Dear Dr. EmsanaCare. How can a physical therapist help me?

A physical therapist, often called a PT, is a health specialist trained to help your body recover after sprains, fractures and other injuries of muscles, joints and bones. At EmsanaCare, we know that physicians frequently refer patients to PT because it’s our second-most common referral from primary care doctors.

Physical therapy has gained a lot of notoriety recently. Celebrities like Jennifer Anniston and P Diddy, frequently see their physical therapists to keep their muscles and joints in the top shape their active lives demand. LeBron James has used PT since early in his career and many credit his long-term dominance in the NBA to his physical therapy and recovery diligence.

Former NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning recovered from four, potentially career-ending neck surgeries. Yet, late in his career Payton was able to shatter the NFL passing record for most touchdowns in a season. He attributes much of his success to his physical therapy regimen.

So, if you have sore muscles, tendons, ligaments or joints that are keeping you from enjoying activities you like, or you just happen to punish your body like Tom Cruise, ask your primary care doctor if PT is right for you.

Dear Dr. EmsanaCare. I have back pain, can a physical therapist help me?

When you have back pain, it’s common to think that lying in bed and limiting physical activity will help. However, modern back pain research has shown that the opposite is true: it’s best to keep moving. Physical therapists understand the causes of back pain and can help you keep active while minimizing the chances of reinjury. Because back pain is often associated with poor posture and weak core muscles, a physical therapist may recommend strengthening exercises that will aid in recovering your full range of motion, and do so safely.

Dear Dr. EmsanaCare. What kind of training is required to become a physical therapist?

To practice as a physical therapist in the U.S., you must earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and pass a state licensure exam. Preparation requires a bachelors degree plus 3 additional years of training in a doctorate of physical therapy (DPT) program.

Physical therapists can have a profound effect on someone’s life. Whether you want to increase or maintain fitness, need some help recovering from last weekend’s warrior contest (with yourself), or help with that sore shoulder, ask your primary care doctor if PT is right for you.

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