ARCPT+ Highlights One of Its Own in Honor of National PT Month

By: Melissa Coon

2005, Rockhurst University, Bachelor of Science in Biology
2007, Rockhurst University, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Carmen is a Physical Therapist and the Liberty Clinic Director. She is certified in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment of the Spine and is currently studying to get her board certification in orthopedics. Additionally, she is a Certified Post Offer Employment Testing Specialist and XRTS Sincerity of Effort Testing Specialist.

Carmen is a longtime athlete and an avid runner. She played collegiate tennis at Rockhurst University and competed in her first Ironman 70.3 in 2012. She also enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in PT?
When I was 16, I developed lower leg pain that I initially thought was a calf strain from basketball. However, I eventually had an MRI which revealed an extruded disc in my lower back, and I ultimately had to have surgery.  After the surgery, I couldn’t sit for more than three hours/day. I struggled to get in and out of bed, had to learn to sleep on my back and had to miss the spring soccer season. Through physical therapy, I was able to return to physical activity and played soccer and tennis throughout the remainder of my high school career. I even went on to get a tennis scholarship to Rockhurst University.  My own experience with PT and my love of sports, science and the human body led me to realize my passion for it as a career.

How would you describe what you do?
I help people get back to essential daily activities, recreational activities and work related activities.  I educate people about their condition, how medical interventions can assist in their recovery and how they, themselves, can aide in their own recovery and overall health.

What does a typical work week look like? 
I work a typical five days/week, 8-5 p.m.  I treat patients and also spend a good deal of time communicating with doctors, case managers, adjusters and employers regarding general patient care in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

What do you like most about what you do?
It is extremely rewarding to help someone through the recovery process.  To see someone’s attitude and abilities transform from resistant, scared, apprehensive, and weak to excited, motivated, strong and surprised by their own abilities is very satisfying.  To see the relief in someone’s eyes when you are able to tell them and show them that someone does care and things are going to get better is very motivating.

What is the greatest challenge you face as a workers’ comp PT specialist and how do you overcome that?
The amount of time it takes to get a patient to ARC Physical Therapy+ after their injury is probably one of the biggest challenges and can often make things difficult. The longer they go without proper treatment, the harder it is to motivate the patient and restore their faith in the healthcare system and its providers.  I try to overcome these challenges by acting as a good listener, educator and communicator to all parties involved in the care of our patients.

What is a common misconception (if any) that people have about what you do?
I think that most people don’t realize how complex the body and functional movement can be and what exactly is required to rehab the body after an injury in order to regain full strength and mobility.  Most people also don’t realize how much education and training PTs go through in order to have the knowledge base to instruct and assist patients through those processes.

About ARC Physical Therapy+

ARC Physical Therapy+ is the only physical and occupational therapy company to combine a continuum of care to create a healthy workforce.  ARC is home to more than 90 professionals, 12 outpatient clinics, several additional onsite clinics, and an array of unique employer health solutions positioned throughout the Midwest including the Kansas City metro area, St. Joseph, Liberty and Springfield, Mo., Topeka and Wichita, KS.

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