Happy National PT Month!
Every fall, physical therapists celebrate the profession’s transformative power during a month of outreach, reflection, and focused communication. October’s National Physical Therapy Month turns 25 this year, and practitioners around the country are taking the opportunity to raise awareness for physical therapy as an alternative to opioids. During this month, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) calls for physical therapists to transcend industry bounds and connect with the public.
The #ChoosePT campaign, which APTA introduced last year, stems from a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that “nonpharmacological and nonopioid pharmacological are preferred (to opiates) for chronic pain.” The report cites evidence that physical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients with common conditions like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and lower back pain reach desirable health outcomes. APTA hopes the campaign will shift the perception of opioid prescriptions from a knee-jerk first reaction to a secondary or tertiary option for chronic pain relief.
On a national scale, the #ChoosePT campaign has earned recognition from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in the form of a “Power of A” gold award, given annually to associations that conduct campaigns showcasing problem-solving, industry progress, innovation, and worldly improvement. APTA’s focused messaging will reach a crescendo during the month of October, when physical therapists are invited to integrate the #ChoosePT toolkit with the National Physical Therapy Month participation guide. The month-long commemoration will amplify the award-winning messaging APTA has been distributing since last year.
The Global PT Day of Service began as a highly visible center point to National Physical Therapy Month. This year, on October 14, physical therapists and support staff from around the world will join the 8,000 participants from 42 countries who, for the past two years, have dedicated an October day to serve our communities. Volunteers treat low-income or uninsured clients at pro bono clinics, assist at baseball clinics and bowling tournaments for individuals with special needs, or clean up trash at local parks.
During National Physical Therapy Month, we will work to continue to promote our trade as an alternative to opioids. We’ll also unite in volunteerism to better our communities on the Global PT Day of Service. APTA’s vision statement discusses “transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.” By the end of October, therapists around the world will have improved the human experience in ways beyond the purely physical.