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Treating Veterans through Physical Therapy

I'm a veteran of a past war and curious if you're set up with the Veterans Administration (VA) to accept patients. They told me they have a new program called Veteran's Choice -- which means we can choose a healthcare provider in our own town instead of making the trek to Scott & White in Temple, Texas. I live here in the Bryan/College Station area. I go to Temple for physical therapy for severe back and leg pain (my injuries stem from an explosion during combat).

Due to the long drive to Temple, I decided to stop physical therapy treatments and rely primarily on pain medications to cope with my pain problem, which is not the best solution. I know you are a veteran. I was wondering if I can be seen in your office?

First, I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country. Second -- yes, I too am a veteran with 24 years of active duty service in the United States Navy. Let me tell you a brief summary about my extensive training in traumatic and persistent body pain problems:

My last two years in military service I was stationed at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda and Walter Reed Medical Center as the assistant chief of physical therapy. I am quite familiar with the horrors of war involving traumatic injuries, loss of limbs, and the psychological effects on both the patient and family. My training in pain assessment, coping mechanisms, and alternative therapy treatments stems from what I trained on with the many traumatic pain injuries and psychological fears I encountered helping our military men and women at our Nation's Capital.

I can understand your issues with driving to and from Temple for physical therapy, especially with back and leg problems. It's not an ideal situation. Reliance solely on pain medication as you mentioned isn't the best solution either because of our nation's current opiate crisis.

However, there are other natural solutions to your pain problems. At my clinic (Sports Back and Pain Management Clinic) here in Bryan, Texas, we address persistent pain -- or any pain problem for that matter -- as a team effort. I collaborate with your referring provider regarding your evaluation and progress, and any changes that may be needed. After our initial evaluation and assessment, I determine the best plan of care for your unique pain problems. I have many treatment methods that are effective for pain -- particularly, trigger point dry needling, manual therapy, manipulation, and stretching and strengthening exercises to shore up weak or overused muscles in order to achieve pain relief. We also sit down and talk about your home coping strategies and continuously update your coping strategies during your care with me.

Your overall goals include:

  • Bring down your pain by 75-90%.

  • Fix the problem area(s)

  • Shore-up core strength while keeping you upbeat and positive about the treatment process.

  • Work with you and your doctor to minimize prescribed pain medications as you progress, with the goal of no pain medications if possible.

I tell all my patients that a good -- but correct -- diagnosis for the cause of your pain is critical for treatment and recovery. I have over 30 years of experience evaluating and treating patients with acute and persistent pain. I have advanced manual therapy credentials treating a variety of pain problems, such as: headache, joint pain, post sports injuries, shoulders, hip, knee, neck and back pain. My advanced training has afforded me the knowledge and opportunity to locate and diagnosis your pain problem(s) up to ninety percent correct. I'm extremely knowledgeable at locating the true cause of your acute or persistent pain problem. In addition, I will either eliminate or correctly help you positively manage your pain problem.

For example, persistent pain most often arises from poor posture and bone, joint and soft tissue restrictions associated with muscle and connective tissue movement problems. I'm glad to hear that you are interested in natural methods for managing pain. Research has shown time and time again that physician-owned or hospital-based pain medicine clinics are not effective for resolving long-term pain problems. Why? Because spinal injections, nerve stimulators, ablations, spinal cord stimulators and prescribed pain medicines all have poor outcomes in the long-term. Often this is due to poor diagnoses, and thus a treatment plan that doesn't address the real cause and effect on why you're having persistent pain. And, many times physical therapy is never prescribed. Physical therapy is critical to your pain recovery -- I cannot over-emphasize how important it truly is. You need physical therapy to truly address your pain problems, regardless of where you have your pain.

Alternative therapy treatments have to be tailored to the patient's level of pain, personal pain difficulty, psychological fears, central sensitization, and longevity of pain problem. At the Sports Back & Pain Management Clinic we use a variety of modalities to manage and abate pain, including acupressure for trigger points; dry needling, and dry needling with electrical stimulation; manipulation and mobilization techniques; relaxation techniques; and structure exercises for re-strengthening weakened muscles.

At Sports Back & Pain Management Clinic, our acute and persistent pain programs also address cognitive behavioral issues (addressing fears, motivational coaching, explaining why you have pain) with coping strategies. These mental components are initiated during the initial evaluation and continue throughout your treatment program. We offer positive reinforcement on what you can do effectively to reduce anxiety at home, work, or away from family. Patients are taught relaxation techniques, self-massage, and simple lymphatic drainage techniques for home treatments. Your concern is our concern, and my clinic is fully committed to your health and well-being. I look forward to being able to serve you and other veterans -- and anyone else, for that matter.

If you are in search of treating your pain and want a pain-free life, contact my clinic at 979-776-2225 to set up an appointment. I promise you that physical therapy can change your life for the better.

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