Celebrating Physical Therapy All Month Long

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
Celebrating Physical Therapy All Month Long

Did you know that October is National Physical Therapy Month? It’s a whole month dedicated to celebrating physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students for all of the ways they help improve lives across the country. It’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness for the many benefits of physical therapy which are more than injury recovery.

Physical therapy has a long history with sources tracing its roots back to Hippocrates in 460 BC. It was first officially recognized in Sweden in 1887. In 1921, Mary MacMillan, the first physical therapy assistant, founded the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association which went on to become American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). National Physical Therapy Week was established in June of 1981 and evolved into National Physical Therapy Month to be celebrated in October, in 1992. This year is the 30th national physiotherapy month with the year’s theme, “Choose to Move.”

Physical therapy has been used to assist with injury and illness recovery for decades, but it is also a very effective rehabilitation tool for cancer patients. Rachel Neuhold, DPT, who is a physical therapist with OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center in the Cancer Rehabilitation Clinic, explains why physical therapy is so beneficial for cancer patients.

What is involved in using physical therapy as rehabilitation for cancer patients?

The goal of our program is to improve the quality of life of those affected by cancer — either those just diagnosed, in the middle of cancer treatments, or years after their treatments — physical therapy can improve patient’s movement, pain and overall health.

Cancer can cause a host of different physical side-effects and our job is to help lessen or ameliorate those side-effects to help patients engage in activities that are meaningful to them.

We help with a myriad of side-effects such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Neuropathy
  • Balance/falls
  • Changes in walking
  • Weakness

Our ultimate goal is to help patients who have been impacted by cancer by optimizing their quality of life and helping them maintain independence through exercise, education and support.

What could a cancer patient expect in physical therapy rehab?

A fun and collaborate partnership with a skilled, cancer specific physical therapist whose job is to help keep you moving through cancer or help you recover from cancer treatments.

We are skilled at working with patients undergoing active treatments and we know how to tailor exercise to each person based on their cancer journey. We use exercise, education and even some dry needling to help manage and potentially prevent cancer related side-effects

Why should cancer patients in Oklahoma consider physical therapy as part of their rehabilitation?

Exercising before, during and after your cancer treatments can help you reduce fatigue, gain strength, improve pain and even ease depression in patients with cancer. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends all patients who have cancer to exercise as it can help you get through treatments as well as decreasing side-effects of those treatments.

Exercise is so effective that it can even help decrease the risk of recurrence of some cancers.

What do you see as the most important part of your job in providing physical therapy to cancer patients?

My goal as an oncologic physical therapist is to help cancer survivors have the best quality of life possible through fun and engaging activities and exercises. My goal is to give patients hope that they can accomplish their goals and maintain their strength and independence through and after cancer treatments.

Thank a physical therapist

Most of us don’t even think about physical therapists until something hurts and we need one. Make the effort this month to express your gratitude for all of the work they do to keep us moving.

Connect with services at OU Health

Learn more about rehabilitation and physical therapy services at OU Health. To make an appointment with one of our cancer rehabilitation specialists, visit the cancer rehabilitation page or call (405) 271-4385. 

Rehabilitation Services Cancer Rehabilitation Services