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Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

How does Pennsylvania define physical therapy?

"Physical therapy" means any of the following:

  • The evaluation, examination and testing of individuals with mechanical, physiological and developmental impairments, functional limitations and disabilities, other health-related or movement-related conditions, performed to determine a diagnosis, prognosis and plan of treatment intervention within the scope of this act or to assess the ongoing effects of intervention.
  • The performance of tests and measurements as an aid in diagnosis or evaluation of function and the treatment of the individual through the utilization of the effective properties of physical measures such as mechanical stimulation, heat, cold, light, air, water, electricity, sound, massage or mobilization-manual therapy.
  • The use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, including training in functional activities, with or without the utilization of assistive devices, for the purpose of limiting or preventing disability and alleviating or correcting any physical or mental conditions.
  • Reducing the risk of injury, impairment, functional limitation and disability, including the promotion and maintenance of fitness, health and wellness in populations of all ages as well as engaging in administration, consultation, education and research.

The license issued to those practicing physical therapy does not authorize the right to use the title ‘‘Doctor of Medicine,’’ or the right to use drugs administered internally.


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