is now Compass Physical Therapy!
Posted on January 8th, 2018

As we enter the new year, it is always a good idea to pause and take a glance at the rear view mirror.  Compass Physical Therapy will be celebrating year one under it's new name in April but the company as a whole has sustained a 12 years history of serving the Madison community.  In those twelve years, there has been much change- expansion and retraction, division and unity, new faces and familiar faces but with all of the ups and downs, our core principles and overall vision has remained unchanged.  

To recap, the company opened in 2005 under the name Eagle Rehab in a small clinic "upstairs" housing 2200 square feet.  Within 2 years, we had outgrown the space and moved to our current location downstairs in the same building into a significantly larger office, 5900 square feet, and expanded the practice to include pediatric therapy and massage therapy.  During the growth period, we had the privilege of hiring additional talented and compassionate physical therapists and physical therapy assistants.  In the name of progress over the next few years, we opened two additional clinics, one in Huntsville and one in Arab and with it additional staff to carry out our vision to more of the Tennessee Valley area.  Arab was a young and up-in-coming market so withing a few months, another company came along and offered to buy our new expansion. We seized the opportunity and returned to two locations extending pediatrics to both locations.  

During our tenure, the physical therapy market shifted with an explosion of physical therapy clinics in the Huntsville and Madison area.  Being one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, it was not surprising how rapid the expansion of our city was for all areas of industry and commerce.  For a time, we wondered if there would eventually be a PT clinic on every street corner!  By my count, eight additional physical therapy clinics have opened in the last 6-7 years in the Madison area alone.  The only service industry with as much growth as far as I can tell is urgent care clinics.  One seems to open every other day!  Despite the crowding of our market, we have stood firm in maintaining our vision and the patient-centered culture.  Things may have changed outside our doors, but our focus remains the same inside the clinic.  With the saturation of the market, we made the executive decision to consolidate our remaining two clinics to one, pool all of our efforts in one location.  

I attested success with longevity.   Sure, we have had turnover in some of our staff over the years but these days, that seems to be the norm.  With almost 90% of people staying less than 5 years at the same job, I feel fortunate that the vast majority of our employees have been with this company for 9+ years.  A patient said last week, "You always have good people here, even the new people."  Again, it is a vision, a culture, a mentality that we hold in the forefront of our minds at Compass Physical Therapy so when there is a job opening, you can be sure that we won't fill it with just anyone.  It has to be a team member cut from the same cloth, one who holds the values of patient care that is exceptional and beyond expectation.  One thing I can say with certainty, each and every one of our staff members goes the extra mile to provide a stellar customer service experience.  It is our daily routine.  

Looking ahead to the coming year, no matter what lies in the future, I know that the ideals of our company will remain unchanged regardless of the ups and possible downs that will inevitably come.  One thing that is for certain, we will remain your PT Compass to better health and wellness.  I invite you to experience who we are in 2018 for all of your physical therapy needs.  Experience the tradition of excellence that is Compass Physical Therapy. 

Posted on December 13th, 2017

While out meeting with a new doctor recently, she asked me "How is your clinic different than all the others?"  I gave my stock answer "We treat both pediatric and adult patients, and we are the only clinic in Madison to utilize the Postural Restoration treatment approach for pain and injury."  Yet, I feel compelled to add to my response.  After hearing ubiquitous responses from patients who have left other PT clinics in favor of ours, it turns out the services we offer are only one aspect of what makes us different.  

The term High Volume Clinic appeared in an article I was reading the other day.  A High Volume Clinic is one in which the PT sees anywhere from 3-4 patients an hour and spends about 15 minutes with each one.  From there, a non-licensed technician or another clinician takes over to finish the treatment, typically counting exercises and applying hot or cold packs.  We have earned a multitude of patients over the years who have "fired" their previous PT for basically the same reasons after being referred to such a clinic:

"I felt rushed to get in and get out every time I went.  It was very nerve racking and not a good experience."

