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Physical Therapy

Definition VA Physical Therapy refers to the therapeutic services provided to Veterans through the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. It involves the assessment, treatment, and prevention of physical disabilities, injuries, or disorders using various techniques such as exercises, manual therapy, and assistive devices. The goal of physical therapy is to improve Veterans’ functional abilities, overall health, […]


VA Physical Therapy refers to the therapeutic services provided to Veterans through the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. It involves the assessment, treatment, and prevention of physical disabilities, injuries, or disorders using various techniques such as exercises, manual therapy, and assistive devices. The goal of physical therapy is to improve Veterans’ functional abilities, overall health, and quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Physical Therapy is a crucial component of the VA benefits, aiming to improve veterans’ mobility, restore physical function, and help them manage long-term physical disabilities or injuries.
  2. Qualified veterans can access a wide range of physical therapy services, including exercises, manual therapy, aquatic therapy, and specialized treatments like prosthetic/orthotic fitting and training.
  3. Receiving Physical Therapy through VA benefits typically requires a referral from a VA healthcare provider, and the services are provided at various VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, or contracted community care providers.


The VA benefits term “Physical Therapy” is important because it refers to a crucial aspect of rehabilitation and healthcare services provided to eligible veterans to improve their overall well-being and quality of life.

For veterans recovering from injuries, dealing with chronic pain, or managing a disability, physical therapy plays a vital role in enhancing their mobility, strength, and functional capabilities.

This targeted therapeutic approach, offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, ensures that veterans receive personalized and evidence-based treatment plans designed to address their specific needs and challenges.

Ultimately, physical therapy contributes significantly to the holistic care of veterans, fostering their independence, and empowering them to lead fuller, more active lives.


Physical therapy, an integral component of the VA benefits package, serves to optimize veterans’ mobility, function, and overall quality of life after facing physical injuries, neurological conditions, or enduring long-term wear and tear on their bodies. Highly skilled physical therapists work closely with veterans to develop personalized treatment plans that cater to their unique needs and goals.

The primary purpose of physical therapy is to empower veterans to maintain their independence, overcome physical limitations, and facilitate their reintegration into daily activities, both socially and occupationally. These dedicated professionals employ a variety of evidence-based techniques and modalities to support veterans through their recovery paths, including therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, and assistive device training.

Moreover, physical therapy seeks to provide holistic support for the veteran population by addressing not only their physical needs, but also their mental and emotional well-being. Physical therapists play an essential role in educating veterans on preventive measures to minimize the risk of further injury or functional decline, empowering them to become active agents in their own healing processes.

By consistently monitoring progress and adjusting therapeutic plans as necessary, physical therapists strive to foster a sense of accomplishment and renewed self-confidence in their veteran clients. With steadfast commitment to patient-centered care, physical therapy practitioners work both independently and as part of multidisciplinary teams, liaising with other healthcare practitioners to optimize the recovery journeys for veterans and ensure a continuity of care that supports their return to living their lives as fully and healthily as possible.

Examples of Physical Therapy

Veterans Rehabilitation Program: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a comprehensive rehabilitation program to assist veterans recovering from a service-related injury or medical condition. Physical therapy services, as part of this program, help veterans improve their mobility, manage pain, and regain independence in daily activities. One real-world example is the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where veterans receive one-on-one physical therapy sessions and group classes to address their specific needs.

Physical Therapy for Veterans with Prosthetic Limbs: Many veterans who have lost limbs due to combat or service-related injuries receive prosthetic devices to help them regain functionality in their everyday lives. Physical therapists play a crucial role in this process, providing specialized therapy to help veterans learn to use and adapt to their prosthetic limbs. The Center for the Intrepid, located in San Antonio, Texas, is a state-of-the-art facility that specializes in prosthetic rehabilitation and works closely with the VA to provide comprehensive care for veterans.

Integrative Health and Wellness Programs: The VA provides various integrative health and wellness programs that include physical therapy services as a treatment approach for managing chronic pain, PTSD, and other service-related conditions. For example, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) in California provides an interdisciplinary program that includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other services to help veterans develop tailored plans for coping with and managing their symptoms.


FAQs about Physical Therapy for VA Benefits

What is the eligibility criteria for receiving physical therapy benefits under VA?

To be eligible for physical therapy benefits, a veteran must be enrolled in VA healthcare. They should have a proven medical need for physical therapy services related to their military service or any other health condition. The ultimate decision for the eligibility will be determined by the VA.

What types of physical therapy services are covered under VA benefits?

VA benefits cover various physical therapy services, including manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, electrotherapeutic modalities, pain management techniques, functional training, prosthetic training, and other evidence-based interventions, as deemed appropriate by the veteran’s healthcare provider.

Do VA benefits cover inpatient and outpatient physical therapy services?

Yes, VA benefits cover both inpatient and outpatient physical therapy services. Eligible veterans can access these services at VA medical facilities or through community care providers approved by the VA. The choice and location of services depend on the availability and the specific needs of the veteran.

Can I receive physical therapy services from a non-VA provider at VA’s expense?

Yes, you may be eligible to receive physical therapy services from a non-VA provider through VA’s community care program. However, certain eligibility criteria must be met, such as having a service-connected disability, being unable to access VA facilities due to geographical reasons, or facing an excessive wait time for the services to be provided at the VA facility.

How do I request physical therapy services under VA benefits?

To request physical therapy services, consult with your primary care provider at your local VA facility. They will determine your eligibility for these services and determine the most appropriate physical therapy treatment plan for your condition. In some cases, a consult or referral may be required for you to receive physical therapy services.


Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation
  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Manual Therapy
  • Therapeutic Exercises

Sources for More Information

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