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Tennessee PT Scope of Practice

How is physical therapy defined in Tennessee?

Examining, evaluating and testing individuals with mechanical, physiological and developmental impairments, functional limitations and disability or other health and movement-related conditions in order to determine a physical therapy treatment diagnosis, prognosis, a plan of therapeutic intervention and to assess the ongoing effect of intervention.

What is included in the practice of physical therapy?

Alleviating impairments and functional limitations by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions that include, but are not limited to:

    • Therapeutic exercise;
    • Functional training;
    • Manual therapy;
    • Therapeutic massage;
    • Assistive and adaptive orthotic, prosthetic, protective and supportive equipment;
    • Airway clearance techniques;
    • Debridement and wound care;
    • Physical agents or modalities;
    • Mechanical and electrotherapeutic modalities including patient related instruction and electrophysiologic studies (motor and sensory nerve conduction, and somatosensory evoked potentials).

Reducing the risk of injury, impairments, functional limitation and disability, including the promotion and maintenance of fitness, health and quality of life in all age populations.

Engaging in administration, consultation, education and research.

Manual Therapy Techniques

Manual Therapy Techniques – Consist of a broad group of passive interventions in which PTs use their hands to administer skilled movements designed to:

    • Modulate pain;
    • Increase joint range of motion;
    • Reduce or eliminate soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction;
    • Induce relaxation;
    • Improve contractile and noncontractile tissue extensibility; and
    • Improve pulmonary functions.

These interventions involve a variety of techniques, such as the application of graded forces, which are not performed beyond the joint’s normal range of motion. These interventions may be applied to all joints of the body as deemed appropriate.

What is specifically excluded from the practice?

The scope of practice of physical therapy shall not include the performance of treatment where the PT or PTA uses direct thrust to move a joint of the patient's spine beyond its normal range of motion without exceeding the limits of anatomical integrity.

Are there any services with special requirements?

Tennessee PT Dry Needling

Tennessee PT Electromyography


Tenn. Code Ann. § 63-13-103

Tenn. Code Ann. § 63-13-104

Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1150-01-.02

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