What is Physical Therapy?

The field of Physical Therapy is vast, and this can lead to confusion and even misinformation about what a Physical Therapist can do as your healthcare provider.


In the modern healthcare world, though Physical Therapists (PTs) graduate as what we call "generalists"—meaning they are able to treat a vast array of movement dysfunctions in all settings—many physical therapists specialize in a sub-population or a particular setting, taking additional trainings (beyond the yearly requirements to maintain licensure). When you think of a PT, you may consider someone who worked with your family member during a hospitalization; you might picture someone helping a person recover from a stroke; you may imagine an athlete learning to optimize her movement for better sport performance; you may think of someone assisting an individual with mobility in a nursing home. PTs encompass all of these roles—and many more.


As of 2015, patient/clients in all 50 states have direct access to physical therapists, meaning people are able to see PTs as their primary care providers; direct access allows patients to seek evaluation and treatment from a licensed physical therapist without a prescription or referral from a physician. Some states have arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions (i.e. time restraints, visit limitations, previous diagnosis requirements and others). Fortunately in Colorado, there is Unrestricted Patient Access; however, in some states there are provisions that limit patient access to PTs. Here at The Healing Collective Functional & Integrative Medicine, you do not need a doctor's referral in order to seek Physical Therapy services.


As of 2016, all Physical Therapy programs in the US were required to become Doctorate-level

programs (typically 3 years after individuals have earned their bachelors degree), and since that time, all physical therapy grads are Doctors of Physical Therapy. Many PTs who had previously attained their Masters in Physical Therapy (or their Bachelors, prior to the Masters requirement) took advantage of the opportunity to return to school for a "bridge program" to earn their Doctorate. After completing a research project and the doctoral program, which includes four clinical rotations in addition to extensive coursework, Physical Therapists are required to pass the National Physical Therapy Board Exam. Following the Board exam, PTs have to apply for licensure in each state they will practice. After being licensed, PTs are required to continue their education yearly and in order to renew their license, must report these hours to their state board.


(excerpted from the American Physical Therapy Association)

Physical therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base and widespread clinical applications in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function. Physical therapists:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.

  • Restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.

  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.


At The Healing Collective Functional & Integrative Medicine, Jessie Tierney is a Doctor of

Physical Therapy offering movement analysis & optimization, specialized & individualized chronic pain management (including treatment for CRPS and Fibromyalgia), musculoskeletal and neuromuscular assessments & treatment, vestibular evaluation & treatment, functional manual therapy, joint mobilization, skilled exercise & yoga prescription, Frequency Specific Microcurrent, concussion assessment & treatment, post-surgical care, and more. Dr. Jessie is passionate about prevention and wellness, and offers functional movement screens, yoga therapy, wellness workshops, yoga classes, DoTerra essential oils education, and incorporates ways to attain optimal wellness into every visit, whether it is a PT appointment or a Yoga Therapy session. Jessie has specialized training in Functional Manual Therapy, Frequency Specific Microcurrnet, Yoga for Rehabilitation and Medical Therapeutic Yoga. She loves integrating all of these skilled modalities into empowering, truly transformative sessions with her clients.

The benefit of working in an interdisciplinary setting is that the providers at The Healing Collective can collaborate, communicate and coordinate for the highest level of personalized care.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, if you want to recover without drugs or surgery, if you are an athlete or weekend warrior looking to optimize your movement strategies for better performance, if you are seeking speedy recovery from any injury and want treatment that looks at the whole you, you will get great Physical Therapy care with Dr. Jessie at The Healing Collective.

Do you have questions? I'd love to hear from you.

— Move well│Breathe well│Be well —

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