A physical therapist is a hands-on health care professional who can help alleviate pain and improve mobility. They are often referred by a physician.
There are nine PT specializations certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. This article will discuss the top five of these: Women’s Health, Clinical Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy (MDT). Each one has unique qualifications.
Sports medicine physicians treat a wide range of injuries to the musculoskeletal system. They also promote a healthy lifestyle to help patients avoid illness and injury. They often work with a team of specialists, including Physical Therapists in Bellevue NE, and athletic trainers.
These healthcare professionals have the training and expertise to get professional athletes like Deshawn Shead back into the game after a serious injury. They can use diagnostic tools, such as x-rays and CT or MRI scans, to determine the severity of an injury.
The challenge for this emerging discipline is that it is not organ/system based so will require significant engagement from existing medical specialties to develop. This creates a danger that it could become subsumed by these more established specialties which would limit the development of the discipline.
Women’s health is a specialized area that encompasses a physical therapist’s knowledge of the female musculoskeletal system and how certain conditions affect women differently than men. This can include conditions like pelvic pain, vulvar vestibulitis (a painful condition) and incontinence.
Women who suffer from these issues often are afraid to discuss them with just anyone, which is why it’s important to find a therapist you trust to be sensitive to your needs. These providers will be able to help you reduce your discomfort and return you to the things that make you happy.
Women’s Health specialists can also help you with prenatal care, pregnancy preparedness and postpartum recovery. They will also be able to assist you with gender-affirming care if you were assigned male at birth or identify as a nonbinary person.
Elderly patients can benefit from physical therapy. This treatment helps them to gain and maintain movement, allowing them to remain independent and healthy without the use of drugs or surgery.
Physical therapists that specialize in geriatrics help seniors with musculoskeletal disorders and progressive neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. They also provide preventative care by teaching older adults how to protect themselves against injuries and how to exercise safely.
Another service that a PT who specializes in geriatrics provides is reducing pain through joint mobilization and applying other techniques. This includes using heat, cold, electrical stimulation or ultrasound. A geriatric PT will also teach their patients how to manage pain through behavioral modification and education. This can include limiting their alcohol consumption, improving posture and learning to break static patterns that may cause injury.
If you have a passion for using electricity to aid your patients, you might want to consider specializing in clinical electrophysiology. This subfield uses electric currents to offer a range of treatments, from wound care to neuromuscular disorders and muscle spasms.
PTs who choose to specialize in this area can administer EMG and nerve conduction studies, which help them determine the location and severity of peripheral nerve or muscle injuries. It’s a rare career choice, and it appears that there is only one accredited residency program in the country that offers this specialty.
In addition to completing the required education and work experience, you’ll need to pass the relevant certification exam. Check out the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties for more information on this process.
Many physical therapists specialize in the care of patients with cardiac and pulmonary disorders. They may work in hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers or at home health agencies.
They also may help people improve their overall fitness through cardiovascular and pulmonary exercises. These include walking, rowing, cycling and jogging, as well as breathing exercises to help manage the symptoms of heart disease.
A great PT understands how all body systems affect movement. They can assess a patient’s entire health picture to find out if there are issues beyond the site of their pain, such as diabetes, heart disease or other underlying problems. They can then prescribe exercise, diet and lifestyle changes to address them. This helps the patient avoid a repeat of the problem.