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National Physical Therapy Month Encourages All to #AgeWell

October 26, 2015

To commemorate National Physical Therapy Month, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has been spotlighting physical therapists’ abilities to help clients #AgeWell. The month-long campaign aims to remind people of all ages that physical therapists (PT) prescribe physical activity that can help you overcome pain, gain and maintain movement and preserve your independence. Whether it is used preventatively, or after an injury or surgery, physical therapy can stave off many age-related problems to help promote aging well.

Sara Tomaszewski, PT, DPT, OCS, clinical instructor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences said, “As we get older, we’re more at risk for some of the chronic degenerative problems that might run in our families, like heart disease and arthritis. But what people don’t realize is that physical activity is one of the best remedies for some of these seemingly inevitable diseases.” 

Many people believe that increased aches and pains are a normal part of getting older, and while that may be the case, it is also likely that the pain isn’t normal. “It’s not something you have to live with,” said Tomaszewski. “A PT can intervene on a lot of different levels. They can educate patients and talk to them about how to make changes in their everyday lives to help the pain get better and understand how it actually progresses. Changing physical activity can keep them active while avoiding exacerbating pain.”

But oftentimes the fear of pain can overwhelm an individual, turning a small problem into a larger one. Fearful of activity, all too often, a person in pain will stop being active altogether. “They may think that being sedentary is the better option. The appropriate prescription of exercise can not only help them feel better, stay active and prevent disease from changing their lifestyle, but it can also build strength, balance and help them get back to the activities they’ve been avoiding,” Tomaszewski said.

This advice is not just for older candidates. There are things people of all ages should be doing right now to help them stay healthy as they age. If you’re not getting the right amount of physical activity, now is the time to start! Challenge yourself beyond what you’re doing every day and do it in a way that’s forcing your body to adapt and build strength. 

Tomaszewski is glad APTA is highlighting this often overlooked benefit of physical therapy. “We’re the health care providers who deal with prevention for a lot of the issues associated with aging. We don’t always approach our physical health that way. A lot of times we’re responding after the fact – after we’ve gotten hurt, or after that little injury has turned into a big injury. Talking about some of the preventable things that PTs can do for our clients is valuable because aging is an inevitable process, and people assume they’re going to have this decline no matter what and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Physical therapy services are offered at Parkway Health & Wellness (1601 Cherry Street, second floor) as well as the Drexel Rec Center. To make an appointment, call 215.553.7012 or email