Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

October is National Physical Therapy month

www.Army.milThe field of Physical Therapy had its humble beginnings back in the days of Roosevelt and the Polio “sanitariums”. The field has progressed over the years advancing from educational requirements of a Bachelor’s degree to that of a DPT or Doctor of Physical Therapy. Sandpoint is blessed with an abundance of Physical Therapists. I find that most people are unaware that Physical Therapists specialize in a wide variety of areas. In fac,t since we all take different continuing education classes, two PTs within the same specialty area may have very different knowledge and treatment styles. A quick look in the yellow pages reveals Physical Therapists specializing in Aquatics, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Sports, Chronic Pain, Women’s Health, Worker’s Comp, Neuro and general Orthopedics. Idaho is a direct access state which means patients are allowed to self-refer to Physical Therapy and DON’T have to go to their MD, NP, PA-C first. In fact, even if your provider recommends a certain therapist, you still can go to whomever you like.

This is also open enrollment season for Medicare. Medicare is increasingly interested in wellness and keeping their patients out of the hospitals and nursing homes and has generous Physical Therapy benefits. Many therapists are treating the 65 and older crowd for orthopedic injuries, joint replacements, or chronic pain, but we also can help for generalized conditioning. Often people are great at regular exercise until they have some event that interrupts their routine and then become deconditioned. Physical Therapy may be a way to have your strength, movemen,t and/or balance evaluated and then design a rehabilitation program to get you back in the habit of regular exercise. Research has shown that people of ANY AGE can still gain strength.

If you are 65 or older and have fallen at least once in the past year with an injury or twice without an injury, Medicare wants you to have a Falls Risk Analysis. Your provider should be asking you about falls at each visit, but if they forget, be sure to let them know you have been falling. Balance and falls increase with increasing age.   It is important to have a Physical Therapist evaluate the range of motion and strength of your hips, knees, and ankles in addition to performing a simple balance assessment. Treatment for balance deficits is very successful, but it usually will take 12 weeks for strengthening to occur, so be patient!

There will be a free Medicare Info Fair at the Heartwood Center on Thursday, October 23rd from 9-4 where people can speak to Medicare insurance providers and listen to various talks.

Mary Boyd, MS, PT is the owner of Mountain View Physical Therapy and a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council. She can be reached at 290-5575 for questions.


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