Physical Therapy (also known as Physiotherapy) developed during World War I when wounded soldiers required assistance to restore function. Originally called Reconstruction Aids, these women became the first physical therapists. They became organized in the early 1920s and by the 1940's became what we know today as the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Physical Therapy addresses movement dysfunctionsand requires the Physical Therapist (PT) to examine a patient, develop a working diagnosis, and create a specific treatment plan employing therapeutic techniques that among other things restore function, reduce pain, educate, improve mobility, and promote safety. Conditions falling into the movement dysfunction category are expansive and include more than just post-operative rehabilitation for knee replacements and rotator cuff surgeries. Physical Therapy may address rheumatologic disorders such as fibromyalgia, musculoskeletal dysfunction such as a weak core, orthopedic problems such as patellofemoral syndrome, neurologic disorders such as Parkinsons Disease, vestibular problems such as BPPV / Menieres Disease, and even symptoms related to post-concussion.
PTs work and communicate with such healthcare professional as physicians, chiropractors, and massage therapists to develop treatment plans that will produce the best outcome in a patients recovery. A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) may also work with the PT to assist in the care of a patient. Their role is in treating the patient and progressing the treatment plan created by the PT. All PTs receive a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapy program, most of which are now doctorate programs, and take a national license examination that allows them to practice. State licensures are also necessary although state requirements vary.