Physical therapy goes well beyond the treatment of musculoskeletal ailments. 

“Physical therapy is a discipline that successfully treats many types of ailments,” said Barrett Ford, PT. “A physical therapist’s scope of practice can range from cardiopulmonary and neurological conditions to women’s health and pediatrics.”

Many people, however, do not realize the breadth of conditions that a physical therapist can treat. That is why the team at Step & Spine Physical Therapy has committed to helping Central Oregonians see physical therapy differently. They chose October for this noble mission for its designation as National Physical Therapy Month.

“We want to help more people understand the critical role physical therapists can play in the treatment and prevention of disorders, ailments, and diseases,” said Ford. 

When Barrett first graduated from physical therapy school, he worked in a multi-specialty trauma center and treated patients with a variety of conditions across many different specialties. He treated everything from infected wounds to quadriplegics.  

“Because physical therapists have such diverse knowledge, they can treat patients as a generalist rather than a specialist,” said Ford. 

Healthcare is changing. Countless studies have shown how impactful physical therapy can be in the treatment of certain conditions. This research has emboldened many physical therapists to complete additional training to advance their scope of practice.

Physical therapists, like Jennifer Hughes, PT, DPT and Laura Ahmed, PT, DPT, are a perfect example of the importance of specialization. They have done extra training in concussion management and vestibular rehabilitation, which are two areas that are widely needed but in short supply. 

“For as many athletes as we have in Central Oregon, it is surprising that there are not more people who specialize in concussion management,” said Ford. 

But not everyone needs a specialist. It depends on what is going on with the individual. That is why a team approach is offered at Step & Spine Physical Therapy. 

“We like to have at least two physical therapists work with each patient whenever possible,” said Ford. “This is beneficial because the patient gets the knowledge and expertise of two therapists with different backgrounds and different ideas, which provides the most comprehensive treatment plan for each patient.”

There is a reason why physical therapy is the first line of defense in the treatment of many conditions. When appropriately applied, physical therapy can help people stay active for life. And that’s what gets most physical therapists up in the morning.