As this is my first blog, I would like to start things off by reflecting on how I became a part of the wonderful profession of physical therapy. My apology if this becomes longer than the usual blog post. My future posts are promised to be more succinct.
As a kid growing up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the early 1980’s I became very interested in weight training. This was common in the hay day of Arnold Schwarzenegger and bodybuilding. So I joined the local International Health Spa and began my physical transformation. I started out as a scrawny 130lb 16 year old kid and within a few years developed a respectable physique weighing in at 185 lbs and able to bench press over 300 lbs and squat nearly 500 lbs. My experience in those years sparked a keen interest in the human body.
Additionally as a kid I had a couple of experiences with spinal pain. Once while lying on a couch for a considerable amount of time probably watching The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Threes Company, or Happy Days or all of them back to back. I made a sudden move and developed a severe pain in my neck and was stuck in a position of right side bending. What I know now was a torticollis deformity. This disability lasted a few weeks and self resolved without any medical care. A few years later while lifting a heavy barbell off a rack at a gym I had a sharp pain in my lower back which forced me to immediately lie down. I was unable to walk, stand, bend, or lift; even riding in a car was pure misery having to lie down often and take a lot of Doan’s backache pills for several weeks.
While in college and trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I learned about a profession that utilized exercise and other physical methods such as massage, mobilization, and manipulation to treat painful spinal conditions and many other movement disorders. The academic journey fed my hunger for knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, movement, diseases, and disorders. I completed my undergraduate training and was licensed to practice PT in Oklahoma in 1994.
Once in practice I realized the knowledge I had gained in school was just an introduction and that to excel at my profession I needed additional knowledge and advanced skills in my area of interest. I was fortunate enough to be mentored and trained in Australian orthopedic manual therapy by Barbara Stevens PT, GDMT, FAAOMPT, who at the time was in Oklahoma City and teaching a series of yearlong courses in orthopedic manual therapy. Barbara was an excellent clinician and instructor and introduced me to many wonderful techniques and schools of thought within the PT profession. One school of thought I was introduced to was Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT).
MDT became a center piece of my daily practice as a result of a severe wrist sprain I suffered while wrestling a childhood friend who had had too much to drink. The injury made it impossible for me to perform the manual therapy techniques I had learned. So while recovering, I decided to use MDT exclusively. MDT primarily uses the patient’s own movements for treatment with a heavy emphasis on education of the patient in self-care strategies. What I discovered was the same or better outcomes and more compliant patients when using the MDT process. I then began seeking as much training as I could in this MDT system. As a result I became the first PT in the Oklahoma City metro area to become credentialed in this approach. A few years later I became a recognized clinical specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy by our national professional organization (ABPTS), and went back to school to update my training to the Doctorate level as the profession has evolved since 1994.
My experience working for physician owned practices and hospitals early in my career made me realize the severe extent of waste and over utilization that is present in medicine. Working under the scrutiny of administrators and physician practice owners whose primary concern was profit margin was dissatisfying to me. As a result, after about 5 years in the profession, I stepped into the world of private practice. I did this primarily to ensure that I could deliver the type of patient care I felt was appropriate for the clients I worked with. I have learned much since then about the business side of the PT profession. Still it’s the daily interaction with my clients and the results I see them achieve from their rehab programs that keep me inspired to work hard every day and continue to enhance my knowledge and skills in musculoskeletal medicine.
I look forward to interacting with you and sharing information about physical therapy, musculoskeletal pain, and fitness!
Don Stover PT
husband and father
PT in private practice
TKD black belt (retired)
hapkido black belt (retired)
outdoor cooking fanatic
hot tub soaker
Thanks for visiting my blog page. My name is Don Stover. I am a seasoned physical therapist in Oklahoma City OK. with over 20 years in the biz. I have a lot of knowledge and training in orthopedic PT and spine care. I will be sharing my thoughts on physical therapy for orthopedic problems such as spinal pain, extremity joint pain, sports injuries, health/fitness, and life in general. I hope you enjoy reading!
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