The Physical Therapy team at Swift Institute has experience in treating spine as well as musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, orthopedic and sports injuries, vestibular and balance disorders, and pre / post-therapy for spine and joint surgeries. The physical therapists collaborate with providers of Swift Institute and Swift Urgent Clinic to help each patient find pain relief and return to more active lifestyles.
In addition to special exercise equipment and devices geared for physical rehabilitation, the physical therapists can reference a virtual Exercise Library that enables them to customize a Home Exercise Program for each patient.
Lastly, because Swift Institute and Swift Urgent Clinic are part of a multi-disciplinary group, this is an advantage over other physical therapy clinics in that the physical therapists have immediate access to physical medicine and rehabilitation MDs, interventional radiology MDs, and fellowship-trained spine surgeons since they are within the same center. This team of spine surgeons, nonsurgical specialty physicians and physical therapists can quickly conference and resolve questions and issues that may arise, without you having to wait several weeks for an appointment with an outside physician. This tight communication loop between patient, provider and physical therapist, represents a critical advantage that speeds the patient along to recovery faster than the outside physical therapy clinics that must communicate by phone or mail to those involved in the treatment process. At Swift Institute, everything is within one center for the benefit of the patient.
One of the key features that sets Swift Institute apart from other clinics that treat back and neck pain is its spine-specialized therapy department. Patients will be connected with a physical therapist who has advanced training in techniques for spine. Torrey C. Schweickert, PT, MSPT, Megan Worthen, PT, DPT, Matt Kimber, PT, DPT, Hannah Randazzo, PT, DPT, Alexandra Gerlach, PT, DPT, Conor White, PT, DPT, Julie Johnson, PT, Chris Kegler, PT, DPT, Edwin Horney, PT, DPT, Adam Mick, PT, MSPT, and Jake Brewer, PT, DPT of Swift Institute have skills and techniques that are specifically oriented at relieving back and neck pain.
The only way to permanently relieve pain involves changing the physiology of the back by using exercise to make it stronger, more flexible and resistant to injury. While a general physical therapist may spend weeks attempting to mask pain using heat, ice or ultrasound, research has shown that using these passive treatments is not the best way to return someone to activity efficiently. This general physical therapist often sees a wide variety of patients each day who suffer problems related to sore elbows, knees or shoulders. General physical therapists typically have a very limited understanding of the best ways to treat specific types of back problems. At best, they may have taken a couple courses on therapy for a back or neck injury.
On the other hand, a spine-specialized therapist’s primary goal is to enable the patient to perform a customized home exercise program as early as their first visit. The therapist’s second goal is to make the patient independent of therapy within a short period of time.
Instead of receiving a general treatment approach, at Swift Institute your therapist has specialized training in treating back and neck pain. These therapists have advanced, hands-on skills that can help relieve your pain and get your injured muscles, tissues and spinal structures moving again. Instead of a single school of thought, patients can access specialists with a variety of skills who can match the best treatments to your particular problem.
Manual therapy relates to the use of a therapist’s hands to achieve pain relief. By using specific techniques, the spine therapist can relieve pain through hands-on movements applied to vertebrae and soft tissue areas. This is achieved not passively, with a modality such as ice or heat, but through actively moving the joints and tissues. Spine-specialized therapy can involve techniques taught by schools including Paris, Ola Grimsby, Cyriax and the Maitland therapy school in Australia.
A manual therapist’s background typically begins with physical therapy training, followed by advanced education in spine that sets them apart from general physical therapists. This specialized education can be within a host of manual therapy philosophies, each involving unique pain-relieving techniques that help patients return to function as quickly as possible. Regardless of the particular school of thought, the best spine therapists avoid the use of passive modalities, which do not provide permanent relief.
Frequently Asked Questions about therapy at Swift Institute
Q. What makes Swift Institute physical therapy different?
A. The physical therapy team at Swift Institute invests additional time during the new patient visits to ensure we develop a customized and effective therapy program for each patient. In addition to an exercise regimen, patients at Swift Institute will receive manual therapy that can help with restoring mobility, improving motor control, reducing pain, and improving efficiency of movement. Patients at Swift Institute also receive one on one attention from our physical therapy team throughout the visit. We have experienced physical therapy aides that support the physical therapists in clinic.
Q. What will my therapy at Swift Institute be like?
A. At other clinics with general therapists, you may have laid on a table, while someone put hot packs or ice on your back. Or your therapy may have included other passive things like ultrasound. Or you may have had a massage. The insurance companies who pay for back care have done extensive research on things that relieve back pain — for the long term — and they now have policies that eliminate payment to clinics doing “palliative care.” The word “palliative” means something that feels good, but doesn’t cure anything.
So while a massage or hot pack may feel good, it doesn’t provide any lasting change to the soft tissues in your back or neck. The effect on your symptoms is temporary, and in a sense, worthless because it doesn’t last, and your pain will return.
Nationally, the best spine treatment clinics avoid passive things like hot packs, ice and massage. Instead, specialized clinics emphasize things that strengthen the back, make it more flexible and resistant to injury. In other words, Swift Institute emphasizes specialized spine techniques, stretches and exercises that will help you recover from injury without having to resort to surgery.
At the foundation of spine therapy is the philosophy of helping the patient to take responsibility for their own health. We will show you the special exercises that are customized for you. By using this customized series of stretches, you have the resources you need back at home to control your back or neck pain symptoms long term.
It is important to note, however, that any time you have symptoms that involve radiating pain or numbness into a leg or arm, consider these serious emergency symptoms that need to be seen by a spine surgeon or spine physiatrist to determine if they are worsening, or if they can be managed with therapy. If you ignore these symptoms, such symptoms can cause permanent nerve damage. Another emergency symptom is any loss of control of bowel or bladder.