National Physical Therapy Month occurs every October as a way to build awareness of the role of physical therapy in our communities. Physical therapy is most often known for its corrective and rehabilitative purposes, but physical therapy can also be considered a valuable preventive practice to help avoid injury.
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a healthcare service that aims to improve quality of life through restored function and movement. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants deliver treatment in a variety of settings as they address the unique needs of each patient. From inpatient rehabilitation, acute care, and skilled nursing to home health and outpatient settings, physical therapy aims to improve endurance, strength, balance, and movement in order that individuals can live their life to the fullest.
Physical Therapy Can Impact Your Day to Day.
Often times, we may not realize the role physical therapy can play in our recovery and management of day-to-day issues. Below are just a few examples where physical therapy is a key ingredient to recovery and management of symptoms.
Following Hospitalization: After a diagnosis or one of the following events, it is common to have a need for assistance in returning to higher levels of independence:
- General weakness following any hospital stay.
Management of Chronic Conditions. Regular physical activity and exercise plans are vital to managing conditions such as:
- Obesity and Diabetes
- Some Cancers
- Heart Disease
Pain Management: Through dry needling and other modalities, physical therapy can address many common pain symptoms to keep patients moving:
- Neck and Back Pain
Vestibular and Balance Management: Dizziness or instability can often lead to hospitalization or an inability to function at the highest level. The below areas are often addressed with physical therapy.
- Fall Risk
- Balance Improvement
Accessing Physical Therapy
In some cases, physical therapy may be prescribed by a physician upon hospital discharge, or as a transition of care settings, or because of a recent illness or injury. A newer method in accessing physical therapy services directly is called “direct access” where you can schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist without a referral. If the physical therapist believes you can benefit from further treatments, coordination with your primary care physician will occur.