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Physical therapy (also physiotherapy) is a health care profession that provides treatment to individuals to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and function throughout life. This includes providing treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors.

PTs use an individual's history and physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis and establish a management plan and, when necessary, incorporate the results of laboratory and imaging studies.

Spinal Physical Therapy is the area of expertise at Physical Therapy Spine and Sports Medicine. Scott Schuessler holds the McKenzie Certification in mechanical diagnosis and therapy since 2002. He has passed the board exam for clinical and practical spine therapy through the McKenzie Institute. Few therapists in the STL area have this comprehensive certification. The Institute emphasizes specialized mechanical assessments for the spine or extremities resulting in specifically diagnosed spinal disorders. The design of treatment programs is then unique to provide treatment for specific disorders. Data shows higher incidents of correct diagnosis from this system of evaluation in comparison to MRI and radiographic means. A mechanical assessment correlates with findings from associated pains from the specific tissues involved, whereas an x-ray can show multiple dysfunctions for multiple diagnoses but does not necessarily correlate directly to patient’s clinical symptoms. Since almost no one has a perfectly normal spine, this interplay between a patient’s pain and symptoms and the mechanical assessment results provides an incredible asset when it comes to treatment design.

The movement based assessment of injuries includes manually affecting all the individual tissues in the affected area including stressing ligaments, stretching of tendons and compressing tissues. When pain changes due to specific movement patterns, the diagnosis can be more accurately made. A hands on approach allows for individualized specific feedback and the consistent reproduction of symptoms. Almost all adult spines show signs of degeneration due to age: arthritis, bulging discs, etc., therefore an imaging based assessment does not always show the complete picture

We provide a licensed massage therapist to perform all types of massage including superficial, swedish, deep tissue, and therapeutic. We are able to cater to the clients needs depending on what type of treatment is most beneficial.

Massage is the manipulation of superficial layers of muscle and connective tissue to enhance the function and promote relaxation and well-being.

Massage involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet.

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Scott’s Athletic Training Certification and experience bring relevant therapies to athletes seeking rehabilitative and sports conditioning services. Scott’s experience includes on-field training with high school, collegiate and professional athletes in all sports including football, baseball, softball, basketball, swimming, wrestling, soccer, volleyball and golf. He has specific recovery and position enhancement programs including: baseball and softball pitchers, over head arm as in volleyball, runners including marathon specific, and lower extremity conditioning.

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We have a large population of pediatric patients and provide a very positive and motivating environment to make sure we keep the child focused on their treatment program.

Some of the diagnoses we may see at PTSSM include Servers Disease, Torticollis, Osgood Schlatter's Disease, pediatric knee and back pain, Scoliosis, poor posture, trauma and sports injuries, post surgical rehab, etc...

The branch of medicine that deals with the prevention or correction of injuries or disorders of the skeletal system and associated muscles, joints, and ligaments.

Geriatric physical therapy covers a wide area of issues concerning people as they go through normal adult aging but is usually focused on the older adult. There are many conditions that affect people as they grow older and include but are not limited to the following: arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, hip and joint replacement, and balance disorders.

At PTSSM we will develop a specialized program that will help to restore mobility, reduce pain, normalize strength, and increase fitness levels. This will allow for the highest quality of life.

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Orthotics is the medical field concerned with the application and manufacture of orthoses, devices which support or correct the function of a limb or the torso. Individuals who benefit from an orthosis have sustained a physical impairment such as a stroke, spinal cord injury, or a congenital abnormality such as spinal bifida or cerebral palsy. Corrective shoe inserts are often referred to as orthotics. We create custom orthotics by plaster casting a perfect mold of your foot in the neutral anatomical position and then fabricate a shoe insert to hold your foot in that position that your foot "wants" to be in. That will avoid all irritating positions for your foot.

Scott is trained in vestibular rehab to treat and fix dizziness and vertigo disorders including BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). We are able to diagnose and treat these conditions. These disorders consist of crystals that have settled in the wrong canal in your inner ear and with correct treatment they can be repositioned into the correct canal and therefore abolish all of the dizziness.

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We are trained in treating spinal and pelvic disorders associated with pregnancy. This includes the area of pelvic floor stability and strength, spinal mobilizations, postural correction, abdominal and lumbar strength, and maintaining the appropriate strength to tolerate the changes in your center of gravity with the baby. We are able to control pain in most cases to allow for a much more confortable pregnancy. Most lumbar and pelvic pain associated with pregnancy is mechancially based pain, and we are able to identify the cause and relieve the stress from the mechancial dysfunction.

We also work with women looking to recover back to pre-pregnancy strength and tone. We are able to safely guide you through your recovery process by giving you appropriate exercises at the right time in healing to regain your pre-pregnancy "shape".

Many spine disorders arise from poor postures and faulty mechanics. At PTSSM, we emphasize improving awareness and function of core and hip musculature to improve stabilization of the spine. Our therapists will also address shortening of hip and core musculature that leads to poor mechanics and postures. This technique minimizes the risk for re-injury and exacerbations of symptoms.

Our arm and hand therapy is based on addressing your limitations due to surgery or injury. We are trained to improve the mobility and strength of your shoulder, elbow, wrist or hand while working with your physician to maximize your clinical outcome. Many conditions of the upper extremity also arise from neck and nerve dysfunctions that are benefited through our treatment to eliminate nerve compression and improve the numbness, tingling, and weakness.

At PTSSM, our therapists will help you return to golf by assessing and teaching mechanics to minimize symptoms. With backgrounds in biomechanics and kinesiology, we will eliminate your symptoms and ease your return to the golf course.

Pre-operative rehab can be prescribed by a primary care physician prior to orthopedic surgeon referrals or even an orthopedic surgeon to as conservative management to prevent an outpatient surgery. Pre-operative rehab is a great way to cut medical costs and avoid an expensive surgery that will warrant more rehab after. Often patients will not require a surgery with this form of conservative management and patients become grateful for the return to function without have to go under the knife. If a surgery is unavoidable, therapy still becomes beneficial as a way to speed up the recovery process and improved surgical outcomes

Post-operative rehab is another common type of therapy in our clinic and we work closely with orthopedic surgeons in order to maximize the benefits of each surgery by ensuring each patient/surgery reaches goals set by the surgeon, patient, and therapist during each stage of therapy. We strive to make each patient an individual in our clinic and not based on a specific protocol or diagnosis to be as aggressive as possible in the rehab process but always in a safe manner outlined by the referring physician without putting the surgery in jeopardy. Often patients will be referred to us from an orthopedic surgeon after their surgery and will return to us in the future for another injury, or send a family member to our clinic because of the care they received after their surgery.

At Physical Therapy Spine and Sports Medicine, we see a wide variety of work related injuries including: traumatic, chronic, and post-operative. We utilize the most advanced treatment approaches to ensure the quickest and safest recovery. Our goal is to not only get the patient back to work in a timely manner, but also education to prevent future injuries. We strive for open communication between all members of the workman's compensation interdisciplinary team to reach the best outcomes.

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  • Work Hardening, and Work Conditioning
  • Industrial Rehab

Ask A Therapist?


Is there anything special about the services that you provide to the patients?

All services provided to our patients are based on therapist evaluations of the individual patients, not based on a group of treatments for a chosen diagnosis. Often patients are issued a set of exercises at a clinic but are not specific to the individual and will not produce the same results as a rehab program that is specific to the patients impairments.

Matt Helfrich