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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Physiotherapist and Research Scholar, ESIC Model Hospital & PG Research Institute- ESICPGIMSR (Under Govt of India),Rajaji Nagar, Bangalore and General Secretary of Bangalore Physiotherapist Network (BPN) 2017-2020

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6 Oct 2014

October is Physical Therapy Month

National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is hosted by American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) each October to recognize how Physical Therapists help transform society by restoring and improving motion in people's lives.

As part of Physical Therapy Month, we need to raise awareness on how the members of the community can benefit from physical therapy. Our goal should be to educate the public about the profession of Physical Therapy and what Therapists can do for the public to help alleviate pain and achieve health and wellness.
Physical therapy may sound easy to define, but the actual practice of this form of medicine is as complex as the muscles, ligaments, bones, and other body parts it treats. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) defines Physical therapy as: “A plan of care using a variety of treatment techniques that help you move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.”
The healing process doesn’t stop when a person’s external wounds are healed. Many individuals who suffer from injuries or illnesses experience pain and movement limitations even after doctors declare them “healed.” These patients know the benefit of physical therapy, and they are the reason October is National Physical Therapy Month.

Physical therapy uses knowledge of how the body’s skeletal system works together to help patients regain motion they have otherwise lost through pain, scar tissue formation, or other issues. Usually centered around a series of progressive movements, exercises and stretches, physical therapy can make the difference in someone walking again or remaining wheelchair-bound.

Physical therapists are licensed heath care professionals who help improve or restore patients’ mobility and help reduce patients’ pain. Therapists work to educate people on how to manage their pain, and avoid the need for surgery and long-term use of prescription medications. Physical therapists have a doctorate in physical therapy which requires 7 years of training. Since 1988, physical therapists have been able to evaluate and treat patients for their injuries, which gives the patients direct access to the therapy. Patients are able to choose physical therapy without having to see to a doctor if they so choose.

Physical therapists examine, evaluate, and treat patients whose conditions limit their ability to move and function in daily life. Your physical therapist’s overall goal is to maintain, restore, or improve your mobility and help reduce your pain. They will begin by asking you a lot of questions about your health to assess any concerns before treating your condition. They will then evaluate what symptoms you have as well as your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, endurance, posture, joint mobility and your body mechanics (how you walk, bend, stand, and sit).

Therapists have skills to treat a wide range of patients, including children, elderly individuals, and everyone in between. There are many reasons why someone may hurt, including the following: work injuries, car accidents, sports injuries, joint replacements and orthopedic injuries, dizziness, migraines, tendonitis and also pain from repetitive motions. This is just a small list of the many things that your physical therapist can help you with.
The main goal of physical therapy treatment is to improve your overall health and ability to do your daily tasks and recreational activities along with improving any restrictions one may have in movement. When one sees a physical therapist, the therapist develops a plan to address your specific issues and monitor your response to interventions and will adjust this plan as needed to help you reach your highest level of function and wellness.

The various types of treatment one receives in therapy may include soft tissue and joint mobilization, myofascial release, trigger point release, correction of joint alignment, and strengthening and stretching exercises to help your body function more efficiently. The therapists will have access to equipment and machines that will help with decreasing muscles spasms, and muscle imbalances that may be leading to your problems. They also may use different taping techniques to help support the muscles.

All therapy plans are developed by licensed physical therapists and may be implemented by certified staff members. “Physical therapists apply research and proven techniques to help people get back in motion,” states the APTA.  “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. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life.”

A major part of treatment also includes education on special exercises to do at home and alternate ways to perform activities at home that aggravate the injury and create the symptoms. These new techniques will help minimize your pain, lessen the strain on your body, and help to avoid further injury or re-injury. The patient will get valuable information on better lifting techniques, correct sitting posture, and how to have better ergonomics at work and home. Often, your therapist will work with your employer to do work site evaluations so you can stay on the job and continue working without worsening your symptoms.

Here are some helpful tips to remember when going in for your physical therapy evaluation:

• Make specific notes about your symptoms—what movements, positions, or activities make your pain worse? Are your symptoms worse at a certain time of day?
• Write down important information about your medical condition and history even if it seems unrelated to the condition that you are seeing the therapist for.
• Make a list of all your medications (prescription and over the counter), vitamins and supplements you are taking.
• Write down any injuries, incidents or environmental factors that may have contributed to your pain, including any stressful events you may be experiencing.
• Bring any lab or diagnostic reports (x-ray, CT scan, MRI) if available.
• Wear comfortable clothing that won’t restrict movement.

Physiotherapy Brings Motion to Life!

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