what is physical therapy, what is a physical therapist, doctor of physical therapy

What is a Physical Therapist?

This post is going to be a little soap-boxy. I’m okay with that. I am going to reference another physical therapist that described this very well. As a physical therapist, I am sick and tired of hearing that people were “prescribed” physical therapy or they are going to do some PT on themselves to help with XYZ. This is disrespectful and I’m going to use my little piece here to correct things.

I am a Physical Therapist, on top of that, I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

What does that mean?

To quote Dr. Jarod Hall, ” I am a highly trained MEDICAL PROVIDER with advanced (doctoral-level) training in the management of patients with neuromusculoskeletal conditions that benefit from skilled human interaction, specific education, graded exposure, manual therapy, and progressive overload.”

I am a Physical Therapist and you don’t “do” physical therapy. You are evaluated and treated by a physical therapist for a condition. Do you say you “tried doctory” (love this from Dr. Hall as well). No, you went to a doctor for a condition and they treated it with their expertise. Their expertise may have been surgery or medication.

Not a prescription

You should not get a prescription to see a physical therapist. You don’t get a prescription to see another doctor. In the event, you have an injury, pain, or neuromusculoskeletal impairment you may get REFERRED to be evaluated and treated by a Physical Therapist.

I am not a medication. I would appreciate to not be referred to as one anymore. I went to school for 7 YEARS to get my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and be the most educated and trained that I can be to work WITH you to solve your limitations.

Do me a favor?

This is a short post. This is a rant-type post and not something that I will normally do. However, I do advocate for my profession. My favor to you that read this is to help us correct the language that is out there. I was recently reading an article from Amanda Brooks of Run to the Finish where she stated: “issues could be resolved with a little extra PT time”. This is in no way a criticism of her, I love her and have been a fan for a long time. This is just an example of the language out there that I’m advocating to change.

My reason for using that sentence is to bring awareness to the profession and the misuse of the terms PT, Physical therapy, etc. You are simply doing exercises, you are not “doing PT” unless you are working directly with a Physical Therapist.

So, back to my favor, help me advocate and promote change in the language that is used for Physical Therapists. Help us receive the respect and credit that we have worked hard to earn.

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Love you all!


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All information should be used as a tool for more knowledge on the subject topic, to use as references for later articles where applicable, or just to keep it in mind during future exercise routines or activities.

This article is not meant to give medical advice or to replace professional health care. Should any ailment occur please contact your doctor or physical therapist immediately to keep yourself safe and prevent further damage.

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What is Physical Therapy?

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