APTA Responds to The Associated Press on Alternative Medicine

August 4, 2009

Dear Editor:

I am responding to the July 30 report by Marilynn Marchione and Mike Stobbe, "Americans pay $34 billion for alternative medicine." Although this piece provides valuable information about the emergence of alternative medical practices, I must address a comment made by Public Citizen's Sidney M. Wolfe, MD.

Dr. Wolfe stated, "Some of the useful things chiropractors are doing amounts to physical therapy." Your viewers should know that 'physical therapy' is not a generic term, but instead describes only those services provided by a licensed physical therapist. Chiropractors may provide some of the same treatment modalities as physical therapists, but they should portray their services as chiropractic not 'physical therapy.'

Millions of patients seek physical therapist treatment for back pain, neck pain, burns, osteoporosis, scoliosis, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and countless other musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions affecting muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints.

All graduating physical therapists enter the profession with either a master's degree or a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree. Physical therapists must also be licensed in the state or states in which they practice. As an evidence-based treatment that is conservative and cost-effective, physical therapy helps patients avoid the cost and trauma of surgery and the side-effects of prescription medications, in many cases.

When Dr. Wolfe continued by saying that, "medicine is beginning to realize how important physical therapy is," he could not have been more correct. However, your viewers need to be aware that it is only a licensed physical therapist who may provide physical therapy.

To learn more about the benefits a physical therapist can offer and how to locate a physical therapist, please visit, www.moveforwardpt.com.

Yours sincerely,

Emilio J. Rouco

Director, Public Relations and Marketing
American Physical Therapy Association