• News New Blog Banner

  • The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in Local News, January 2017

    "The Good Stuff," is an occasional series that highlights recent, mostly local media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    Andrew Rasmussen, PTA, became a hero when he helped to push a car off the railroad tracks seconds before a train arrived—and a news crew was there to capture it all on video. (KATU 2 News, Portland, Oregon)

    "Another commonality, which [my PTs] share with the majority of physical therapists, is an attitudinal profile: capable, optimistic, patient, thick skinned, intelligent, empathetic. The best in the PT trade have committed their life’s work to protect and restore health."– columnist Bruce Dorries on his return to running, thanks to physical therapy (Staunton, Virginia, News Leader)

    Emillee Van Hoven, PT, explains the importance of pelvic floor muscles, and how physical therapy can make a difference. (WZZM 13, Grand Rapids, Michigan)

    Ginger Garner, PT, DPT, spoke to members of the British Parliament on the need for increased acceptance of medical therapeutic yoga. (Swansboro, North Carolina Tideland News)

    "Once I got discharged from the hospital, I went into intense physical therapy. And I still stay in it. Now, even though I'm fully recovered—I'm literally stronger than I've ever been in my life—I just still stay on that regimen, man." - Ex Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison on the importance of physical therapy in his recovery from acute transverse mylelitis. (blabbermouth.net)

    Tara Jo Manal, PT, DPT, FAPTA, and Meg Sions, PT, DPT, PhD, have developed a multidisciplinary amputee clinic described as "the most comprehensive" in the US. (University of Delaware UD Daily)

    Karen Joubert, PT, describes the benefits of restricted blood flow training. (KABC-TV 7 Eyewitness News, Los Angeles)

    Ken Wheeler, PT, DPT, points out how physical therapy can play an important role in the treatment of headaches. (Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News)

    “The determination of the girls and the outstanding work of our occupational therapy and physical therapy teams helped them do just that.” – Gail Besner, MD, on the successful separation and rehabilitation of conjoined twins from Uganda (News 6, Columbus, Ohio)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    Move Forward Radio: Country Music's Clay Walker Discusses Living With MS

    It was just over 20 years ago, and multiplatinum country music star Clay Walker was riding high, on tour with his band, when he experienced a set of symptoms—poor balance, double vision, and what he calls "lazy legs"—that seemed almost funny at first; just some weird, passing thing. On the morning of the last show of his tour, Walker woke up expecting the joke to be over, the symptoms gone. They weren't.

    "That was a scary moment," Walker said. "But that was when I knew that I should probably get to a doctor."

    It didn't take long for Walker to learn that he had multiple sclerosis (MS). His first 2 doctors told him that would be in a wheelchair in 4 years, and likely dead in 8. But here it is, 2 decades later, and Walker is still on his feet, still touring, and still living life to the fullest—thanks, he says, to his faith, an excellent physician, appropriate medications, and a mobility "protocol" he learned from his physical therapist (PT).

    Now on Move Forward Radio: Clay Walker describes living a full life with MS—from how the disease helped him deepen his faith to the physical therapy "game plan" he has developed to help him maintain mobility every day.

    Walker tells Move Forward Radio that his disease has not progressed significantly since the initial diagnosis, but he is quick to point out that what he's done to fight MS should not be taken as the only way to approach a disease that can affect individuals differently. The key, he says, is for those with MS to "take control of what they can and manage what they can."

    Physical therapy is 1 of Walker's biggest ways of taking control, thanks to a set of exercises he learned from his PT.

    "Every morning I wake up and my right leg feels like a 2x4, and I can bust that spasticity in minutes," Walker said. "For me being able to counter that, I just never knew it was possible." He calls it his "protocol" and says that he "couldn't imagine living life without it."

    In addition to continuing his music career, Walker founded the Band Against MS foundation, a charitable group devoted to helping people with MS live life to the fullest.

    "MS has been a life changer for me in a positive way," Walker said. “I feel like MS really helped me find out who I'm supposed to be, and the life I'm supposed to lead. I never looked at it as a curse. I feel 100% blessed."

