That’s right! The founding of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) occurred 100 years ago in October 1921. Originally known as “reconstruction aides,” physical therapists became noteworthy healthcare providers through the rehabilitation of injured World War I veterans and survivors of the polio epidemic. Through partnerships with surgeons and doctors, physical therapists established themselves as the experts of physical healing and how movement affects the entire body. Over the last 100 years, the profession has expanded into many areas of healthcare, providing physical therapy to patients in hospitals, rehab centers, and in the outpatient setting like at Impact. In the spirit of this centennial celebration, here is a pop quiz to see how much you know about physical therapy:
True or False: “Physical therapists can diagnose and treat certain dizziness and vertigo conditions.”
Physical therapists CAN effectively diagnose and treat certain types of dizziness and vertigo. There are several reasons why a person may experience these symptoms including a loss of sensation in the feet, inner ear dysfunction, or vision loss. Certain medications list dizziness as a side effect, and lightheadedness can occur when the heart and lungs are not working properly. In a patient’s first physical therapy appointment, it is the PT’s job to determine the source of vertigo. The PT then provides the proper treatment or a referral to ENT or a neurologist if warranted. And like other conditions, you do not need a referral to see a physical therapist for vertigo or dizziness unless your health insurance requires it.
Which type of headache(s) can physical therapists help with?
B. Cluster headaches
C. Tension-type headaches
D. Neck-related headaches
Answer: C & D
Physical therapists are trained in diagnosing various types of headaches with treatments helping certain headaches more than others. There is strong evidence that manual therapy and exercise can help someone with “postural” headaches that are originating from neck dysfunction. Posture can contribute to tension headaches too. PTs can recommend changes to your workstation and lifestyle to help reduce these headaches.
True or False: “Physical therapists can prevent someone from falling and injuring themselves.”
As we age, our balance system loses its reaction time, strength, and ability to keep us safe as we move about. Injuries and other conditions such as diabetes or arthritis can further inhibit our balance system. Therefore, physical therapists should always look at the safety of your mobility and address areas of improvement during your treatment. Physical therapists can also perform fall risk assessments even if you aren’t in pain or injured. And again, no referral needed unless your health insurance requires it.
Physical therapists continue to make their mark on healthcare by helping restore their patients’ mobility and independence in light of their medical diagnoses. Physical therapy’s success comes from its commitment to personalizing care to the person and helping each person attain their goals. Here’s to another 100 years of “turning adversity into opportunity!”