Press Release:- World Physical Therapy Day is observed annually on the 8th of September, and is an opportunity for physical therapists/physiotherapists from all over the world to raise awareness about their role in keeping people well, active and healthy.
The day was established by the World Confederation for Physiotherapy (WCPT) in 1996, and marks the date on which the WCPT was founded in 1951.
This year the theme for World Physical Therapy Day is “Chronic pain and the role of physical therapists”.
Chronic pain is pain experienced for longer than 12 weeks (i.e. longer than normal tissue healing time) (Puljak & Arienti, 2019). It is also described as a complex condition which can lead to depression, disability, sleep disorders, increased health cost and poor quality of life (CSP, 2018).
Chronic pain can:
- affect adults or children and may arise from tissue damage or inflammation (CSP, 2019a).
- be caused by a specific condition, injury or infection or can have no known cause (CSP, 2019a).
- involve a specific body area (such as low back pain or pelvic pain) or it can involve a wide area (e.g. fibromyalgia, arthritis) (CSP, 2018).
- impact the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of individuals (CSP, 2019b) and many persons with chronic pain are physically inactive and lack motivation (Joelsson, Bernhardsson & Larsson, 2017).
- be associated with fear of movement and anxiety, leading to disability and sometimes, the underlying condition cannot be identified or treated (Booth et al., 2017).
Physiotherapists are specialists in physical activity and their evaluation and treatment of movement of the various parts of the body is the basis for the management of pain. A physiotherapist can routinely prescribe exercises based on how pain occurs (Chimenti, Frey-Law & Sluka, 2018).
Some of the tools a physiotherapist may use to help people take control of their pain include:
- Pain education
- Coping strategies
- Problem solving activities
- Pacing activities
- Sleep hygiene
- Relaxation activities
In observance of World Physical Therapy Day 2019, WCPT President Dr. Emma Stokes said: “Chronic pain is a global health burden …. If you have chronic pain, a physical therapist can work with you to suggest activities or a programme that’s right for you”.
Locally, the Physiotherapy Association of Saint Lucia (PASL) Inc. will raise the awareness of the profession in managing chronic pain, at a Brunch (following a Church Service) at the Mount of Prayer at Coubaril on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
PASL Inc. President Dr. Sibyl Edward would like to wish all Physiotherapists a Happy World Physical Therapy Day.
In keeping with the theme, she would like to advise patients with chronic pain to seek out and take advantage of the expertise of a physiotherapist.
However, Dr. Edward advises that one should endeavor to see their physician first, and in choosing a physiotherapist, they should ensure that this physiotherapist is licensed to practice in St. Lucia.