National Physical Therapy Month aims to bring awareness to opioid alternatives

Posted at 5:28 PM on Oct 18, 2018


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Members of the Iredell Health System Physical Therapy staff.

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National Physical Therapy Month is celebrated each October, but this year the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has chosen the theme #ChoosePT as a way to shed more light on the national opioid epidemic and the important role physical therapy can play in opioid abuse prevention.

"This year the APTA wants to raise awareness of physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to opioids for treatment of chronic pain," said Darren Smith, director of Rehabilitation Services for Iredell Health System. "Physical Therapy can really make a difference for people, especially when you have a team of experts helping you like we do at Iredell."

According to the APTA, millions of Americans each year use opioids to treat pain and although doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, they often only mask pain and have undesirable side effects – including addiction. Physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care and patient education.

Iredell Health System has 20 physical therapists, as well as a large support staff, who treat a variety of geriatric, orthopedic, musculo-skeletal and general medical conditions in acute, skilled nursing and outpatient settings. Physical Therapists are licensed, clinical professionals who have completed an accredited physical therapist education program, earning a master or doctor of physical therapy degree (MPT or DPT), and must pass a national licensure examination. Physical Therapy Assistants also complete rigorous training and are licensed by a state board.

"We provide individualized, evidence-based care to our patients," said Smith, noting that physical therapists with Iredell Health develop treatment plans unique to each individual that help patients set and achieve goals that will improve their quality of life.

And, he said, that includes finding ways to deal with chronic pain without the use of addictive medications.

"Many people are not aware that physical therapy is an option when it comes to treating their chronic pain," he said. "We’re grateful the APTA chose to focus on this topic for National Physical Therapy Month. Iredell has an outstanding team of physical therapists and support staff and together, we know we can make a difference in opioid abuse prevention."

"Pain is personal, but treating pain takes teamwork," the APTA said. "When it comes to your health, you have a choice. Choose more movement and better health. Choose physical therapy."

Learn More

To learn more about physical therapy and other at Iredell Health System, visit More information about physical therapy as an alternative to opioid use can be found by visiting

About Iredell Health System

Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital, Iredell Home Health, Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center, Community and Corporate Wellness, Occupational Medicine and the Iredell Physician Network. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only nonprofit hospital in Iredell County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247-beds, more than 1,500 employees, and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s, Cardiovascular, Cancer, Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. Iredell Memorial was also named as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Hips and Knees, as well as Maternity Care, by Blue Cross Blue Shield. The mission of Iredell Health System is to inspire wellbeing. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit

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