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Active Physical Therapy logoMike Spevak and Parley Anderson
Spine anatomy, michael Spevak, Parley Anderson

Spine

There are three main regions in the spine: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar.
Between each vertebral bone are intervertebral discs that help cushion and allow for flexible movement in the spinal column. Many times with spinal injuries these intervertebral discs may get impinged or compressed in ways that induce pain.
Anatomy of Arm

Shoulder

The shoulder joint is a commonly treated injury due to its vast range of motion.
Since it can move a full 240 degrees and has a shallow bone socket, it can be more vulnerable to dislocate and separate. Ligament and muscle tears are also a common problem that can occur within this joint.
Michael Spevak Knee Anatomy, Parley Anderson

Knee

The knee is one of the most commonly injured joints treated by physical therapists.
The knee is held together by four main ligaments (Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Posterior Cruciate Ligament, Lateral Collateral Ligament, and Medial Collateral Ligament) and a cartilaginous tissue called the meniscus.
Hip anatomy

Hip

The Hip is fundamental to movement of the lower half of the body.
It is made up of the pelvis (ilium, ischium, and pubis), the femur, and the sacrum. The hip joint works like a ball and socket joint, with the femur acting as the ball, and the acetabulum of the pelvis as the socket. The hip functions in stability, mobility, protection, and shock absorption, making it one of the most essential joints in the body.

Our Mission

Meet the needs of the physical therapy community through high-quality, evidenced based physical therapy. Physical therapy is provided with an emphasis on patient education and home exercise program, therefore minimizing costs for the patients and insurance companies.

Recent Posts

06
NOV
2014
Tahoe, Emerald Bay

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Hello all,

We are in the process of improving our social media sites. Please give us a blog comment on how we can make our website more user friendly or how we can increase the amount of traffic on our websites.

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02
FEB
2013

What is a Doctor of Physical Therapy?

Having been a practicing physical therapist for over six years now, I often get the question “What is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T)?” This question comes not only from my patients, but from other medical professionals as well.  The simple answer is “an individual with a doctorate in physical therapy.”  However, the question (and answer) can get fairly complicated.  In my professional experience as a physical therapist (or as a D.P.T.) most people do not know what a physical therapist is, let alone a D.P.T.  And, if an individual has not actually been to physical therapy before, most people have no idea what to expect when they are informed they need physical therapy.

When talking about the definition of physical therapy, most people have general ideas and assumptions regarding our profession.  Common answers include massage, exercise, ice, heat, or electrical stimulation.  Other individuals say that physical therapists are like Chiropractors.  Yes, physical therapists may utilize exercise, ice, heat, and electrical stimulation as part of treatment on a patient.  No, we are not massage therapists, and we are certainly not Chiropractors.  If you look up the definition of physical therapy in Webster’s dictionary, you will likely find something along the lines of “the treatment of disease by physical and mechanical means…as massage, regulated exercise, water, light, heat, and electricity.”  A physical therapist would then be an individual that treats disease by physical and mechanical means…as massage, regulated exercise, water, light, heat, and electricity.”  Those may be nice definitions, but probably do not effectively answer our question.  The definition of a physical therapy, and physical therapist can also be found in Nevada Revised Statute (NRS 640.022, NRS 640.024, )  Here, physical therapy is defined as:

The specialty in the field of health which is concerned with prevention of disability and physical rehabilitation of persons having congenital or acquired disabilities.  A physical therapist is then defined as an individual licensed to practice physical therapy. The practice would include  performing and interpreting of tests and measurements as an aid to evaluation or treatment; the planning of initial and subsequent programs of treatment on the basis of the results of tests; the administering of treatment through the use of therapeutic exercise and massage; the mobilization of joints by the use of therapeutic exercise, mechanical devices, and therapeutic agents which employ the properties of air, water, electricity, sound and radiant energy.

Although these definitions are useful, they probably still do not answer the above-mentioned questions.  For practical and simple understanding, a physical therapist would be defined as a body mechanic.  An individual would need to see a physical therapist if a particular part of his or her body (arm, leg, shoulder, back, knee, ankle etc.) did not work right.  When your car doesn’t work right, you go see a car mechanic. When your heart doesn’t work right, you go see a cardiologist.  When your vision doesn’t work right, you go to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.  Well, when your body (muscle, joint, ligaments) doesn’t work right, you need to go see a physical therapist.

