By Shannon Traphagen

Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.

PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Dr. Greg Ford, Director of PT and Associate Professor at Daemen College said, “Motion is lotion. It’s vital for people to keep moving, even through an injury. Rest plus easy activity like walking, and exercise with a PT can help prevent further damage to an injury.” Ford also explains that people can be examined and treated by a PT without a referral. “All 50 states allow for people to go directly to a PT without a referral from your primary care physician. PT’s are a good first line of defense (in many cases), and can detect other more uncommon underlying issues, like cancer, and make the necessary referrals for the patient.”

When it comes to dealing with pain management, having a PT be the first line of defense can save time and money, and keep the pain from becoming chronic. Early intervention is key explained Ford, “Dealing with acute pain immediately and proactively as holistically as possible can eliminate (at times) the need for other steps like medications (opioids) to control the pain.” With the opioid addiction on the rise, and the crackdown of using opioids for pain, it is imperative for people to understand pain management and ways they can get help and support.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information National Institutes of Health, what is often overlooked is that pain has physically harmful effects. It is often physiologically unsafe to have pain. The effects of pain on the endocrine and metabolic system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, and immune system—and the potential for future pain—are but a few of examples of how unsafe unrelieved pain may be.

“What’s great about the Physical Therapy program at Daemen is that we train our students to treat holistically–treat the whole person, not just the pain. Our students work with real patients while they are still in school; it’s hands on, so that they can be immersed in different environments that PT’s work in, such as hospitals, nursing homes and private practices,” said Ford. Ford also that students are trained by experts in the field. All core faculty teach, practice, and conduct research in their area of expertise, including orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, tissue mechanics, sports medicine, vestibular, and wound healing.

“The field of PT is growing and more companies are realizing the importance of physical therapy. For patients, it’s good to know they have options in dealing with pain management, and for students, it’s equally important to know and understand the role they will play in helping people,” Ford said.

Daemen College will host campus visits on Saturday December 14th, from 10:00 am- 12:00 pm. Visit, email or call 716-839-8225 or 800-462-7652 for more information.

For patients looking to find more information about physical therapy, you can get a list of local PT’s from your primary care physician or email Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine for local listings.