Understanding Physical Therapy

Inspirit Physical Therapy

Physical therapy provides services to individuals and populations to increase, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout their lifespan. This includes providing services in circumstances where movement and function are susceptible to aging, injury, disease or environmental factors. Functional movement is central to what it means to be healthy.

Physical therapy is concerned with identifying movement issues and improving quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation, and rehabilitation.  This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Physical therapy involves interaction between the physical therapist, patients, other health professionals, families, caregivers, and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists.

  • Physical therapists are qualified and professionally required to:
  • Undertake a comprehensive examination/assessment/evaluation of the needs of a patient or a client group;
  • Formulate a diagnosis, prognosis, and plan;
  • Provide consultation within their expertise and determine when patients need to be referred to another healthcare professional;
  • Implement a physical therapist intervention/treatment program;
  • Determine the outcomes of any interventions/treatments; and
  • Make recommendations for self-management. 

The physical therapist’s extensive knowledge of the body and its movement needs and potential is critical in determining strategies for diagnosis and intervention. The practice settings will vary according to whether the physical therapy is concerned with health promotion, prevention, treatment, habilitation, or rehabilitation.

The nature of the physical therapy process:

Physical therapy is the service provided only by, or under the direction and supervision of, a physical therapist. It includes examination/assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care/intervention, and re-examination.

Assessment includes: 

  1. The examination of individuals or groups with actual or potential impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions or abilities/disabilities by taking histories, screening, and the use of specific tests and measures.
  2. The evaluation of the results of the examination of individuals/groups and/or the environment, through analysis and synthesis within a process of clinical reasoning to determine the facilitators and barriers to optimal human functioning.
  3. Diagnoses arise from the examination and evaluation, and represent the outcome of the process of clinical reasoning and the incorporation of additional information from other professionals as needed. This may be expressed in terms of movement dysfunction or may encompass categories of impairments, activity limitations, participatory restrictions, environmental influences or abilities/disabilities.
  4. Prognosis (including plan of care/intervention) begins with determining the need for care/intervention and normally leads to the development of a plan of care, including measurable outcome goals negotiated in collaboration with the patient, family, or caregiver. Alternatively it may lead to referral to another agency or health professional in cases which are inappropriate for physical therapy.
  5. Treatment is implemented and modified in order to reach agreed goals and may include manual handling; movement enhancement; physical, electro-therapeutic and mechanical agents; functional training; provision of assistive technologies; patient related instruction and counseling; documentation and co-ordination, and communication. Intervention/treatment may also be aimed at prevention of impairments, activity limitations, participatory restrictions, disability, and injury including the promotion and maintenance of health, quality of life, workability and fitness in all ages and populations.
  1. Re-examination necessitates determining the outcomes.


Contact Inspirit Therapy Associates

Phone: 920.338.9670
Fax: 920.338.9680

Or contact us by mail:

Inspirit Therapy Associates
3208 East River Drive
Green Bay, WI 54301

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