In a recent article by the American Physical Therapy Association, the industry has changed more in the past 10 years than in the previous 50 years. Last year alone the association saw its ranks grow by more than 33,000 new graduates. In the early years of physical therapy as a form of treatment, the few daring individuals that practiced it mostly dealt with survivors from the war or helped polio patients relieve pain. The main purpose for treatment back then was to ease the pain as most patients were deemed incurable and we’re looking for a better method of dealing with their pain.
Today, it consistently ranks as one of the most desirable careers among youth. Most professional practitioners are using the latest in cutting edge technology to diagnose patients and develop treatments that focus on an overall healthcare approach. The science behind treatment of pain has evolved and equipment that use cryotherapy and lasers has allowed todays practitioners to help patients heal in a non-evasive manor. This allows patients to heal faster from more severe injury, heal in a way that is free from too much pain and better understand the “how” and the “why” of their healing process.
An important aspect of the modern physical therapist is that they are one facet of a team of healthcare professionals that maintain, restore and improve activity in most patients and enable them to have an optimal quality of life. By promoting overall health, wellness and fitness while mitigating risk factors, physical therapists slow the progression of declined functional activity and when working with a team of healthcare professionals, patients can feel at ease about their healing process.
The profession has grown to develop proper examination, diagnosis and intervention techniques, meaning that today’s graduates receive the training required to be able to competently provide evidence based evaluations and treatments. In the past 100 years the response to the use of technology along with a data driven approach to healthcare and as part of an overall total healthcare solution has allowed for an overwhelming amount of patients to heal faster, be better educated about the health of their body and understand the limitations of their body as they recover from injury.