A physical therapist (PT) helps people of all ages reduce pain, improve mobility and strength and prevent or delay disability by using hands-on treatment techniques. A PT can also help people with long-term health conditions manage their symptoms so they can live life to the fullest.

Physical therapy can be used for a wide range of medical issues, including back or neck pain, joint problems, and stroke or brain injury. Some people work with a PT to manage chronic health issues, like fibromyalgia or arthritis, and some use PT to help recover from injuries or surgery.

When you get physical therapy, your therapist will evaluate your condition and develop a plan of care that includes your goals. They may perform hands-on treatments and teach you exercises to do at home. You may have to visit a PT office for treatment sessions that last 30-60 minutes. Your PT might also give you a prescription so that your insurance company will pay for the services.

Many physical therapists choose to complete a one-year post-graduate residency or fellowship program to focus on a specific type of physical therapy. This additional year of training allows them to be considered board certified in that area of practice. Many people also find that working with a board-certified therapist can lead to better results because they are more likely to keep up with the latest research and trends in their field. While it’s important to understand the reasoning behind your treatment plan, don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t agree with something your therapist is doing or if you’re uncomfortable with a particular part of the process.