By Sue Moore
“Graduation day for our patients is pretty darn cool,” said Ellen Hector, physical therapist at the new Physical Therapy One building at 13329 Portage Road, just north of the Chrysler car dealership in Vicksburg. “There is great satisfaction in helping a patient improve their life.
“Many people want to know the quick fix for their condition, but there isn’t one. That’s not how it works,” Hector continued. “Every patient is different, so we customize the treatment for many different diagnoses such as pain, lack of movement and decreased function. We serve all ages and demographics.”
Physical Therapy One has expanded from locations in Kalamazoo and Portage to Vicksburg because so many of their patients had to drive 12 miles or more to get to the offices, Hector said. It purchased the reasonably new building on Portage Road. It was completely remodeled to hold their training equipment, consultation rooms, and office space. It is staffed by two physical therapists, Hector on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Mary-Teresa Fletter on Tuesday and Thursday.
Both have undergone years of training to be licensed physical therapists with multiple specialties. Physical therapists now graduate with a doctorate degree after completing their bachelor’s degree. Hector also did athletic training and sports medicine specialization with various athletics including softball, volleyball, soccer and wrestling.
The company has therapists who work in all the following specialties: vestibular, for vertigo and balance problems; women’s health specialties; manual therapy; oncology rehabilitation; sports medicine training; and treatment for concussions, a rapidly growing specialty.
“For concussion, we analyze which part of the brain was affected and which systems were involved or jarred. Concussion is technically a mild brain injury. We consider where the damage has occurred to determine the treatment. Lots of research has changed the usual prescription for concussion, which was rest. We have better tools today to help patients recover,” Hector said.
With vestibular (dizziness), it depends on the cause to determine treatment, she said. “It can be cured once we figure out why it is happening. If it’s the crystals in the ear that are out of place, we can help put them back into place quickly. If it is a neurological problem, we can help people establish new neurological pathways.”
The therapy received for each patient at this office averages 40 minutes for one-on-one visits. This is unusual in the industry but normal for PT1 according to the owners, Joe and Leah Walters, who are both licensed physical therapists. They opened their first Portage clinic 19 years ago and have been growing ever since.
An evaluation lasts 60 minutes. Most insurance covers their work but to be sure, the staff calls to verify benefits before they even start treatment. Thus they are able to explain deductibles and co-pays for each client or if treatment has to be on a cash-based payment plan. It is not necessary to have a doctor’s prescription to become a patient of PT1, Hector said.