What Does A Physical Therapist Do?

Most people have heard of Physical Therapy before. However, many do not know exactly what we do outside of rehabbing injuries or working with people who just had surgery.


Do you think of seeing a Physical Therapist after you've slept wrong and woke up with a stiff neck?


Or every time you begin to workout more your old knee or foot pain flares up?


What about when you don't feel you have the stamina to keep up with your kids or grandkids?


Or how about when your back goes out, do you think of us then?


The majority of you will say no.

When I tell people a session with a Physical Therapist is like working with a personal trainer and a massage therapist at the same time, then they get a better sense of what we do. Though most don't realize that we went to school for 7 years to get our Doctorate and need to sit for a National Physical Therapy Board Exam to become licensed (both of which are not required for the other professions). We literally know the body inside and out (yes we worked on cadavers) and have extensive training in understanding mechanics and various diagnoses.


As movement specialists, we are trained to notice subtle impairments and imbalances within the body to determine the best course of action for you. We review your medical history, perform a thorough evaluation to determine what tissues are contributing to your pain, provide a diagnosis and prognosis for your situation, educate, answer questions, and provide you with a plan to best help your body. Your goals play a big part in our decision making and what you want to achieve by working with us.


When people are in pain, or begin to slow down with age, they don't realize their potential in continuing to participate in activities they love. That is where Physical Therapists can help.


What's something you're not sure if you'll be able to do again?

Do you just want to feel normal and not deal with pain anymore?

Do you want to get around easier?

Are you unsure about where to start but know you want to make changes with your health?


If one of those questions relates to you, send me an email about your situation. There's no need to suffer or limit yourself any longer! catpowell@powerfulpt.com


Now if you're still not sure what a Physical Therapist does, you can check out Conditions We Treat

and/or some other common questions I've been asked:

  1. Do Physical Therapists do more than simply stretch and massage people? Yes, we have an array of techniques and tools that we use when performing manual therapy or neuromuscular reeducation. These can include instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, cupping, rock tape application, joint mobilizations, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), desensitization, stretching, trigger point release, active release therapy, or pain modulation.

  2. Are Physical Therapists any different than personal trainers? Yes, we receive our Doctorate of Physical Therapy after 7 years of schooling and clinical training. As experts of differential diagnosis, exercise prescription, and qualified movement specialists, we understand how to safely treat a person who might have several injuries, impairments, comorbidities or other diagnoses. Personal training and wellness services are within our scope of practice. Collaboration with other specialties ultimately enhances patient care.

  3. Do Physical Therapists only work with athletes? No, our profession works with people of all ages and lifestyles, from infants to the golden years!

  4. Do Physical Therapists only work with elderly in nursing homes or people at risk for falls? No, same as above. Balance training and stability is great for everyone, not just people with balance impairments. However, we can determine what might be causing a person to fall frequently by testing their visual, somatosensory and vestibular systems.

  5. Do Physical Therapists need a degree? Yes, 4 years for a Bachelor's plus 3 years for a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Volunteer and observation hours are a requirement to apply for PT school. During PT school we are required to complete clinical rotations (internships) under the supervision of a licensed PT as part of the curriculum.

  6. Do I need to get a prescription from my Doctor before seeing a Physical Therapist? No, in New York State you can see a PT first without a prescription for 10 visits or 30 days. This can save you long hours in the waiting room and unnecessary co-pays. If you are looking for wellness services such as personal training or massage, no script is needed and we can cater the session to fit your needs.


Are there any other questions that you'd like answered?

You can comment below, email (catpowell@powerfulpt.com), or call/text 631-317-1222. I'd be more than happy to answer them!


If you're interested in working together or would like to share more about your goals and situation first, simply fill out this form.




We Come to You - Long Island, NY  |  info@powerfulpt.com | 631-317-1222 

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​MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: All information on this website is intended for instruction and informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result.

 Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website. 

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