Every October we celebrate National Physical Therapy Month. This annual occurrence is our opportunity to celebrate the profession and our own physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, who make a difference in patient lives each day. It also gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits of physical therapy, and the importance of physical activity and the role PTs and PTAs play in helping people get moving.
Who are physical therapists?
Physical therapists are experts in human movement and the musculoskeletal system. They diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, with the goal of improving quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed exercise. Physical therapists primarily work with individuals recovering from an injury or surgical procedure, but also care for people who simply want to become healthier and to prevent future issues.
Physical therapists are evidence-based health care professionals who offer cost-effective care that improves mobility and relieves pain, reduces the need for surgery and opioid prescription drugs, and allows patients to actively participate in their own recovery plan that is designed to meet their needs and achieve their individual goals.
What are the benefits of working with a physical therapist?
There are many benefits of physical therapy – from pain reduction to improved movement. But many people are unaware of the extent of the benefits that PT can provide.
Because physical therapy can help to eliminate pain or heal from an injury, surgery may not be needed. And even if surgery is required, physical therapy before surgery can improve your overall outcome. If you are going into surgery stronger and in better shape, the recovery afterwards is faster in many cases.
Physical therapists understand how the body moves with various activities and understand how those activities can increase the risk for specific types of injuries. Through the design of an individualized exercise program, a PT can help to minimize injury risk through increased strength and mobility.
Opioids mask pain without treating the underlying cause of it. Physical therapy not only helps with relieving pain, but it also addresses the condition that is causing the pain in the first place.
Improve Mental Health
Chronic pain and prescription pain medication can lead to depression, anxiety, and isolation. Physical therapy will help to get your body moving and working normally again, releasing “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins.
Manage Diabetes and Vascular Conditions
Exercise can effectively control blood sugar levels. Additionally, people with diabetes may have problems with sensation in their legs and feet. A physical therapist can help provide and educate these patients on proper foot care to prevent further problems down the road and can aide in the development of a customized exercise program.
Keep You Active and Healthy
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services second edition of Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, more than 80% of adults and adolescents are not getting enough physical activity. Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise. For individuals looking to start a new exercise routine, a physical therapist can assess your beginning fitness levels and tailor a plan that is right for you.
Did you know?
5 things you may not know about physical therapy.
- WW I and the 1916 Polio outbreak led to a national and international need for rehabilitation to treat soldiers and children. The field provided career opportunities for woman and in 1918, the term ‘Reconstruction Aide’ was given to those practicing physical therapy.
- Physical therapy is a female-dominant field, making up just under 70 percent of the physical therapist work force.
- Many studies have shown that physical therapy can be more effective than surgery to address knee and back conditions.
- Conditions you may not know can be treated by a physical therapist include dizziness, headaches, concussions, and jaw pain.
- In many states, physical therapists can be seen without a doctor’s prescription, known as Direct Access.
Support National Physical Therapy Month!
During the month of October, we plan to celebrate the physical therapy profession and the incredible, life-changing efforts made by physical therapists. We hope you will join us in raising awareness about physical therapy by sharing resources we post on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Be sure to follow us!
When it comes to your health, you have a choice. Choose more movement. Choose better health. Choose physical therapy.