If you have ever had to see a physical therapist, you know just how important physical therapy can be in addressing pain and mobility issues. Since 1992, October has been designated as National Physical Therapy Month to raise awareness about physical therapy and its role in helping people stay healthy and improve function.
The theme of Physical Therapy Month this year is #AgeWell, focusing on healthy aging and the many ways physical therapists help people overcome pain, maintain and improve movement and preserve their independence as they age.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapists work with patients with a variety of conditions, including back pain, arthritis, fractures, head injuries, sports injuries, heart disease and cerebral palsy. Physical therapy can help patients reduce or eliminate pain, avoid surgery, improve mobility and balance, recover from a sports injury or stroke, and manage age-related issues, diabetes and vascular conditions. In general, the treatments and services a physical therapist offers aim to restore, maintain or improve movement and promote overall health and wellness.
Physical therapy is a broad term to describe a number of specialties including:
- Orthopaedic physical therapy for the diagnosis, management and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries as well as post-operative therapy for sports injuries, arthritis, amputations, joint replacements and other procedures.
- Geriatric physical therapy for patients with age-related conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hip and joint replacement, incontinence and balance disorders.
- Neurological physical therapy for patients who suffer from neurological disorders or disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, spinal cord injury and stroke.
- Cardiopulmonary physical therapy, geared toward increasing endurance and functional independence in patients who are being treated for a variety of cardiovascular and/or pulmonary disorders.
- Pediatric physical therapy for children who suffer from a variety of injuries or musculoskeletal disorders and diseases, including developmental delays, cerebral palsy and spina bifida.
- Sports physical therapy for athletes and physically active individuals that is focused on injury prevention, evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation and performance enhancement.
Are you dealing with a musculoskeletal, neurological or cardiovascular health condition that limits your physical movement and affects daily life? If so, you might benefit from seeing a physical therapist. Talk to your primary care doctor about your condition and about whether or not physical therapy might help you.