October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapist Month (NPTM) started in 1981. Originally dubbed “Physical Therapy Week” in June of 1981, the month was moved to October so it wouldn’t conflict with the American Physical Therapy Association’s annual conference that was held each June. What is the importance of National Physical Therapist Month and how can you celebrate it? Let’s find out!
The Goal of National Physical Therapy Month
The goal of NPTM is to raise awareness about the importance of physical therapy in helping people find relief from pain, improve mobility, and live healthier lives. Each year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) chooses a theme for the month. In the past, topics have included specific conditions. A few past themes have been:
- Low Back pain
- Sports injury prevention
This year, the APTA is spotlighting their “#ChoosePT” initiative. Choose PT honed in on the ways the physical therapy community plays a part in raising awareness of the opioid epidemic. The link between opioid drug abuse and physical therapy isn’t abundantly clear, but the problem could stem from medications prescribed for pain. By helping people manage pain with physical therapy and exercise, physical therapists hope to play a major role in combating the opioid crisis.
Celebrating National Physical Therapy Month
Throughout National Physical Therapy Month, physical therapists and clinics encourage their communities to become more active. They also frequently provide free public posture screenings, balance assessments, and fun runs. Some schools may even celebrate the month by:
- Hosting the Physical Therapy Olympics – school staff, parents, and students help organize or participate in wheelchair relay races and other activities
- Creating a challenge – using pedometers to determine who can take the most steps in a week
- Forming a physical therapy quiz – the quiz will have questions relating to physical therapy and how it helps children and the community
These are only a few of the many creative ways NPTM can be celebrated. Some clinics offer gifts and other incentives to patients throughout the month.
Raising awareness about the benefits of physical therapy and how it can be used to take action against opioid addiction is the central mission of National Physical Therapy Month this year. If you’d like to help spread the word of NPTM, just use the hashtag “#ChoosePT” on any of your social media platforms. Each year, the American Physical Therapy Association hopes to continue educating the public on the importance of physical therapy and Ardor Health Solutions hopes to help spread the word!