A Physical Focus
by Jennifer Zyla
Pain is an inevitable part of life, but suffering doesn’t have to be.
Right now, you may be suffering from lower back pain that is making it hard for you to go about your day-to-day activities. Your first thought may be to call your primary care physician to get evaluated, but it’s ‘cold season’ and all non-emergent appointments are more than likely booked up until next month. Plus, you could have a pesky co-pay to deal with. What now?
Your next step is to schedule a free screening at a trusted physical therapy facility like Ivy Rehab. No referral? No problem. New Jersey is a direct access state, meaning you can see a physical therapist and get treatment without a referral from your primary care physician.
Robert Sierra, clinic director of Ivy Rehab in Cinnaminson, says as physical therapists, the people at Ivy Rehab are able to screen a lot of causes of pain just like your primary care physician would.
“Typically it’s an interview process. We ask them where the pain is, how severe it is, what makes it better and what makes it worse,” says Sierra. “Depending on what body part it is originating from, we’ll do an in-depth examination on them and look at their range of motion and their strength. If it has to do with their legs, it may impact their gait pattern which can lead to balance deficits. If it has to do with their arms, it may be linked to their spinal posture. Ultimately, we look to correct these dysfunctions to improve our client’s functional mobility and quality of life.”
During your screening, your physical therapist may suggest something as simple as “ice and rest” or may refer you to a specialist. If your injury can be healed with physical therapy, you’ll be able to start treatment as early as that same day.
“Ivy Rehab offers outpatient physical therapy for a broad range of orthopedic and neurological conditions,” says David Gold, clinic director of Ivy Rehab in Mount Laurel. “Most often we help people overcome nagging aches and persistent pains that they did not realize could be alleviated with the help of a physical therapist.”
While aches and pains might seem like the general formality of complaints from people who seek care from a physical therapist, Samantha Sumara, clinic director of Ivy Rehab in Willingboro, says Ivy Rehab is very unique and dynamic and offers a wide variety of treatments to a range of patients.
“We offer a variety of services—we see everything from young adult to geriatric, return-to-sport patients, post-surgical patients, fall-risk patients or those with balance deficits,” Sumara explains. “We also see hands, feet, ankles, TMJ, concussions and vestibular patients. We have a little bit of everything.”
Ivy Rehab even offers specialized programs for ACL return-to-sport injuries, ACL injuries, neck and back pain and specialized programs for arthritis.
“Another really important aspect that a lot of patients don’t know is we can treat lifelong conditions such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and people who are post-stroke,” says Sumara. “We can identify what deficits they have after a stroke or if they have one of those long-term conditions and we can help strengthen and teach them better body mechanics so they can decrease their chance of falls and improve their independence.”
Ivy Rehab is proud to acknowledge that every single patient who comes to the facility gets to work with their physical therapist one-on-one so there is never a gap between the patient’s understanding of what is going on with their body or the therapist’s understanding of where the patient is at in their individualized program.
“A physical therapist can help a person understand what is going on in their body,” explains Sumara. “We can also prevent future injuries by ensuring a person is using proper body mechanics and ensuring they are using the right muscles when they’re performing tasks.”
This is especially important in their worker’s comp program. They work with the patient to understand their injury and how it happened, talk about how much they lift at their heaviest and then work with them to show proper body mechanics when lifting those heavy objects and walking with them to decrease their chance of re-injury.
“We want our patients to be able to return to all of their functional day-to-day activities and be able to do the things they want to do without pain,” says Gold. “We’re here to help reduce your pain, mild or chronic, improve your movement, flexibility, strength and balance and— most importantly—educate you about your body and how it works.”
So, the next time aches, pains, sprains or tears have you wondering what may be wrong; consider a free screening with a trusted physical therapy team as your first line of defense. They can point you in the right direction and even start treatment that same day to get you feeling like yourself again.