Orthopedic physical therapy addresses the prevention, assessment and treatment of pain and/or disability due to injuries of the orthopedic system (muscles, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments). Common conditions often cause pain, swelling, decreased strength, decreased range of motion and challenge a person’s ability to perform daily tasks. Common orthopedic conditions include sprains, strains, tendonitis, ligament tears, muscle tears, osteoarthritis and joint pain. Many of these conditions can be treated with PT as an alternative to surgery. Most common orthopedic surgical procedures are followed by PT, so that patients can regain maximum function in their daily lives. First Rehab frequently treats patients recovering from arthroscopic surgeries or total joint replacements involving the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. We also frequently treat patients with neck and back pain, including pain that is acute, chronic or post-surgical. In all cases, the goal of our therapists is to reduce pain and increase mobility and strength, so that people can get back to living their daily lives.
At First Rehab, sports therapy draws from the elements of orthopedic therapy, helping athletes recover from injuries and surgeries. It often includes neurological therapy in the treatment of athletes recovering from head injuries including concussions. Unfortunately, most of the injured athletes we see are kids, and therefore sports physical therapy at First Rehab often includes elements of pediatric physical therapy. In each of these cases, sports therapy is just an extension of normal therapy, but with return-to-sport performance goals that are much more aggressive. Our goal our athletes is for them to be able to return to practice and competition strong enough to play safely and in shape to compete.
Pediatric physical therapy addresses many of the same issues as orthopedic and neurological therapy, but with children. Medically, kids are not simply mini-adults. Pediatric physical therapy is practiced with an understanding of a child’s current physical, cognitive and emotional development. It involves working together with parents and other caregivers (including speech therapists, occupational therapists, and orthotists) to help a child become as independent as possible. First Rehab’s facility is rare, as there are few outpatient physical therapy clinics with a dedicated pediatric center. Our owner and clinical director, Lindsay Vertalka, MSPT also has vast pediatric experience. Lindsay began her career working with kids. She spent six years working with school children in the communities of Barry, Calhoun and Eaton Counties. As a school physical therapist she worked closely with children of all ages - preschoolers through graduating seniors. Much of her work focused on helping children with developmental delays and other, more specific diagnoses like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, down syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta. Now in private practice, Lindsay has continued her enthusiasm and care in treating our area's children. If parents are concerned about their child's development, they should speak with their family's pediatrician about advantages of pediatric physical therapy.
Neuro Rehab addresses disorders of the nervous system which impact daily activity by affecting a person’s sensory, motor and cognitive processing abilities. In other words, neuro PT helps get a patient’s brain and muscles working together more effectively. Issues of balance, coordination and muscle control are addressed by neuro PT. These challenges are often due to a diagnosed condition like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or cerebral palsy.. They often arise after a brain injury, spinal cord injury or stroke. Many times, a patient is referred to physical therapy absent an official neurological diagnosis, but with problems related to balance, gait and coordination deficits
Vertigo, dizziness and poor balance are often due to vestibular dysfunction. Our therapists have advanced training in the evaluation and treatment of vestibular disordersnervous system which impact daily activity by affecting a person’s sensory, motor and cognitive processing abilities.
Vestibular therapy is a form of physical rehabilitation that uses specialized exercises to improve balance, decrease chronic dizziness or vertigo, and improve daily living if you’re suffering from inner ear dysfunction, head injury or trauma, stroke or other vestibular system disorders and conditions.
Direct Access to Physical Therapy Services
The state of Michigan now allows direct access to physical therapy. In short, this
means that a patient does not need to visit their doctor to obtain a referral or
prescription to physical therapy. This practice is not designed to eliminate physicians,
but instead put patients directly in contact with injury experts as quickly as possible.
According to Michigan Direct Access Law, a patient can receive treatment for up to 21
days (NOT 21 treatment visits) before needing a referral from a physician. In many
cases, three weeks or less of treatment is enough to resolve a patient’s problem.
Before direct access became law, things were more complicated. An injured patient
would often need to wait until his or her primary care physian had an available
appointment, and then sit in a waiting room full of sick people so they could be told to try
physical therapy. Now patients can skip the waiting room start directly with a physical
therapist who specializes in evaluating injuries, pain, and movement problems.
Direct access is also more cost effective. It eliminates the extra cost of a doctor’s visit.
Also, people who try PT first are often able to avoid expensive imaging and tests. It
also makes it possible for patients to pay cash services such as our LiteCure Laser
therapy and RockTape Kinesiotaping, if their conditions don’t require a full PT plan of