Strength in numbers: group physical therapy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tabatha Chapman
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Sometimes after a sprain or strained muscle, an ice pack isn’t enough to fix the damage. Group physical therapy may be a useful tool to a speedy recovery.

Group physical therapy classes allow treatment for more patients deemed qualified within the same time frame, thus decreasing patient wait time for appointments while still providing high-quality care.

“One of the main benefits is the access to care,” said Airman 1st Class Kevon Brandon, a physical therapist technician at the 86th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron. “It can be difficult to get appointments sometimes due to the large number of people on Ramstein and the necessity for regular physical therapy.
People are placed in group classes, but it is the skills that physical therapists can teach them that they use to better themselves during their own time as well, Brandon said.

High knees, leg stretches and the use of foam rollers are exercises that are typically practiced during classes. All the exercises have some type of modification so that each patient can get maximum participation within their limits.

It was discovered by the physical therapists that many military members who have chronic pain would benefit from formal guidance on how to be active and continue staying active, all while learning how to manage their symptoms.

“We'll identify patients who we feel would benefit from a group setting and then bring them in to try it out,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Spencer Carrier, 86th OMRS physical therapist. “Sometimes we find that it can be more beneficial versus one on one.”

Morale is an added perk to group physical therapy classes, Brandon said. There’s a sense of camaraderie and everyone builds a bond as they work together to improve their conditions. The additional support and community is valuable to service members during their time at physical therapy.

“It’s almost like a brother-and-sister-in-arms kind of thing,” said Brandon. “‘Hey, your back hurts? My back hurts too!’”

If interested in group physical therapy, contact your primary care manager to get a referral for physical therapy. Additionally, call for an appointment to be evaluated by a physical therapist through the medical treatment facility appointment line. During this time you and a physical therapist can decide together whether or not the group environment would be helpful to you.

To schedule an appointment call the MTF appointment line at DSN: 479-2273 or at +49 6371462273.