Before Glenda Higgins discovered the benefits of physical therapy, her world often spun out of control.
The 64-year-old Kennewick resident suffered from bouts of vertigo for nearly five years before seeking help from Therapeutic Associates.
“It was horrible. I couldn’t lay down, the room just spun and spun around and around,” she said.
The worst feeling for her was when everything looked like it was spinning up and over like a Ferris wheel, Higgins added.
“That just makes you nauseous,” she said. “You can’t walk, you can’t do anything.”
Once at a beauty salon, her stylist was washing her hair. Higgins, whose head was tipped back over the salon sink, experienced such an acute attack of vertigo she had to be taken to the emergency room.
“It was crimping her neck that caused it,” said Ken Call, a physical therapist and doctor of physical therapy. Call is the clinic director for Therapeutic Associates’ two Kennewick offices: Southridge Physical Therapy at 4303 W. 27th Ave., Ste. C and West Kennewick Physical Therapy, 1408 W. Louisiana St., Ste. 104-A.
“Vertigo is all about nerves. It’s caused by a number of vestibular disorders which affect the inner ear,” Call said.
After Higgins’ trip to the emergency room, her doctor prescribed drugs to help ease her symptoms.
“I took them for three months, but one was Valium, which can be addictive. I didn’t want to be on Valium the rest of my life,” Higgins said.
Higgins has been a longtime patient of Therapeutic Associates for various health issues, so was aware of the help they could offer. In addition to finding help to control her vertigo, Higgins wanted to rebuild her physical strength and lose weight.
“My doctor wanted me to have my knees replaced, but I didn’t want to go that route,” she said.
Instead, the staff at Therapeutic Associates tailored a series of exercises to Higgins’ needs. She’s been doing them twice a week for nearly two years, enabling her to build up her strength while losing 25 pounds.
“My diabetes is under control and the weight loss has helped my sore knee. I was never happier than the day I was able to carry the groceries into the house myself,” Higgins said.
Call explained that for each pound of weight lost, you reduce the force on your knees by four pounds.
Higgins doesn’t need to attend physical therapy sessions at the clinic anymore; she could do them at a gym. But she says she prefers the privacy and the one-on-one time with her trainer, Jessica Albertson, an exercise physiologist for Therapeutic Associates.
“The difference between going to a gym and coming here is you’re doing prescribed medical exercises with supervision,” Call said.
Many people seek out physical therapists to improve their muscle strength and balance, oftentimes after having been in the hospital for days or weeks.
“It doesn’t take long to lose muscle strength when you’re in ICU flat on your back,” Call said. “Forty percent of people never return to their former condition, putting them at risk for falls.”
People visit physical therapists for a variety of reasons. One woman told Call she just wanted to pick up her grandbabies safely. Others want to be able to get in and out of bed, rise from a chair, get in and out of a car and on and off the toilet safely, so they’re able to continue living in their homes.
“They don’t want to run marathons,” Call said. “It’s our job to return them to as an active lifestyle as they want or need to live.”
Exercising does more than build up physical strength, it also helps with mental acuity.
Exercising for physical strength also helps you mentally.
“After all, the brain is a muscle too,” Call said. “As you’re walking count backwards from 84 by threes. Do crossword puzzles, Sudoku or go to a website called Lumosity, www.lumosity.com, where you’ll find all kinds of games designed to challenge your core cognitive abilities.”
Therapeutic Associates was founded in the 1950s in California and since then the company has spread throughout the West coast, with offices in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
“The company was founded by three friends who liked to take care of people. Their idea was to bring in like-minded, hard working people and enable them to set up independent offices under the Therapeutic Associates brand,” Call said.
Once an office is established the owner becomes a shareholder in Therapeutic Associates. Shareholders number about 42 now and somewhere around 12 have retired out of the company, Call said.
In the Pacific Northwest, there are more than 60 independently-owned Therapeutic Associates offices.
Call owns the two in Kennewick and has 10 employees between the offices. The West Kennewick office has been open since 1997 and the Southridge office opened in 2013.
Washington is a “no-referral” required state. So you can simply pick up the phone and make an appointment for an evaluation.
“However, there are some insurance companies that require a referral before they’ll pay any claims. Tell us which insurance company you’re with and we can tell you up front if you’ll need a referral,” Call said.
Therapeutic Associates has offices at 1408 N. Louisiana St., Suite 104-A and 4303 W. 27th Ave., Suite C in Kennewick. To book an appointment call the West Kennewick office at 509-783-1962 or the Southridge office at 509-783-5644. The website is www.therapeuticassociates.com.
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