Magazine article The Elementary STEM Journal

Physical Therapists, PT Assistants, and Aides

Magazine article The Elementary STEM Journal

Physical Therapists, PT Assistants, and Aides

Article excerpt

The human body is an amazing thing. With 206 bones and over 650 muscles, expertise in how these parts connect is a sought-after skill.

Physical therapists, called PTs, are experts in the human body's function and movement and use these skills to help people. Their job revolves around promoting their patients' ability to "move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability" (APTA). With such an important job, they can't do it alone; PTs frequently have both assistants and aides to help them ensure patients of all ages and backgrounds remain mobile and healthy.

Due to the nature of their work, people who work in physical therapy are frequently moving as they help care for patients. However, the work physical therapy teams do varies by the type of patient. Some PTs specialize in certain types of physical therapy-orthopedics or sports medicine, for example-while others help all sorts of patients with a variety of issues such as pain management or decreased mobility. This type of work requires a strong knowledge of human anatomy and problem-solving skills-that's a physical therapists' specialty. While all bodies are basically structured the same, what works for one patient will not necessarily be the right way for a second patient. Without being able to see inside the body, PT teams rely on observation and patient input to figure out the best way to treat pain and mobility issues. …

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