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Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023

Improving the Human Experience

Physical Therapy Month Focus

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) celebrates National Physical Therapy Month in October.

The roots of the physical therapy profession run as deep as the early 1900s when a group of less than 300 women were responsible for rehabilitating thousands of injured soldiers returning home from the First World War.

The seed of the profession, planted as 274 charter members in New York City in 1921, has been watered for over a century and has grown into more than 238,000 physical therapists, 111,000 physical therapist assistants and 47,000 student physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

The APTA’s vision for the physical therapy profession is to transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience with a mission to build a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are licensed providers and experts in movement. They are equipped to treat people of all ages and abilities, helping them avoid surgery and prescription drugs, maximize mobility, manage pain and chronic conditions, and improve physical function and fitness. In short, physical therapists can help you avoid issues with movement so that you can live a more fulfilling, healthy and independent life.

This year’s National Physical Therapy Month theme is the “Value of Physical Therapy.” A landmark and evidence-based report by the APTA aimed to quantify the economic value of physical therapy across a variety of interventions and conditions. The results of this report show that the physical therapy services investigated were “clinically effective and delivered net economic benefits, with improvements in patients’ quality of life exceeding the net cost of the care delivered.” Conditions investigated include osteoarthritis of the knee, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, stress urinary incontinence, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), vascular claudication, falls prevention and cancer rehabilitation.

The report demonstrates that, where medically appropriate, “more widespread use of the selected physical therapist services would deliver both health and economic benefits to patients and to the U.S. health care system.”

In recent years, the demand for physical therapy services has grown tremendously as the role of physical therapists as entry-point providers and their part in improving their patient’s quality of life has become more widely recognized. Even as entry-level providers, physical therapists can treat various health conditions across the lifespan.

Additionally, many therapists seek further education to become board-certified clinical specialists in specific practice areas, including geriatrics, pediatrics, pelvic health, sports, neurology, cardiovascular and pulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, wound care, oncology and orthopedics. These specialized providers can offer expertise in treating movement dysfunction and pain due to more specific and complex health conditions across body systems.

Physical therapists genuinely desire to improve patient’s well-being by providing education and restorative services to those presenting with musculoskeletal, neurologic, cognitive, congenital and functional disorders and issues related to chronic pain and pelvic health. Whether it is being able to get up and down off the floor to enjoy playing with grandchildren or returning to a high level of performance as a professional athlete, physical therapists seek to make their patients’ goals a reality.

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, the physical therapy faculty at the LSU Health Shreveport School of Allied Health Professions – Rehabilitation Clinic would like to highlight the benefits of physical therapy for the people of the Shreveport-Bossier Community (SBC). Specialty physical therapy services available to the SBC within the Rehabilitation Clinic include orthopedic, neurologic, pelvic health and wound management physical therapy, as well as subspecialty services related to manual therapy, chronic pain, dry needling, strength and conditioning, virtual reality, balance training, functional electrical stimulation, vestibular rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, lymphedema and concussion management.

While the Rehabilitation Clinic is also home to state-of-the-art facilities and technologies allowing for the highest level of evidence-based care, the faculty makes this clinic unique. Each therapist genuinely desires to provide exceptional patient care and see each patient achieve their goals. You can find more information about the LSU Health Shreveport Rehabilitation Clinic by visiting https://bit.ly/sahprehab.

We are grateful to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants across the country. Even more so, we are unendingly thankful for the physical therapists and physical therapist assistants across the SBC, not only in the Allied Health Clinic. These therapists are what the physical therapy profession is all about. Don’t forget to thank your therapist this month, and if you come across someone needing physical therapy, be sure to let them know how your therapist has helped you!

Matthew Martin, PT, DPT, is a clinical instructor of physical therapy at LSU Health Shreveport School of Allied Health Professions and is a board-certified clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy.


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