National Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month. What does that mean?

According to Dr. Sharon L. Dunn, President, American Physical Therapy Association: “Since its inception in 1992, National Physical Therapy Month has provided an annual opportunity to recognize and celebrate the transformative power of physical therapy. But this year’s event carries a special importance.”

“America is in the midst of a devastating opioid epidemic, and physical therapy has been identified as part of the solution by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Surgeon General.”

Indeed, the APTA points out that “The CDC recommends nonopioid approaches for chronic pain.”

“In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines urging clinicians to consider opioid therapy “only if expect- ed bene ts for both pain and function are anticipated to outweigh the risks to the patient.” Before prescribing opioids, providers are encouraged to check that nonopioid therapies have been tried and optimized. In cases when opioids are prescribed, providers are encouraged to ‘start low and go slow’ with dosing and to combine with nondrug approaches like physical therapy. Cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations are cited as cases in which properly dosed opioid therapy may be appropriate.”

The APTA further states: “Solving the opioid epidemic will take more than raising public awareness about the risks of prescription opioid use. Improving patient access to physical therapy is essential.”

To learn more, see the APTA’s position paper on opioid abuse and the role of physical therapy.