October is National Physical Therapy Month which provides our professional community an opportunity to further promote awareness and the benefits we passionately pursue in assisting members of our communities. Being an evolving field, many different variety of conditions have been researched and are now treated by physical therapists and can be searched by reviewing the (1) symptoms and conditions described by the American Physical Therapy Association. Also, due to increasing educational requirements for licensed physical therapists there is now greater access to people seeking physical therapy as a source of primary care and prevention (2). If you are interested in improving your health and wellness through the modes of movement and exercise, I recommend searching the American Physical Therapy Academy website to find a locally licensed physical therapist (3).
During the course of this month, I have personally read some great articles already written which are promoting the lesser known parts of our profession. Instead of recreating a similar article, I will direct you to this post titled, 7 Things You Didn’t Know a Physical Therapist Can Do For You (4). You may well be surprised to discover the many parts of healthcare that physical therapists are now entering and how they are helping to improve the lives of a diverse patient population. Instead, with the remainder of this article I would like to highlight an individual’s perspective and personal experience while being part of this great profession.
I chose to become professionally licensed as a physical therapist as a second career while working in finance for a medical device company. I lost two members of my family rather abruptly and too soon, both due to noncommunicable diseases (NCD). NCD’s are defined by the World Health Organization as chronic diseases that are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioral factors (5). Common examples include cardiovascular disease, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. After the grief I experienced, I wanted to selfishly improve my own health and fitness but also passionately wanted to help others so that they might also lessen their risk for developing NCD’s. These life changing events altered the course of my early adulthood development and my professional career goals.
The modifiable risk factors that my make someone more vulnerable to an NCD include tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and the harmful use of alcohol (5). According to a 2015 study, 1.6 million deaths per year can be attributed to insufficient physical activity (5). The profession of physical therapy is now moving to identify licensed members as experts in the human movement system (6) and are uniquely qualified to not only improve behavioral practices for physical activity with research-based guidelines, but also to help patients better understand how exercise may appropriately benefit each individual in context of their medical history.
From personal experience in the field, I often meet individuals who are directed to meet with me due to an already existing condition that is limiting their ability to work, play, and remain independent. I empathize with their position, but am glad that I have the opportunity to explain the benefits of how physical activity can impact their life and improve their overall health and wellness not only for the near future, but also for years to come. It is my hope that this article may not only promote our profession, but develop your understanding of the role physical therapists can assist with both rehabilitation and primary prevention to help you progress down the path of improved health and wellness.
Steven Babcock, P.T., DPT
Live Your LifeTM
Bringing Physical Therapy & Wellness to You!
Dr. Steven Babcock has a passion for movement and is motivated to facilitate others in their journey towards physical performance goals. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Saint John’s University in 2008 and furthered his education in achieving a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015.
Dr. Babcock has experience treating a variety of musculoskeletal complaints and utilizes Postural Restoration to help his patients obtain proper joint position required to train and perform at their best. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
As a lifelong enthusiast for exercise, health and wellness, Dr. Babcock has infectious care to help others realize the power each individual possesses to take control of their personal health.
- Symptoms and Conditions. https://www.choosept.com/SymptomsConditions.aspx, Accessed 18, October 2019.
- Direct Access in Practice. http://www.apta.org/DirectAccess/, Accessed 18, October 2019.
- Find a PT Directory. http://aptaapps.apta.org/APTAPTDirectory/FindAPTDirectory.aspx, Accessed 18, October 2019
- 7 Things You Didn’t Know Physical Therapists Can Do. https://www.mountainsandmotion.com/post/national-physical-therapy-month-7-things-you-didn-t-know-physical-therapists-can-do-for-you?fbclid=IwAR1Zn8CgDZNImDEi29YtrfvXGbVF4mAwqMvE-OUqpGwR1v7VZnUIn1-bU2s, Accessed 18, October 2019
- Noncommunicable Diseases. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases, Accessed 18, October 2019
- Who We Are. https://www.apta.org/NEXT/News/2015/6/6/MovementSystem/, Accessed 18 October 2019