Total Care PT: Life Doesn't Have to be a Pain in the Neck

Health &Wellness The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL PHYSICAL THERAPY MONTH! October is fast approaching, and with it comes its share of official “national day” designations, including whimsical days like “National Pumpkin Seed Day.” But did you know that the entire month has been dedicated to National Physical Therapy Month? So, as the leaves are turning and you’re working on your jack-o-lanterns, take the time to learn more about the many benefits of physical therapy. What Is National Physical Therapy Month All About? Among other conditions the general public may not associate with physical therapy are pelvic floor dysfunction, TMJ, cardiopulmonary disease, Parkinson’s, and traumatic brain injuries. Why #ChoosePT? In recent years, National Physical Therapy Month has also focused on the alternative PT offers over opioids. With opioid abuse at an all-time high -- and tragic overdoses on the rise -- alternatives to this class of prescription medication are even more important. The National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that opioid prescriptions have quadrupled in recent years. Yet, the number of people reporting chronic pain has not gone down.

For almost 40 years, physical therapy has been celebrated by official proclamation. And since 1992, October is the month for honoring physical therapists and the important role they play in healing people in pain. In the modern era of social media, hashtags like #UsePhysicalTherapy and #ChoosePT have helped spread the word. Physical Therapy Month allows patients to share their stories about how PT has changed their lives for the better. It also gives physical therapists a forum for spreading the word about the different kinds of treatment patients can receive. Many members of the general public don’t realize that aside from specialized exercises that build strength and flexibility, PT also offers pain management through massage, heat and cold applications, and specialized electronic-pulse devices. What Symptoms and Conditions Does PT Help? Physical therapy tends to be associated with sports injuries, along with chronic problems such as back pain, surgery recovery, and balance issues. Yet, you may not realize the range of problems which physical therapy can help -- both for pain management and to help ease other symptoms. Do you have hand pain and stiffness? Physical therapists treat hand and wrist conditions ranging from carpal tunnel to “trigger finger.” Tennis elbow and rotator cuff injuries can also be aided through PT.

So how can you tell if physical therapy is a better choice than prescription opioids?TheCDCsuggests that if you fall into any of these categories, physical therapy can be beneficial: • Pain comes from fibromyalgia, low back pain, knee arthritis or hip arthritis. These conditions in particular are known for responding well to physical therapy when it comes to pain management. • The pain has lasted more than 90 days, meaning that it has gone from “acute” to “chronic.” • The benefits of prescription opioids don’t outweigh their risks. In the early days after an injury or an operation, painkillers help patients function without crippling pain. But with each day that passes, the risks opioids pose outweigh the rewards. If you’ve become afraid of the pain. Obviously, nobody welcomes physical discomfort. But some people become overly dependent on a pill’s ability to remove all aches and twinges. In PT, pain is a way to determine exactly what needs to be worked on, in order to reduce discomfort down the road.

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