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October is national Physical Therapy Month

[caption id="attachment_6181" align="aligncenter" width="625"] From left: Randall Decker, PTA; Paige Gridley, PTA; Kelly Pruitt, PT and Kim Fulkerson, RPT.[/caption]

You probably think physical therapy is something you need only after an injury or when your health is in decline. But modern physical therapy is turning the focus toward prevention of falls, help with chronic pain and other common wellness concerns for seniors.

“There is a misconception that if you go into therapy, that means there’s something wrong with you,” said Kelly Pruitt, director of the therapy department at Salina Presbyterian Manor.

Kelly came to us through a partnership with Aegis Therapies, which has been providing our on-site physical therapy services for the past year.

In recognition of National Physical Therapy Month, which is October, we asked Kelly and her team about the services they provide and how they can benefit anyone.

Kelly emphasized that physical therapy can not only help you maintain your current level of wellness, flexibility, strength and balance – it can also help you improve on them. Our therapists do educational programs throughout the year about wellness and fall prevention and even learning how to eliminate safety risks in the home.

Kelly, who holds a doctorate of physical therapy, oversees two certified physical therapy assistants, Randall Decker and Paige Gridley, who work full time at Presbyterian Manor.

They are supported by three registered physical therapists who work as needed: Nicholas Martinez, PTA; Creighton Reeves, PTA and Kim Fulkerson, RPT.

Kim said it’s definitely easier to maintain your health than try to regain it. “There’s a much bigger push toward preventative care. Instead of waiting until you’ve fallen, we’re putting practices in place to prevent it,” Kim said.

Kelly said new strategies are being developed all the time to address specific needs for older adults.

For example, the Bal-A-Vis-X program uses exercises to integrate balance, auditory and visual systems to strengthen coordination between both sides of the brain. It’s helpful for many people, and it’s used in stroke recovery and dementia treatments.

Of course, when accidents or injuries do happen, our therapists are ready to assist residents in their recovery.

Aegis offers unique programs such as Freedom Through Functionality, along with clinical programming based on extensive rehab outcomes. Their Outcomes Report Cards provide a tangible way for residents and their own physicians to track results.

Anyone can ask for an evaluation to see if they have issues that could be improved with physical therapy. Risk assessment is just one of the benefits of therapy. Here are many more:

• Build strength and coordination

• Enhance your ability to get around without an assistive device

• Improve range of motion and balance

• Manage chronic pain without medication

• Recover from pelvic injuries or knee/hip replacement

• Provide therapies such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation

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