Sandy’s Aquatic Therapy “Hail Mary”

My whole world changed. I can age with dignity now. – Sandy Stacer

Sandy Stacer working with Caitlin Bearss, PT, DPT at Advanced PT – Davison

Hopeful to be pain free again, 84-year-old Sandy Stacer underwent a total knee replacement in June 2020. Being very active, she anticipated she would be back on her feet, playing with her grandchildren in no time. But a complication led to a tough decision. Her doctor suggested a second procedure because her recovery progress had slowed, and her flexibility was not improving. Sandy was worried the procedure would be too taxing, so she decided against it. Faced with the possibility of never getting back her full range of motion, Sandy began searching for options. A friend suggested Aquatic Therapy at Advanced Physical Therapy Center. Aquatic Therapy is available at Advanced PT Davison and Clarkston. The reduction of gravitational forces in the pool would allow Sandy to stand and do gait training and strengthening exercises without causing further damage to her healing joint and muscles. The water would also provide resistance and decreased pain sensitivity. Sandy described it as her “Hail Mary” and the next day, set up an evaluation with Caitlin Bearss, PT, DPT.

Sandy was determined but had one more hurdle to face. She was afraid of the water! Luckily, Advanced PT’s aquatic therapists are hands on and happy to get in the water with every patient for comfort and safety. Sandy’s fear was eased a bit and the hard work began.

Just two weeks into Aquatic Therapy, Sandy checked in with her doctor. Progress! Her range of motion had improved! She was almost back to a functional level. Caitlin and Sandy would not stop there. Their work continued at the Advanced PT pool where Sandy revealed, “I love the warm water…the atmosphere here is great. Everyone is so upbeat. I look forward to therapy.”

Sandy began her journey unable to play with her grandchildren, unable to get up and down from a chair without help, and unable to go up and down stairs. “It was very depressing,” Sandy recalled. Caitlin set a goal to give Sandy her life back and make sure she could do the things she wanted to do, again. Sandy says, “Caitlin has a way of convincing you to work harder; she’s very innovative.” The hard work paid off. Sandy is back, playing with her grandchildren, enjoying life, aging with dignity. And she did it without going back under anesthesia for another painful procedure.

Sandy says she tells everyone, “I recommend Advanced PT because the therapists are excellent and because of the outcomes!”

As a side note, Aquatic Therapy can be done 4-6 weeks post-surgery, once the incision is healed and your doctor agrees it can be submerged.  

Advanced PT Davison | 2138 Fairway Dr. | (810) 412-5100 http://www.AdvancedPhysicalTherapy.com

Falls Prevention Awareness Week, 2020

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Twenty five percent of seniors 65-85 years old will fall this year. Of those, 40% are likely to have multiple falls over the course of the year, and more than 200,000 people fractured their hips in a fall last year alone!

Those are some grim statistics, but the good news is that there is help available. Advanced Physical Therapy Center has a fall prevention treatment plan, and it’s one that is helping patients stay on their feet.

Many times, the number one reason someone has been moved into a nursing home is because of a fall.  Patients can reduce their risk of falling by making some changes at home and by letting us help them make their bodies stronger.

FIRST STEP:  Identify why the patient would fall. Is it because of poor vision, vertigo, medication, osteoporosis, or another medical condition? At Advanced PT, therapists will spend some time coaching patients on how to describe their falls and near falls. One technique that is helpful to patients is to keep a journal of times when falling or near falls occur. This can help identify any potential problems.

SECOND STEP:  Safe proof your home. Advanced PT therapists will help with suggestions about how small changes in the home can help reduce the risk of falling. These may include:

· Remove loose rugs

· Add nightlights

· Eliminate clutter

THIRD STEP:  Individualized exercise plan. At the core of this phase of the program are a series of exercises that will help patients strengthen their muscles and increase flexibility. These two areas will develop balance and coordination. In addition Advanced PT therapists will custom-tailor a full prevention program for the whole family.

Advanced PT’s Falls Prevention Program is available to anyone. Contact one of our clinics to schedule a consultation with one of our therapists today and prevent your loved one from an injury.  

