Physical Therapists Diagnose Movement “Illnesses”

For people who are sick, going to the doctor and getting a diagnosis is common sense. But who do you see for diagnosis if you’ve got a movement “illness”? If your knee hurts when you go hiking, you can’t get on and off the floor to play with your kids, or you can’t lift things to do your job, who do you see?

Physical therapists are experts in human movement with doctoral level training and should be your first stop for movement issues. After a comprehensive evaluation, a PT will give you a movement diagnosis. Like a medical diagnosis, your movement diagnosis will describe what’s causing your difficulty with movement. Some examples would be difficulty standing from a chair secondary to decreased force production, scapular down rotation syndrome, or lower crossed syndrome. 

Human movement is complex and influenced by many factors, including the pulmonary,nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, integumentary and musculoskeletal systems. Because of the complexity of the movement system, getting the diagnosis right can be difficult. Physical therapists have extensive training and expertise in human movement and should be your go-to practitioner for movement issues. Getting an accurate diagnosis is important because it sets the road map for treatment. 

Once your movement “illness” is correctly diagnosed, your physical therapist can design the correct treatment plan for your issues. Before you know it, you’ll be back to work or play and moving as well as if not better than before!


About The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the health care system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit www.ppsapta.org.