National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is a time when there is a raised awareness of physical therapists (PTs), physical therapy assistants (PTAs), and how they may help people with pain management to live healthier lives with improved mobility and functionality. NPTM first started in 1981 by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The PTs and PTAs work to identify factors that prevent people from being as active as possible and they play a role in helping others to be more mobile and independent.

Physical therapists help to relieve pain and restore muscle and joint functioning with therapeutic techniques and exercises. People seek PT for any of the following reasons:

  • Pain relief and minimization of opioid usage;
  • To avoid undergoing surgical procedures;
  • Fall prevention;
  • Better balance;
  • Recovery from trauma or injury;
  • Management of age-related medical conditions;
  • Recovery from paralysis or stroke.

Older adults may find PT particularly beneficial for helping with balance, fall prevention, and assistance with lower back pain. Physical therapy can be a safe and effective alternative route to taking medications like opioids to treat chronic pain. With the opioid crisis, it is good to know that there may be safer ways to manage pain.

Physical therapists and those in PT clinics have been encouraged to raise the awareness of the importance of physical therapy, so this could mean that there will be people volunteering free therapy at clinics in certain areas. This could be a great time to seek therapy if that’s something that has helped you in the past or if it’s of interest. Some therapists may offer incentives for you to come to their clinics, so keep your eyes open for opportunities that can be helpful for you.