Tidewater Physical Therapy
Now Offers Aquatic Therapy in Virginia Beach
Ask Paul Reed, PT, DPT about a patient he’s never been able to forget and you’ll hear a story about a young man living with cerebral palsy.
For weeks, Reed worked with the patient in a physical therapy clinic, attempting to help him move more effectively through life, completing basic everyday tasks.
“But his body was so taken over with tone that we really struggled with ways to get him stronger, to stretch him,” Reed said. “As he moved his joints, his muscles flexed, preventing him from moving the joint at all. As a result, joint deformities occurred.”
The patient moved on from the clinic, but Reed still wonders what could have happened if he could have gotten that patient into an aquatic therapy program. He was the perfect candidate, Reed said, and the combination of water, temperature and pressure of a therapeutic pool and exercise program could have helped inhibit the neurological effects of the cerebral palsy.
Tidewater Physical Therapy will open its newest clinic location off of First Colonial Road in Virginia Beach – at 1745 Camelot Drive, Suite 100, in September 2013. The clinic will serve outpatient physical therapy patients of a variety of diagnoses and include a state of the art therapy pool.
Reed will serve as First Colonial’s first Clinical Director, alongside Brian Beaulieu, PT, MPT, Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Regional Director of the South Hampton Roads operations.
“We continue to look for ways to increase ease of access to services for patients throughout the region,” Beaulieu said.
Partially, that’s done, Beaulieu said, by offering services “where patients live, work and consume medical services.”
Tidewater Physical Therapy remains a physical therapist-owned, independent, outpatient physical therapy practice, with, following the opening of the First Colonial clinic, 33 locations across Southeast and Central Virginia.
In Beaulieu’s South Hampton Roads region alone, Tidewater Physical Therapy operates nine clinics, including locations in Virginia Beach’s Red Mill and First Colonial areas; Kempsville in Norfolk; Great Bridge, Battlefield, and Western Branch in Chesapeake; Smithfield; Windsor and Franklin.
In addition to the aquatic therapy, the Tidewater Physical Therapy’s South Hampton Roads clinics feature arthritis management, functional capacity evaluations, impairment rating work ups, lymphedema therapy, manual therapy, neurological rehabilitation, pediatric orthopedic rehabilitation, sports injury and performance programs, TMJ disorder therapy, vestibular and fall prevention programs, women’s health (including pelvic floor pain), work injury rehabilitation, and work conditioning and hardening.
Reed joined Tidewater Physical Therapy in May of 2013, impressed by the range of services they offered patients, and the culture of making access easy. Reed came to Virginia Beach from Phoenix, Az. after enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1994. He earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University.
“We pride ourselves on bringing together the highest caliber clinicians, our dedication to manual therapy and hands on care, as well as access to the best possible programs,” Beaulieu said.
“The opening on First Colonial, in an area where people are going to see their physician and other medical professionals will help us be of service to more people. Being the only clinic along the First Colonial medical corridor to offer a therapeutic pool to perform aquatic therapy helps us improve our ability to help people return to their active lives.”
The therapeutic pool at Tidewater Physical Therapy’s First Colonial clinic will feature resistance jets and a submerged treadmill, as well as private dressing rooms close by.
It’s large enough to work with multiple patients at a time, Reed said, yet small enough to control the temperature, which is set several degrees higher than most swimming pools, but cooler than a hot tub.
That’s the benefit of a therapeutic pool, he said.
“The size does matter,” Reed said. “We don’t want the pool to be so vast that we can’t get a handle on the temperature and keep it at optimal therapeutic temps.”
It’s because of the temperature, pressure and buoyancy of the water that “with aquatic therapy comes the opportunity and availability for us to treat several new diagnoses, from athletes recovering from an injury to patients who need to manage chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, and people who have undergone joint replacements and lumbar surgeries.”
Aquatic therapy can impact the total health and wellness of patients. A patient with chronic pain, for example, is likely not exercising, sleeping well or eating well.
Without a therapy pool, “physical therapists do a lot of soft tissue work – hands on manual therapy – with individuals to get them ready for land based exercises. With aquatic therapy, we still do that hands on therapy, but we are able to get the patient exercising in the pool sooner, building up those muscles, burning calories.”
And when you burn calories, you use energy, start eating, and improving sleep cycles.
“Because I’ve been in practice for almost 40 years, I have a large geriatric patient population,” said Dr. Michael Moro of Independence Family Medicine. “Aquatic therapy for them can be a godsend.”
Especially, Dr. Moro added, for patients with diagnoses like arthritis.
“With aquatic therapy, they can increase their muscle strength without trauma on the joints.”
Someone with increased levels of arthritis in their legs or back benefits from aquatic therapy in several ways. The warm water and buoyancy helps soothe patients, which makes them more likely to move through larger ranges of motion than they normally would on land. Over time, the movement in the water helps improve the lubrication of their affected joints, slowing the progression of arthritis and allowing the patient to improve how they can move with less pain.
Returning to an Active Life.
Reed speaks just as passionately about treatment philosophies as he does about the uniqueness of offering aquatic therapy.
It’s not just about the pool or the manual therapy or the prescribed exercises on land or in water, Reed said. It’s about taking those therapies and applying them to a real life goal.
Every patient, Reed said, receives a one-hour evaluation as soon as they arrive at the clinic to set goals and develop treatment plans.
“When a patient is referred to us, we value the importance of status reports and not only helping patients, but also helping their physician see the objective results of their prescribed therapy,” Reed said.
That starts with a thorough evaluation and setting real life, functional goals.
“I have the greatest confidence in (Tidewater) and the way they treat people,” Dr. Moro said. “When you go to your doctor’s office you want to feel like you’re the only person in that room. (Tidewater) treat(s) patients as individuals.”
It’s not just about getting you to be able to lift a 10-pound weight or walk 20 minutes on a treadmill submerged in water. It’s about helping a patient be able to take a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator, or turn to check a blind spot when driving.
“It’s about making real, meaningful progress,” Reed said, “that’s measurable in someone’s life.”
(757) 301-6316 • www.tpti.com