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North Carolina PT Scope of Practice
How is physical therapy defined in North Carolina?
"Physical therapy" means the evaluation or treatment of any person by the use of physical, chemical, or other properties of heat, light, water, electricity, sound, massage, or therapeutic exercise, or other rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purposes of preventing, correcting, or alleviating a physical or mental disability.
What is included in the practice of physical therapy?
The practice of physical therapy includes tests of joint motion, muscle length and strength, posture and gait, limb length and circumference, activities of daily living, pulmonary function, cardio-vascular function, nerve and muscle electrical properties, orthotic and prosthetic fit and function, sensation and sensory perception, reflexes and muscle tone, and sensorimotor and other skilled performances; treatment procedures such as hydrotherapy, shortwave or microwave diathermy, ultrasound, infra-red and ultraviolet radiation, cryotherapy, electrical stimulation including transcutaneous electrical neuromuscular stimulation, massage, debridement, intermittent vascular compression, iontophoresis, machine and manual traction of the cervical and lumbar spine, joint mobilization, machine and manual therapeutic exercise including isokinetics and biofeedback; and training in the use of orthotic, prosthetic and other assistive devices including crutches, canes and wheelchairs.
Physical therapy further includes:
Examining (history, system review and tests and measures) individuals in order to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention within the physical therapist's scope of practice. Tests and measures include the following:
Alleviating impairment and functional limitation by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions that include the following:
Preventing injury, impairment, functional limitation, and disability, including the promotion and maintenance of fitness, health, and quality of life in all age populations.
What is specifically excluded from the practice?
Physical therapy does not include the application of roentgen rays or radioactive materials, surgery, the practice of chiropractic, or medical diagnosis of disease.
Are there any special trainings or requirements?
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-270.90
21 NCAC 48C .0101
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