Odds are nearly everyone at some point will be referred to a physical therapist to speed recovery from an injury or illness, or some other condition.

Plus, thanks to active baby boomers, physical therapists expect a tsunami of elders seeking relief from aches and pain.

The American Physical Therapy Association describes physical therapists as health care professionals who evaluate and treat people with problems resulting from injury or disease.

They are specially trained to assess joint motion, muscle strength and endurance, function of heart and lungs, and performance of activities required in daily living.

Today, most hold a doctorate of physical therapy from an accredited four-year college or university. The DPT dates to 1992 and is now required for certification as a physical therapist, or PT. Those who previously earned a master’s degree in PT, before DPT, may also be certified.

According to APTA, physical therapists treat disease, injury or loss of a bodily part by physical means, massage, manipulation, therapeutic exercises, cold, heat (including shortwave, microwave and ultrasonic diathermy), hydrotherapy, electric stimulation and light to rehabilitate patients and restore normal function after an illness or injury.

No two patients are alike. Therefore, therapists develop individualized treatments.

APTA’s latest numbers report there are some 200,000 physical therapists licensed in the U.S.; more than 13,000 in Texas, according to May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dr. Diane Schonhoff, who earned her DPT at Boston University, said her work is personally rewarding.

“I help people of almost any age – from infants to 90 year olds – and I love it,” she said. “Recently, a woman in her 90s, who had total knee replacement, was referred to me. We got her through her rehab and she was once again able to drive and do her yard work and all of her other activities.”

Schonhoff practices at Garden Ridge Physical Therapy & Wellness, 18945 FM 2252 in Garden Ridge, or call 651-4826.

Sloane and Jim Wendell are pioneering a unique approach to restoration and rejuvenation at iSofloat using specially designed float tanks.

The therapy includes a dark, buoyant, soundproof tank filled with water and Epsom salts. The water, heated to 93 degrees, is the ambient temperature of human skin.

ISofloat is at 5138 UTSA Blvd., Suite 117. For more, call 382-0748 or visit

Physical therapy services are also available at South Texas Bone & Joint Institute, 5510B Presidio Parkway, Suite 2401, or call 696-2663. The clinic offers a variety of orthopedic surgical treatments including joint-replacement surgery.

Alandra K. Lancaster, who received a master’s of physical therapy, decided to become one after watching her grandfather recover from a stroke.

“I love to help people every single day and there’s nothing more rewarding than that,” she said.

Her clinic is located at Orthopedic PT Centers, 9150 Huebner Road, Suite 115, and can be reached at 479-3334.

Texas doesn’t permit direct access to physical therapists. Patients can see one for an evaluation without a referral; however, a physician’s OK is needed for treatment.

For more, visit to locate one near you.

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