APTA Responds to Consumer Reports Regarding Access to Physical Therapist Services

Re: Healthy aging into your 80s and beyond: 5 keys to a long, healthful life

APTA commends ConsumerReports.org for offering useful information on the many aspects of healthy aging, including recommending a physical therapist evaluation in order to begin an exercise program. Readers should be aware, though, that obtaining a physician's referral is not necessary to see a physical therapist for an evaluation. However, because state regulations governing physical therapy vary, it may be necessary to obtain a referral before treatment can begin.

As experts in restoring and improving motion, physical therapists can help older people adopt healthier and more independent lifestyles. Physical therapists design individualized exercise programs that emphasize aerobic conditioning, strengthening, flexibility, and balance. They help improve bone health and avoid fracture through specific exercises, and help people improve balance to reduce the risk of falling. Physical therapists can also help manage conditions such as diabetes, incontinence, and arthritis.

A physical therapist's conservative approach can, in many instances, help older patients avoid the cost and trauma of surgery and the side effects associated with long-term use of prescription medications.

To learn more about conditions physical therapists treat and to find a physical therapist locally, please visit www.MoveForwardPT.com.

Yours sincerely,

Emilio J. Rouco
APTA Director, Public and Media Relations