Physical therapy is a profession well established and regulated whose aim is to offer certain services to the individuals, as well as to populations to help them develop, restore or maintain a maximum ability in their movement during a lifetime. Physical therapy also deals with those circumstances and situations in which function and movement are threatened by the aging process, injuries, environmental factors or disease because appropriate functional movement is crucial to health.
Physical therapy has as objectives to identify and make sure a maximum of quality of human life and movement potential. The areas within which physical therapy operates, are prevention, promotion, treatment or intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. The physical therapy processes involve a lot of elements inter-reacting with each other, such as: therapists, patients, patients’ families, other health workers/professionals, social workers and care givers, and communities. All these human elements have one goal in mind and that is the physical, psychological, emotional and social health and well being of the affected people.
The scope of physical therapy is quite wide and the services offered by this specialty can be received either independently of other health care services or within programs of interdisciplinary rehabilitation. Wherever and no matter how they are provided, physical therapy services have one aim only: to help people gain or regain, maintain or restore their best possible physical functionality. To accomplish their goal, physical therapy workers pursue the following objectives: promotion of well being and health, emphasizing the importance of physical activity; prevention of disabilities and limitations due to various factors; intervention and treatment provision; modification of the access and barriers to different places/areas for those who are physically impaired, to make sure everybody’s participation in their social/community roles fully and, as much as possible, normally. Physical therapy workers have a great contribution to developing local, national and international public health policies and strategies, as well.
Physical therapy is a service provided only by, and/or under the direction and supervision of specialized physical therapy personnel. The service consists of examination/assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care/intervention and re-examination. All these processes take place in a variety of settings designed to serve these specific purposes, such as: hospitals, hospices, health clubs/centers, educational and research establishments, individual homes, out-patient clinics, nursing homes, private offices/clinics/practices, occupational health centers, fitness clubs, etc. In conclusion, physical therapy is a very complex field of activity with a wide range of objectives and whose workers must be specialized and follow a specific code of work and conduct.