Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! In this week’s PT Profile, we’ll meet a former flat track motorcycle racing champion, turned physical therapist. After a racing accident that left him with 16 broken bones, Elliot Davis, PT, DPT decided to switch gears in his career. (Nice move, Elliot!)
Where do you practice?
I am a practice partner and clinical director at Acceleration Therapy Services in Deer Park Washington.
What do you find interesting or rewarding about PT?
I feel that it very rewarding to be able to teach patients and guide them to see that they are in charge of helping themselves with direction from an expert. When they realize they can apply the many things learned from PT to injuries/problems throughout their lives, I feel that I have made a difference in more than just the ailment that initially brought them into the clinic. All patients know that they have pain but almost none of them know why they have pain. When I teach the ‘why’ in conjunction with how to change the problem it increases the likelihood of the patient following through. In the end it is a very rewarding experience for me and empowering for the patient.
Tell us about a particular challenge you faced with a patient that together (or along with helpful colleagues/mentors) you were able to find a solution to.
I once treated an engaging lady who had been thrown off a horse. She had been sent to me primarily for treatment of her lumbopelvic pain. She presented with fairly marked edema in her LEs but I hadn’t really addressed it since wasn’t something I dealt with regularly. After 10 visits or so with only mild improvement I had my wife (who is LANA and Leduc certified) look at her. She was able to assist in drainage and taught self-treat for home to the patient. Once her limbs had lost significant girth and weight she was then able to ambulate without an A.D and my musculoskeletal resets would last between visits. This team work between myself and a colleague resulted in this patient’s outcome to be significantly better than if just one person had worked with them focusing on just one issue.
Do you participate in continuing education and acquire new manual therapy techniques?
Yes, I participate in continuing education and believe it should be big part of any profession. Since the body has the same parts it had when I took anatomy in college and they continue to be attached in a fairly predictable order, I feel evaluation of the human body is very easy thing to perform. Unlike the technology or manufacturing industries, as therapists we are not dealing with an ever-changing product. Therefore I look for classes or people that have a different view/idea of the same parts and how to encourage them to move properly and not elicit pain signals. I believe lifelong learning is needed not only to keep up to date with science, but to keep the practitioner thinking. If you’re performing mobs/manips/exercise/modalities a certain way simply because it’s the way you always have, then you likely need to have some new ideas thrown your way. Even if they don’t change what you do, they should make you think/defend what you do and why.
Did you/do you have any influential mentors?
I have many influential people in my life, including other physical therapist as well as other professions. I attended Andrews University and as you know they are large proponents of NAIOMT. I was lucky enough to learn the organization and many techniques before practicing in the clinic. My ortho professor Greg Almeter was a big help early in my career. Also I did a clinical with my now business partner David Jeter, who was able to show me the whole eval-treat-successful discharge process in clinical practice. Very early in life (starting age 12), prior to being a PT I worked as motorcycle mechanic. During that time my friend Paul Morgan helped guide the way I look at systems and machines, which has been the largest benefit to my clinical practice. Finally, with the internet having made information easily available to all, I like to follow the writings of, Erson Religioso III, Chris Johnson, and of course NAIOMT on blogs and social media.
Are you mentoring someone?
Yes, we have recently hired a fairly new grad PT and she has been working closely with me. It has been good for me to have to put my actions into words, explaining the ‘how and the ‘why’ of my thought process to another clinician. It has been fun showing how easy it can be to help a patient be successful. I will also be a CI this summer for a student from Andrews University.
What is it that makes you a PT worth seeing?
Patients should see me because not only do I treat their problem, but I will also show them the mechanical dysfunction that resulted in said problem. I teach patients to have the ability to evaluate themselves and the exercises/repeated movements/self-mobilization techniques to treat these issues. When a patient is discharged they should not only be feeling much better, but should the issue arise again or new issues start they should have learned how to asses themselves and treat themselves. If this doesn’t work then they you can come see me again for a hands on reset or more in depth assessment. I feel that is not something most place will offer you. I have been told before that 25-30% of a clinics patients should be return patients after the first year of businesses. If you are evaluating 600pts per year, that’s 150-180 return patients! If 180 patients comeback within 12 months with the same issue, I believe that somebody/something has failed with their care. I strive to keep return patient numbers very low, I want to see their friends and family not the same shoulder for 10 years.
Thanks for sharing your perspective Elliot!
Also, what questions and topics would you like to see us explore in our new PT Profile series? Tell us in the comments below, and nominate yourself or your mentor to be featured. You do not have to be familiar with NAIOMT — we’re simply trying to connect and facilitate productive conversations around physical therapy!