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Dan Adams of Bent Tree uses the leg machine at Advance Rehabilitation.

Physical rehabilitation can prevent invasive procedures

By Wayne Tidwell, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A recent news story revealed that a lot of people with chronic back pain are not aware that physical therapy can be a successful alternative to surgery. So Smoke Signals visited the largest physical therapy facility in Pickens County to learn more and found that back pain was the number one reason for patients coming to the Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy Center in Jasper.

Melissa Potter, wife of Physical Therapist Jay Potter and office manager at Advance, located next to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, talked about how Advance Rehab administers pain-relieving physical therapy.

“We have referrals from doctors for not only back but rotator cuff for rehab as a preventive measure to avoid surgery,” Potter said. “Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes it’s not.”

Jay Potter and Larry Steinbeck, are the primary physical therapists at Advance in Jasper. Steinbeck specializes in myofascial techniques and teaches courses all over the U.S. He also specializes in dry needling, a technique of inserting needles into muscle “trigger points,” according to Melissa.

Rehab 3

Melissa Potter, left, and Melody Ballew greet patients at Advance Rehabilitation Center
in Jasper.

“Jay’s specialty is spinal manipulation and he has done courses in that technique,” Potter said. She said she believes that Advance also has the only hand therapy specialist in Jasper.

Advance conducts EMG (Electromyogram) studies to determine nerve damage in patients referred by orthopedists and is contracted to perform the inpatient physical therapy at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital.

“Jay has had that contract for over 20 years,” Melissa said. “Somebody from Advance is at the hospital 365 days a year.”

Jay helped start the first outpatient physical therapy facility in Jasper and he and Melissa opened their own business, Jasper Physical therapy, in 1998. Steinbeck became a minority owner.

“Out of the blue, after 11 years into running this practice, Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons owner) contacted Jay about selling our clinic,” Melissa said. “We committed to a five-year contract to stay on and we are still here.”

That was in 2009 and after five years, ownership changed again.

“Mr. Blank decided he didn’t want to be in the physical therapy business and that’s when USPh (US Physical Therapy, Inc.) out of Houston, Tex. became involved,” Potter said.

Advance is highly concentrated in orthopedics with a lot of treatment of knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, plantar fasciitis and tendonitis as well as neurological treatments including for stroke and vertigo patients, according to Melissa.

Advance sees 250-300 patients per week according to Melissa, about 40 percent of which are Medicare patients.

“One day last week we saw 70 patients in one day,” she said. “That was a long day.”

Asked what the most frequent PT patient ailment is, Potter said low back pain followed by a close second of knees and then shoulder. High school athletes as well as adult golfers and tennis players make up a part of the patient mix, according to Melissa. Monthly fitness memberships for patients are also available. She said that they see a high retention rate among their patients.

“I think we have a lot to offer and provide really good care—and we care,” she said. “I think that shows and we have a great group of people. It is a testament to this practice that all of the people here have been here 10 years plus.”

Jay’s experience working for Arthur Blank and Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy was a good one she said.

“He (Blank) was a stand-up guy and very benevolent,” Melissa said. “One of the things that attracted us about him purchasing this was his culture. He loves to give back to the community and we have always felt that we do that.”

“We love this community and have poured our lives into it,” she said.

More information about Advance Rehabilitation Physical Therapy Centers can be found at advancerehab.com.

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