Interesting Facts About Physical Therapy

15 Interesting Facts About Physical Therapy You Need To Know

Top 10 Fun Facts About Physical Therapy


1. The roots of physical therapy began thousands of years ago.

Is it surprising that physical therapy is not new? Hippocrates, a Greek philosopher, was the first to use techniques that led to physical therapy. This was in the year 435 B.C.

2. Physical therapy was first developed in the United States by women.

Physical therapy was first officially recognized during World War I, when civilian female employees of the U.S Army were given the task of rehabilitating soldiers injured by using massage techniques. They were also known as reconstruction aids or re-aides. They were not the independent profession they are today but were trained to assist physicians.

Imagine your physical therapist in a dress? This was the challenge faced by the first U.S. physical therapists.

Marguerite Sanderson was the director of the Division of Physical Reconstruction’s first reconstruction aides. She led the political fight for uniformed attire. She presented her case to Senators, Congressman and the House about whether it was practical to allow reconstruction aides to wear uniformed bloomers instead of skirts.

Mary McMillan, the first reconstruction aide, was born in 1918. She went on to create the Walter Reed General Hospital’s Physiotherapy Department. The war ended and the program was not revived.

She and her fellow women founded the American Women’s Physical Therapy Association after the war had ended in 1921. McMillan was elected president, and she is now known as “the mother of physical therapy.”

70% of U.S. physical therapists currently are women, and more men are entering the field.

3. Up to 2014, physical therapists in Sweden were known as “sjukgymnasts”.

Sjukgymnasts is “someone who does gymnastics for the sick.” Per Henrik Ling was the founder of the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in 1813. He created a system for exercises, manipulation and massage for gymnasts at the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics. This is where the name “sjukgymnast” was born.

4. Physical therapy can be done in many places, including a swimming pool.

Physical therapy used to be only available in hospitals up until the 1950s. But now, you can get it in any setting — even in a warm-water pool!

Aquatic Physical Therapy uses warm water properties to reduce pain and improve range of motion. It also builds strength, endurance, balance, and strength.

You can also receive physical therapy in your own home via telehealth or home visits.

5. Children can also benefit from physical therapy.

Physical therapy isn’t just for adults. Physical therapy is not just for adults who have limitations in their ability to live a full life. It also includes many types of play that can be used to help children with disabilities. These conditions include:

  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Down Syndrome
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

6. Telehealth makes physical therapy available.

Telehealth refers to when your healthcare provider uses telecommunications technology such as secure computer networks or phones to provide long-distance medical care.

For your safety and that of their staff, more physical therapists are now offering services via telehealth in the current COVID-19 crisis. Your therapist can help you share your successes and challenges during your telehealth visit. Your therapist will also be able to evaluate and track your progress with exercise and can make any adjustments to your treatment plan.

7. October is National Physical Therapy Month.

Since 1992, the American Physical Therapy Association has reached out to the entire world in October to spread awareness about the health benefits of physical therapy.

8. Highly trained physical therapists.

A doctoral degree is required for anyone who wants to pursue a career as a physical therapist in the United States. The country has over a quarter-million physical and occupational therapists. They may also be able to own their own therapy practice.

The training of physical therapists includes neuroscience, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology. They are well-equipped to treat patients.

9. Physical therapy can be used to treat pain after amputation.

Around 80% of patients who have had a limb amputated experience a painful sensation. Phantom pain is a term that can be so severe it becomes completely disabling.

To provide relief from phantom or severe limb pain, physical therapists may combine several treatment options.

10. Physical therapy is more than just for back pain.

When people think of physical therapy, they often think about back injuries. Physical therapy can treat many conditions.

  • Prevention of injury and injuries
  • Recovery after surgery
  • Mobility issues
  • Chronic headaches
  • Autism
  • Inner ear dysfunction
  • Concussion
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Parkinson’s
  • Diabetes and other diseases
  • Generalized pain disorders

You don’t need to be in pain in order to see a physical therapy professional. Physical therapy not only treats existing conditions but also improves your health by allowing for mobility and pain-free living.

You can increase your strength and prevent future injuries by using conservative treatments like massage and exercise, along with education to allow you to continue or return with the activities that bring joy to you.

11. Physical therapy was founded in 435 B.C.

Hippocrates, a Greek philosopher, was the first to advocate therapeutic massage and hydrotherapy for treating medical and physical problems. Hippocrates was well-known for having studied anatomy in detail to be able to give such treatment. Later, Aristotle claimed that exercise is the key to good health. Do you sound familiar?

12. During World War I, physical therapy was officially recognized as a profession.

The first official recognition of physical therapy was during World War I when it became the responsibility of civilian Army employees to treat wounded soldiers. They were considered to be physician’s assistants and primarily used massage techniques.

Evidently, one of their first problems was working in skirts. They lobbied Congress to allow them to wear uniformed bloomers rather than skirts.

13. Initially, physical therapists were called “reconstruction aids”.

Women who tirelessly worked to rehabilitate soldiers during World War I became known initially as reconstruction aides or re-aides. Marguerite Sanderson was the leader of the Division of Physical Reconstruction.

Mary McMillan, a 1918 pioneer in physiotherapy, established Walter Reed General Hospital’s Physiotherapy Department. This program was discontinued after the war.

14. In 1921, women founded the first professional association for physical therapists.

Mary McMillan founded the American Women’s Physical Therapy Association in 1921. This was the first association for physical therapy. McMillan was known as the “mother” of physical therapy and became the first president.

Physical therapy was originally a woman’s profession. The first conference of the organization was held in Boston, Massachusetts in 1922. It was attended by 63 reconstruction aids. Now, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), is the name of the organization.

15.Patients save money with physical therapy

This little fact is so important that you didn’t think we would forget to mention it, did you?

Physical therapy has been regarded as one of most cost-saving and least invasive medical treatments. One study found an average 72% savings for patients suffering from lower back pain. Similar results have been reported in other studies. The average cost of traditional medical treatment is around half that of physical therapy.

1) Self-referring to physiotherapy is possible because you are the best judge of your feelings and when you require treatment.

2) Physiotherapy is more than just ice and massage.

3) The best results should be obtained early in the treatment process. That’s why low back pain physiotherapy should be available to everyone.

4) Physiotherapy is most effective when it’s started as soon as your pain is “new”, (the first few days following injury).

5) Physiotherapy is a recommended treatment for back pain and related problems by healthcare professionals.

Physiotherapy is the best treatment for low back pain. It reduces inflammation, increases range of motion, and helps you get back to work. Lower back pain does not necessarily mean that you need to use painkillers. Physiotherapists can prescribe exercises and posture education to help you sit/stand properly. They also provide basic home care advice.

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