October is National Physical Therapy Month!
At Vortex Physical Therapy and Balance, we are excited to acknowledge physical therapy month. We have a lot to celebrate, since it coincides with our 10th anniversary of helping people in the Bay Area with their vestibular and balance issues. The resilience and strong reputation of our clinic is largely due to the passion and commitment of our physical therapists to help people lead better lives.
What is National Physical Therapy Month?
National Physical Therapy Month was established by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as “a time to celebrate the profession and all the ways physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and PT and PTA students help improve lives across the country”.
The month of October is dedicated to celebrating and promoting the physical therapy profession to raise awareness of the benefits of physical therapy.
Who are Physical Therapists and How Can They Help Me?
Physical therapists are healthcare providers who help treat people who have medical conditions limiting their ability to move and function in daily life. They are required to have three years of post-graduate level education and training. Since 2010, new graduates earn a doctorate in physical therapy. Prior to that, a master’s degree was required for anyone graduating after 2000.
The work of physical therapy covers many facets of physical health from orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, neurologic, pelvic, and oncology.
At Vortex, our physical therapists focus on treating adults with vestibular (inner ear) and balance issues, which fall under neurologic and geriatric physical therapy. Each member of our team has advanced training and specialization in one of more of these areas: vestibular, geriatrics, concussions, and Parkinson’s.
To help you get to know our physical therapists a little better, we asked them to answer some questions about their chosen profession.
Why did you become a physical therapist?
Diron: I chose to study physical therapy after working as an aide for my mom, who was an occupational therapist at a skilled nursing facility. I enjoyed the interaction with older adults and knew I wanted a career where I wasn’t sitting behind a desk all day. My interest in this specialty started during a clinical rotation in college; I loved the challenge of vestibular cases.
Brittany: From a very young age I knew I wanted to go into the medical field. It started with me taping my poor donkey piñata back together at my 5th birthday party, rather than chasing the candy with all the other kiddos. I have always enjoyed being active and participating in sports so a profession that highlights the importance of motion and exercise was a natural fit.
Leann: Through my own personal experience with sports injuries, I was introduced to physical therapy as a patient myself. During a really challenging time, not being able to participate in sports and physical activity, my physical therapists helped me heal and encouraged me to stay motivated so I could return to the activities I loved doing. Helping others has always been a core value of mine from a young age. I’ve also always been fascinated with the human body since taking anatomy in high school. Physical therapy incorporates all the things I want to do in my career: help others and work with the human body.
What is your favorite part of being a physical therapist?
Diron: Every day is different in physical therapy; it is never boring. I enjoy the challenge of working with people who have complex diagnoses and often struggle to find the appropriate care. There is nothing better than working with someone who has seen multiple providers and tried various treatment options without success and being able to provide them with the help that they need to get better.
Brittany: Empowering patients and then seeing their quality of life improve as a direct result of their hard work!
Leann: My favorite part of being a PT is being able to interact and form interpersonal connections with my patients. Understanding an individual’s dysfunction involves understanding the person. For many people, it’s difficult to stay motivated with a task if you have complete disinterest in what you are doing. By connecting with my patients and learning about their interests, I’m able to create a plan of care that incorporates their interests to make their exercises and experience more pleasurable.
When starting physical therapy, what should patients know to ensure a successful result?
Diron: Physical therapy is most effective when you commit yourself to the process. Be ready to work hard while you are here and follow your home exercise program! It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Brittany: The amount of effort you put in is directly related to what you will get out of PT! I love to provide the education and tools so we can work as a team to reach your goals.
Leann: Consistency is key. Performing your home exercises is essential to making improvements. Just like athletes who train anywhere from 6-20 hours a week, time spent on performing the home exercises will be a major contribution to your success.