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.

    Innovation 2.0 Learning Lab to Focus on PTs as Key Players in PCMH to Address Childhood Obesity

    Managing childhood obesity in a patient-centered medical home setting is the fourth and final installment of APTA’s online Learning Labs series based on the Innovation 2.0 initiative. Interested members are invited to register for the highly interactive session, scheduled for January 18, 1:00 pm–4:00 pm.

    Like the first 2 labs, the January 18 event will enable participating APTA members to hear firsthand from the physical therapist innovators who were selected to pursue new, creative models of care. This fourth lab is your chance to hear from your colleagues about their work in a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and in population health, and learn from their experiences.

    In this innovative health care model, the physical therapist (PT) plays a key role in measurements of obesity-related signs and symptoms that affect the human movement system, including aerobic fitness and strength deficit, lower extremity joint pain, gait dysfunction, and motor control deficit. The PT also evaluates and monitors children's physical activity and sedentary behaviors, and is trained in behavioral strategies to enhance physical activity and parental support. The model measures cost-effectiveness by tracking incidence of disease rates and hospitalization for obesity-related conditions.

    Other members of the team include the pediatrician, medical fellow, nutritionist, nurse/nurse practitioner, social worker, biostatistician, and health care coordinator. Referrals to specialists (such as PTs when a cluster of impairments appear that indicate a movement disorder associated with obesity) are coordinated so that appropriate care is received. Regular follow-ups document progress and help the young patients and their families with self-management. This model also could provide support for including PTs in PCMHs that target other chronic health conditions that affect movement.

    The Learning Lab is a free online event intended as an advanced experience for providers who are currently active in innovative programs or ready to explore them. Because the event has limited seating, members interested in participating are required to answer a series of questions on the registration form to help APTA select participants who can gain—and later share with others—the most benefit from the lab. Participants will be expected to actively engage in the lab session, and materials will be provided beforehand to help them do so. If that’s you, visit the Innovation 2.0 webpage and scroll to the "Learning Lab" section to register.

    Registered participants will receive a template that will help them replicate the model presented in the lab. APTA will post a free recording of the event afterward, which will include the downloadable template and the presenter’s slide deck.

    Visit the Innovation 2.0 webpage to register for the PTs as Key Players in a PMCH Program for Childhood Obesity Learning Lab. For details on all of the projects selected for development, as well as projects that received honorable recognition, go to Innovation 2.0 Background. Profiles of each project were also featured in a September 2015 article in PT in Motion magazine.

    Helping Your Profession in 15 Minutes or Less

    APTA has a question for physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs):

    Just what do you think you're doing? Your answers could earn you a $250 Amazon gift card.

    Actually, APTA has several questions to ask of its membership, and the answers will help to inform how the association, researchers, policymakers, and payers view who PTs and PTAs are, what they do, and how much they get paid to do it. It's all a part of the current PT Practice Profile and PTA Profile surveys that have been disseminated to members.

    The surveys are the association's large-scale effort to take a snapshot of PT and PTA members across the country, including demographics of the profession, practice settings, salary data, and productivity data. The results of the survey—the first since 2013—will be used to update APTA’s workforce resources, and are typically incorporated into advocacy and other association efforts.

    The surveys take about 10-15 minutes to complete, and the form itself is easy to fill out. And to add a little extra motivation to the mix, APTA is awarding $250 Amazon gift cards to 2 randomly selected respondents.

    So be on the lookout for your survey email invitation. The deadline is January 27. Members should check their email inboxes as well as spam filters for the survey.

    Questions? Contact the APTA Research Department.

    A Very Good Year: 2016's Top Move Forward Radio Podcast

    Say what you will about 2016, but it's been a good year for Move Forward Radio, APTA's consumer-oriented podcast series from MoveForwardPT.com. From interviews that focused on different approaches to pain treatment and the #ChoosePT campaign, to a glimpse into the life of a physical therapist (PT) treating elite professional athletes, the series covered a lot of ground of interest to both PTs and their patients.

