Community Members - Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association - WPTA.org
Community Members

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This information is made available for Wisconsin residents to learn about how Physical Therapy can help you as well as where you can go in your area for treatment.

Who Physical Therapists Are

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Physical therapists improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Their patients include accident victims and disabled individuals with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, nerve injuries, burns, amputations, head injuries, fractures, low back pain, arthritis, and heart disease.

Therapists evaluate patients' medical histories, test and measure their strength, range of motion, and ability to perform function, and then develop treatment plans accordingly. These plans, which may be based on physician's orders, describe the treatment strategy, its purpose, and the anticipated outcome. After devising a treatment strategy, physical therapists often delegate specific procedures to physical therapy assistants and aides.

Treatment often includes exercise for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility. Using a technique known as passive exercise, therapists increase the patient's flexibility by stretching and manipulating stiff joints and unused muscles. Later in the treatment, they encourage patients to use their own muscles to further increase flexibility and range of motion before finally advancing to weights and other exercises that improve strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. Know a great PT? Consider nominating them for the WPTA PT of the Year Award

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What We Treat

A construction worker with an injured back; a senior citizen with arthritis; an infant with a birth defect; an Olympic athlete; a person who has had a stroke; a child with a disability; a pregnant woman; an overstressed business executive; a diverse group of people, yet each can benefit in some way from physical therapy.

Physical therapists have the rewarding opportunity to make a positive difference in the quality of people's lives. Their work involves extensive contact with people, both patients and other health care professionals.

Physical therapy takes a personal and direct approach to meeting an individual's health needs and wants, whether a patient's goal is walking independently or breaking a high-jump record. Along with the patient and other health care practitioners, the physical therapist shares the hard work and commitment needed to accomplish the individual goals for each patient.

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How Can You Access Physical Therapy

The services of a physical therapist may be accessed directly by contacting the clinic of your choice. The clinic will be able to tell you if you must have a written referral from another health care provider (i.e. physician, podiatrist,or dentist) for the services required. If a referral is necessary, the physical therapist can assist you in securing that referral.

You have a choice in the physical therapist you use. Most insurance policies will cover physical therapy services at a number of different clinics. Please check with your policy and the clinic you are interested in using to determine coverage. Many clinics will also accept private pay patients.

To locate a WPTA member physical therapist in your area, please visit our Find-A-PT Clinic Directory.

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