Month: April 2018


    Both through speaking to patients and my own experience as a patient in our healthcare system, I have realized the importance of being a self-advocate.  One of the best ways to help recover from your symptoms and reduced risk for a re-occurrence of symptoms, is to be a self-advocate as well as be an active participant in your recovery.  Below are 5 questions to be asking your physical therapist over the course of your treatment.

    1. What is the root of my problem/cause of my pain or symptoms?

    This is an important question, however there is also a caveat – your PT may not be able to give you the exact answer.  What you are looking for is honesty from your PT about what they think is going on.  The answer may be something like, “I know that we need to treat these things, but the root cause could be X, Y, or Z.”  This is the beginning step in you being a self-advocate.

    2. What is your treatment plan for me/How is what you are doing going to help?

    The treatment plan your therapist has for you will include how often they think you should be coming, what techniques/exercises they are going to use to address your symptoms, and who else might be beneficial for you to see during the course of your treatment.  Often times as therapists we think its beneficial for you to see a second therapist for another perspective and then we work collaboratively to give you the best care. The second portion of this question helps to give perspective on the ‘why,’ which is important for you to know as a self-advocate.

    3. What should I be doing at home?

    The best way to help yourself get better is to actively engage in your recovery.  The best way to actively engage in your recovery is to perform the activities your therapist recommends for you at home.

    4. What is your plan for re-evaluation? If I am not seeing progress, what other options would there be to pursue?

    This is a simple way to be a self-advocate for your care.  As PTs we do our best to discuss these things with you without you having to ask but it never hurts for you to ask a second time or to be the one to bring it up.  These are things we are thinking through but don’t always get around to discussing with you.

    5. What are signs that I am doing something wrong or I am worsening my problem?

    This is a question that is commonly asked of us as PTs.  It is important for you to maintain safety and not overdo it while you are under the care of a PT.  This is also another way you can actively participate in your recovery.


    Overall, for your best experience and optimal recovery, it is important for you to be an active participant with your PT throughout your treatment.  Discussing these topics is a great way to do that. If you aren’t sure of something ALWAYS ask for explanation.


    Written by: Dr. Matthew DeLange, PT, DPT

  • According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist…Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation”(Neil,2017). PTAs must graduate with an associate’s degree from an accredited PTA program. Once graduated, they also have to pass the national licensing exam in addition to becoming licensed in each state they practice in.


    Physical Therapist Assistants can work in a variety of settings including, but not limited to: outpatient clinics, hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, homes, and schools.  Simplified, a PTA works under the general supervision of physical therapists (PT) with their own license and caseload. Once a PT has done the initial evaluation, the PTA gets to do all the “fun” hands on therapy and guide the treatment plan. While the PTAs do not perform the actual progress and initial evaluations, we take those outcomes and help you to achieve your goals through the rest of your therapy sessions.


    Typical day
    My typical day as a PTA is very similar to the PTs. We treat side by side with our own patients either in the open gym or private treatment rooms. While the PTs and I have separate caseloads, communication between us is crucial. Because a PT completes the initial and progress evaluations, my job is to communicate with that supervising therapist to get more specialized information on the patient. This enables me to report the progress that I have seen, any concerns I may have regarding treatment, and the patients’ responses to therapy, and also gives the PT an opportunity to communicate any findings from their evaluation to me. This process between the PT and I is how I create and make adjustments to the therapeutic plan for each patient, and allows us to provide best, patient-centered quality care.


    My story
    I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, graduating from Chaminade Julienne High School. From there, I came to Cincinnati for college and in May of 2015, graduated from UC Clermont with my associates of Physical Therapy Assisting. After graduation I accepted a traveling PTA position Roswell, New Mexico (yes, with the aliens). I completed a 13 week contract there followed by another contract in southwestern New Mexico in Silver City. When I was not working, I spent all of my free time exploring and hiking in the mountains and falling in love with the wide open spaces of small town America. After about a year, I was offered a job at Premier where I had previously been an intern during school, so I made my way back to the Midwest. Since working for Premier I have greatly expanded my knowledge base and comfort treating a wide variety of diagnoses. I now specialize in training with amputees, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis chronic pain and orthopedic diagnoses. Because the patients at Premier greatly vary case by case I try to take a variety of continuing education courses, including Myofascial release and vestibular rehabilitation.


    Written by: Laura VanDorpe, PTA


    Neil, A. (n.d.). Who Are Physical Therapist Assistants? Retrieved February 13, 2018, from