West Michigan Woman Welcomes Northern Yet Again

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Gina and Janis have become regular contributors at West Michigan Woman, both in their print and online publications. They've taken this opportunity to educate readers on various topic of interest and things they commonly see in the clinics.
Most recently, they discussed balance and falls and how those symptoms can affect us as we age.

Seeing our loved ones age can be a difficult process. We want what’s best for our parents and grandparents, and as their health changes it’s not uncommon to worry about their safety. A serious side effect that we, as physical therapists, often see with aging is the increased risk of falling and loss of balance.
Read the article in its entirety here.
In addition to the balance and falls article, you may have also seen their article on back pain. Back pain is one of the most common issues that patients face, but the goods news is, you don't have to live with pain.

We often get patients in the clinic who explain their back pain, along with a lengthy description of the different treatments, surgeries, and medications they’ve encountered along the way. “Nothing worked. I’m hoping you can help me,” they say. Physical therapy is a safe alternative to surgery and medication, and it can help you live pain-free: Our goal is not just to mask the pain, but to find the cause and treat it.
Read the article in its entirety here.

And finally, Gina and Janis spent some time this summer discussing whether to heat or ice an injury. There is often confusion as to which method is better for your injury.

One of the most common questions we get is whether to use heat or ice for an injury. Both are beneficial when used properly, but the best option depends on what type of injury you’ve incurred.
Read the entire article here.
Gina and Janis enjoy the opportunity to educate people on proper body mechanics and practices. They always remind people that you don't have to live with pain.

Know the Truth: Understanding Medicare’s Therapy Caps

Monday, September 09, 2013
If you have Medicare, you may have heard recently more about the limitations or “caps” they place on certain treatments, including physical therapy. Just like other insurances, Medicare (the red, white and blue card) places limits on their coverage and “caps” the amount it will pay for outpatient physical and occupational therapy in a calendar year. The good news is that there are exceptions that allow Medicare patients to continue skilled therapies when they are medically necessary, and we can help easily navigate through the process.
There are two “caps” that require an exception. When services are necessary but reach $1900 there is a process that your therapist will automatically complete, which does not slow down your care as a patient, and allows you to continue treatment. The second cap is $3700. If your therapy is still medically necessary, we will do paper work and ask for pre-approval from your physician and Medicare to continue. It’s important to note that we have found very few patients at Northern ever get to the second cap with therapy services in one year. Our physical therapists and billing team are aware of these financial limitations and can apply for an exception if your continued care is medically necessary. We will explain how Medicare defines “medically necessary” and how it applies to your condition and treatment.

What about Medicare Advantage plans like Priority Health, BCBS Medicare, or others? These Medicare Advantage plans may apply the cap as well, however, some plans have chosen not to follow this Medicare rule. At Northern we always check with your insurance plan and let you, and our therapists, know of the current payment policies for your particular insurance.
If you still have questions about your coverage, simply call our insurance benefits specialist at 616.259.5674 or email us at billing@northernpts.com. We will be more than happy to walk through your personal coverage and answer your billing questions.

Would you like to see this “cap” go away? Make your voice heard. Medicare beneficiaries can ask their members of Congress to repeal the therapy cap by going to the American Physical Therapy Association's Patient Legislative Action Center.

Summer Fun Without the Pain

Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Gina and Janis have once again contributed to West Michigan Woman and this time they're writing about working and relaxing pain free.
After what seemed like a terribly long winter, many of us wasted no time heading outside to fix up the yard and soak up some sun, once warmer weather finally hit. While it certainly feels good to be doing projects outdoors, it’s important to remember how to do these tasks properly, so your body doesn’t pay for it later. How many times have you overexerted yourself doing yard work, only to wake up the next day with back pain and sore muscles?

As a physical therapist and expert in body mechanics, I see many patients come in with sprains and back pain, due to overextending themselves while doing outdoor activities. In an effort to eliminate some of that pain, I put together a list of simple tips to help you avoid injury this season.

While doing active tasks such as gardening and yard work, you’ll want to remember to stretch and maintain a healthy body position.
- Avoid strain on your hands by periodically spreading your fingers wide, then make a fist. Repeat.
- Reduce stress on your wrists by rotating them in one direction, then repeat in the opposite direction.
- Use a stool or knee pads to protect your knees and hips.
- Avoid putting constant stress one part of the body by varying tasks: Rake for a while, then bag for a while.
- When lifting, keep objects close to your body, keep a straight spine, and lift with your legs, not your back.

After the work is done, you’ll want to stop to relax. But keep these tips in mind:
- Lawn chairs can be hard on your back, so get up and walk around every thirty minutes.
- Find a chair that supports your back and fits your size. Avoid staying in one position for more than twenty minutes.

Summer is a great time to be active, but always remember, if you begin to experience discomfort in a muscle or joint, stop and rest. If you are experiencing persistent pain, a physical therapist could often help to relieve pain and educate you on proper body mechanics to avoid injury in the future.

McKenzie Certified: Treating Back Pain

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Congratulations to our very own Diana Painter who has received her certification in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy, which means she is now certified in the McKenzie method of treating for the spine and extremity.
To acquire the certification, Diana had to complete extensive course work involving the mechanical diagnosis and treatment of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine as well as the extremities. In addition, she was required to complete a five part written exam and practical performance simulation.