Grand Blanc | 10809 S. Saginaw Street | (810) 695-8700

Clio | 303 S. Mill Street | (810) 687-8700

Flint | G-2241 S. Linden Road | (810) 732-8400

Davison | 2138 Fairway Dr. | (810) 412-5100

Goodrich | 7477 State Rd. | (810) 636-8700

Hartland | 11182 Highland Rd. | (810) 632-8700

Clarkston | 6167 White Lake Rd. | (248) 620-4260

Waterford | 6650 Highland Rd. | (248) 618-3050

Back in the Spotlight with Help from Advanced PT

My Mom and I didn’t think I’d dance again. But coming here and using BFR, now I’m back and better than ever!

– Addie Latimer, 12-Year-Old Advanced Patient

12-year-old Addison Latimer, or Addie as she’s called, bounces into Advanced PT, fresh from school. She hops on an exercise bike and begins to pedal. You’d never know, just 2 months earlier, a major injury left her unable to walk without crutches. Richelle, Addie’s Mom, shares what happened during what she describes as a goof-off night at dance class: “She did a kick and hyper-extended her left knee. Her kneecap popped out and popped right back in.” But the action shaved off a piece of cartilage, leaving her unable to bend her knee. On December 30th, Addie had surgery. The surgeon had hoped to put the cartilage back in place, but it just wasn’t possible. She’d be placed on a waiting list for donor cartilage and another repair surgery down the road.

Reality began to set in. Addie could barely walk, and she certainly couldn’t do one of her most favorite things in the world: DANCE! The orthopedic surgeon recommended physical therapy to help strengthen Addie’s leg and get her walking again. The Latimers didn’t know what to expect, but they had hope after hearing a friend had gotten back to dance after PT. Addie took the challenge head-on, knowing a physical therapist had the expertise to help her reach her long-term goal: to dance again.

Richelle recalls the first visits were rough, saying “the muscle loss was shocking. She couldn’t lift her leg.” Addie started with traditional therapy techniques. Then, moved on to Blood Flow Restriction Training or BFR. BFR is a rehabilitation process of performing exercises while reducing the blood supply to certain muscles using a cuff, similar to a blood pressure cuff. It rebuilds muscle and restores strength quicker. It’s a technique perfect for post-surgical patients. Richelle read about BFR, checked with her doctor, and decided it would be a good thing for Addie to try.

The BFR cuff on Addie’s right leg helps to rebuild muscle and strength quicker.

Addie would put a BFR cuff around her leg for the first time on a Friday afternoon. She was a little hesitant, saying “it hurt a little bit and then I got used to it and it was fine.” After a tiring session, Addie and her mom went home. Saturday morning, Richelle caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. It was Addie. After one BFR session, Addie had ditched the crutches and was walking across the family room. Richelle couldn’t believe it!

After several more weeks of therapy, fast forward to February 8th. That day, a little over 5 weeks post-surgery, Addie danced in a competition! Addie continues to improve and dance every day, and with a smile says, “I was happy to do PT. They know what they’re doing. It’s not just for old people. It really does help you. It’s cool to come and get better so quickly.”

Advanced Physical Therapy Center | AdvancedPhysicalTherapy.com | (810)695-8700

Jacob Schumer, PT, DPT Joins Advanced PT – Davison

Jacob Schumer, PT, DPT traveled the country for several years, working as a Physical Therapist. In 2020, Jacob came home to Michigan and began working at Advanced Physical Therapy Center. Jacob earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Ohio Northern University and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The University of Michigan, Flint.

Jacob is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Dementia Practitioner. He is a results-driven therapist who is passionate about “returning people to their prior form and then making them better than they were before their injury through biomechanical correction of everyday tasks.” One of Jacob’s favorite success stories involves a patient who had ruptured a disc in her spine carrying her child. Jacob was not only able to get her back to 100%, he taught her the proper way to carry her child so she would not hurt her back again.

While working with patients, Jacob believes in allowing them to direct their treatment while still providing them with appropriate options for their individual pathology. Jacob recalls a time when he was able to use vestibular rehabilitation techniques to help a woman eliminate the daily medication she had been taking for 3 years.

