Medical Professional of the Month:
Leon Anderson III, Physical Therapist
In each treatment room at Sports and Spine Physical Therapy, Inc. is a starfish or starfish story, if not both. The story is about a little kid throwing starfish back into the ocean. A man walks up asks the boy what he’s doing. The kid replies with, “I’m saving the starfish because they’re beached”. The man responds that there are thousands of starfish, and the boy isn’t making a difference. The boy picks up a starfish, throws it into the ocean and says, “I made a difference for that one.”
This is how the employees at Sports and Spine want their patients to feel; that they’re making a difference for them, one patient at a time.
Treating the Individual, Not Just the Problem
“We believe that you have to treat the individual, you can’t just treat their problem,” says Leon Anderson, the President and CEO of Sports and Spine Physical Therapy. At their facilities in Ohio and North Carolina, staff treats each patient as if they are family. Each treatment is also individualized to the patient. “Five people can come into the office, and they can all have pain in the [same place], says Anderson. “But there are five different reasons why that pain can be there, which means there are five different treatments for that pain.”
It’s important to know that people don’t need to have a doctor’s referral to go to physical therapy. “So many people sit around in pain because they believe they have to have a debilitating disease or some type of horrible traumatic injury to have physical therapy,” says Anderson. “That’s not the case.”
Patients at Sports and Spine Physical Therapy
Sports and Spine will see individuals who are suffering from sprains, strains or musculoskeletal pain. Anderson encourages people with fractures, who have had knee, shoulder or hip replacements to seek treatment as well. Even people who have pain or discomfort from sitting at a computer are candidates for physical therapy.
How do you know when to seek help from a physical therapist? Anderson says that any time someone is experiencing persistent pain, pain with activity, or the inability to perform daily activities are indicators that it may be time to find a physical therapist. “For example, if you find it difficult to just go from a low chair to stand up, there may be something going on that needs to be addressed,” says Anderson.
Sports and Spine also has a work conditioning program for those who want to improve their physical abilities for their job. Staff attempts to contact employers for job descriptions. Then they design an individualized program to simulate work activities. The goal is to hopefully allow the individual to return to that functional ability.
A History of Physical Therapy
Anderson opened up Sports and Spine in 2003, 21 years after his father opened his first practice. His father is the 16th person in Ohio licensed as a physical therapist. The profession runs in the family. Anderson fell in love with the patient care aspect of the job while working on statistics for his dad while he was in college. “That’s how I fell in love with the profession, and I haven’t looked back,” he says.
It’s rewarding for Anderson to educate budding healthcare professionals. He also enjoys seeing the smiles on the faces of little old ladies when their pain is reduced and to hear them say they didn’t know they could ever feel this good. “That makes it all worth it everyday.”