"I saw one person for a few minutes, then was handed off to someone else for a few more minutes, then someone else would come by and do something else.  I never knew who my therapist was and never saw the original PT who did my evaluation.  I kept having to explain myself over and over again and felt like none of them were even listening because they were treating so many other people at the same time."

"A young girl had me pull on a band a few times, would leave me there pulling on the band for 15 minutes then come back and ask me if I'd done my 15 reps. She'd give me another exercise then leave again.  I just thought that was how PT worked.  She didn't check if I was doing it right or change anything when I told her it hurt when I did it.  Just told me to keep going then leave again.  I seemed pointless so I didn't go back."  

It is equally frustrating and embarrassing as a PT to hear those types of stories but trust me, I have heard them too many times to count in the last 12 years of working here at Compass PT.  It honestly gives our profession a bad name to learn that someone views PT as "pointless" because they were left to their own accord with no direction, and equally to hear that they felt "rushed" or like "one of a number" instead of a person with real concerns.  Nothing is more infuriating then having to re-explain your pain or injury every time you walk into an appointment to someone who appears to neither have time for you or show concern for your situation. 

What honestly makes us different is our philosophy.  At Compass Physical Therapy, we are patient-centered.  We work alongside each and every patient who enters our clinic through the entire physical therapy process.  We know who you are.  We know why you are here.  We work together as a team to give you an exceptional experience from the moment you are greeted by our office staff to the moment you leave your PT session.  It is not just talk when we say that it is our mission to provide exceptional customer service and physical therapy that is beyond expectation.  That is our culture, to be patient-centered.   Our PT's and LPTA's see one to two patients an hour depending on the level of care required.  The vast majority of the time, you are with the same therapist each visit as we make every effort to have continuity of care with each patient.  You will not feel rushed or ignored while you are here nor will you have to explain yourself or your condition multiple times because we listen and communicate with each other.  We do not employ technicians, therefore you will not be treated by an unlicensed professional rather by a licensed therapist for every visit.  With this practice, each of us can make real time changes to your plan of care as you progress through the healing process.  This ensures you will get well at the pace you should be.  Better therapy=less visits=less expense to you and quicker return to your life.

Is it time for you to fire your PT?  If you are not getting a patient-centered experience, perhaps it is.  You deserve to be healed in an environment that is focused on you, not packing in as many people as possible to pad the bottom line.  It is your choice where you attend physical therapy so call us today and experience what physical therapy should be.  

Posted on December 4th, 2017

​In treating torticollis and plagiocephaly, I speak with a variety of parents who are referred by a variety of pediatricians.  One of the biggest misconceptions I hear is the phrase, "The doctor said she will outgrow it and we shouldn't worry about it."  This is not only false but can be detrimental to the development and growth of a child.  In my seventeen years of pediatric practice, I have never seen a problem just go away by ignoring it.  Usually, the problem gets worse and starts to affect different areas. Torticollis is a head tilt or favored head position often due to tight neck muscles. Plagiocephaly is a flattening of the skull in one or more areas.

Speaking specifically about torticollis, if it is ignored, as the child continues to grow it will likely get worse as bone typically grows before muscle.  The bone grows, the muscle gets tighter.  The resulting head tilt can cause issues with the jaw opening and closing which could lead to future TMJ issues.  A head tilt can also cause an altered sense of upright in the inner ear.  If the head is always tilted to one side, the brain resets this plane as horizontal so when the head is actually straight, it will give the sensation of leaning to the opposite side.  This is how habitual torticollis develops.  Along with the inner ear being altered, vision can be adversely affected for the same reasons.  Untreated torticollis can also lead to shoulder issues and the mechanics of the shoulder-neck complex can be compromised as the child grows.  The spine is at increased risk of scoliosis due to the compensation of the rest of the back for the head tilt.  All of these issues can contribute to developmental delay and abnormal movement patterns of a developing child. 

