If you know a physical therapist, you might want to give them a hug, or say “thank you!” This month is National Physical Therapy Month. “You can do it!” might be something you hear if you are working with a physical therapist. Physical Therapist are the go to professionals when our physical well-being (movement and stability) is compromised. Physical Therapist are professionals who teach, encourage and promote mobility, function, wellbeing and ability. They are trained to be cheerleaders, motivators, and go-getters. A physical therapist is somewhat like personal coach with a plethora of education and knowledge that allows them to treat and evaluate in regards to your physical ability. A physical therapist might work with seniors, children, newborns, adults or teens. They may work in a school, clinic, gym, home or athletic stadium. They may travel with a team or stay long term one on one with a particular individual. A physical therapist may focus on sports medicine, orthopedics, women’s health, neurology, burns or pathology. You may find a physical therapist working in the water on land or with animals. It is one of the most varied professions. But no matter where you look, you will more than likely find a dedicated individual who loves to help people learn how to move.
When it comes to school systems, a physical therapist may work one on one with a child outside of the classroom but working in a classroom with a teacher may just make all the difference in the world. And when it comes to children a physical therapist may just be the ticket to getting your child up and going. Physical therapy can assist your child to function better, learn better, play better and move better.
A physical therapist is your physical equipment specialist when it comes to children with special needs. Whether a child can benefit from a special cushion, unique seat, mobility device or stander, it is a PT who is your go to person to make that happen. Your therapist may use bolsters, wedges, scooters and balls to promote both stability and movement. They may also use modalities and equipment to reduce pain.
Your physical therapist will set goals. These goals are generally developmental in nature but working with parents and teachers, a therapist can help a child reach milestones and set goals that are achievable.
A physical therapist can make therapy fun! By playing games a therapist can get a child to roll, sit, kneel, stand, walk, jump or climb. A therapist will focus on balance reactions and use tools and games to challenge those movements in space so that when the child leaves therapy he can transfer what he’s learned to home or other areas outside of school.
A physical therapist is a posture expert. They can see where things are in line or out of alignment and make suggestions using tools as well as exercises and awareness to help realign bones. By choosing certain activities a therapist can help to strengthen muscles and stretch muscles to create better alignment. This means a better outlook, better socialization and better bodily functions.
Movement makes us happy. A physical therapist can get you moving and that means, your blood is flowing and your brain is happier. Movement releases endorphins and serotonin making our overall well-being that much better.
If you think you, your child or someone you know may benefit from a physical therapy evaluation, contact your local physical therapist or the American Physical Therapy Association. Happy PT Month and keep moving!