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Texas Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

How is the practice of Physical Therapy defined in Texas?

“Physical therapy" means a form of health care that prevents, identifies, corrects, or alleviates acute or prolonged movement dysfunction or pain of anatomic or physiologic origin.

The practice of physical therapy includes:

    • Measurement or testing of the function of the musculoskeletal, neurological, pulmonary, or cardiovascular system;
    • Rehabilitative treatment concerned with restoring function or preventing disability caused by illness, injury, or birth defect;
    • Treatment, consultative, educational, or advisory services to reduce the incidence or severity of disability or pain to enable, train, or retrain a person to perform the independent skills and activities of daily living; and
    • Delegation of selective forms of treatment to support personnel while a physical therapist retains the responsibility for caring for the patient and directing and supervising the support personnel.

What is included in the practice of physical therapy?

Physical therapy--The evaluation, examination, and utilization of exercises, rehabilitative procedures, massage, manipulations, and physical agents including, but not limited to, mechanical devices, heat, cold, air, light, water, electricity, and sound in the aid of diagnosis or treatment. Physical therapists may perform evaluations without referrals. Physical therapy practice includes the use of modalities, procedures, and tests to make evaluations.

Physical therapy practice includes, but is not limited to the use of: Electromyographic (EMG) Tests, Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) Tests, Thermography, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), bed traction, application of topical medication to open wounds, sharp debridement, provision of soft goods, inhibitive casting and splinting, Phonophoresis, Iontophoresis, and biofeedback services.

Services specifically excluded from the scope of practice

A person may not engage in diagnosing diseases or in practicing medicine as defined by law on the basis of a physical therapy license.

In practicing physical therapy, a person may not use:

    • Roentgen rays or radium for a diagnostic or therapeutic purpose; or
    • Electricity for a surgical purpose, including cauterization.

Does Texas allow PTs to practice dry needling?

Yes.  Attorney General Opinion

Does Texas allow PTs to practice electromyography?

Yes. Physical therapy practice includes but is not limited to the use of: Electromyographic (EMG) Tests.

Does Texas allow PTs to practice wound care?


Does Texas allow PTs to apply topical medicals?



Tex. Occ. Code § 453.005

Tex. Occ. Code § 453.303

3 Tex. Admin. Code § 321.1

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