Physical Therapy helps rehabilitate patients

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The inner workings of the human body consist of a physical atlas designed to work together to give people life. The cardiovascular, muscular, nervous, skeletal and respiratory systems are complex and can be unpredictable. When a body's map experiences a road block, certain systems can require special attention.

Physical therapy technicians are assigned here to ensure Whiteman Airmen are physically fit to complete the Air Force Global Strike Command mission.

"Our mission is to rehabilitate patients who have been injured," said Tech. Sgt. Eva Graney, 509th Medical Group NCO in charge of physical therapy clinic. "Whether it's an acute sprain, post-operative shoulder or a knee reconstruction, we focus on returning the body to a pre-injury or pre-surgical state. We instruct and monitor patient's progression through exercise and educate them on their body mechanics and posture."

The job of a physical therapist is to plan, develop and manage physical therapy programs and activities to ensure military members receive the quality of care they deserve.

"We try to figure out what generates their pain and depending on the diagnosis we will strengthen or stretch the soft tissues surrounding the joint," she said. "We facilitate the body's healing process.

"For instance if you sprain your ankle, we will put you through the acute ankle rehab which consists of treating the pain and swelling. This is done to increase your range of motion and once your joint returns to functional range, we focus on strengthening the surrounding muscles to keep the injury from happening again."

Additionally, physical therapist evaluate and treat patients by implementing research activities, conducting training, establishing professional care standards, appraising performance levels of subordinates and serving as a consultant to the medical staff.

A typical appointment at the physical therapy clinic brings about initial paper work followed by a visit with the therapist so they can perform a manual evaluation on the concerned area. From there, the therapist will make determinations about the patient and create a personal treatment plan if appropriate.

"The physical therapy evaluation involves a thorough manual evaluation using orthopedic special monitoring the joint throughout its full range of motion," she said. "There is a lot to be learned from listening to patients complaints and visually watching the joint move. From this evaluation, physical therapist make a diagnose and determine what physical therapy can help. The objective is to get the patient from their point of pain to the point their pain is gone or controlled, ultimately returning them back to a physically fit lifestyle.

"We know the Airmen have to get back to their jobs and we can help get them better so they can return to the mission," Sergeant Graney said.

Overall, the unit's work section encompasses their mission of team work, good communication and an optimistic attitude towards the patients.

"The physical therapy staff here works phenomenally well together," Sergeant Graney said. "We have fun and strive to make the rehabilitative process enjoyable and educational for the patient."