Physical therapy programs include basic science courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics. More specialized physical therapy classes include biomechanics, neuroanatomy, human growth and development, manifestations of disease, examination techniques, and therapeutic procedures. Physical therapy requires knowledge of all of these areas as well as strong interpersonal skills, in order to be able to communicate with the patient.
Physical therapists help patients with a wide range of physical ailments. Treatment begins by examining their patients, testing range of motion, physical strength, balance and coordination, and other aspects of a patient's condition. Treatment often includes exercises designed to improve the patient's flexibility, strength, and endurance. In some cases treatment includes electrical stimulation, hot packs, cold compresses, and ultrasound treatments. Physical therapy programs usually include exercise programs that the patient is expected to follow at home between sessions with the therapist.