A physical therapist’s role in the recovering of people from injuries is to help rebuild strength and movement in the parts of their bodies that are hurt. Many people who suffer from accidents or become disabled through an illness seek a physical therapist. You might go see a physical therapist if you are an injured athlete looking for rehabilitation, if you are an elderly person to make daily life tasks easier, after surgery to help your recovery, or even from an impairing disease over the long-term. Physical therapy is no new practice; in fact it has been around since around 460 B.C. according to the National Archives and Records Administration. A physical therapist’s priority is to examine your current state of injury and make a treatment plan based off of that. There are many places you will find a practicing physical therapist. They may be found in hospitals, outpatient clinics, in sports, and nursing homes just to name a few. Physical therapists are important in the sports field especially, they help athletes to recover quicker and get them back in the game. According to APTA physical therapists are experiencing amazing employment conditions with just a 0.2% unemployment rate and the employment rate is expected to grow by 39% from 2010 to 2020. To become a physical therapist, one must graduate from an accredited education program and then pass a state-administered exam. A physical therapist may have assistant practicing under them who deliver their treatments to the patients under the supervision of the physical therapist.
The history of physical therapy dates all the way back to around 460 B.C. when it was first proposed. The first physicians Hippocrates Galenus were the first practitioners of physical therapy, advocating massage, manual therapy techniques and hydrotherapy to treat people. “Massage is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being, and as a recreational activity.” (Kolt) “Manual therapy is a physical treatment primarily used to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability; it most commonly includes kneading and manipulation of muscles, joint mobilization and joint manipulation.” (Cusack) “Hydrotherapy involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment.” (“Hydrotherapy”)
Events which had an effect on a global scale called for rapid advances in physical therapy towards the end of the 19th century when modern physical therapy was established. Women were recruited to work with and restore physical function to injured soldiers during WWI and the field of physical therapy was institutionalized. The first physical therapy school was established at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) was organized by Mary McMillan in 1921. (“History of Physical Therapy”)