    Here, in no particular order, are APTA's picks for 2016's top 6 Move Forward Radio podcasts, all still available for listening.

    Pro volleyball star and TV host Gabby Reece on her opioid-free TKA rehab
    Reece recounts her decision to participate in physical therapy—and her commitment to recovery without the use of drugs. Along the way, Reece explains how her path is 1 that could be considered by any individual facing decisions about what to do after surgery.

    A Cleveland Clinic researcher on physical therapy as first-choice pain treatment
    Andre Machado, MD, is leading an innovative pain treatment research project that puts a combination of physical therapy and behavioral therapy at the front lines of pain treatment, and takes a cautious approach to the use of opioids. Machado shares his thoughts on opioids and the need for a cultural shift on attitudes about pain.

    Physical therapy's life-changing effects on chronic pelvic pain
    Erin Jackson's mysterious, stabbing pelvic pain, felt both internal and external, plagued her for over a decade. She saw multiple health care providers in multiple states. She was prescribed multiple medications, none of which worked. Then Jackson began working with a physical therapist who presented a new treatment approach for her pain—and things finally began to change.

    The LA Lakers' "secret weapon" on the challenges of treating elite athletes
    Judy Seto, PT, DPT, MBA, who has served as head PT for the Lakers for the past 5 years, talks about what's involved in making sure that Kobe Bryant and colleagues stay healthy through an 82-game regular season, plus preseason, postseason, and the offseason.

    The latest on blood flow restriction training
    Johnny Owens, PT, MPT, is a high-profile proponent of a relatively new training approach that involves applying a tourniquet to an injured limb to allow patients to make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads (and reducing overall stress). Owens describes how it works, shares his vision for the potential of the technique within health care, and discusses where research is going.

    A patient's journey out of extreme pain thanks to physical therapy
    When Morgan Hay broke her big toe, she assumed it was a small injury. Weeks later, however, her foot was still discolored and swollen, and the pain was intense. Hay recounts misdiagnoses, multiple painkiller prescriptions, and finally, the physical therapy treatment that is helping her make real progress.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.

    Gabby Reece Recounts Rehab After TKA in Move Forward Radio Interview

    Gabrielle "Gabby" Reece is a former pro volleyball star, a TV personality, model, and bestselling author. She's also the owner of an artificial knee, and a patient who resolved to work her way through knee replacement surgery with plenty of physical therapy and no postsurgery drugs. And what Reece would like people to know is that the opioid-free journey she's making toward recovery is not just for high-achieving superathletes—it's for anyone willing to apply mindfulness, patience, and persistence to their own health goals.

    The latest edition of Move Forward Radio features an interview with Reece that focuses primarily on her ongoing recovery from the knee replacement surgery she underwent in April, 2016. Reece first rose to prominence as a standout professional beach volleyball player, and was Nike's first female spokesperson. These days, Reece appears as a host on NBC's STRONG, a fitness-based program, and serves as a spokesperson for Plan Against Pain, a national campaign that educates the public on the availability of nondrug approaches to pain treatment postsurgery.

    During the interview, Reece speaks candidly about the challenges of the physical therapy she is participating in, the factors that led her to make a conscious decision to take on her rehabilitation without the use of drugs, and the potential for a wide range of individuals to choose a recovery path that involves minimal reliance on painkillers. Here are a few highlights from the interview:

    On our culture's "quick fix" mentality around pain: “I understand the quick fix mindset. It’s fun. It’s really marketable. But I think in everyday life, I don’t know anything that happens quick too often. And I think it’s not realistic for us to really think that a pill or something is just going to take care of it. I mean, in no other place in our life does that exist."

    On having unrealistic expectations after surgery: "For most of us, once we get the thing fixed, whatever our issue was, we think, OK, we should be good now. But because we’re a whole being, the rest of the body has compensated. That’s what gets us in trouble is, ‘well, I should be better by then.’ And when you’re not, then you’re disappointed, frustrated, worried. So I also went through that about 4 times. I thought I was going to be doing ballet by month 2, and that wasn’t really realistic.”

