Physical Therapy Awareness Month is not only a time to celebrate the profession, but it is a time to share the numerous benefits associated with physical therapy. 2023 is the 31st year of this special occasion. What originally started as a week-long celebration in conjunction with the annual conference of the American Physical Therapy Association in the Month of June was later moved to October 1992 and has – over time – transitioned into a month-long celebration. Many believe that physical therapy is only for those suffering from certain illnesses and injuries; however, physical therapy is actually beneficial to everyone!
Reduction in Physical Activity
As fall arrives, the weather cools down. It has been estimated that most individuals are less physically active during this time of year. Physical therapy is a means of self-care that can boost emotional health, psychological health, and physiological health.
Physical Therapy is not just for those recovering from various illnesses and injuries. It is also for those that want to prevent illnesses and injuries.
Furthermore, physical therapy has been established as an effective treatment for emotional and mental health disorders. Just like the proper diet and appropriate amounts of exercise, physical therapy is an activity that can instantly optimize your overall health!
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a type of treatment for various illnesses and injuries. It may also be used as a preventative health measure to boost both physiological and psychological health.
The methods utilized in physical therapy include massage, heat, and exercise.
Many people choose to actively participate in physical therapy rather than having medications prescribed, medical procedures, and surgery.
While considered to be an alternative form of therapy, it has been established as being highly effective.
Do I Need a Referral to Receive Physical Therapy?
Generally speaking, no, you typically do not need a referral from a medical doctor for physical therapy. However, there are some instances where a referral is needed. This usually stems from the guidelines associated with your health insurance company.
You should contact your insurance company directly to determine if a referral is needed. While on the phone with the company, you will be able to find a provider that is covered by your plan that is in close proximity to your area.
Is a Physical Therapist a Doctor?
A physical therapist is not a medical doctor. They are unable to write prescriptions. To become a physical therapist, the professional must earn a doctorate in the profession. This provides them with the initials “DPT” to their name. Additionally, many physical therapists will use the term “Dr.” prior to their name to indicate that they are a doctor in the physical therapy field.
What are the Main Benefits of Participating in Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is designed to aid people of all ages and in all circumstances. It provides treatment to those that have certain medical conditions, mental health conditions, illnesses, emotional issues, and injuries that limit the ability to move and function appropriately in their day-to-day lives.
It is also highly beneficial for those that simply have a desire to optimize their overall health. In all actuality, physical therapy is beneficial to everyone. The following outlines the main benefits of participating in physical therapy:
- Pain Reduction and Elimination – Many people who experience pain will engage in physical therapy to find that their pain levels are reduced or completely eliminated – all without the use of potentially harmful medications and risky medical procedures. Components of care may include massage, ultrasound technology, and/or electrical stimulation for pain reduction.
- Mobility Improvement – Physical therapists work closely with those that suffer from mobility complications. The goal is to restore movement. A customized care plan is created to ensure that you get the care that you need to stand, walk, and move with ease – including being fitted with assistive devices.
- Balance Improvement – When you initiate the process of working with a physical therapist, the professional will screen you to determine if you are a fall risk. If so, you will be provided with exercises and activities that are designed to safely improve your balance and coordination efforts. If the issue stems from the functioning of the body’s vestibular system, the therapist will utilize special techniques to restore the functionality of the system in order to improve your balance.
- Vascular Management – If you suffer from a vascular condition, physical therapy can assist in helping the body heal itself through increased circulation, reducing mobility issues due to the restrictions imposed by the condition, reducing numbness, strengthening any component of the body that is weakened by the condition, and more. By reducing the symptoms of the condition and improving circulation, you will find that you are more capable of physical activity and that your overall quality of life improves.
- Help with Metabolic Disorders – If you suffer from a metabolic disorder – such as obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes – participation in physical therapy will benefit you. Exercise has been found to be highly productive in controlling blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol – all of which contribute to the onset of metabolic disorders.
- Age-Related Issues – As we age, our bodies change. Some become stiff and sore. Others develop arthritis. There are those that find that they lose muscle mass and strength. The good news is, physical therapy can help with all age-related problems.
- Women’s Health Issues – Many physical therapists provide techniques that place a special emphasis on issues that are common with women. Examples include breast cancer, lymphedema, reproductive health complications, and more!
- Men’s Health Issues – Just like the assistance provided to women, there are physical therapists that provide assistance to men and their unique health issues – such as male pelvic health, constipation, and more.
- Mental Health – Many do not realize it, but physical therapy is highly beneficial to those experiencing emotional or psychological problems. Physical activity, massage, and other treatments have been found to increase the levels of serotonin in the body. As a result, a person’s mood and general emotional health are instantly boosted. There are many techniques used by physical therapists that also aid in reducing depression and anxiety.
- Preventative Health – Due to the types of treatments that are utilized in physical therapy sessions, those that participate are able to prevent many future mental and physical health problems. This is because of the fact that the treatments help in increasing balance, coordination, strength, and mood. As strength is improved, the body’s immune system is also improved. Those that engage in physical therapy are less likely to fall, experience an injury, or develop serious illnesses.
Contact Us Today
This October, we here at Back to Motion encourage you to celebrate National Physical Therapy Awareness Month by signing up for physical therapy sessions. Even if you just utilize the services and techniques provided just during the Month of October, you are sure to find that you experience nearly instant results. We offer a wide range of services and activities that are sure to optimize both your physical health and your mental health.
Examples include balance training, vestibular therapy, dry needling, and customized treatment plans for all areas of the body. If you want to prevent illnesses and injuries, we recommend connecting with us now. If you already have an illness or injury, we can assist in the healing process and help you get back on your feet quickly! To learn more, contact us today.