[Contributions of Physical Therapists to Primary Preventive Health Care]

Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2016;71(2):107-10. doi: 10.1265/jjh.71.107.
[Article in Japanese]


The limitations of what physical therapists can differ from country to country. In Japan, physical therapists are national licensed health care professionals who can help patients improve or restore their mobility. Most Japanese physical therapists provide care for people in health care facilities, medical-welfare transitional facilities, and welfare facilities for the elderly. Currently, physical therapists are unable to sufficiently contribute to primary preventive health care in Japan. However, there are many health problems that physical therapists could help alleviate. For example, low back pain (LBP) more likely than any other condition prevents people from working; thus, making the establishment of effective measures to prevent and reduce LBP vital. An estimated 20,500,000 Japanese individuals have diabetes mellitus (DM) or are at a high risk of developing the disease. DM commonly accompanies stroke and/or heart disease, and is characterized by complications that result from chronic hyperglycemia. Evidence-based physical therapy is effective for the prevention and treatment of LBP and DM. The Japanese Physical Therapy Association established the Japanese Society of Physical Therapy (JSPT) in June 2013. The JSPT has 12 departmental societies and 10 sections. We believe that the JSPT will advance the study of the potential role of physical therapists in primary preventive health care. In the future, it is expected that Japanese physical therapists will contribute to primary preventive health care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / prevention & control
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Physical Therapists*
  • Primary Prevention* / trends
  • Professional Role*