October is National Physical Therapy Month
National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is a commemoration held each October by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). NPTM is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives, achieving their physical activity goals, and improving their overall quality of life.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapists are evidence-based health care professionals who offer cost-effective treatments that improve mobility and relieve pain, reduce the need for surgery and prescription drugs, and allow patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.
Improve Mobility & Motion
Physical therapists are experts in improving mobility and motion. Pain-free movement is crucial to your quality of daily life, your ability to earn a living, your ability to pursue your favorite leisure activities, and so much more.
Avoid Surgery and Prescription Drugs
While surgery and prescription drugs can be the best course of treatment for certain diagnoses, there is increasing evidence demonstrating that conservative treatments like physical therapy can be equally effective (and cheaper) for many conditions.
Despite extensive efforts to raise awareness of and address the human toll of the opioid epidemic, Americans continue to be prescribed and to abuse opioids at alarming rates. Below are a few short and sweet key messages about opioid use, according to the APTA:
- Prescription opioid use is still alarming. Despite the large number of providers ceasing to prescribe opioids in accordance with the CDC guidelines, there were still almost 58 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 Americans.
- The risk for misusing prescription opioids is real. According to the CDC, every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
- The risk for addiction is real. According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
- The risk for heroin use is real. According to the CDC, among new heroin users, about 3 out of 4 report abusing prescription opioids before using heroin.
- Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management. The most recent CDC guidelines urge nonopioid approaches for the management of chronic pain, like physical therapy.
- There are some situations in which opioid therapy is appropriate. The CDC guidelines indicate that opioids may be appropriate for situations including cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations. Still, the CDC guidelines also suggest pairing opioid therapy with nonopioid therapy, and their prescriber checklist recommends trying nonopioid therapy first.
- Patients have a choice about the kind of treatment they receive. Before accepting a prescription for opioids, patients should talk to their health care providers about related risks and safer alternatives.
Participate in Your Recovery
Physical therapists routinely work collaboratively with their patients. Treatment plans can be designed for the patient’s individual goals, challenges, and needs. Receiving treatment by a physical therapist is rarely a passive activity, and participating in your own recovery can be very empowering! In many cases, patients develop an ongoing relationship with their physical therapist to maintain optimum health and movement abilities across their lifespan.
This information was originally posted on the American Physical Therapy Association website. Click here to check it out.