Untreated moderate to severe plagiocephaly can lead to various issues as well.  A shifted forehead will affect vision.  Preferred head rotation with plagiocephaly can lead to opposite side neglect in a developing infant which would have significant ramifications on the development of motor milestones with underlying muscle imbalances.  A flattening of one side of the head can affect facial features as well leading again to TMJ issues.  Once the fontanel or soft spot closes, the head shape will remain largely unchanged through the life of the child making that window of opportunity as an infant so critical in obtaining a rounded head shape.  Shifted facial features or a flattening of one side of the head will make it difficult to wear glasses, properly fitted football, softball, baseball or motorcycle helmets increasing the risk of head injury during those activities. 

The bottom line is this: if nothing changes with the way the infant is cared for, torticollis and plagiocephaly will not improve on their own.  Something must be different for issues to resolve.  If you are advised that a condition with your child will "just go away", dig further and seek treatment.  We see both Torticollis and Plagiocephaly daily and with direct access, you can get a PT evaluation without a doctor's referral.  Call us today if you have concerns about your child.  256-325-5400.  ​You will be glad you did!

Posted on November 28th, 2017

​Eagle Rehab had its humble beginnings in Madison in 2005 and has had the privilege of being the physical therapy clinic of choice for many Madison residents since that time.   In 2013, my roll with the company changed from CFO, a position I held since the founding, to the CEO and sole owner.   Over the last four years, I have been slowly navigating my way through the challenges of business ownership and have had a distinct interest in making the company my own.   Primarily, I didn't want to make any changes too quickly or lose the original focus of providing exceptional physical therapy services that we are known for.  The original business model has been very popular among our patients and it has been of utmost importance to preserve that philosophy.  As the name Eagle Rehab is still strongly associated with the previous owner, I concluded that the only way to truly make the company mine is to give it a name that reflects my vision for the future of the company.  I spent a great deal of time considering this major decision and one day I wondered out loud, "What name would encompass everything that we are trying to achieve?"  Thus Compass Physical Therapy was born.  
A Compass is a tool that gives you guidance, points you in the right direction much like Physical Therapists guide patients through the rehabilitation process after an injury, during pain, and with regaining function.  And as we are navigating our new direction as a company, it is a natural fit!  
To make it very clear, we are not a new company, we are not changing our staff, this is not a corporate take over and we are not part of a chain.  We are still the same group of people who has been serving the Madison community since 2005 with a focus on providing exceptional customer service and physical therapy that is beyond expectation.  It is our biggest compliment when a patient refuses to go anywhere else but to us when they need physical therapy services.  You will still see the same smiling, friendly faces you are accustomed to seeing when you enter our doors.  Think of it as an old favorite getting a new name.  
When you think of Compass Physical Therapy, we want you to think of two things: natural postural alignment and pediatric physical therapy.  These two things make us different from anyone else in town.  Of course, we still offer general physical therapy for things like total joint replacements and orthopedic surgeries but two areas set us apart.  
We are the only facility in Madison to offer the PRI approach.  In a nutshell, PRI is restoring the body to natural alignment to relieve acute and chronic pain and heal injury.  All of us are asymmetrical people and we all get out of alignment. This causes bones to hit wrong, muscles to strain and can lead to chronic pain and often injury.  We use the PRI approach not only to relieve pain and promote healing of injuries, but also to prevent future injuries.  I have been a physical therapist for 19 years and it is hands down the most effective treatment technique I have ever used or seen.  It works!  
We are the only clinic in Madison to offer Pediatric Physical Therapy.  We have a specialized wing in our facility just for young patients, an infant room for the babies and an indoor playground for toddlers and adolescents.  Our highly trained staff specializes in treating the developing body specifically.  Physical Therapy for a teenager is different developmentally then physical therapy for an adult and special care must be taken to address those differences during the healing process.  Not only do we treat infants with conditions like torticollis and spina bifida, but we also utilize sport specific programs for athletes to return them to play.  It is not enough to just heal the injury, you must also recondition that young person in their particular sport so not to cause re-injury when they return to the game. 
We are thrilled to be opening this new chapter in our 12 year history of serving the Madison community and look forward to being your Physical Therapy Compass for better health and wellness now and in the future!  
Stephanie Johnson, PT
Owner-Compass Physical Therapy