Jacob played football in high school and college and stays fit now by playing men’s league hockey. He is an avid Red Wings fan and says, “I can talk hockey all day.”

Jacob Schumer | (810)412-5100 | JSchumer@advpt.com

Rachel Selina, PT, DPT joins Advanced PT Waterford and Hartland

I love being able to help people not just get back to doing what they love, but also to become healthier, stronger people overall.

Rachel Selina, PT, DPT

Rachel Selina, PT, DPT is dedicated to pushing people to reach their full potential through hard work and enthusiasm. She loves exercise and fitness and decided to become a Physical Therapist knowing she wanted to help others stay moving and active. Rachel received her doctorate in Physical Therapy in August 2017 from the University of Michigan, Flint. She also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Spanish from Cedarville University in Ohio.

Rachel joined the Advanced Physical Therapy Center team in 2020 after seeing patients at two other centers. During that time, Rachel became passionate about restoring motion, strength, and function in those with neck and back pain along with those who are facing running, CrossFit and climbing injuries. She has specialized training in several Manual Therapies, Blood Flow Restriction Training, Dry Needling and Running Analysis. Rachel says she truly enjoys “whenever I get to help someone get back to running who thought they wouldn’t be able to.” Rachel is also an expert in treating TMJ and headaches.

Rachel spends some of her time away from Advanced PT as a teaching assistant at the Institute of Clinical Excellence, a continuing education program for physical therapists. There, she passes along her knowledge and expertise of lumbar and cervical spine rehabilitation to students.

Fitness is Rachel’s main hobby, but she also loves traveling, cooking and salsa dancing. She lives in Highland with her husband, John and their dog, Yuri.

Rachel wants everyone to know, “Physical therapy can be hard. I like to push people to work hard and achieve their full potential, but all with a smile and encouragement.”

Rachel Selina | Hartland (810)632-8700 | Waterford (248)618-3050 | RSelina@advpt.com

Jordan Marcotte, PT, DPT joins Advanced PT – Grand Blanc to Help Patients Reach Their Goals

Jordan Marcotte began working at Advanced Physical Therapy Center in 2014. She spent three years working at the front desk and as an aide. She went back to school and received her doctoral degree in Physical Therapy in May of 2020 from Trine University in Indiana and returned to Advanced PT as a Physical Therapist. Jordan also holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Science with a minor in psychology from the University of Michigan, Flint.

Jordan is LSVT-BIG certified. LSVT-BIG is a physical/occupational therapy program that helps to increase strength, motor learning, and changes in brain function in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions. She also has plans to continue her education specializing in treating Parkinson’s patients along with post-stroke patients. 

Jordan spent her early years in Durand and is the oldest of three girls. During that time, a difficult family situation inspired Jordan to become a physical therapist. Her family helped take care of Jordan’s grandmother while she battled cancer. Jordan would cook and help with transfers and watch when the in-home PT’s would visit. It was an easy decision for Jordan who knew then she wanted to help others.

Jordan hit the ground running with that decision. During her clinicals, she recalls “I had an 80-year-old patient that suffered from a stroke. When I first met her, she was unable to verbally communicate…and on our first day, she was only able to take two steps. Before discharge, she walked 50 feet consistently and told me ‘thank you for everything.’”

Jordan believes her best asset is her determination to reach her goals and help others reach their goals by being attentive and listening to their needs.

Jordan loves to kayak in the summer. She spends her free time drawing, painting, and knitting.  Jordan says, “I’m excited to help patients regain their quality of life!”

Jordan Marcotte, PT, DPT | (810)695-8700 | JMarcotte@advpt.com

Angels at Advanced PT

Andrew Moore’s Success Story at Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Clio

To me they’re like angels! Sue sees things differently. She wants me to do things the right way. She doesn’t skimp. Patty wants precision each time…she always encourages me. You get beat down so much, you want to give up. But Patty builds you up, keeps you going.

Andrew Moore, Clio Patient

Andrew Moore sings the praises of Sue Hall, PT and Patty Rumbold, PTA. Their support and the results he sees, keep him coming back to Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Clio.

