Thursday, December 6, 2012

TOP STORY>>Physical therapy: Pain and gain

By Airman 1st Class Rusty Frank
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

When someone walks in to the 19th Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy clinic and signs in at the front desk, they might hear the sounds of machines, people having their injured muscles stretched or a needle puncturing their skin. Though it may seem weird to new customers, working with these conditions is an everyday experience for the members of the clinic, who keep the Airmen on base fit to fight by providing top class physical therapy.

The members of the clinic support the mission at Little Rock Air Force Base by providing physical therapy to help people recover and prevent further injury.

“Our primary contribution is to keep the guys who fly the planes, the guys who take care of the planes, and the guys who take care of them, healthy so the mission can continue,” said Maj. Brian Langford, 19th MDOS physical therapy flight commander.

There are many treatments the clinic provides including joint and muscle manipulations. They also use foam rollers and lacrosse balls to keep muscles pliable and mobile, said Capt. Alexander Ford, a 19th MDOS physical therapist.

A new treatment provided at the clinic is trigger point dry needling. Langford said trigger point dry needling is where the physicaltherapist uses a small needle to puncture the skin to release or resolve muscular trigger points that are overly tightened or inflamed fibers within a muscle, said Langford.

Having a physical therapy clinic on base is important and financially beneficial to the Air Force, compared to sending people to expensive off-base clinics, said Ford.

“It (the physical therapy clinic) gives easy access to the people on base; it’s also a lot more cost effective for the Air Force to have us on base facilitating their physical therapy needs,” said Capt. Alexander Ford, a 19th MDOS physical therapist.

Another benefit to having a military physical therapy clinic on base is having physical therapists that know the physical requirements of the military physical fitness program.

“Since we know what they are expected to get back too, we have a pretty good idea of what their jobs entail and what there PT test and their mandatory PT programs are, we can tailor their recovery and prevention to the specific needs of the Air Force,” said Langford.

The physical therapy clinic is here to help prevent injuries, take care of already injured Airman, and help keep the mission at Little Rock Air Force Base successful.

“We get people back to flying, more importantly flyers have to be able to run a certain distance in order to fly, so in that respect, we get them back in the air because we get them running off of their profile,” said Staff Sgt. David Pienta, a 19th MDOS physical medicine technician.

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