National Physical Therapy Month
During the month of October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) commemorates National Physical Therapy Month by encouraging physical therapy facilities and practitioners to openly celebrate the profession and to convey to the public the role of physical therapy in todays healthcare. This years focus is on the nations obesity epidemic and the importance of physical activity for adults and children. The APTA has eloquently described physical therapy as the science of healing and the art of caring. These descriptions encompass the knowledge base, skills and compassion found within the profession.
As of January 2002, all physical therapy students graduate with an entry-level masters degree (MPT) or a clinical doctoral physical therapy degree (DPT). A DPT credential is similar to the designation given to a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) or a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC). Maryland is a direct access state for physical therapy. This means you may see a physical therapist directly without a physicians prescription, although Medicare and some insurance plans still require one.
Physical therapy practitioners provide services aimed at the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of physical ailments related to injury, disease and other medical conditions. Millions of Americans, have experienced the benefits of physical therapy. Physical therapy can improve a persons quality of life by lessening pain, improving mobility and optimizing physical function.
As in most other medical professions, physical therapists may specialize in certain aspects of care based on their experience, continuing education and interest. The APTA recognizes this diversity by offering membership in various sections and specialty certifications in various areas of expertise, such as orthopedics, neurology, geriatrics, sports medicine and pediatrics.
Physical therapy clinicians can practice, teach and perform research in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, homes and schools. A consultation with a physical therapist involves performing an examination, establishing a physical therapy diagnosis and developing a treatment plan designed to address the clients problems.
Key goals would include the resolution of the current problem, aiding in the prevention of the conditions progression, and educating in the prevention of future injury. Depending on the nature of the problem or condition, treatment may include hands-on manual therapy for joint mobility and muscle relaxation; exercise therapy to improve muscle flexibility, strength and coordination; and the use of biomechanical or biochemical modalities to aide in pain reduction and tissue healing. Education for postural correction, proper body mechanics and self-management for home, work and recreational activities are also critical aspects of physical therapy intervention.
I invite you to contact a physical therapist or to visit a facility to learn how physical therapy might be of benefit to you or someone you know. To learn more about physical therapists, the APTA and the National Physical Therapy Month focus on the obesity epidemic, please visit www.apta.org.
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