Halloween, orange and brown colored leaves, chilly weather and pumpkin-kissed “fill-in-the-blanks” will flood headlines and social media posts. However, we should collectively take a second to recognize National Physical Therapy month. Started by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the purpose of this month-long recognition is to raise awareness of the effectiveness of physical therapy. In addition to recognizing physical therapy’s healing abilities, appreciating physical therapists that provide treatment plans, hands-on guidance, and work alongside their patients on the road to recovery deserve notice. The therapist/patient relationship is important, and the reciprocity of communication and effort is vital to achieving successful outcomes.
Speaking of the therapist/patient relationship, Abby Stanley, PT and Clinical Solutions Consultant at Net Health said, “the most gratifying part of being a physical therapist is helping clients achieve what they didn’t think they’d be able to, like watching someone take his or her first steps without an assistive device after using one for most of their life.”
If it weren’t for physical therapists giving expert care and compassion, patients run the risk of not improving properly or as fully. This can lead to recovery being a much more daunting and, possibly, more expensive journey.
But what is physical therapy?
It’s one of those phrases you may be familiar with or have a gist of its meaning but struggle with defining it. Simply put, physical therapy utilizes specific exercises and equipment that are designed to aid patients in improving and regaining physical ability caused by illness or injuries. Let’s say someone breaks their arm playing football or lost basic mobility due to a stroke; physical therapy may be a solution to recovering motion. The primary goal of physical therapy is to “get you back on your feet” and return to normality, but its usefulness doesn’t end there.
Turning on the news can be a depressing feat these days. One issue that’s garnered nationwide attention lately has been the opioid epidemic. To combat this ongoing health crisis, the APTA started the #ChoosePT campaign, striving to promote physical therapy’s pain management treatments over medications (more information on #ChoosePT’s campaign can be found here and success stories can be viewed here). With pervasive dependence on opioid medications to battle chronic pain, it’s imperative for those dealing with these conditions to be reminded of physical therapy’s safer approach to treatment. Exercises can be used to relieve pain, restore range of motion, and overall functionality. It can also be beneficial to your wallet, as physical therapy can sometimes be used as an alternative to surgery.
The value of physical therapy and physical therapists cannot be overstated. As illustrated, it can help naturally heal injuries, improve bodily functions, possibly avoid high surgery costs, and deter opioid medication dependence and their crushing effects. Physical therapists and their dedication to the therapist/patient relationship need to be celebrated. Not only do patients reap the benefits of physical therapy, but physical therapists can also rest easy, knowing they are making a positive impact for those in need.
Abby said it best.
“So many lives are touched by physical therapy. I am blessed to be a part of an amazing group of caring professionals.”