I believe this to be an important trend in the field of physical therapy because nutrition an important aspect in one’s life, it is the key component of many conditions, and the impact of nutrition can optimize patient performance. Good nutrition is an important part in taking control, not only of your health, but also your life. One must be aware that different foods can either improve or aggravate your overall health. People have an experience with food every day, and food has been a part of civilization since the beginning of time. What we eat becomes our diet, and our diet plays a major role in deciding how our body functions. Without proper nutrition, our body cannot carry out the functions it needs to perform.I believe physical therapists should possess a baseline knowledge of nutritional influences in musculoskeletal healing. As a physical therapist you have more contact with patients than any other healthcare provider throughout the recovery process. Therefore, you are in a great place to remind your patients of the importance of adequate nutrition. Although, if a patient has specialized dietary needs then it is best to refer to a trained nutritionist. However, for basic nutritional questions and concerns, I believe physical therapists can serve as a source for their patients. However, because each state has its own laws, physical therapists may not be allowed to give any nutrition advice unless they are also a registered dietitian. The APTA’s position on nutrition in the practice of physical therapy states that it is “the role of the physical therapist to screen for and provide information on diet and nutritional issues to patients, clients, and the community within the scope of physical therapist practice.”
As a future leader of healthcare, I am pleased that the APTA is considering potentially implementing nutrition into DPT programs. They view that patient’s nutritional choices have a direct effect on the physical therapists work in the clinic. Good nutrition can directly affect recovery and function while an individual is under a physical therapist’s care. According to the National Institutes of Health, educating patients about the effects of nutrition on health and coaching them to make positive dietary changes is “one of the most useful tools doctors have to improve overall health outcomes in their patients and specifically reduce inflammation”. Physical therapists are also presented with a real opportunity to change a patient’s life other than by working on mechanics of motion or overcoming pain. When you combine nutrition with therapeutic exercise it is a powerful combination that sets your patient up for success and teaches them a valuable life skill. This combination of skills also prepares you for the future of integrative and lifestyle medicine.