Advanced Practice PT April 2019

WALK TO WORK DAY A START TO A MORE ACTIVE LIFE

Everyone knows that walking is healthy for us, but not very many people have the chance to stretch their legs. With a busy schedule, you might not have the luxury to get up earlier and get a quick brisk walk in. But that doesn’t mean routines can’t be changed. Walk to Work Day is an unofficial holiday that encourages people to walk more in their daily lives. Finding the time to walk for 30 minutes a day can help you lose weight, reduce the chance of heart disease and diabetes, and improve emotional and mental health. A LITTLE HISTORY Walk to Work Day takes place on the first Friday of April every year and has been celebrated since 2004. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services promoted the holiday with enthusiasm as a way to counter the alarming rise in obesity and health issues throughout the country. Since its debut, Walk to Work Day has been picked up by people, businesses, and organizations across the world to inspire people everywhere to exercise more. OBSERVING THE HOLIDAY To celebrate Walk to Work Day, simply slip on your walking shoes, grab a portable breakfast, and head out the door! Be sure to bring an extra

outfit and shoes with you as walking in high heels, dress shoes, and/or dress attire can be uncomfortable. For people who don’t have the time, try taking a short walk around the workplace during breaks or lunch. Getting in a 15-minute walk during the day will help you feel more refreshed and ready to get back into the grind. You can also invite other coworkers or friends to walk with you. OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION Although Walk to Work Day encourages people to walk, there are other ways to get to work without having to drive. Biking is an excellent means of transportation and can be helpful for people who might have a longer commute. If you don’t own a bike but are still in need of a quick transport between two locations, you can hop on an electric scooter. These scooters have appeared across America over the past year or so and have proven handy for individuals needing to get from point A to point B quickly. Walk to Work Day offers a perfect chance to change up your routine for a more active lifestyle. Let this holiday be the first step in many that will come!

AMID AN EPIDEMIC, PT HELPS CURB OPIOID ABUSE WHY EXERCISE THERAPY SHOULD BE THE FIRST STEP IN RECOVERY

2 • WWW.ADVANCEDPRACTICEPT.COM Today, a startling number of Americans suffer from opioid addiction. According to a report published in the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, more than 4 percent of U.S. adults misused prescription opioids in 2018. Prescription drugs can lead to enough tragic overdoses on their own, but as the physical aspects of addiction set in and prescriptions dry out, addicts desperately turn to more serious drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Opioid addiction is indiscriminate; it can strike anyone of any social class, race, gender, or economic standing. This is one reason the overprescription of opioids over the last two decades, coupled with a more recent flood of street opioids, led to more than 70,000 deaths in 2017. In an effort to stem the tide of opioid- related deaths, the CDC issued a set of

new recommendations to doctors in 2016. They questioned the effectiveness of opioids for the management of chronic pain and encouraged physicians to instead focus on physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other nonopioid pharmacologic options for long-term intervention. Studies show that physical therapy may have the potential to dramatically reduce opioid reliance, abuse, and overdose. In one 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, researchers discovered that, in cases where doctors referred patients suffering from low back pain to a PT as a first-line treatment, the odds that the patient ended up needing an opioid prescription decreased significantly. Other studies have also reinforced the same trend for treatment

post-surgery: When physical therapy is the first recommendation, patients tend to use fewer opioids and actually spend less on treatment in the long run. The evidence seems clear: If patients follow the recommendations of the CDC and consider physical therapy before taking pills, they substantially lower their risk of dependence on and abuse of prescription drugs. Of course, you should always follow the advice of your doctor, but consider requesting a referral to PT first — it’s just a safer, more consistent, and less expensive option. And who knows? It might just save your life!

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