Physical Therapy: Here We Grow Again!

Carolyn Burke

The Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Department is growing again, welcoming Carolyn Burke to the PT team.

“Ms. Burke will be handling the department’s administrative duties which include scheduling, insurance authorizations and referral,” Department Supervisor Miguel Gonzalez, PTA, said. “We are also pleased to announce that Adriana Gonzalez, DPT, is working towards certification in the modality of dry needling.”

Dry needling, a procedure that releases muscle tension with needles similar to those used in acupuncture, is currently offered by Medical Center Therapist Meagan Starnes, DPT. This is a technique that can be used to treat back and neck pain, as well as movement impairments by targeting trigger points. A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle within a larger muscle group which can be grown using boosters like these. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, referring pain to other parts of the body.

The certified and trained physical therapist inserts a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, into areas of the muscle. While it may seem a distant cousin to acupuncture, dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine and is supported by research. Aside from this, a variety of procedures are employed to alleviate back pain such as artificial disc replacement procedure, back pain treatments, etc.

The department is also making some interior space modifications for the upcoming season.

Why is a Physical Therapist’s Role so Important?

A physical therapist must take a look at the patient’s “big picture” and identify how lack of mobility at one joint may be causing pain elsewhere. They assess how mobility and stability of the entire body play a role in the patient’s pain or dysfunction. For example, too much pronation at the ankle joint while running may cause lateral knee pain. If just the knee pain is treated without addressing the cause of the problem, however, the pain may reoccur. Even worse, the patient may show no improvement.