October is National Physical Therapy Month. In order to help us celebrate this month of national recognition, it may be helpful to understand what a physical therapist does and how a physical therapist can help you achieve optimal health.
All physical therapists are required to receive a graduate degree – either a master’s degree or a clinical doctorate — from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, assess, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life.
Because physical therapists receive specialized education in a variety of sciences – physics, human anatomy, kinesiology (human movement)– they understand how the body works and how to get you moving again. They know how to manage four of the body’s major systems – musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary (skin) – to restore and maximize mobility. They are able to design personalized treatment plans to reduce the risk of injury whether in everyday activities or sports.
While playing a round of golf or cleaning your house may seem harmless, these everyday activities can result in injury due to abnormal movement, stress on joints and strain on muscles. A physical therapist will work closely with you to evaluate your condition and develop an effective, personalized plan of care. They can help you achieve long-term results for many conditions that limit your ability to move. Physical therapists apply research and proven treatment techniques to help people get back in motion. A physical therapist can help you move freely again without pain, while feeling renewed and ready to move on. They can even help you prevent an injury altogether.
Physical therapists can help reduce and manage pain through many treatment techniques including: manual (hands-on) therapy to restore proper motion in the body’s muscles, nerves and joints; therapeutic exercise to help restore strength, coordination, joint range of motion, and flexibility, and therapeutic modalities to help reduce swelling, control pain, and promote tissue healing. Physical therapy can be a great alternative to medication and surgery for many musculoskeletal conditions. Research shows individuals who receive active physical therapy experience significant improvement in function and decreased pain intensity.
No matter what part of your body hurts, a physical therapist can help you alleviate/manage pain and help you return to participation in your daily activities. To receive more information about how physical therapy can help you move forward, call Direct Physical Therapy at (541) 482-5525.