The Importance of Physical Therapy Jobs in Treating a Patient

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Home health jobs of the physical therapist assistant require special skills and care. They are skilled health-care workers who perform a variety of techniques such as exercise, massage, heat, and water to help restore physical function in patients with impaired use of their muscles, nerves, joints, and bones.

Physical therapists assistants work directly under the supervision of physical therapists, instructing and assisting patients to learn and to improve functional activities required in their daily lives, such as walking, climbing, and moving from one place to another. The assistants observe patients during treatments, record the patients’ responses and progress, and report these to the physical therapist, either orally or in writing. They fit patients for and help them learn to use braces, artificial limbs, crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and other devices. They make physical measurements to assess the effects of treatments or to use in patient evaluations, determining the patient’s range in motion, length and girth of body parts, and vital signs. Physical therapist assistants act as members of a team, and regularly confer with other members of the physical therapy staff. They may also perform various clerical tasks in the department, such as ordering supplies, taking inventories, and answering telephones.

The treatment of ailments by application of agents such as heat and exercises is very old. For many centuries, people have known of the therapeutic value of hot baths, sunlight, and massage. The ancient Greeks and the Romans used these methods, and there is a long tradition of them in the far northern part of Europe. Since its beginnings in the eighteenth century, the modern medical specialty of orthopedics (which is the treatment of diseases, deformities, and injuries of bones, joints, and muscles -- have made use of the techniques of physical therapy to aid in treatment programs. In addition, other medical specialties have come to rely on physical therapy techniques to meet certain patient needs. For example, the emotionally disturbed have long been treated with hydrotherapy.

By the nineteenth century, orthopedic physicians were already using a form of physical therapist jobs and manipulations to treat the disabled patients. It became fashionable, especially in Europe, for the rich to vacation at resorts featuring hot springs, and baths, heat applications, and massage to relieve rheumatism, arthritis, paralysis, and other disabling ailments, as well as minor aches and pains. Prior to World War I, only a very few people know any physical therapy techniques, and the few who did had learned them during an apprenticeship period with an orthopedic surgeon. However, after the war, with the value of physical therapy jobs better appreciated, the civilian demand for trained workers and for training programs increased. During World War II, the real worth of physical therapy was recognized. Medical teams in the armed forces were able to rehabilitate seriously injured patients and thereby contributed much toward the medical acceptance of this field.

Jobs in physical therapy are concerned with prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation. Their objective is to restore physical function and to prevent permanent disability as much as possible, and to assist people toward maximum attainable performance. For many patients this objective is expressed in terms of activities involved in daily living, such as eating, grooming, dressing, bathing, and the other basic movements that unimpaired people can do without thinking. There are many disorders that cause conditions that physical therapy may alleviate, including fractures, burns, amputations, arthritis, nerve or muscular injuries, trauma, birth defects, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Responding to physical therapy are such symptoms as muscular pain, spasm, and weakness, joint pain, stiffness, and neuro-muscular in-coordination. Patients needing physical therapy services may be of any age and they may be severely disabled, or they may need only minimal therapeutic intervention.

In physical therapist employment, there are many kinds of equipment that can also be used. Mechanical devices, such as parallel bars, stationary bicycles, pulleys, weights, and dumbbells are common. Heat may be applied to the body using a whirlpool bath, paraffin bath, infrared lamp, heating pad, or diathermy, which is a technique for generating heat inside body tissue using a carefully controlled small electrical current. Other equipment is needed to produce ultrasound, which is a sound vibration of extremely high frequency that acts to heat body tissue. Swimming pools are often found in physical therapy departments. Therapy may involve teaching patients how to use corrective and helpful equipment, such as wheelchairs, crutches, orthopedic devices, and some prosthetic tools. Part of the physical therapist careers oftentimes involve with work on improving the emotional state of the patients, preparing them psychologically for treatments. The health team must be attuned to both the physical and the non-physical aspects of patients to assure that physical therapy treatments are most beneficial.

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