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  • Celebrate National Physical Therapy Month: Support #ChoosePT

    Recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that more than 1 in 5 US adults live with chronic pain. Now's the time to help people understand how physical therapy can help.

    October is National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM), an opportunity to amplify and promote the benefits of physical therapy, and to make more people aware of APTA’s #ChoosePT campaign, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for the treatment of chronic pain conditions. [Editor's note: those messages were emphasized as part of a recent national APTA satellite media tour that resulted in more than 200 television and radio interviews across the country to an audience of more than 13.1 million.]

    “Those of us in the profession have long understood that physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for the treatment of chronic pain conditions,” said APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD. “APTA offers many creative ways for us to bring that understanding to our communities at a crucial time. My hope is that we can apply our dedication to our profession to an even larger effort to address a crisis that is impacting lives across the country.”

    In honor of NPTM, APTA has distributed a nationwide print and online feature article on the prevalence of low back pain and the many reasons patients and clients should choose physical therapy to safely manage their pain. In addition, APTA continues to add resources to its #ChoosePT online toolkit, a 1-stop shop for tips, tools, and information about the risks of opioids and how physical therapy can help with pain management.

    Getting involved in NPTM is easy. Here are 5 ways to share the #ChoosePT message this month and all year long:

    1. Access handouts, social media graphics, and other resources from the #ChoosePT toolkit.
    APTA’s award-winning #ChoosePT campaign has reached millions to promote treatment by physical therapists (PTs) for pain management. Whether you’re participating in a community event or sharing resources online, the #ChoosePT campaign toolkit has what you need.

    2. Take the #ChoosePT message somewhere fun—and take a picture!
    We want to know how you’re celebrating NPTM. Go find a landmark, a park, a mountaintop, and anywhere in between, and take a photo demonstrating your #ChoosePT pride. Post them to social media using the #ChoosePT hashtag or email them to public-relations@apta.org. We’ll be sharing our favorites throughout the month.

    3. Get the #ChoosePT TV and radio public service announcement aired in your area.
    APTA’s latest public service announcement has already reached more than 50 million Americans. Help us grow that by volunteering to contact your local TV and radio stations. Email public-relations@apta.org to volunteer and APTA staff will provide you with step-by-step instructions.

    4. Promote MoveForwardPT.com.
    APTA’s official consumer information site serves millions of Americans each year. From symptoms and conditions guides to patient stories, podcasts, and tips pages, MoveForwardPT.com is your go-to resource for showing all the ways PTs and physical therapist assistants transform lives.

    5. Update your Find a PT profile.
    National Physical Therapy Month activities lead to an increase in traffic to Find a PT, APTA’s national database of practicing clinicians. Make sure to update or activate your profile so consumers and other health care professionals can easily find you.

    Contact APTA's public and media relations staff at public-relations@apta.org with any questions.

    Jeanne Fischer, Pediatric Physical Therapy Pioneer and Distinguished Mentor, Dies at 94

    One of the first school therapists in Washington State and a lifelong advocate for persons with disabilities, physical therapist (PT) pioneer Jeanne Fischer, PT, died on September 4, 2018, in Tacoma, Washington. She was 94.

    A graduate of the physical therapist educational program at the University of Kansas in 1948, Fischer began her at St Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1958, she began a 31-year tenure as a PT for the Tacoma, Washington, School District while married and raising 3 young daughters. It was during her years as a school-based PT that Fischer gained her reputation as an outstanding mentor and advocate.

    Fischer was a founding member of the former Section on Pediatrics (now the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy), serving as the group's vice chair from 1979 to 1983. She also served as head of the Pediatric Specialty Council responsible for the development of the APTA specialty certification in pediatric physical therapy. In 1981, she was honored with the section’s G.E. (Bud) De Haven Award for extraordinary service and, in 1984, received a certificate of appreciation for outstanding service as the pediatric representative to APTA’s initial Task Force in Clinical Specialization.

    The academy further acknowledged Fischer's commitment to mentorship when it created the Jeanne Fischer Distinguished Mentorship Award in 1993. The award, bestowed annually at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting, recognizes an academy member who has demonstrated sustained, altruistic mentorship beyond that expected within their regular employment.

    In addition to honors from the academy, Fischer received numerous national and state awards. APTA recognized Fischer with both a Lucy Blair Service Award and Henry O. and Florence Kendall Award. Fischer received a Distinguished Service Award from the Washington State Physical Therapy Association and the William Duncan Award from United Cerebral Palsy of Washington. In 1996, APTA honored Fischer for 50 years of membership and service, calling her a pioneer in the profession.

    Memorial donations may be made to United Cerebral Palsy. More information celebrating Fischer's life can be found here.

    From PT in Motion Magazine: Moving Away From Opioids

    Health experts, federal agencies, and national organizations such as APTA have been sending a clear message that providers and patients should first consider nonopioid treatments such as physical therapy for chronic pain. But has it made a difference?

    Yes, according to Alice Bell, PT, DPT, APTA senior payment specialist, who represented APTA on the National Quality Forum’s “opioid stewardship action team” earlier this year. She tells PT in Motion magazine that "Across the profession, we're seeing more and more patients who are accessing physical therapy before opioids are prescribed, or who've been on opioids but realize they aren't helping to treat or manage their underlying conditions."

    In this month’s issue of PT in Motion magazine, author Chris Hayhurst writes about APTA’s ongoing efforts to build public awareness and its leadership in policy discussions around nonopioid alternatives to pain management The article includes excerpts from an APTA white paper, “Beyond Opioids: How Physical Therapy Can Transform Pain Management to Improve Health.” The white paper outlines the history of the opioid epidemic and summarizes research on physical therapy’s effectiveness in treating, managing, and preventing chronic pain.

    Moving Away From Opioid Reliance” is featured in the October issue of PT in Motion magazine and is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them one of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.