Alicia Adams, DPT, physical therapist and facility director of the new UPMC Rehabilitation Institute outpatient rehabilitation location in Pleasant Hills, has spent the past 12 years fostering relationships with patients in Pittsburgh’s South Hills communities.
In February 2021, Adams and her team relocated to the Southland Shopping Center, offering easy access to patients in the Route 51 corridor.
Adams and her team care for patients of all ages who need physical therapy. They treat numerous conditions, from arthritis and tendinitis to injuries and symptoms related to other medical conditions or treatments.
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New Year, New Services
Adams had a hand in designing the new space in Pleasant Hills, featuring six private treatment rooms, which will enable expanded service offerings. In 2021, the center will launch new services, including:
- Neurological physical therapy, including concussion rehabilitation and balance and vestibular rehabilitation
- Oncology rehabilitation following cancer surgery and chemotherapy
- Women’s and men’s health, including lymphedema, pelvic pain, and incontinence therapy
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about what first-time rehab patients can expect from the PT experience:
What’s the Time Commitment for Physical Therapy?
Depending on the condition, if you need physical therapy, you would come into the center to work with a licensed professional one-on-one a few times a week for about a month. During this time, your therapist will perform manual therapy (hands-on treatment). Manual therapy may be combined with hands-off treatments, such as weights or other exercise equipment.
After manual therapy, you’ll be given an at-home program and will check-in with your therapist in person weekly or every other week. “Once your exercises are established and we’ve developed a relationship, then you can continue with your therapy with only periodic check-ins,” Adams says.
What’s the Connection Between PT and Surgery?
Physical therapy after certain surgeries can be essential to making a full recovery. “After you have rotator cuff surgery or knee or hip replacement, we can help you become functional, mobile, and ready to get back to your daily activities sooner,” she advises.
Timing plays a key role in recovery. For example, after back surgery you should start physical therapy right away because reconditioning and restrengthening are more crucial at the start of recovery. With other surgeries, it may be necessary to wait for a period of time before starting physical therapy. Your doctors and surgeons will advise you on the best course of action for your condition.
Physical therapy also can be used to avoid an invasive procedure. Adams points to the example of patients with low back pain. These patients would be required to complete physical therapy prior to surgical intervention. “With proper exercises and manual therapy, patients often can avoid surgery altogether,” she says.
Why Should You Have a Strong Relationship with Your Therapist?
“Some patients might choose to come into the center up to three days per week and the therapist develops a relationship with that person,” she says. “That relationship is what drives a lot of your success with therapy.”
Adams notes that, even in the middle of a pandemic, she’s in contact with people – performing manual therapy right next to her patients, helping them get the care they need while keeping everyone safe. “It’s important that patients feel safe, comfortable, and welcome,” she says. “That’s something we strive to deliver to our patients.”
A physician referral is not required for an appointment with UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. The new facility is at Southland Shopping Center, 623-A Clairton Blvd. Search more locations online or schedule an appointment at 1-888-723-4277, option 2.
The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers inpatient, outpatient, and transitional rehabilitation, as well as outpatient physician services so that care is available to meet the needs of our patients at each phase of the recovery process. Renowned physiatrists from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as highly trained physical, occupational, and speech therapists, provide individualized care in 12 inpatient units within acute care hospitals and over 80 outpatient locations close to home and work.