When you’re injured, even getting through the day can be a challenge. Pain isn’t just physical – it takes space in our brains, sapping precious energy we could devote elsewhere.
Because of this, the therapists at Wyoming’s four Teton Therapy locations work with patients to develop safe and manageable physical therapy programs that will improve mobility and lessen pain. It’s their goal to help patients free their energy to focus on what they love, not what they have to work around.
Teton Therapy has locations in Lander, Riverton, Sheridan and Cheyenne and has been serving Wyoming since 2001. Teton Therapy offers physical and occupational therapy at all four of its outpatient clinical sites, and the staff provides a wide range of advanced therapy solutions to improve and overcome pain from injury, surgery and disability.
“We have a personalized approach with our patients, and we really try to specialize in what they need specifically, tailoring a plan for them, rather than offering a cookie-cutter type treatment,” said Ben Larsen, PT, DPT and co-owner of the Cheyenne location. “Our goal within musculoskeletal issues is to help people to live their lives to the fullest without having to deal with a nagging pain or an ache.”
Larsen opened the Cheyenne Teton Therapy location four years ago to expand on the clinic’s offerings across the state. He believes in having a well-trained staff and helping patients become their own advocates.
“We are always trying to be on top of things. I really try to stress continuing education with my therapists, making sure they are at the top of what physical therapy and occupational therapy can offer,” Larsen said.
His goal is that Teton Therapy offer the most innovative, cutting-edge treatments in the field.
“We do offer some things that other clinics don’t offer, like diagnostic ultrasounds, hand splinting, orthotic fitting and specialized diagnostic testing to help with impairments, as well as functioning capacity evaluation,” he explained.
Nonetheless, Cheyenne is an interesting place, because sometimes people leave the region to seek medical treatment along the Front Range of Colorado.
“We do have people who will go to Colorado for services, because they feel like they do get better services,” he said. “But our goal is to provide high-quality services so that people don’t feel like they have to leave the state.”
Larsen said that Wyoming should be able to offer services comparable to any city in the nation.
“If they are going to New York City, we want them to feel like they are getting the same kinds of services they are getting in Cheyenne – or in a small town like Riverton or Lander,” he said. “People don’t have to go to bigger cities to get high-quality medical care. That is why we really make sure we hire the right people and that we are doing the things that bring up-to-date treatments to Wyoming.”
Physical therapy serves several functions, he said. First, of course, is treating the patient.
“We have the Wyoming citizen, in general, who is an employee and provides for their family, and if they are injured and can’t do that, that puts stress on them,” he said.
That also puts stress on the economy, because that person may not be able to contribute because of their injury.
“We, as physical therapists, have a responsibility to business owners to make sure their employees, when they do get injured, are back to work faster, and that we are really getting to the root of the problem so they can get back to producing,” Larsen said. “Lost time at work costs businesses, and our goal is to help get employees back as quickly as possible.”
Traditionally, a patient would need a referral from their physician to see a physical therapist, but the Wyoming Legislature approved direct access for physical therapy earlier this year. Larsen fully supported the legislation, he said, because he believes patients should be their own advocates.
“A doctor’s recommendation is no longer needed, and you can go directly to the physical therapist and be treated,” he said, adding that patients will have to to check with their own insurance providers to find out if they need a physican’s referral for coverage.
Effective July 1, the legislation allowed for a physical therapist to initiate physical therapy with a patient with or without a prescription from a licensed physician or other health-care provider. The law does state that a physical therapist should refer a patient to another health-care provider to diagnose or care for the patient if the physical therapist believes symptoms or conditions may be present that require health-care services beyond the scope of physical therapy practice.
“Wyoming citizens do have the right to direct access for physical therapy,” Larsen said. “We want patients to be able to make decisions for themselves, and I believe in health care, you need to have as many options as possible to make the right decision for you. Ultimately, you are the one who knows best what you need for your help.”