Airmen in physical therapy find healthier solutions

  • Published
  • By Airman Greg Nash
  • 23 WG/PA
Whether it's a maintainer having trouble with shoulder pain from working on aircraft or a pararescueman finding it difficult to perform jumps due to tightness in the knee, they know they can count on a team of individuals to accommodate their needs.

The 23d Medical Operations Squadron clinical medicine flight works diligently to educate, enhance, and rehabilitate their patients in an efficient manner to make them mission ready through physical therapy.

"Here at the clinic, we offer tools to not only fix the problematic areas, but to also educate our patients in a multitude of aspects to experience a healthy lifestyle," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Evita Bohdi, 23d MDOS clinical medicine flight chief. "We evaluate these individuals' aches and pains and encompass ways for them to understand why what we offer is important to them.

Once we get them to understand our system, we give them the necessary steps they need to take to accomplish recovery," added Bohdi. "We keep track of their progression until they are ready to graduate and we want them to maintain exercise routines on their own time without our assistance."

Once patients are evaluated, the clinical medicine flight tackles the issues of finding out the patient's injury history and how it's affecting their job related activities and exercise routines.

"Our goal is to slowly modify the pain and monitor the patient's progression," said Maj. (Dr.) Erin Sturgell, 23d MDOS clinical medicine flight commander. "We give them a plan of action to follow through both at the clinic and at home until they successfully recover."

Over the course of the rehabilitation process, the clinical medicine flight guides Moody's injured personnel through the aspects of injury prevention training by performing assessments and enhancements to rehabilitate their injuries.

"The most common rehabilitation tools we use for patients are therapeutic exercise, joint mobilization and manipulation and needling," said Sturgell. "Very rarely do patients only need one type of recovery mechanism throughout the process. Most patients will experience a combination of these techniques through strengthening drills, stretching and agility drills to modify their pains."

Modifying the pain and severity of the patients injuries are determined by many factors, but the main one is the history of the injury and how long ago it occurred.
"Injuries less than three weeks are categorized as acute pain, which is easier to control because it's a newer complication," said Bohdi. "Injuries longer than that are chronic which usually take longer in the healing process.

The sooner you come in to have your injury assessed, the quicker we can modify the pain and get you back to the workplace to be effective," added Bohdi. "The Air Force needs everyone to be fully functional to complete the mission. If you can't complete the mission, then you can't do your job and be able to perform long term. We want to get our injured Airmen back to the fight."