Life in Motion
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Patients who have difficulty with traditional, land-based therapy often benefit from Spectrum’s aqua therapy pools that reduce the force of gravity with 360-degree support.
When pain prevents enjoyment in life, physical therapy (PT) is a solution that restores strength, movement and overall wellbeing. In recent years, Physical Therapists have gained a prominent role in patient care, with responsibilities that reach beyond overcoming injuries. These days, P.T.s serve as consultants, educators, coaches, and advocates that develop comprehensive strategies for people of all ages to function at their best in daily life and activities.
Often patients are referred to a PT by a doctor after suffering an injury or stroke. As the PT field has evolved, patients can pursue ‘pre-hab’ preventative treatments to increase mobility and performance, even prior to surgery to facilitate a positive outcome; a doctor’s referral is no longer necessary to seek PT in Colorado.
As Physical Therapist’s responsibilities have grown and become more autonomous, a doctorate degree is now required for entry-level physical therapists to practice. Hands-on techniques are still the basis of effective physical therapy, but new technologies in robotics and bionics, such as interactive and virtual environments, make therapists’ evaluations more precise and treatments more effective.
“Our biggest passion is to improve an individual’s ability to successfully function in life,” says Jacki Koury, founder of Great Moves Physical Therapy, who opened her first clinic in 2001 to treat golfers. Great Moves is equipped with a High Definition Golf™ simulator designed to increase performance and rehabilitate injury allowing golfers to attain consistent, top results.
Through working with golfers, Koury developed specialties in low back, hips, shoulders, and feet. She recognized that when the body stays tuned, it can perform at its best. “As we age, our bodies and brains adapt and compensate to overcome pain or weakness in order to complete tasks,” she observes. “The goal of PT is to find the cause of pain and eliminate it. We are the masterminds that design a program to biomechanically balance and strengthen the whole body to improve symmetry and performance.”
To increase the range of positive outcomes, Koury expanded the practice to include fully certified physical therapists, massage therapists and personal trainers. Further, Great Moves introduced a popular VIP program to help beat the aging decline, offering head-to-toe evaluations and customized programs to help people optimally function and continue doing activities they love.
Another notable Colorado Springs physical therapy group, Spectrum Rehabilitation Center, emphasizes overall wellness. Owner, David Gerstel is committed to providing orthopedic care to the musculoskeletal system along with sports performance, cancer rehabilitation, and hydrotherapy.
The expansive 1,700 square foot facility boasts a full gym, state-of-the art equipment to accommodate athletic conditioning, injury recovery, and prevention training. Spectrum takes pride in being a teaching facility, hosting courses, as well as teachers and students from top Physical Therapy schools around the world.
Their flagship facility is home to Southern Colorado’s only heated hydrogen-peroxide (H2O2) pools, the second largest in the country. “Hydrogen peroxide creates a natural buoyancy that counters gravitational pull and lessens compressive force on the spine and joints, making exercise much easier to perform than on land, and accomplishing wonders for musculoskeletal issues like end-stage arthritis, fibromyalgia, and back pain,” describes Gerstel. “By removing pressure from the joint and decreasing pain, hydrotherapy enables muscle strengthening that can even help avoid or postpone procedures like knee replacement.”
Cancer Rehab is a vital facet of Spectrum’s practice, incorporating guidelines from Carole M. Schneider’s “Exercise and Cancer Recovery” program. Gerstel explains that these leading-edge techniques increase energy and supports immune system, yielding dramatic results even during chemotherapy.
Another specialty is MAX performance training for athletes that begins with intensive screenings of strengths, joint integrity and flexibility. “We’ve worked with Olympians, professional soccer players, double amputees – even a mom-turned-Spartan champion,” Gerstel notes. “We return athletes even stronger to their coaches and careers, functioning at extremely high levels.”
Personal trainers often collaborate in the physical therapy process. Ty Arcilla, member of Great Moves team works in sync with PTs. Once the targeted program is prescribed, Ty moves the patient forward in their functional mobility.
“How the body connects and moves through space is significant,” he observes. “Something as simple as lifting groceries or reaching for keys has a cumulative impact. We are constantly working against gravity, so strengthening the core and pelvic floor to align and suspend the spine is very important.”
Ty describes the concept much like a car out of alignment, “If left untreated, over-compensating movements eventually result in a spiral of problems. The lack of symmetry causes ‘wear-and-tear’ damage on the body,” he says, “No matter what our condition, we can learn to move perfectly to the best of our ability. It is important to always move with nature as opposed to against it.”
Whether managing arthritis, recovering from injury, or athletic conditioning, the goal of physical therapy is to decrease pain and increase function. Physical therapists do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, rather, they are the first line of defense in empowering, teaching, and inspiring strength and mobility that dramatically improves quality of life.