National Physical Therapy Month is here. Held in October by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), it recognizes the important roles Physical Therapists (PTs) and Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) play in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.
This year the APTA is working with physical therapists to promote “Fit after Fifty.” There are 78 million baby boomers in the United States. According to a 2011 AARP Bulletin Survey on Exercise, approximately seven out of 10 adults ages 45 and older are physically active with walking being the most popular form of exercise. The APTA hopes to keep people moving well into old age.
Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who treat conditions that limit one’s ability to move and function in everyday life. Folks of “a certain age” may start to feel aches and pains that worsen with activity. Physical therapy can help. Through the combination of manual techniques and exercise prescription a PT can help lessen the effects of age by helping improve posture, strength and movement strategies. Physical therapists can help people achieve higher levels of activity, be it playing with grandchildren or improving a golf swing. They can help people recover from strokes or facilitate rehabilitation after joint replacements. They can also help those experiencing balance problems or urinary urgency; things often incorrectly thought of as a normal part of aging.
Dr. Lesley Powers, DPT of Active Recovery Physical Therapy in Oak Hill, enjoys working with the older adult. “I think it’s important for that population to remain active for health and preventative care. By health I don’t just mean physical health but also mental health and general well being.”
Dr. Powers gives an example in which a physician referred a patient with arthritic changes in her back that limited even simple activities like cleaning her home, shopping and going to church. Through careful exercise prescription and manual techniques the patient not only returned to those activities but started a walking program with her daughter.
“It was really rewarding to see a woman who had been sedentary because of pain feel well enough to begin exercising for fitness. She will have valuable time with her daughter as she gains strength, maintains flexibility and loses weight.” says Dr. Powers.
Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are on the front line of keeping Americans moving. Physical therapy helps people manage or eliminate pain without medication and its side effects. At times it can also provide an alternative to painful or expensive surgeries. Physical therapists work hard to provide cost effective care so that people feel renewed and ready to move without pain or discomfort.
Pursuing an exercise program designed by a PT can be one of the best protections from injury. Their knowledge and specialized training results in long term results that allow people to get back to their normal activities.
If you are experiencing any pain or limitations in your daily activities and would like to know more about how physical therapy can help, contact Active Recovery Physical Therapy in Oak Hill and Hico at 304-465-3654 for a free consultation.