What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy is a popular form of healthcare treatment that seeks to improve mobility, reduce pain, and establish a better quality of life. This can be achieved through manual therapy, electrotherapy, and exercise therapy.

Physical Therapy can help with injury and illness such as:

  • TMJ
  • Sciatica
  • Heart Disease
  • Sports Injury
  • Pain Relief
  • Arthritis
  • Vertigo
  • Rehabilitation (post surgery, or traumatic event)
  • Prosthesis

Physical Therapy is administered by qualified health professionals known as Physical Therapists (also known as Physiotherapists).

Physical Therapists

Education requirements of Physical Therapists within the United States varies from state to state, but on average it takes 7 years to complete a Physical Therapy course load (4 years undergraduate + 3 years PT focus). In some cases, a 6 year (3 years undergraduate + 3 years PT focus) fast-track program is offered. Upon completion of both programs, a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree is awarded.

Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs) are under the direct supervision of a Physical Therapist. PTAs can receive accreditation within a two-year program.

Learn more about education requirements from the American Physical Therapy Association.

After a degree has been received, PT’s and PTA’s must take an examination in accordance with state law to receive a license to legally practice Physical Therapy within that territory.

Verify your PT/PTA is licensed in your state or jurisdiction here.


In certain cases, Physical Therapists will specialize in the following areas:

  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Sports Therapy
  • Pulmonary
  • Cardiovascular
  • Women’s Health
  • Orthopedic
  • Neurological

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