BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Whether it was the running, biking or rock climbing that caused her lower back pain didn’t matter. The 19-year-old lying on the table in front of physical therapist Paul Barnes was just glad to have relief.
Holding four tiny needles, Barnes deftly applied them with the goal of stimulating blood flow and encouraging the muscles to heal.
Dry needling is one of several holistic approaches used by the professionals at NOMS CPW Healthcare. Founded by Leonard Greninger, a professor of kinesiology at The University of Toledo, Central Park West (CPW) Health Center joined with Northern Ohio Medical Specialists (NOMS) last year.
“We are now able to focus entirely on providing top-notch therapy and medical fitness services – which is what we do best,” said administrator Cindy Binkley.
With the merger, the team now includes three experienced physical therapists: Barnes, Karla Gleason and Jim Vitale.
“What really sets the facility apart is the specialized expertise of our providers – including spine rehab, pelvic issues and our extensive experience working with older adults who have conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, dizziness, or are at risk of falling,” Binkley said.
Meeting as a team to discuss patient needs, the therapists come up with a plan to facilitate healing without medication, Gleason said.
“We take a team app-roach, communicating about our patients a lot,” Gleason said. “We think outside the box and do things differently, including a lot more hands-on therapy.”
Studies show that nearly 20 percent of Americans deal with chronic pain. Managing that pain without medication includes not just in-house therapy but also resources for daily living, such as nutrition, exercises and services available in the community, Gleason said.
“We want to encourage the body to heal itself or improve,” Barnes said. “At least get the chronic pain patient’s pain reduced and help set up the environment so they can improve overall function.”
Another specialty for NOMS CPW is its treatment of pelvic pain. The PTs have noticed, during treatment of other diagnoses, that patients will mention frustration with frequent urination, incontinence and discomfort.
“Older ladies are shy about talking about these issues,” Gleason said. “Or they think what they’re having is normal. It’s not normal for a 60-year-old to have to wear pads all the time.”
In treatment for both men and women, the PTs have noticed significant improvement.
“Instead of getting up to go to the bathroom six times a night, they go maybe one or two times. It’s known as a female problem, but men have it, too – usually it’s a urological or prostate issue,” Barnes added.
CPW was the first facility to offer on-site aquatic therapy and – at 92 to 95 degrees – it is the warmest in Northwest Ohio.
This therapy is used to treat a variety of problems, including spine issues, fibromyalgia, total joint replacements, stroke, Parkin-son’s disease, cerebral palsy, paraplegia and many other conditions that affect function and mobility.
In the pool, even those with muscle weakness, joint problems or neurological conditions can stand, walk or exercise in a manner that would be impossible for them on land. The hydrostatic pressure that the water applies to the body functions much like a compression stocking, helping to increase blood flow back to the heart, which can be highly beneficial for people with vascular problems.
“We’ve also found that with the warmth of the pool, patients are less tense and guarded, which helps build their spirit and confidence,” Binkley said.
Unlike other centers, the PTAs get in the pool to work side by side with patients instead of calling directions from the side, Gleason added.
The center’s medical fitness program, involving both land-based and aquatic exercise, is overseen by a kinesiotherapist or an exercise specialist. Inspired by two patients, one who had cerebral palsy and another who was paraplegic, the program was formed in 1990.
“These patients were here for aquatic therapy, but when it was time for them to be discharged, they had nowhere to go to continue building on what they’d already achieved. They asked another therapist and myself if we would be willing to stay and supervise them over lunchtime. We agreed, and the rest is history,” Binkley said.
The medical fitness program makes it possible for patients to continue working out in an environment where they’re already comfortable and with staff members they know. With a fitness expert close at hand, they also have the ability to ask any questions they might have, such as how to avoid injury while doing certain daily activities or how to make their exercise program more challenging yet still safe, she added.
Various group classes, such as Arthritis Aquatics, Tai Chi, Zumba, Silver-Sneakers Yoga and Silver-Sneakers Splash are also offered at NOMS CPW Healthcare, and the facility accepts Medicare Advantage plans, which often cover the cost of SilverSneakers and other fitness programs specifically structured for seniors.
The expertise and friendly nature of NOMS CPW is what has brought patients back through the years, Gleason believes.
Deborah, a patient, agrees.
“The entire staff was exceptional at all times. I was very impressed by their professionalism, but I was most overwhelmed by their genuine care and friendly nature. I always left feeling better and with a smile on my face,” Deborah said.
Doctors often refer patients to NOMS CPW, including Dr. Darlene Fairchild, who practices family medicine with The Toledo Clinic.
“For over 20 years, the consistency of high-quality care provided to my patients has made CPW my first choice in referral for physical therapy. The number of patients that return for their future therapy needs testifies to the excellent care provided,” Fairchild said.
NOMS CPW Healthcare is located at 3130 Central Park West Dr., Suite A, in Toledo. For more information, please call (419) 841-9622 or visit NomsHealthcare.com.