October is National Physical Therapy Month, led by The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The goal of Physical Therapy Month is to celebrate the positive impact of physical therapists and raise awareness about the many benefits of physical therapy treatment.
When most people think of physical therapy, they think about recovering from an existing injury or surgery. While it’s true that physical therapy plays a critical role in recovery, physical therapy treatment is also used for pain management and injury prevention. According to the APTA, physical therapy is recognized as a natural, safe, and effective alternative to pain medication to treat chronic pain conditions. And because physical therapy treatment incorporates exercise, it’s also known to help people reach their weight loss goals and achieve an overall healthier lifestyle.
Physical therapy is particularly beneficial for older adults living with osteoarthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other chronic conditions that cause pain, weakness, or limited mobility. Physical therapy is also an effective fall prevention strategy for seniors because it helps to improve one’s balance, strength, and flexibility.
In physical therapy, seniors work one-on-one with a licensed physical therapist to learn safe ways to complete everyday activities including walking, negotiating stairs, and exercising. Physical therapy programs for older adults can include stretching, walking, massage, weightlifting, and even electrical stimulation. With the techniques used in physical therapy, seniors can learn to manage pain and avoid many health problems or injuries before they occur, enabling them to stay independent throughout their retirement years.
With so many benefits for older adults, it’s no surprise that physical therapy is regularly offered to residents in retirement living. Some retirement living communities, like Bethany Village, have rehabilitation centers on their campuses to provide residents recovering from a fall or surgery with quality rehabilitative care and physical therapy from the comfort of their community.
During National Physical Therapy month, we recognize the valuable role of physical therapists in restoring the mobility and independence of senior adults. Whether you’re recovering from an injury or illness, living with a chronic condition, or preparing for a planned surgery, physical therapy is a safe and effective way to manage pain and get back to enjoying the activities you love.