PT Profile: Meet Luci Harris, PT, DPT, OMPT

      Luci Ellavich Harris, PT, DPT, OMPT has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to physical therapy.  Her journey started at Central Michigan University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in health fitness in 2004.  She went onto to obtain a doctoral degree in physical therapy from Grand Valley State University in 2007.  After a two-year residency at Oakland University in 2010, Luci received a certification in orthopedic manual physical therapy.  This professional designation means that she has the expertise and knowledge in medical screening, anatomy, physiology, joint and soft tissue mechanics, and is an expert in the  musculoskeletal system. luci
     A neck and shoulder injury at the age of sixteen piqued her interest in physical therapy.
She felt that physical therapy helped her symptoms so much that she has made it her career to help others improve their quality of life through physical therapy.
     Luci is a highly-skilled therapist, but her specialty lies in treating sports related and overuse injuries of the shoulder and knee.  She credits her success in these areas to the training she received in obtaining her certificate in orthopedic manual physical therapy.  “I have had the opportunity to train with a lot of great therapists over the years,” says Luci.  “They have really helped me to hone my skills and knowledge.”  Luci is also a level 1 and level 2 Graston Technique trained therapist, which has worked wonders for her patients suffering with chronic cervical pain and headaches.  She is also trained in kinesiology taping.
     Luci is a native of Flushing, but now resides in Lake Orion with husband and two children.  She treats patients at Advanced Physical Therapy Center’s Clarkston Clinic.

What is CranioSacral Therapy?

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.

Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it’s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?

Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.kristin-smith-craniosacral

Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.


By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

What conditions does CranioSacral Therapy address?

  • Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Stress and Tension-Related Disorders
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Infant and Childhood Disorders
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • Scoliosis
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • And Many Other Conditions

Our CranioSacral Practitioners:

From top left to right, Cathy Sikora, PT; Kristin Smith, PT, DPT; and Linda Gibbs, PT.
Resource:  Upledger Institute International, The Developer of CranioSacral Therapy, CST FAQs,

CranioSacral therapy has many uses in addition to the mentioned above.  Here are two interesting TED Talks on CranioSacral Therapy.





What is an OMPT, and Why is It Important to Seek One?

What is Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy?

 Orthopedic manual physical therapy (OMPT) is any “hands-on” evidence based treatment that may include moving joints in specific directions and at different speeds to regain movement, muscle stretching, passive movements of the affected body part, or having the patient move the body part against the therapist’s resistance to improve muscle activation and timing. Selected specific soft tissue techniques may also be used to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles.

What is an Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapist?

Orthopedic manual physical therapy certification is a post-graduate/advanced certificate program for physical therapists designed to develop specialized manual therapy skills.  OMPT training involves a minimum of two years of postgraduate education and over 2000 hours of clinical residency training and theory.  Residency programs in physical therapy are based on the same educational model that has long been used in the education of medical doctors.  The OMPT professional designation means that the therapist has expertise and knowledge in medical screening, anatomy, physiology, joint and soft tissue mechanics and is an expert in the musculoskeletal system.

What’s the Importance of Seeking Out an OMPT?

By selecting an OMPT trained physical therapist, a patient will receive care that is extremely effective and efficient.  This is particularly important if the patient has limited financial resources, has limited visits covered by health insurance, is seeking conservative treatment that may preclude the need for surgery, or in cases where surgery is required, treatment to recover and improve their outcomes.

Early, consistent and skillfully manual physical therapy, combined with exercise and patient education, is central to the OMPT therapist’s practice.  Advanced examination, communication and decision making skills that are built on the foundations of professional and scientific education facilitate the provision of effective and efficient care. OMPT practitioners provide patient management, consult with other care providers on neuromusculoskeletal conditions ranging from simple to complex, and provide recommendations and interventions in the area of health and wellness.

Also, when someone suffers from a neuromusculoskeletal disorder, an exercise and movement re-education program may be sufficient to restore full pain-free movement, function, and return to full activity.  However, in some cases, soft-tissue and joint restrictions are present, resulting in these same interventions being painful or, worse, aggravating to the condition.  In these instances, an OMPT therapist can provide hands-on techniques to improve mobility, reduce pain, and restore normal function of soft tissues and joints.


Luci Harris, PT, DPT, OMPT


Luci Harris, PT, DPT, OMPT is a certified orthopedic manual therapist and has her doctoral degree in physical therapy.  Luci practices out of our Clarkston location and has several other continuing education courses under her belt.  If you would like to talk to Luci or schedule a free consultation, please feel free to give her a call at (248) 620-4260.    

Surgery and Smoking

burning-cigarette-smokeCigarette smoking is recognized as one of the major causes of preventable disease. Most people know that smoking is linked to heart and respiratory diseases, as well as to several cancers. However, many people are not aware that smoking has a serious negative effect on bones, muscles, and joints, and that smoking often leads to poorer outcomes from orthopedic surgery.

