HealthSmart

A hub for Marshall Medical Centers events and information.

Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Marshall Medical has been the trusted source for therapy for 60 years

Comprehensive therapy since 1960

Marshall Medical has been the trusted source for therapy for 60 years

For six decades, Marshall Medical Centers has kept locals from having to drive out of town for physical therapy. Today the variety of experts working in-house in two locations treat everything from stroke, balance issues, neck and back pain to pediatric needs and traumatic brain injuries.

“Almost without exception, there’s never been a need that hasn’t been met,” said Scott Saylor, director of Marshall Therapy and Sports Rehab, and a therapist for 19 years. “Marshall Medical has made sure to meet the needs of residents for decades. We have a good reputation in the county and that’s because of good care.”

The 33 physical therapists, PT assistants and rehab experts working with patients at Marshall Therapy and Sports Rehab next door to Marshall North and in Albertville and Boaz have earned credentials that include four with a doctoral level of education. Their combined experience adds up to more than 393 years of working one-on-one with patients. 

“We work well as a team and are always willing to put our heads together to treat every patient individually,” said Kent Myer, who holds a doctor of physical therapy degree from UAB. “This allows us to deliver the best care possible and help patients achieve their optimal function.”

Therapists treat patients with a goal of healing, relieving pain and returning them to the activities that are important to them.

The wide variety of patients makes the job very interesting, said Hillary Papich Beam, who holds a doctor of physical therapy from South Alabama. She especially enjoys working with pediatrics and orthopedic patients.

“It’s very fun,” she said. “I love helping people. Movement is the best medicine. I hate to see people not be able to get out and move.”

Sixty years of services

Therapy services were first offered in 1960 when the then-new Boaz-Albertville Hospital expanded from 35 to 60 beds, and they haven’t stopped growing since those early days. In the mid-1990s, the hospital system built facilities next to its ‘new’ hospital in the north end of the county and behind Marshall South in Boaz. They offered physical therapy, occupational therapy, cardiac rehab, pulmonary rehab and fitness equipment for the community. By 2015, the services at South had outgrown the facility leading to an upgrade. Therapy and rehab were relocated to a more accessible location on U.S. 431 in Albertville.

A recent name change more accurately reflects the changing world of physical therapy but one thing has never changed – Marshall Therapy and Sports Rehab remains the trusted choice of local residents. The North location was named Best of the Best 2020 in the Advertiser Gleam’s Reader’s Choice Poll on the best physical therapy in Marshall County. Saylor attributes it to the caliber of employees Marshall Medical attracts, who are members of the local community. Most are long-term employees with very little turnover.

“We’re fortunate to have a great staff at both locations,” he said. “The individual care they deliver is unrivaled. Every patient is treated by a therapist in treatment sessions designed specifically for their needs. Each gets one-on-one attention with therapists the entire time.”

Establishing those plans of care for people experiencing a physical setback to return them to full function keeps the job challenging for Tyler Flammond, a PT at South who holds a doctor of physical therapy degree from the University of South Dakota.

“It’s something new every day,” he said. “Physical therapy is a field that requires critical thinking. It’s challenging doing different things every day.”

Flammond relocated to Alabama from South Dakota – a fact that amuses his patients, who like to remark “you’re not from around here.” He is happy in his new home, however.

“I love the small community,” he said. “It’s like a big family.”

Pediatric therapy

Most people might think of elderly patients when they envision therapy but Marshall Therapy and Sports Rehab also treats children from one month to one year. Peyton Fredericksen, who holds a doctor of therapy degree from Samford University, said she especially enjoys having children as patients.

“I love working with kids,” she said. “They’re a little more challenging. Instead of saying ‘do exercises,’ I suggest something like an obstacle course so they think they’re playing a game.”

Newborns might require therapy for Torticollis, a condition where the muscles of the neck cause the head to tilt down due to the baby's position in the womb or from a difficult childbirth, she said.

