Advanced PT & Fitness - January 2020




If you asked an incoming class of physical therapy students which type of treatment they wanted to specialize in, I bet 95% of them would say sports injuries. I felt the same way when I started my studies, but over time, I became more fascinated with the aches and pains caused by the daily grind of working in the garden, lifting heavy boxes, or being a weekend warrior. Sometimes pain seems to come out of nowhere, and it’s up to a PT to solve the puzzle and find the cause. That process of investigation and deduction is what makes me excited to come into the office every day. That said, it was a sports injury that led me to PT in the first place. Way back in high school, a cross country running injury ushered me into a PT’s office for the first time. Going through PT was not an easy or a fast process, but over time, I healed up and got back to the starting line. Still, the process struck a chord for me. When it was time to choose a local professional to job shadow before I headed off to college, I called the PT who’d helped me. Looking back, I’m really glad I did. Volunteering in his office in small-town Iowa where I grew up, I got my first look at the behind the scenes of physical therapy and had the opportunity to help ease people’s pain. From there, I was pretty much set on PT. I earned my

undergraduate degree at Union College in Nebraska, then my PT doctorate at Andrews University in Michigan. Me being me, I didn’t stop there. I’ve always loved learning, and after working briefly for another physical therapist after graduation, I was determined to start my own clinic. I knew that I needed to offer something unique, so I doubled down on my favorite parts of my profession and learned everything I could about evaluating and treating chronic pain. Since graduating PT school and opening my clinic seven years ago, I’ve completed the majority of the post-professional classes offered by The North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT). In 2017, I passed the specialty certification exams to become a CMPT (certified manual physical therapist) and COMT (certified orthopedic manipulative therapist). I’ve also received advanced training in Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN), a technique only taught to experienced, manually based PTs. I’m humbled and grateful to have had top tier teachers help me accomplish what I’ve professionally achieved thus far, and I never plan to stop learning. In fact, one of my goals for this coming year is to begin working on the

fellowship program through NAIOMT, which is one of the highest levels of training in the PT field. Eventually, I plan to grow my clinic to the point where I can mentor a team of other PTs, passing on my knowledge to help as many people as possible. As author Brian Herbert put it, “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” It’s a choice that I make every day to keep myself sharp and give my patients the best possible treatment. If you’re suffering from chronic pain or struggling with an injury, I’m here to help. Call me today at 970-301-3149 or stop by my office, located on the Work Out West Health and Recreation Campus, and we can work together on a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs. From my family to yours, happy New Year. Let’s make 2020 the best one yet! –Dr. Thomas Cleveland

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