Andrew first walked through the doors of Advanced PT – Clio after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. His muscles weren’t working properly, and his body was becoming stiff. An innovative program called LSVT-BIG, can work wonders for people facing this long-term battle.  And, it worked wonders for Andrew. The program helps to increase strength, motor learning, and changes in brain function in people with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions. Each treatment focuses on the production of large amplitude, whole body functional movements. Sue took a video of Andrew on his first day of this therapy and one on his last. Andrew was shocked at the difference in his movements and stability, saying, “I looked like a completely different person.”  

Andrew still does his LSVT-BIG exercises to this day. But in the meantime, another health struggle brought Andrew back to Advanced PT for a second round of care. In the fall of 2019, Andrew had a mild heart attack. While still recovering from that, less than three weeks later, Andrew landed in the hospital again with a bleeding ulcer. September and October were tough on Andrew. He lost weight and strength. His doctor recommended physical therapy to build up his body and help him recover. Andrew knew right where to go.

“This is the place I wanted to come to,” said Andrew, about Advanced PT – Clio. He knew Sue and Patty would welcome him like family. Andrew had experienced therapy at another clinic, but says the warmth wasn’t there. He went on, “they treat me like a unique individual. They open up to me, and I open up to them.” It’s a close relationship that produces results. “My wife had to help me get into bed and roll me over. Now, I can roll over by myself. My wife doesn’t need to help me anymore. Now, I can lift and carry things again. I put my own clothes on. I still drive. I go grocery shopping.”

Andrew plans to keep up with the exercises he’s learned with Sue and Patty by joining Advanced PT’s StepDown program. It’s an option for patients to continue their regimen on their own, using Advanced PT’s equipment and gym space, for a low monthly fee.

When asked for a final thought, Andrew said, “I wish I would have found Advanced PT sooner.”

Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Clio | 303 S. Mill Street | (810)687-8700

Jonathan Taljonick, PT, DPT Joins the Advanced PT Team

Jonathan Taljonick joined Advanced Physical Therapy Center in October of 2019. He studied Health and Health Sciences at the University of Michigan, Flint receiving his undergraduate degree in 2016. He continued his education, receiving his doctoral degree in Physical Therapy in August 2019, also from U of M, Flint.

Jonathan is from the Flint area and began his career helping people, as a massage therapist. He wanted to expand his expertise and decided to become a physical therapist. He says he enjoys the one-on-one experience of being a PT and loves meeting new people. He considers himself a hands-on therapist and most recently became trained in Blood Flow Restriction Training. He hopes this knowledge will connect him with patients who may have been injured playing sports. Jonathan, an athlete himself, wrestled, bowled, and played football and basketball in high school.

Jonathan believes in building a relationship with each patient. He acknowledges the importance of trust and understanding and approaches each case focusing on the individual so they can get results and get back to life. As an example, Jonathan tells a story about one of his patients, who’s physical therapy journey resulted in him becoming more mobile, which allowed him to rely less on his wife.

Jonathan loves to spend time with his family and is engaged to be married. He enjoys cooking and stays fit by hitting the gym and playing basketball and bowling.

Jonathan Taljonick | (810)695-8700 | JTaljonick@advpt.com

Alejandro Sheppard, PT, DPT Joins the Advanced PT Team

He saw the positive results! Watching his father find success with physical therapy, Alejandro Sheppard, DPT decided he wanted to help others become pain free too. That quest began at the University of Michigan, Flint. Alejandro received his bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Health Sciences followed by his doctoral degree in physical therapy in 2019. He joined Advanced Physical Therapy Center, a short time later.

While getting his degree, Alejandro participated in a program called PT Heart. It provides free physical therapy services to people in Flint and allowed Alejandro to gain valuable experience. He discovered he enjoys learning about his patients and developing relationships with them. He learned he likes to create individual plans and tailor his physical therapy treatments to each person.

Alejandro specializes in treating issues of the neck and spine, and those with chronic pain. He also enjoys working with the older population. An athlete in high school, Alejandro played football, basketball and golf and loves the challenge of helping injured athletes get back in the game, pain free.