Occupational Therapy

Lauren Lee has a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of South Alabama, which is the treatment of injured, ill or disabled patients to help them develop, recover, improve and maintain the skills needed for daily living and working. She provides outpatient services at North and South facilities on a full-time basis. The emphasis is on upper extremities, for example, rehab following hand surgery. She treats all ages from pediatric to the elderly, and works with stroke patients, brain injuries and the visually-impaired.

“It’s very holistic,” she said. “I look for mental and cognitive deficits too - whether they’re having trouble problem-solving in their daily routine. My main goal is for people to improve their performance and independence in daily activities, whether it be at work, buttoning clothing, handwriting. Whatever motivates you to do what you need to do.”

The job fits perfectly with Lee’s lifelong passion for helping people. She finds it very rewarding to work closely with patients, get to know them and watch them improve to the point they can resume their normal life, she said.

Other specialties treated at Marshall Therapy and Sports Rehab include:

  • Acute Care therapy – for hospitalized patients is provided by Patrick Roberts, a veteran PT of 23 years, along with Saylor.
  • Speech therapy – Speech therapist Tony Wildfong covers inpatient speech therapy and conducts swallowing studies at the Marshall Cancer Care Center.
  • Spine-related issues - spinal dysfunctions, including lower back pain and neck pain, and injuries are treated with the latest and most innovative treatment techniques available. State-of-the-art equipment (such as spinal decompression) is available and therapists offer expertise in manual techniques, including developments of exercise programs to enhance spinal strength and stability.
  • Anodyne Therapy - combined with an exercise program of stretching and strengthening can help improve blood flow to the extremities to improve feeling and sensation in the legs and feet. This also includes improved flow to the nerves, which improves supply to the muscles. One example of a patient who can benefit from Anodyne therapy is someone with peripheral neuropathy. Others include patients with balance issues causing them to fall.
  • Biodex Therapy - As we age, balance can worsen and increase the tendency to stumble and fall. Biodex is a way not only to test balance, but also allows the patient to work on the balance problems and reduce the likelihood of falling. Patients that have had strokes can also use the Biodex system to improve their walking. Athletes and others involved in various sports have also begun to use the Biodex system to improve balance in preparation for returning to sports after injuries and surgeries.
  • Parkinson’s – Marshall Sports and Rehab is part of the Parkinson’s program started by Huntsville Hospital.
  • Aquatic therapy – Marshall Therapy and Sports Rehab has the only therapy pools in the county. Unfortunately, heated pools are closed now due to COVID-19 because they are too small for social distancing but the large, Olympic-sized pools are open with social distancing guidelines.
  • Pain management – for lower back pain, neck and post-operative therapy.
  • Lymphedema - swelling in an arm or leg, most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to the lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. Massage is used for treatment.
  • Cardiac rehab – Patients with heart or lung issues or post-surgery benefit from this program which includes exercise, education and counseling designed to strengthen the heart and lungs
  • Pulmonary rehab - individually tailored program using evaluation, exercise and education to stabilize the disease to get sufferers to the highest functionality possible
  • Sports Medicine - providing prevention, treatment and education programs for all levels of experience and ability to meet the unique needs of both recreational and competitive athletes and coaches.
  • Certified Athletic Trainers – provided to high schools throughout Marshall County at absolutely no cost to the school. As a part of sports teams, trainers keep student athletes safe on and off the playing field.
  • Swallowing studies - a test that shows what a patient’s throat and esophagus do while swallowing

“We definitely treat a wide variety,” Saylor said.

And, as a community-owned hospital, Marshall Sports and Rehab accepts all insurances, including Medicaid. Financial aid also is available to those qualifying.

Under the current state guidelines for COVID-19, everyone entering the facilities must wear a mask and have a temperature check. Employees are required to wear a mask at all times. Equipment is sanitized between every patient. With the extra safety measures in place, Marshall Sports and Rehab and its partners, Marshall Wellness Centers, offer a safe environment to work on strength, balance and to get moving again for those who may have become more sedentary due to activities being curtailed by the pandemic.

The Guntersville location can be reached at 256.571.8857 and the Albertville location at 256.891.1226.