This is a guest blog written by Paul Weiss, PT, Dip MDT. Thanks Paul and I look forward to some discussion to follow.
The APTA’s New Vision Statement
In their 2013 meeting, the House of Delegates of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) adopted a new vision statement. It is:
“Transforming Society by Optimizing Movement to Improve the Human Experience”
I, for one, am not always a big fan of such platitudes. However, this one resonates with me. I’m writing to tell you why.
This is what we do. Let’s look at it by breaking the statement down into three key phrases.
“Transforming Society…” Physical therapists work with individual people. How can working with an individual transform a society?
The changes we make in the life of a single person have ripple effects.
Take for example the injured worker who is no longer disabled and can return to their job. By empowering that person to remain gainfully employed, that person’s family benefits. The employer benefits. The insurance company benefits.
On a larger scale, physical therapists decrease the overall cost of health care. Here are two examples.
We decrease the need for more expensive treatments. Many common injuries that are thought to require expensive imaging and surgery can be successfully managed by physical therapy.
We decrease the risk for falling in the elderly population. Falls in the elderly often lead to serious and potentially fatal injuries. In fact, most elderly people that I see for low back pain also have poor balance, a risk factor for falls. In many cases I find that improving upon their balance leads to a decrease in back pain.
“…by Optimizing Movement…” Most people who present to my practice do so because they are in pain. Pain and movement are inextricably linked. I often hear statements like: “It hurts to turn my head to look over my shoulder”, and “It hurts to bend to tie my shoe”. I find success not by trying to fix someone’s pain, but rather by helping them to move better. When someone becomes capable of turning their head or bending to touch their toes, invariably they find that the pain they once had is better. I often sum this up as “move better, feel better”.
“…to Improve the Human Experience.” When someone moves better and returns to their normal role in society, they don’t just feel better physically. They feel better emotionally. Physical therapists alleviate the fear of pain with movement, fears of falling, and fears of reinjury. Being in pain can be depressing. By getting someone to move better, pain can be lessened and moods can be improved!
I applaud the House of Delegates for adopting this vision statement for our profession. It represents what we do. And I take great pride in what we do.
Paul Weiss, PT, Dip MDT owns and operates Cedar Hill Physical Therapy. While within the town limits of Summerfield, NC his office has a Greensboro mailing address. Paul is married to Angela Cook, and has two dogs. Sadie is a Flat-Coated Retriever, and Cooper is a hound dog mix. As his practice is based in his home, his family helps him by welcoming patients.
Visit us at www.cedarhillpt.com
Paul is also an avid nature photographer. You can view his photographs at: