October is National Physical Therapy Month, and Lacey physical therapist Chris Dickerson would like to take the opportunity to remind people about the important role improved and restored movement has on improving society. 

“Movement is central to a person’s quality of life, no matter the age or personal hurdles,” said Dickerson, owner of Puget Sound Physical Therapy in Lacey. “Young athletes, expecting and new moms, white- and blue-collar workers, outdoor enthusiasts, seniors intent on maintaining personal independence … it all centers on optimal movement. That’s what we provide as physical therapists.” 

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapists are highly educated, licensed health care professionals who exist to help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without the need for expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription drugs. 

“Our bodies crave movement – we need movement,” Dickerson said. “Physical therapists exist to ensure that everyone, no matter what stage of life they’re in, is able to reach their potential when it comes to living active, mobile and functional lives.” 

This, of course, includes post-injury/surgical rehabilitation, but physical therapy is much more than that. In fact, physical therapists are specially trained and licensed to improve people’s lives through the treatment of a number of ailments you may not have previously suspected. These include: 

Headaches: Following a thorough evaluation, a physical therapist (PT) can treat chronic tension-type headaches, the most common primary headache disorder, according to the World Health Organization. A PT can identify the cause of such headaches (e.g., muscle tension, joint dysfunction in the neck/jaw, poor posture or stress) and work to improve mobility, strength, posture, and daily work/office routines. 

Pre-Natal/Post-Partum Care: Physical therapists can offer relief for expecting mothers experiencing pain and discomfort in the back, hips and legs through treatment and exercise. After delivery, physical therapy is effective in treating back and pelvic pain while helping new moms strengthen their bodies for the rigors of motherhood as well as helping them get back to life and, if an athlete, competition. 

Balance, Dizziness & Vertigo: Physical therapists can assess a person’s balance and risk of fall, then provide treatment (e.g., strength training, flexibility or range of motion exercises, for instance) to help improve balance. Many physical therapists are also specially trained to treat positional vertigo, which can often be successfully treated in a single visit. 

Athletic Enhancement: From weekend warriors to elite athletes, physical therapists work with our most active to help them move better, train better and realize their greatest potential as competitors. PTs can provide movement analyses, establish a better training regimen, and assist with equipment selection and adjustments (e.g., shoe orthotics, for instance, or bike fitting). 

In addition, Dickerson notes that clients don’t need a physician’s referral in order directly access physical therapy services – unless, of course, such referral is required in order to bill insurance. Contact the PT staff at Puget Sound Physical Therapy to learn more.