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Physical therapists visit Rotary

VALLEY — Erin Blackwell, a physical therapist with Elite Rehab Solutions, was the guest speaker at Thursday’s noon hour meeting of the West Point Rotary Club and said her goal as a physical therapist was to help people perform at their best.

“We are patient centered,” she said. “We are not corporate owned and not just here to make as big a profit as we can any way we can.”

Physical therapy improves the patient’s physical functioning by treating chronic or acute pain, tissue injuries, cartilage damage, arthritis, walking disorders and physical impairments.

Elite Rehab Solutions is located at 4 Chambers Square, behind San Marcos Mexican Restaurant in Valley. Blackwell works with fellow physical therapist Matt Watson.

Blackwell dispelled a common perception that physical therapy is limited to helping athletes who have been injured.

“It’s more than that,” she said. “We are all about wellness and promoting the quality of life. We believe it’s best to catch problems early and deal with it rather than waiting until the pain hurts so much that you want it relieved right away. We can help people with their balance, those who have had work-related injuries and those who have vertigo or carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Blackwell said that dry needling is a very effective technique practiced by physical therapists.

Dry needling is an alternative medicine technique similar to acupuncture. Blackwell said it works because it gets right to the trigger points that give pain.

“It’s been around for several decades and is becoming more popular,” she said. “It’s more direct than acupuncture and can increase blood flow to an area that needs it.”

When done by a trained physical therapist, dry needling rarely results in any bleeding.

“I may stick up to 50 needles a week in people,” she said. “Out of that number, no more than in one instance does it draw any blood, and then it’s very minor. Dry needling can help if you have what’s known as a tennis elbow or arthritis. It improves blood flow and helps relieve pain.”

Pain can be a tricky thing.

“You may have pain in your knee, but the knee may not be your problem,” Blackwell said. “Your hip could be the source of it.”

“We look at the body, the person and their movement,” Blackwell said. “We can help you with your movement and can do functional movement training. We can look at people in their work duties and suggest better movements for them.”

A big advantage in seeing a physical therapist, said Blackwell, is that they have more time to spend with you than a doctor, who has lots of patients to see.

“We can spend more time with you,” she said. “We learn a lot about our patients and how to help them. Since we are not corporate owned, our goal is to work with you and get you better, whether you have good insurance or not.”

Under the current arrangement, a patient can have a first visit to Elite Rehab Solutions for an evaluation. Future visits follow a doctor’s referral.

Blackwell is very confident with Elite Rehab Solutions’ treatment of vertigo.

“It may make you a little sick at first, but it will be well worth it,” she said. “Our treatment of vertigo is successful 90 percent of the time. I did a thesis on it in college.”