In his free time, Alejandro enjoys spending time with his family and friends, going to the movies and traveling.

Alejandro Sheppard | (810)687-8700 | ASheppard@advpt.com

Blood Flow Restriction Training with Justin Brown PT, DPT, ATC

Q and A with Justin: Understanding what BFR Can Do For You

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Justin, what is Blood Flow Restriction Training?

(JUSTIN) Blood Flow Restriction Training, what we generally refer to as BFR for short, is brief or intermittent occlusion or restriction of arterial and venous blood flow that is performed by applying a tourniquet to the upper or lower extremity. BFR has been found to augment the skeletal muscle adaption along with systemic whole-body changes and cardiovascular benefits while at rest, with low intensity endurance exercises or low load-resistance training. It’s been found to be safe when applied with cuffs of appropriate width along with personalized limb occlusion pressure obtained with a handheld doppler. 

OK, that’s a lot of words. Can you simplify it a bit for us? 

(JUSTIN) Basically, it’s performing exercises while reducing the blood supply to certain muscles. That causes your body to go into an oxygen depleted, anaerobic state. And, once in that state, your body responds in a specific way, resulting in a specific training adaptation. Certain hormones are released that cause your body to respond like your exercising with heavy weights, instead of the low intensity weights or the low load resistance exercises you are actually using and doing. (Low intensity weights or low load resistance exercises are required for people who have been injured or who have certain weaknesses.) That means rebuilding muscle mass and strength quicker, like you would with heavy weights. 

 How do you restrict the blood flow?

 (JUSTIN) We use blood flow cuffs. They are similar to a blood pressure cuff and some people actually use blood pressure cuffs for BFR. Our blood flow cuffs are considered medical tourniquets and are considered actual medical devices.

 Who will benefit from BFR?

 (JUSTIN) We can use BFR for any and all diagnoses of weakness or cardiovascular based endurance issues. So, BFR will improve your strength and muscular endurance. It can also improve cardiovascular endurance if we are doing specific endurance-based exercises.

 Would the average person come to you or would someone who had knee surgery get a prescription or is an elite athlete going to be your typical patient?

 (JUSTIN) All three! We use it with our higher-level athletes, especially post-surgery, because they can’t lift heavy weights like they typically would, and they need to get to a higher strength aspect quicker. So, BFR allows us to trick the body into believing it’s lifting heavy weights without actually lifting heavy weights.

 What kind of results would someone expect to see with BFR compared to traditional treatment or therapy?

 (JUSTIN) After surgery, muscles shrink. BFR will bring that muscle back to where it was pre-surgery much quicker than traditional therapy. You’ll gain a lot of strength much quicker with BFR than that traditional way. The best way to gain strength is to lift heavy. Most of our patients can’t lift heavy, so this is the next best thing compared to lifting heavy.

 Are there people who shouldn’t try BFR?

 (JUSTIN) As long as a person has clearance from their physician to exercise, then they can do BFR. (Ask your physician before seeing a BFR specialist to ensure this treatment is right for you and please consult a BFR specialist, before trying BFR training.)

 Why should someone only attempt BFR under the supervision of someone expertly trained in BFR?

 (JUSTIN) It’s important to use the right equipment (blood flow cuffs and handheld doppler) and to know your personal occlusion pressure. Once you are trained with the equipment and understand your individual pressure goals, it’s safe to do it yourself, but only with the right equipment.   

 What can a person do, if they hear about BFR and want to try it, but because it’s relatively new, their own doctor doesn’t know about it?

 (JUSTIN) They can have their BFR-trained therapist get in touch with their physician to discuss the option. (There are over 700 research articles supporting BFR.)  

 Do you have a story of someone who was successful with BFR?

 (JUSTIN) Yes! A patient had trouble with her quad muscle on the inside of her leg. We were going through traditional therapy but didn’t see huge changes. Once we began using the cuffs, we could see a significant improvement compared to what she had been doing. She had no pain and regained muscle mass on her quad. It was noticeable. Both sides were back to a similar size.  

Justin Brown PT, DPT, ATC | Advanced PT – Clio | (810)687-8700 | JBrown@advpt.com