Diana says she loves working with patients of all ages and diagnoses, but her interests in spine pain led her to obtain this particular certification. She feels the McKenzie method is a great tool for assessing and treating patients with back pain.

Way to go, Diana!

Gina & Janis Contribute to West Michigan Woman

Friday, March 22, 2013
NPT co-owners and physical therapists Gina Otterbein and Janis Kemper have once again been asked to contribute to West Michigan Woman Magazine, a local magazine and online publication. 
Burning Calories Can Be Easy
West Michigan Woman, March 2013

 Still battling with extra weight gained over the holidays? It seems as though the last few pounds are the hardest to shed. But losing the weight is easier than you think, when you turn simple office tasks or household chores into opportunities to burn calories....

You can read the article in its entirety here.

Read Janis and Gina's previous West Michigan Woman articles on postpartum exercise and strengthening your core (pages 20-21).

Strengthening Your Core

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Flip through the pages of this month's West Michigan Woman and you'll notice two familiar contributors.

Our two co-owners and physical therapists, Janis Kemper and Gina Otterbein, contributed once again to West Michigan Woman, a local magazine and online publication. They wrote a great piece on strengthening your core which featured some corresponding exercises.

Stop the "Crunches" and Train Your Core
West Michigan Woman, February 2013

How many times have you started the year off with good intentions of following through with a resolution to lose weight, get in shape, or be more active? We’ve all been there with the best of intentions, but once February rolls around, that resolution is long gone. Many of us lose the time and ambition, or find that working out can be quite painful.

You can read the article in its entirety here, see pages 20-21. And to check out Janis and Gina's last article on postpartum pregnancy exercises, click here.

Gina & Janis Write for West Michigan Woman Magazine

Monday, November 12, 2012
Gina and Janis were thrilled at the opportunity to be able to contribute to the local West Michigan Woman Magazine this month. Their article on postpartum exercise was featured in the publication's Wellness section. 
"Becoming a mother is one of the most incredible experiences a woman will face throughout her life. With all the excitement that comes with being pregnant and caring for a newborn, it’s important to remember that exercise will help your body in tremendous ways. Not only is the rate of back pain, pelvic pain, and other discomfort lower for women who exercise regularly throughout their pregnancy, but recovery times and weight loss are greatly effected by postpartum exercise as well."

You can read the article in it's entirety here.

New Certifications = More Advanced Care

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Congratulations are in order for two of our therapists who recently achieved advanced certifications in their respective fields. 

Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Certificate

Terri Jeurink, a Physical Therapist at our Coopersville Clinic has received her Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Certificate from the Women’s Health Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

This certification recognizes the specialty of pelvic floor rehabilitation, including evaluation and treatment for men and women who may have urinary incontinence (leakage), urinary frequency or urgency, bowel dysfunction, pelvic pain. To obtain the certification, Terri had to complete three different classes and competency exams held by the APTA, collect letters of reference, and complete a case report within 1 year after completing the necessary courses.  

“I am passionate about helping people feel better, especially when it comes to issues that affect their everyday lives. Obtaining my Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Certification will allow me to better assist those patients and help them feel good again.” Jeurink says.

Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Certificate

Susan Roemer, a Physical Therapist at our Wayland Clinic has received her Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) Certificate from the American Physical Therapy Association.

To acquire the certification, Susan had to demonstrate extensive knowledge in the field of orthopedic physical therapy through experience (of which she has 8 years), continued education, and passing a rigorous exam that tests her intricate clinical knowledge of orthopedic tests, problem solving, assessment, evaluation and treatment skills.

“While attaining the OCS certification I acquired new techniques for diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions, which has helped me to treat patients more efficiently and effectively” Susan said.

Great job Susan & Terri! Your continued education will help our patients get back to feeling good!

Gina Otterbein Recognized as Athena Nominee

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gina Otterbein, our co-owner and physical therapist, is among the 25 nominees for the 2011 Lakeshore Athena Award, which is presented annually to recognize women who demonstrate excellence and creativity in their profession, devote time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in their community, and actively support women in realizing and achieving their full leadership. Here, Gina is pictured with Carrie Borchers (fellow Athena nominee), and Andrea Snyder (who nominated both women for the award), at the awards reception.

Gina is a Coopersville resident, physical therapist, and co-owner of Northern Physical Therapy. She believes in giving back to her community and does so by volunteering her time with the Rotary Club of Coopersville, St. Michael’s Church, the Coopersville Chamber of Commerce, and is the Event Chair for the Del Shannon Car Show. She also sits on committees for both the Michigan Physical Therapy Association and the American Physical Therapy Association.

Gina stated: Women today wear many hats, maintaining duties as business leaders, organizational leaders, mothers, mentors, coaches and friends.... all of which can be overwhelming at times. I try to help other women learn how to handle the balance of all these terrific roles.

As noted by both the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce officials, the Athena Award program is not a competition, but rather a celebration of excellence where the honor of the award is in the nomination.

Gina is pictured at the awards luncheon with Gary Lutz of IT Resource, Andrea Snyder of STUDIO3TWENTY, and Carrie Borchers of IT Resource.

NPT Receives CAYAC Grant

Monday, May 02, 2011
Northern Physical Therapy received a grant from CAYAC (Coopersville Area Youth Advisory Committee) for our Handwriting Clinic - this means we can offer scholarships to well deserving children! Here, Gina Otterbein is pictured with CAYAK representative Brian Young and Coopersville South Elementary Principal, Martin Alexander.