Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Physical Therapy Helps Fayette Resident Get Back on Her Feet

Billie Burnett of Fayetteville is one of millions of individuals who has undergone physical therapy after an injury or surgical procedure. Burnett suffered from arthritis and a torn meniscus and had to have knee replacement. If you break an arm, suffer a stroke or have a total joint replacement, chances are your physician will refer you to a physical therapist.

October is National Physical Therapy Month, and Piedmont Fayette Hospital is recognizing the hospital’s physical therapy department and their efforts to help individuals recover from surgery or an injury.

“Following my knee replacement I underwent physical therapy at Piedmont Fayette,” said Burnett. “Upon starting therapy, I had been limping for two years, but Kesha, my therapist was very understanding and helped build me up at a pace I was comfortable with.”

Therapeutic exercise and functional training are the cornerstones of physical therapist treatment. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists can “manipulate” a joint, or perform certain types of passive movements at the end of the patient's range of motion, and massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists may even use other techniques such as electrotherapy, ultrasound, hot packs and ice when appropriate.

“Physical therapists aim to help patients overcome physical challenges they might face due to an injury or illness,” said Jill Fenimore, director of rehabilitation and fitness at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “Physical therapists will also work with individuals to prevent loss of mobility by developing fitness and wellness programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.”

Today, patients and physicians are demanding the talents of physical therapists for conservative management of a wide variety of conditions. In many cases, patients are being sent to physical therapy instead of surgery. Physical therapists help people with orthopedic conditions such as low back pain or osteoporosis; joint and soft tissue injuries such as fractures and dislocations; neurologic conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s disease; and workplace injuries including repetitive stress disorders and sports injuries.

“Everyone is just so friendly at Piedmont Fayette from the minute you walk in the door to the minute you leave,” said Burnett. “There were a few days when I was not looking forward to the exertion of therapy, but everyone’s positive attitude is just so infectious that it made therapy enjoyable.”

Physical therapy has its origins in ancient history, but made significant strides when massage and remedial gymnastics became a vital service in both world wars. Much was learned through the rehabilitation of injured servicemen from these events. Physical therapy grew rapidly after the Second World War with spinal injury units, orthopaedic hospitals and chest clinics providing new challenges to the profession. Today, physical therapists practice in a variety of settings and provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease.

There are more than 150,000 physical therapists in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. About 1,640 physical therapists practice in the metro Atlanta area.

Physical therapy services offered at Piedmont Fayette Hospital include orthopedic, neurological, and obstetric physical therapy, pelvic pain and incontinence therapy. Other services available include cardiac rehab, occupational therapy, lymphedema therapy, speech-language pathology, a wound care clinic and a Fitness Center, which offers a variety of exercise classes such as Moms in Motion. The Rehabilitation and Fitness Department also offers free Healthy Heart and Total Joint Replacement classes.

The Rehabilitation and Fitness Center focuses on disease prevention, rehabilitation of injuries and maintenance of optimal health, and educates members on fitness and nutrition. It also features state‑of‑the‑art cardiovascular equipment and strength training programs. The Piedmont Fayette Hospital Fitness Center is open to individuals 14 years and older. The Rehabilitation and Fitness Center is located across from the main hospital in the Fayette Professional Center. For more information about PFH's physical therapy services, call 770-719-7290. To learn more about Piedmont Fayette Hospital, visit
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