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What I learned at the APTA CSM 2023 Conference

This year's American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Section Meetings (CSM) Conference was packed with information, vendors and people. As we all get back to "normal" life, it's clear our industry is yearning for the return to collaboration, learning and networking. Here are a few pearls I took away from this year's conference.

Tech and PT is here! Digital therapy, remote monitoring, wearables, and AI are all over PT. I could barely keep track of all the vendors. Additionally case studies and research protocols are starting to be published. There is promise in using iPhones to monitor gait, AI models to help scan research and wearable tech to motivate patients. So now is the time to jump on board and get tech friendly in your practice.

PT research is ever evolving. As we do more studies we continue to learn more about the body. Diagnoses we once thought were typical are being view in a different light. These insights change the treatment model. This has also lead to better screening techniques and special testing models. For example, it was once thought that the hip develops bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa sac. However with recent research, evidence shows that a tendinopathy is a more likely diagnosis. This information moves the treatment protocol from treating inflammation (with possible injections) to focusing on strengthening to reduce pain.

It may be more than just lower back pain. The link between back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction is stronger than ever, and it's not all about Kegels. The interconnection of muscles and ligaments around the pelvis can have great impact on the lower back. And just like the rest of the body, not everything needs to be strengthening. When it comes to lower back pain and the pelvic floor, techniques may focus more on relaxation and massage. Some techniques simply focus on adjusting the breath cycle while movement. Since treating the pelvic floor is a specialized area, it is best to see a professional certified in pelvic health. So if that lower back pain has not improved with intervention, have the pelvic floor assessed.

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