As our professional practice has increased in complexity as well as scope, it has become necessary to make important changes to meet these increased demands.  Physical therapy educational institutions have increased the breadth and depth of their educational programs.  In fact, today nearly all Physical Therapy Schools are, or are in the process of becoming, doctoral programs.  Another important change involves our title designation.  In the near future, the title of Physical Therapist will likely be replaced by “Doctor of Physical Therapy.”  Other important changes will also take place over the next 5-10 years.  The American Physical Therapy Association (our national professional organization) has outlined a vision for our profession in the near future.  Called Vision 2020, this document details the important goals and changes in physical therapy that will likely take place on or before the year 2020.  A summary of this vision is as follows:

Physical therapy, by 2020, will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy and who may be board-certified specialists. Consumers will have direct access to physical therapists in all environments for patient/client management, prevention, and wellness services. Physical therapists will be practitioners of choice in patients’/clients’ health networks and will hold all privileges of autonomous practice.

What does this “Vision 2020” mean for you, the consumer of physical therapy? First, your Doctor of Physical Therapy will have at least seven years of schooling (four years undergraduate and three years in doctoral school).  This increased education will better prepare our future professionals in the ever-changing and unpredictable future of clinical physical therapy practice.  Direct Access will become the norm rather than the exception. Patients will be able to go straight to their physical therapist for their muscle/joint problems, rather than having to see their physician first.  As a result, D.P.T.’s will be more involved in the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of their patients.  Finally, the education of patients and their families regarding treatment will assume more and more importance.

All of these ever-increasing professional demands will necessitate an increase in the expertise of physical therapy evaluation and treatment.  Historically popular physical therapy treatments such as heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and massage will be de-emphasized (sorry, a good rubdown is not good physical therapy, and ice/heat can be done at home), as the research shows that these are not effective interventions for the management of musculoskeletal disorders. In other words, they may feel good, but will likely not fix your bad shoulder/back/knee. Your Doctor of Physical Therapy will be the musculoskeletal expert, and will be able to effectively diagnose and treat your muscle or joint problem.  More effective treatment strategies backed up by sound research and evidence will be emphasized.  A stronger emphasis will be placed on therapeutic exercise (the use of stretching/strengthening exercises to restore functional range of motion and strength) and manual therapy (your Doctor of Physical Therapy using his/her hands to manually move your joints to restore normal range of motion), as these two physical therapy interventions have strong evidence to back up their effectiveness.  In other words, these interventions will be much more likely to fix your bad shoulder/back/knee.

In the end, the question and answer may be much simpler than we thought.  My name is Dr. Parley Anderson, and I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy…and my Name is Nicole Nelson, and I will be a future Doctor of Physical Therapy.  We are musculoskeletal experts that utilize therapeutic exercise and manual therapy to “fix” your muscle and joint problems.

*Nicole Nelson is a first year D.P.T. student at Touro University in Henderson, Nv.  She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2008 with degrees in Biology and Computer Science.

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FAQs

  • What is physical therapy?

    Physical Therapy is the art and science of restoring functional use of the body, spine, and/or the extremities (i.e. legs, arms,) through exercise and manual therapy; these techniques focus on improving a person’s balance, strength, and flexibility so patients can get back to doing the things they enjoy.
  • What are the hours of operation at Active Physical Therapy?

    Active Physical therapy is typically open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm.
  • What do I need to bring to my first physical therapy appointment?

    For the first visit we recommend our new patients to bring their insurance card, a referral (if needed), and any operational notes if applicable. For self–pay patients, we will just need a photo id. If patients want to get a head start on paperwork they can print a copy of our new patient form and have it filled out before their first visit.​
  • What should I expect at physical therapy?

    For the first physical therapy session, the physical therapist will do an examination of the patient after reviewing their medical history to see where the patient stands on his or her injury. This can last from 45 minutes to an hour. The examination will help our physical therapists get a feel for the symptoms and diagnosis of the patient and allow them to develop a treatment plan that will be effective for that particular patient.​
  • ​How long will I be in physical therapy for?

    The amount of visits may vary depending on the extent of the injury and what is recommended by the physical therapist. For typical injuries, it may require 10 visits or less. However, some injuries may require both pre-surgical and post-surgical visits and can be more than 10 visits.​
  • What can physical therapy do for me?

    ​Physical therapy can help you recover from an injury and avoid future injury by helping to decrease the pain felt in the soft tissues (e.g. muscles, tendons, ligaments) improving flexibility and function, and building up muscle strength. Physical therapists may also give the patients useful suggestions and educational information to help make the patient more aware about their particular injury and what strategies they can use to help improve their condition.