For many people, physical therapy is synonymous with accident or injury care. But it’s so much more than just a recovery tool. At clinics like Inspire Physical & Hand Therapy, doctors address issues like chronic pain, sports injuries, fall prevention, and post-operative needs.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) explains that “Physical therapists (PTs) are movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. Physical therapists teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits…examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.”
Co-owned by Sean Sipe, PT, DPT, SCS, Inspire is a labor of love. Sipe has been in the industry since 1998 and practicing in Thurston County since 2002. He founded his newest clinic, Inspire, in 2013. To date their primary location has been in Lacey but in early 2019 a new, centrally-located Tumwater branch opened. His fellow owner Kristina Pittman is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
“The Tumwater market was an obvious choice,” Sipe says, “because of the way it’s growing. We also have great relationships with the Tumwater Family Practice Clinic next door.”
Sipe himself is in the third year of an athletic training contract with Tumwater High School. He volunteered his on-field injury support expertise from 2002 to 2011 and facilitates the hiring of an athletic trainer who helps with all T-Bird sports.
Through the use of free injury screenings, Inspire’s staff “triage issues to help people get on the right track,” he explains. They strive to “keep barriers low” and use these screening visits to learn about your history, current issues and future goals.
Sometimes clients are referred back to their primary care physician, while others continue on as Inspire patients. “Major cases come to us in a traditional referral sense but a lot of folks come see us out of the blue,” admits Sipe. They foster an attitude of “if in doubt, call and make an appointment.” Don’t continue to suffer from ongoing pain or restricted mobility.
At their new Tumwater site, Physical Therapist Anesse Kuehl was promoted to Clinic Director in addition to her treatment duties. A graduate of Olympia High School, Saint Martin’s University, and Eastern Washington University, she’s happy to be returning home.
An avid athlete, playing basketball and softball in high school and member of the WSU crew team, Kuehl “enjoys working with patients of all ages to develop an individualized treatment plan that incorporates exercise and manual therapy to help patients get back to living life to the fullest.” Outside of work she’s busy with travel, watching college football and basketball, and her family.
Unlike many PT offices, Inspire also offers hand therapy. Through advanced study, Certified Hand Therapist Fiona Vaughan specializes in treating individuals with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremity.
“Imagine if you can’t use one or both of your hands,” muses Sipe. “That’s tremendous.” Both physical and hand therapy are often addressed in 6 to 12 visits, but that varies by “insurance, diagnosis, and need,” he says. “We want to see patients treated, feeling good, and with the tools to be able to care for their condition.”
While Inspire focuses on general orthopedic care, within that umbrella they expand into sports injuries, neck and back pain, work injuries, and other chronic and over-use type injuries.
Physical therapy is vital in this age of over-medication. APTA is hoping patients will #ChoosePT instead of highly addictive opioid painkillers. “Doctor-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, but they just mask the pain—and opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. That’s why the CDC recommends safer alternatives like physical therapy to manage pain. Physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care, and patient education—and by increasing physical activity you can also reduce your risk of other chronic diseases. Pain is personal, but treating pain takes teamwork.”
If physical therapy sounds like it could help, don’t hesitate to reach out to the doctors and staff at Inspire. Let them be part of your treatment team and perhaps you’ll inspire others to do the same. Contact the Inspire Physical & Hand Therapy offices for your free screening today.