Local physical therapists weigh in on changes brought on by the pandemic

Local News

They've been helping patients waiting for surgery by using physical therapy for pain management

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The pandemic has put elective surgeries on the back burner. In order to cope with the pain while waiting and better their chances after surgery, some patients have turned to physical therapy.

“We understand their limitations, but within those limitations often times there’s progress that can be made,” said physical therapist Vince Ragozine. “We want to really hit on those positives, whatever the case is, whatever type of body part it is, we want to make sure we’re finding where we can make some gains and try to take them up to the next level.”

Ragozine works for Phoenix TuDor Physical Therapy, which just opened a new facility in Trumbull County. The office was created with coronavirus and everyone’s safety in mind.

“It’s a little unique. We have the lymphedema side where we perform lymphedema therapy and then our other side where we perform traditional therapy. It’s kind of nice, very spacious,” said Renee Ungaro, manager and physical therapist at the new facility. “We have several examination rooms. There’s five of them, so anybody that comes in real anxious about being around people, we give them their own room where they’re not around other patients.”

While the space at TuDor allows everyone to be socially distant, there are also multiple handwashing stations and disinfectant readily available to use after something is touched.

Finding disinfectant and alcohol was challenging for Daniel Durham, owner of Infinity Physical Therapy in Austintown. He said he had to plead his case at stores when buying multiple containers for the business.

Before it was just light wiping. Now, we were using 70% alcohol on everything and it was hard to come by,” Durham said.

Durham said they lost some at-home, post-op physical therapy contracts but have started doing more at-home therapy with patients who needed to manage their pain.

“They can’t get the surgery to prevent the pain, so a lot of times they would continue their physical therapy they were doing prior to the surgery,” Durham said.

Ragozine said they’ve also increased their communication with physicians, which he thinks has been a great benefit to his patients.

“For total case management purposes, we’re able to really aid physicians by keeping good communication with them, letting them know how a patient’s doing. If they’re having any other issues, aside from the issue we were originally seeing them for, I think it’s been a win-win for both,” Ragozine said.

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