    On accepting feelings of uncertainty about recovery, but never giving up: "Listen, anytime any of us are dealing with an injury or something, illness, the other side of that is the emotion of fear of ‘Is this going to be better,’ or ‘Is this going to be OK,’ or ‘Am I at least going to be able to function.” … For me it was like, 'OK, this is the road to feeling better so I’m going to stick to it. I’m going to be rigorous about pursuing it and take some responsibility and see how good I can get it.'”

    APTA is raising public awareness about the risks of opioids and the benefits of physical therapy via its #ChoosePT campaign, which includes TV and radio public service announcements, national advertising, and free resources at MoveForwardPT.com/ChoosePT.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in Local News, December 2016

    "The Good Stuff," is an occasional series that highlights recent, mostly local media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    Jody Frost, PT, DPT, PhD, was named president-elect of the National Academies of Practice. (NAP News)

    "Physical therapists are using technology to study gait—the way we move—to help clients improve form and prevent injuries." (Toledo, Ohio, Blade)

    "For the first time in my life, I am hearing me. I’m hearing my body. I’m listening and I want to do better by it." – from "A letter to myself about the power of physical therapy" a column in Cerebral Palsy News Today.

    Marianne Ryan, PT, provides tips on new mothers returning to exercise. (The Washington Post)

    PT and engineering students from Wichita State join the GoBabyGo! initiative. (Wichita State, Kansas, News)

    Darwin Fogt, PT, explains the opportunities available through tele-rehabilitation. (KABCTV-7, Los Angeles)

    Clarke Brown, PT, DPT, ATC, speaks out on the dangers of drug abuse faced by school athletes who suffer injuries. (Canadaigua, New York, Daily Messenger)

    A physical therapy team helps a man propose on bended knee to his girlfriend. (Fox 25 News, Dedham, Massachusetts)

    "Doctors have found that when treating several types of chronic pain, physical therapy is just as effective—and sometimes longer lasting—than surgery or medication. Plus, the only 'side effects' are increased physical fitness, better mobility, and improved health." – (Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania LIVE)

    Yuping Chen, PT, ScD, describes advances in robotics that can help children with cerebral palsy stay engaged with physical therapy. (Fox 5, Atlanta)

    "Movement is everything—when it is compromised, life takes on a different, more ominous tone. Fear not, for physical therapists advocate a respite from pain through targeted movements." – feature story on physical therapy (SRQ magazine, Sarasota, Florida)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    Triathlete, Legally Blind, Returns to Running After Injury, Thanks to Physical Therapy (Did We Mention He's 73?)

    When Charlie Plaskon says he's committed to removing the "dis" from "disability," believe him. Those aren't just empty words—it's the way he lives his life. And it's the drive that moved Plaskon, legally blind since childhood, to take up running at age 55 and then overcome a series of injuries—including a severe back injury—with the help of a physical therapist (PT). Now 73, Plaskon is back on track, and ready to add more races to the more than 50 marathons and 8 ironman triathlons he's already completed.

    Now available on Move Forward Radio: Charlie Plaskon's story of how he came to fall in love with running and triathlon sports, how he faced the devastating possibility that an injury would prevent him from ever doing those things again, and how his PT helped him reconnect with the try-harder attitude that sustained him throughout his life. Plaskon is also the subject of a brief video created by APTA.

    In the podcast, Plaskon explains how he never let his macular dystrophy prevent him from achieving what he set out to do, personally or professionally. From early on, Plaskon says, he felt the choice was simple: "I could either fold like a deck of cards, or explore opportunities to give myself a full and complete life."

    The same drive was behind his decision to take up running at 55, and to push himself not only in terms of the distances he would cover, but the injuries he would endure, including meniscal tears, a rotator cuff tear, and hernias. He just kept going. But, then, Plaskon suffered a back injury at the Boston marathon, and doctors told him that running might be off the table permanently.

    "My whole world fell apart," Plaskon said. Blindness was a condition he had lived with his entire life, and his ever-darkening world was something he was prepared for, "but I was more afraid of not being able to move my body how I want to move it when I want to move it," he said.