Smoking has a negative effect on fracture and wound healing after surgery.

  • Broken bones take longer to heal in smokers because of the harmful effects of nicotine on the production of bone-forming cells.

Smokers also have a higher rate of complications after surgery than nonsmokers – in fact, smoking may be the single most important factor in postoperative complications. The most common complications caused by smoking include:

  • Poor wound healing
  • Infection
  • Less satisfactory final outcomes of surgery

Researchers have noted that patients who quit smoking have improved outcomes for surgical treatments of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.

Research on Smoking and Orthopedic Procedures

In two specific types of surgeries (spinal fusion and rotator cuff repairs), results were significantly better for people who never smoked and for those who stopped smoking than for smokers.

Smoking and Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion surgery is often used to treat disk disorders in the neck and the lower back. Two or more of the small bones in the spinal column (vertebrae) are “welded” together with bone grafts and internal devices, such as metal rods.

The success of the surgery depends on how well the bones heal into a solid unit. A successful spinal fusion can reduce pain and improve the patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

In a study on spinal fusions in the lower back, the success rate was 80% to 85% for patients who never smoked or who quit smoking after their surgery. The success rate dropped to under 73% for smokers. More than 70% of nonsmokers and previous smokers were able to return to work. But only about half of the smokers were able to resume working. Another study on spinal fusions in the neck showed successful fusion in 81% of nonsmokers, but in only 62% of smokers.

Smoking and Rotator Cuff Surgery

Smoking also has a negative impact on surgeries that focus on muscles, such as rotator cuff repairs. One study compared the results of 235 patients treated at two different medical institutions. Results in nonsmokers were significantly better than results in smokers. Nonsmokers experienced less pain and a higher degree of function after surgery than smokers. Good or excellent results were seen in 84% of nonsmokers, but in only 35% of smokers.

Evidence like this continues to indicate that smoking is harmful, not only to your lungs, but also to your bones and muscles.

Resource:  December 2013, Surgery and Smoking, Ortho Info, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons,

Smoking and Musculoskeletal Health

Impact of Smoking on Healthsmoking-skeleton

Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death. Each year more than 440,000 people in the United States alone die from tobacco-related diseases. In fact, smokers can expect to live 7 to 10 years less than nonsmokers.

Smoking is linked to heart and respiratory diseases and to several cancers. Most people are not aware that smoking has a serious negative effect on your bones and joints.

Effects of Smoking on Musculoskeletal Health

Every tissue in the human body is affected by smoking, but many effects are reversible. By avoiding or quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk for incurring many conditions. Quitting smoking can also help your body regain some of its normal healthy functioning.

Here’s what scientists have found about the relationship between smoking and musculoskeletal health.

  • Smoking increases your risk of developing osteoporosis — a weakness of bone that causes fractures. Elderly smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to break their hips than their non-smoking counterparts. Smoking weakens bones in several ways, including:
    • Studies have shown that smoking reduces the blood supply to bones, just as it does to many other body tissues.
    • The nicotine in cigarettes slows the production of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) so that they make less bone.
    • Smoking decreases the absorption of calcium from the diet. Calcium is necessary for bone mineralization, and with less bone mineral, smokers develop fragile bones (osteoporosis).
    • Smoking seems to break down estrogen in the body more quickly. Estrogen is
      important to build and maintain a strong skeleton in women and men.
  • Smoking also effects the other tissues that make up the musculoskeletal system, increasing the risk of injury and disease.
    • Rotator cuff (shoulder) tears in smokers are nearly twice as large as those in nonsmokers, which is probably related to the quality of these tendons in smokers.
    • Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to suffer overuse injuries, such as bursitis or tendonitis, than nonsmokers.
    • Smokers are also more likely to suffer traumatic injuries, such as sprains or fractures.
    • Smoking is also associated with a higher risk of low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Smoking has a detrimental effect on fracture and wound healing.
    • Fractures take longer to heal in smokers because of the harmful effects of nicotine on the production of bone-forming cells.
    • Smokers also have a higher rate of complications after surgery than nonsmokers — such as poor wound healing and infection — and outcomes are less satisfactory. This is related to the decrease in blood supply to the tissues.
  • Smoking has a detrimental effect on athletic performance.
    • Because smoking slows lung growth and impairs lung function, there is less oxygen available for muscles used in sports. Smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost three times more often than nonsmokers. Smokers cannot run or walk as fast or as far as nonsmokers.
  • Smoking can make you too thin and put you at greater risk for fractures. Nicotine signals the brain to eat less and can prevent the body from getting adequate nutrition. Having a good body weight is important for general health.
Resource:  May 2010, Ortho Info, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Smoking and Musculoskeletal Health,

Creating Success Stories One Patient at a Time

In August of 2015, seventeen-year old, Emma Thompson, had pain in her calves.–Not uncommon for an active teenager. People have calf pain for many reasons; a strained muscle, you backed into the coffee table at home trying to avoid stepping on your child’s toy, or soreness from overdoing it in a workout the day before. Emma’s doctor wasn’t too worried since it is so common. He told her to rest two weeks, and it should be better. Unfortunately for Emma, it wasn’t.

