Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
Munson Army Health Center staff and patrons toured the recently updated Rehabilitation Center Oct. 30.
“We really wanted to get the word out about all of our services, especially the fact that you can come see a physical therapist without having to get a referral from your primary care provider,” said Capt. Mikala Bruno, Department of Rehabilitative Services chief. “In addition to physical therapy, we have occupational therapy and chiropractic. You do have to have referrals for them, and chiro is for active-duty only.”
Along with physical therapy, occupational therapy and chiropractic services, the center also offers dry needling, deadlift training for the new Army Combat Fitness Test, and pelvic floor physical therapy. Each area was featured on the tour.
Stop 1: Dry needling
“Dry needling is a technique that stimulates a muscle that’s in contraction to finish that contraction and return the muscle to a normal tension, a normal state,” said Maj. John Lane, executive wellness physical therapist. “There are screening tests to see if you are a good candidate for it. There are many people who will have strains or sprains and will still have pain after the swelling goes down. This helps get the muscle to finally return to normal status.”
Dry needling is open to active-duty, family members and retirees who are determined to be good candidates.
Stop 2: Occupational therapy and chiropractic
Occupational therapy, which was added to the rehab facilities in 2018, targets elbows, wrists and hands. It focuses on relieving symptoms of arthritis, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome, said Scott Wedman, occupational therapy assistant.
Mitch Hopkins, occupational therapist, said that while there are not many differences between OT and PT other than the body parts focused on, OT puts emphasis on education.
“I’d say a majority of injuries we see are overuse, chronic injuries, and it’s just not using proper biomechanics on certain things, so it is just teaching (patients) how to properly do something,” Hopkins said. “We would educate them to become hyper aware of how you do things and maybe change how you do things to prevent injuries in the future.
“That’s a big difference between OT and PT,” he said. “We really think more functional activities of daily living and how we can keep you more independent in your life. There is nothing extravagant about what we do. It is pretty straightforward and simple.”
Occupational therapy is open to active-duty, family members and retirees with a referral from a primary care physician.
Chiropractic is open only to active-duty soldiers who have a referral from a primary care physician.
Stop 3: Deadlift
The new Army Combat Fitness Test, which will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test in October 2020, was first announced in July 2018. The new test includes standing power throws, hand-release push-ups, a sprint-drag-carry, leg tucks, a two-mile run and strength deadlifts.
“Now, (soldiers) can learn about deadlift form and tips on training on the deadlift,” Bruno said.
Terri Gambhir, physical therapy assistant, emphasized the importance of proper form, including holding the bar with a shoulder-width grip and keeping the lower back straight so injuries are avoided.
Stop 4: Physical therapy
At the physical therapy stop, tour participants tested a TRX Suspension Training Machine, which can help achieve balance, strength stability, power, endurance mobility and a strong core.
Physical therapy is open to active-duty, family members and retirees. No referral is needed.
Stop 5: Pelvic floor
Added in November 2018, the pelvic floor physical therapy station helps women with upregulated and downregulated pelvic floors by teaching them exercises to help relax the pelvic muscles as well as other methods.
Pelvic floor issues such as tightness and pain can be caused by childbirth, running and cycling, said Jennifer Spell, physical therapist.
“Sometimes it is just mind over matter. We can help you isolate those muscles and that helps with all these different problems,” Spell said. “There is no magic pill. The ladies have to do the work and that’s the hardest part. It is just helping each person identify for them what’s going to be the best treatment.”
All women who are active-duty, family members and retirees who have a referral from a primary care physician are eligible for physical therapy.
“We want patients to know what they’re going to expect (in rehab),” Bruno said. “We want them to know they are going to get a challenge, that we’re going to be addressing all of their needs, that we’re going to give them the time to rehabilitate their injuries, and it is a comprehensive team they’re working with in all services.”
The Rehabilitation Center is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 684-6338/6138.