In honor of national physical therapy month, let’s talk about who we are as physical therapists and why you should #ChoosePT.
Who are we?
Movement Specialists. Pain Management Experts. Collaborators. Health Care Providers. Coaches. Return to Sport or Activity Specialists. Partners in Wellness. Conservative Care Professionals.
What exactly IS a physical therapist? Per the American Physical Therapy Association, “PTs are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. PTs treat people of all ages and abilities and empower them to actively take part in their own care.” (Learn more at the APTA #ChoosePT campaign.)
According to the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, “Physical therapists provide services that develop, maintain and restore people’s maximum movement and functional ability. They can help people at any stage of life when movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, diseases, disorders, conditions or environmental factors. Physical therapists help people maximize their quality of life, looking at physical, psychological, emotional and social well-being,”
We are a diverse group of medical professionals, with a doctorate-level education, who specialize in pain management and keeping individuals engaged in their activities. We are at the forefront of orthopedic and musculoskeletal healthcare – managing pain, injury, and post-operative care. PTs treat across the lifespan from pediatric to geriatric patients. Some of us specialize in neurological conditions, cardiac health, wound care, or pelvic health. We are all united by our love of movement, patient empowerment, and enabling patients to live life to the fullest.
- First and foremost, we keep people doing what they love to do.
- We emphasize patient education and empowerment, with the goal of imparting long term strategies and habits for a healthy lifestyle.
- Physical therapy is leading the way for the treatment of chronic pain – decreasing symptoms, disability, and health care costs.
- We are especially well-versed in managing low back pain, which is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Did you know that seeing a physical therapist early in treatment for back pain can lower medical costs by >$2000?! (Fritz 2012)
- The CDC officially recognizes physical therapy as a safer alternative for long-term pain management than prescription pain medications – we are a vital component of reversing the current opioid epidemic.
- We are an INTEGRAL part of a CONSERVATIVE and HOLISTIC approach to health and wellness.
Is PT for me?
You have probably heard of physical therapy following a major surgery like a hip replacement or ACL repair. You may even know that physical therapy is an EXCELLENT resource for managing chronic pain and low back pain. But did you know that PT can treat vertigo, incontinence, and poor-healing wounds? Physical therapists work with pregnant women, children with developmental challenges, and individuals recovering from a stroke. We can be found in schools, hospitals, military bases, and professional sports arenas. We are a very diverse profession, and serve patients in every walk of life.
Physical therapy is a great resource for pain management, injury treatment and prevention, guided return to activity or sport, and promoting overall health and wellness. Is it right for you?
Are you experiencing pain?
Have you been limited with activity or unable to participate in the things that bring you joy?
Do you have difficulty exercising, gardening, hiking, or keeping up with your kids and grandkids?
Are you fearful of or unsure of how to begin an exercise regimen?
Are you looking for a non-surgical or non-pharmacological treatment for pain or injury?
Do you want help or guidance to move well, move safely, and move for life?
Melisa Abesa is a California transplant who has come to love the Pacific Northwest. Since graduating with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California in 2014, she has practiced in the Portland/Salem area. She advocates for patient empowerment, individualized care, and a holistic approach to health and wellness.
As a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy, she enjoys working with a large variety of orthopedic and sports-related conditions. Special interests include running, headache treatments, post-operative care, peripartum care, and adolescent athletes.