Having an injury can be difficult. It can affect fitness, daily routine and the ability to accomplish the mission. That’s why it’s the job of Luke Air Force Base physical therapists to help active-duty personnel recover from their injuries.
“Physical therapy is the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery,” said Master Sgt. Percel Crudup, 56th Medical Operations Squadron Surgical Services flight chief. “Therapists evaluate individual patients and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability.”
Physical therapy provided by the 56th Medical Group offers a variety of services for active-duty members.
“Some of the services available and treatments provided at Luke include dry needling of muscles, aqua massager, anti-gravity treadmill, paraffin waxing of joints, electrical stimulation, patient education, and hands-on joint and tissue mobilization to reduce inflammation and restore function,” Crudup said.
Injuries can be somewhat seasonal.
“Some of the biggest issues or injuries we treat depend on intramural sports and when they are played,” Crudup said. “During flag football season we have an influx of ankle sprains. In softball season we see more shoulder injuries, and lower back pain in general is one of the top reasons patients visit us.”
With the number of sports related injuries, the physical therapists see a lot of patients to help them get back to participating in sports safely and continue the missions.
“We see up to 44 patients each day,” said Senior Airman Atreyu Key, 56th MDOS physical therapy medicine technician. “We help improve major motor skills. Something to keep in mind is if a muscle isn’t being used, it atrophies which can reduce the patient’s range of motion. If you feel you have an issue, don’t wait until it’s too late. Have it treated immediately.”
Meghann La Marca, 56th MDOS physical therapist said the stigma of being medically boarded for visiting physical therapy needs to be laid to rest.
“People shouldn’t be afraid of us, or push through pain,” La Marca said. “We are here to educate our patients. If you’ve had pain consistently for more than a week, you should make an appointment with us.”
For more information, contact a primary care manager to get a referral to receive physical therapy.