It’s hard to believe fall is already here again. With October, comes cooler weather, colorful leaves and National Physical Therapy Month. The first national recognition of physical therapists was celebrated in June of 1981 and was only a week long. Now that we have a whole month of appreciation, we focus this time on the benefits of physical therapy and all the professionals that help patients get stronger with every step.
Why do physical therapists (PT) and physical therapist assistants (PTA) deserve their own month? PTs and PTAs help patients improve movement and manage pain. Their work is an important part of rehabilitation and pain management. PTs and PTAs use a variety of medical techniques to help their patients. They design exercise programs, teach patients how to avoid overexertion, perform various forms of massage, as well as apply multiple types of dedicated treatments.
Improvement Beyond Opioids
No one should have to live with pain, but there are safer alternatives to opioids. According to the CDC, “On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.” Physical therapy provides an alternative to pain medication for patients by treating pain through movement and education. With the promotion of PT Month in October, patients and advocates are encouraged to choose physical therapy and use #ChoosePT in their social media posts to show raise awareness.
Challenges of Being a PT or PTA
Physical therapy is a professionally and personally rewarding career, however, it is hard work. As with any career in healthcare, there are specific stresses and challenges PTs and PTAs face. It can be disheartening to know there isn’t a magic fix to struggles or setbacks for both patients and PTs alike. When your patients have suffered from a traumatic injury or debilitating illness, it can be emotionally difficult to stay positive. PTs and PTAs see patients in some of the hardest times of their lives, but helping them overcome their challenges can be a powerful experience. Helping patients regain mobility and independence with treatment plans is extremely rewarding and why most of get into the business.
Show Your PT Appreciation
There are multiple ways to show your appreciation to physical therapists and assistants this month. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) suggests sharing resources from ChoosePT.com, using #ChoosePT in your social media posts and participating in PT Day of Service on October 12th. Take a moment this PT Month to recognize physical therapists and assistants in your life for the important role they play in the healthcare industry. These caring people help their patients manage chronic conditions, overcome debilitating pain and rehabilitate from illness or injury, all while maintaining a positive outlook.
Make sure you, the PT or PTA, are taking care of yourself as well. It can be easy to delay self-care when you spend your days with patients and your evenings with paperwork. It’s important for you to keep yourself fit and healthy so you can provide the best care for your patients. Take your own advice and develop daily healthy habits to practice. Be sure to take a moment this month and look at all you have accomplished. Reflect on a few success stories and acknowledge the value you bring to your patients’ lives. We appreciate you this month and throughout the rest of the year!