The Human Movement System


Before I get into what the ‘Human Movement System’ is, let start with a more important question. Why should you see a Physical Therapist? This sounds like a question that may need more context because PTs work in a variety of settings: hospitals, convalescent facilities, outpatient clinics, home therapy, sports teams and the list goes on.  But in actuality the answer is simple. You should see a PT if you are having trouble moving.  Physical Therapists are the movement experts, regardless of what’s causing the problem or what the movement task is.  For some, it is rolling in bed, and others it is changing directions at high speeds for sports participation.  PTs spend 3 years studying every part of the human body and all of its complex systems in order to understand how they interact to ultimately move the body efficiently.  Movement can be limited by more than just a joint or muscle injury. It can be affected by your heart, lungs, brain, nerves, skin and more.  PTs understand how these systems work together and how to find the root of your movement problem.  This is what makes PTs legitimate candidates to be primary care or point of entry clinicians.  In fact this is part of the vision for Physical Therapy and the reason the APTA put together the White Paper and included the Human Movement System in the Identity principal.

Below are some highlights from the APTA White Paper regarding the Human Movement System.   apta

What is the definition of the Human Movement System?

The human movement system comprises the anatomic structures and physiologic functions that interact to move the body or its component parts.

Why are Physical Therapists the Movement System Experts?

  • Physical therapists provide a unique perspective on purposeful, precise, and efficient movement across the lifespan based upon the synthesis of their distinctive knowledge of the movement system and expertise in mobility and locomotion.
  • Physical therapists examine and evaluate the movement system (including diagnosis and prognosis) to provide a customized and integrated plan of care to achieve the individual’s goal-directed outcomes.
  • Physical therapists maximize an individual’s ability to engage with and respond to his or her environment using movement-related interventions to optimize functional capacity and performance.

For more information on the Human Movement System check out the Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast with Karen Litzy.  She interviews Dr. Chris Powers, PT, PhD from the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and they do a great job of discussing the future of Physical Therapy practice and the Human Movement System.karen

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