    But Charlie Plaskon doesn't give up. After finding a surgeon who could make the needed repairs, Plaskon connected with a PT who helped him achieve his goal to return to running.

    "The physical therapist, and the physical therapist regimentation, is the only thing that has me where I am right now," Plaskon said. "[My PT] didn't treat me like the blind old man—I was somebody who was hungry to do good."

    In the podcast, Plaskon talks about how his PT not only put him through the rehabilitation exercises necessary to regain mobility, but how she helped him reset his attitude and rekindle his love of taking on a challenge.

    "The therapy part was great,” Plaskon said. “But what she did to my brain … she used a featherduster approach, but to me it felt like a sledgehammer. She bred into me something about 'do more, do better.'"

    Move Forward Radio is featured and archived at MoveForwardPT.com, APTA's official consumer information website, and can be streamed online via Blog Talk Radio or downloaded as a podcast via iTunes.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.

     

     

    2017 Slate of Candidates Posted

    The 2017 Slate of Candidates for APTA national office is now posted on the APTA website. The candidate webpage, including candidate pictures, statements, and biographical information, will be posted on March 13, 2017.

    Elections for national office will be held at the 2017 House of Delegates on June 19, 2017. Please contact Cheryl Robinson in APTA’s Governance and Leadership Department for additional information.

    From Move Forward Radio: A Journey Out of Pain and Away From Painkillers, Thanks to Physical Therapy

    Morgan Hay had been down with the flu for about a week and was starting to get bored. So she turned on a horror movie to break up the monotony. It worked: not long into the movie, she jumped off the couch and attempted to run upstairs, away from all the scariness, only to slam her right big toe into a stair. The resultant pain was intense.

    That's when she entered what turned out to be a real-life nightmare that took her from specialist to specialist, and subjected her to multiple painkillers that made her feel "like a zombie." The pain was so overwhelming that it caused her to lose consciousness nearly 2 months after the initial injury.

    It was a nightmare that only ended after extensive work with a physical therapist (PT). Hay recounts her story in the latest edition of "Move Forward Radio," APTA's twice-monthly podcast series that educates the public about the benefits of physical therapist treatment.

    Initially, Hay thought she had badly stubbed her toe. But when she woke up the next day still in excruciating pain, she went to the local hospital emergency department to find out that she had sustained multiple fractures in her toe. She was put in a cast, but 11 days later, her orthopedist removed it due to the intense pain Hay was still experiencing.

    A neurologist diagnosed Hay with reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and then the pain medications started rolling in: at one point Hay says, she was taking Cymbalta, Lyrica, and methadone for the pain, and some doctors she visited were even pressing her to begin taking additional antidepressants.

    Hay understood that the current course of treatment wasn't really addressing the pain, but merely masking it. Finally, in desperation, the 23-year-old made an appointment at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, where she was seen by a team of providers, including Nancy Durban, PT, DPT, MS.

    That's when things began turn around for Hay. She was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, and prescribed intensive physical therapy, accompanied by pain medications, which would be gradually reduced and finally eliminated.

    "Nancy understood everything I was going through," Hay says. "She knew exactly what to say and what to do to make me feel like I was heard—and it helped my pain."

    It took nearly a year of physical therapy, sometimes at 4 or 5 sessions a day, before Hay was fully recovered. But the process helped Hay understand how pain was a signal that something needs to be addressed, and not simply a sensation that needs to be blocked or dulled through drugs.

    "I felt like I was going to be on pain medication forever," Hay says. "I couldn't really see a light before I went to physical therapy," but once she did, "I was actually doing something to help me. I didn't have to rely on medicine to heal my pain."

    APTA is raising public awareness about the risks of opioids and the benefits of physical therapy via its #ChoosePT campaign, which includes TV and radio public service announcements, national advertising, and free resources at MoveForwardPT.com/ChoosePT.

    APTA members are encouraged to alert their patients to the radio series and other MoveForwardPT.com resources to help educate the public about the benefits of treatment by a physical therapist. Ideas for future episodes and other feedback can be emailed to consumer@apta.org.