APTA Background Sheet 2008”. American Physical Therapy Association. Retrieved 29 May 2008


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