Therapists put people back in life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005

In the medical field, the physical therapists are good people to know because they understand why each of your body parts works and how so in conjunction with others.

Here in Greenville, Shannon Hartley is a good person to know.

She is the head of the physical therapy department at L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital.

She and her team take their jobs very seriously for they know they are to teach you how to take better care of yourself.

They show you how to properly exercise and how to use your body to gain strength and have better mobility.

And if you listen to them, you won’t find yourself with another injury.

Stabler’s Hospital PT staff can provide help for every body part.

When Hartley says she’ll get you back on your feet, she means it.

History of Physical Therapy

Although the use of certain techniques of physical therapy goes back to ancient times, the modern profession of physical therapy developed in the 20th century during World War I.

America’s first modern physical therapists were trained to work with soldiers returning from the war, and several groups of &uot;reconstruction aides,&uot; as they were then called, actually were sent to military hospitals in France to institute early rehabilitation with wounded veterans.

The physical therapists at Stabler are direct descendants of these medical pioneers.

&uot;We evaluate and treat the symptoms,&uot; Hartley said.

&uot;All we do is done to improve function and remove pain from the patients.&uot;

Hartley explained that physical therapists work with patients suffering from orthopedic problems.

These problems can be low back pain or knee injuries.

They work with stroke patients who need help in learning to use their arms and legs again and how to walk again.

Basically, Hartley said they work with patients with musculoskeletal and neuromuscular problems that affect their abilities to move the way they want and function as well as they want in their daily lives.

Hartley said the ability to maintain good posture and to move your limbs so you can do all sorts of tasks and activities is an important part of your good health.

&uot;Most of us can learn to live with the various medical conditions that we may develop, but only if we are able to continue at our jobs, take care of our families, and enjoy important occasions with family and friends,&uot; she said. &uot;All of these activities require the ability to move without difficulty or pain.&uot;

For physical therapists, they understand the ability to move is not merely a matter of a person using their arms and legs to walk and handle things.

These movements also help the body distribute oxygen throughout the body.

Because of that, Hartley said physical therapy can be used with patients aged from infant to the elderly.

&uot;You might see our physical therapists working with patients hospitals (even critically ill patients in the intensive care unit), in homes and with our occupational therapy program, at the job,&uot; she said.

Physical therapists are experts in movements and function; they often work with people to get them well again.

However, they also work with others to prevent injury and loss of movement.

Program going strong

Since Dec. 1996, Stabler has offered some type of physical therapy for patients and as the need grew, so did the program.

&uot;Our program has grown tremendously with the influx of the new doctors in the area,&uot; she said.

&uot;We also have an orthopedic surgeon on staff who is here from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursdays.&uot;

She said the growth and success of the program makes her proud of the hospital’s abilities.

&uot;I’m real proud of the program here,&uot; she said.

&uot;There is not a day that I do not like coming to work because I see how much we improve the lives of our patients. Our goal is to continue to grow with the needs of the community.&uot;

With that in mind, the hospital recently added a speech therapist to the department.

Getting there

Hartley pointed out that your doctor in other cities can write a prescription for physical therapy and it can often be handled here locally.

&uot;If your doctor prescribe physical therapy, you can come here,&uot; she said.

&uot;We want people to know that they have choice in where they do their physical therapy.&uot;

Once there, patients will find a full service gym, weight training machines and a wide variety of programs to suit their needs.

Stabler has two physical therapists on staff as well as a physical therapy assistant.

Hartley said she is sure they can help most people in their recovery.

Need a PT?

If you have experienced any of the following, physical therapy might be right for you:

Low back pain, neck pain, shoulder, arm, wrist, or hand problems, knee, ankle, or foot problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains and muscle strains, arthritis, cardiac rehabilitation, rehabilitation after a serious injury, chronic respiratory problems, stroke rehabilitation, problems with balance, hip fractures and fitness and wellness education.

For more information on the physical therapy department at L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital, call 382-2671.