After two-weeks of living with the pain, Emma returned to her doctor, and to be better safe than sorry, he sent her over to have a Doppler ultrasound test performed. A Doppler ultrasound test uses reflected sound waves to see how blood flows through a blood vessel. The test also can find blood clots in leg veins (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) that can break loose and block blood flow to the lungs. Not knowing that this was an urgent matter, Emma went to a friend’s house to spend the night. Later that evening, she called her parents complaining of shortness of breath. The next day her parents brought her to the hospital. They were shocked to find out that Emma had D.V.T. (deep vein thrombosis) in her ankle and behind her knee. It was shocking because D.V.T. is incredibly rare in someone seventeen years old.

While in the hospital, Emma suffered a seizure, and doctors found that she had two major blood clots blocking the main arteries in her lungs and multiple pulmonary embolisms (P.E.s). Her heart was working so hard to get past the P.E.s, the doctors had to give her stroke medication. The decision to give her this medication was not made lightly. If they gave it to her, she could bleed out. If they didn’t give it to her, she could develop other clots that could stop her heart. As they were deliberating, Emma’s lungs began to build up with fluid. The doctor’s had to make the quick decision to give her the medicine. Thankfully it worked. She spent four days in the intensive care unit and a total of ten days in the hospital.


Emma Thompson pictured top middle with our clinical team that helped Emma on her road to full recovery.  Top left to right: Jill Ivy, PTA; Patty Rumbold, PTA; Corey Hough, and Arthur Adkins.

Emma is doing fine now. But before she made a full recovery, Emma’s pulmonologist recommended she attend physical therapy to strengthen her heart and lungs. Emma would become exhausted just moving from class to class, and climbing stairs were nearly impossible. Prior to her bout with D.V.T., Emma was at a band camp, practicing nearly ten hours a day. Emma knew if she ever wanted to play again, she needed to build her endurance.

To get started, her physical therapist, Bret Peters, P.T., D.P.T., began having Emma perform simple tasks, such as walking from one end of the building to the other. “They give me little challenges to help with my balance and endurance. I couldn’t walk upstairs, and I struggled to get to class. Now I’m playing dodge ball, and I’m getting back to normal. It is a lot of fun, and I, actually, look forward to coming here. I would absolutely recommend Advanced Physical Therapy Center. It has given me so much that I want to do the same for other people. I’m looking to going into physical or occupational therapy as a career,” said Emma.

“When Emma first came in, she could only tolerate five-minutes on the treadmill and only perform a few exercises. She has come a very long way. We are so proud of her. We see a lot of kids in our practice, but her dedication was impressive. She took it seriously, and it shows in her improvement. I took her jogging, and we made it to the end of the road–no problems, no breaks,” said Jill Ivy, P.T.A.

Emma has been back to her pulmonologist, and all her tests came back with flying colors. Her doctor credits physical therapy as instrumental in her recovery. “The staff has made a world of difference through their encouragement and support,” said Mark Thompson, Emma’s father. “You’ve come a long way, baby! I’m impressed,” said her mother, Cathy.

The Next Step in Physical Therapy Rehabilitation

Advanced Physical Therapy Center just added a revolutionary tool to their arsenal … The AlterG Anti-gravity Treadmill.  Unlike any other piece of training equipment available, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill can take you further, faster than you ever thought possible after surgery, injury or other mobility impairment.

AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill
The innovative AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a game changer! Whether you have graduated from your physical therapy program, are an athlete dealing with lower body injuries, or a patient living with chronic pain or neurological conditions that inhibit mobility, the AlterG can help you get moving and take your fitness to the next level. This Anti-Gravity Treadmill helps a broad spectrum of people – top level athletes, orthopedic and neurologic patients, pediatric, geriatric and those looking to lose weight – achieve their personal health, wellness and performance goals.

Rehab & Train Unburdened
AlterG has an exclusive NASA-patented differential air pressure unweighting technology that is aimed at shortening recovery times, reducing injury, and improving mobility.

The AlterG Difference:
With its unique unweighting capabilities, the Anti-Gravity Treadmill® allows you to move your rehabilitation and training forward by:

• Reduce gravity’s impact by selecting any weight
between 20% and 100% of your body weight byalter-g-girl-running
1% increments
• Rehabilitate lower extremity injuries with less
pain and less impact
• Improve mobility, strength and safety for those
with neurological conditions
• Provide a safe way to lose weight and exercise
more intensively while unweighted
• Train without pain and reduce the stress to
joints and muscles
• Recover effectively and with less pain after
training or competition
• Allowing you to walk or run with no pain while
maintaining a normal gait

If you would like to know more about the AlterG or would like to schedule a free trial call us at our Grand Blanc location at (810) 695-8700 or click here to schedule.