Years before Molly Nelson, DPT, was hired as our newest physical therapist here at Step & Spine Physical Therapy, she was a teenage athlete growing up in southern Minnesota – a teen who loved to run but who found herself battling shin splints.
In seeking treatment for her performance-altering pain, she encountered her first physical therapist.
“I became injured at one point and went to a physical therapist, which initially sparked my interest in the profession,” Molly said. “She was so thorough in watching me move and understanding how my body worked … I was in awe.”
Molly said that around that time, she knew she wanted to pursue a career within the medical profession. And while she became intrigued with physical therapy through her experiences dealing with injury, she was nonetheless thorough in evaluating all her options, job-shadowing alongside of number of medical professionals during days off from school.
But she kept coming back to physical therapy.
“It was simply just the perfect fit for me,” she said.
In 2005, Molly reached a significant milestone in her journey toward becoming a physical therapist when she earned her Bachelor of Health Sciences from The College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. Two years later, she earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. A move to Central Oregon soon followed when she accepted a position as physical therapist at Rebound Physical Therapy.
“I love the interaction I get to have with the patient and the amount of time I get to spend with them as a physical therapist,” she said. “I get to know each person, and I love to help each and every one of them return to the activities they love or help them manage the pain and the symptoms that hold them back. I find that very rewarding.”
Molly spent three years honing her skills in orthopedic diagnostics at Rebound PT, treating post-surgical conditions, low-back pain … “anything and everything,” she said. The following three years, she worked as an acute care and outpatient physical therapist with St. Charles Medical Center before transitioning into her current position at Step & Spine Physical Therapy in May.
“I was looking to transition back into the outpatient world,” Molly said. “I was really wanting to find a clinic where I felt very comfortable – one that I could call home and where I could have an autonomous relationship with my colleagues. Step & Spine turned out to be the perfect fit for me.”
It’s an ideal partnership for us at Step & Spine, as well. With Molly on board, we’re able to offer additional treatments and services related to women’s health – pelvic pain, prenatal/post-partum issues and incontinence. Currently, Molly is working toward her Certification of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy (CAPP) from the American Physical Therapy Association.
“This adds another valuable dimension and treatment avenue for Step & Spine and our clients,” said Barrett Ford, PT, our owner and lead physical therapist. “A large number of people deal with these issues every day yet are unaware that physical therapy can often successfully treat such problems, putting them on the path toward normalcy.”
According to Molly, the lack of awareness is simply a communications issue.
“Many of these issues – pelvic pain, incontinence, post-partum issues – are not diagnosed because they’re not brought up,” she said. “They’re areas that a lot of people are shy about and are not as likely to seek help and attention for.”
For instance, Molly points out that with active and athletic women – a demographic prevalent throughout Central Oregon – pregnancy can lead to post-partum issues such as pelvic pain and incontinence once they return to their favorite high-endurance activities. These women may initially be reluctant to engage in open dialog about their conditions, which is when Molly feels her personality will be an asset to her clients.
“I feel my personality is such that I’m approachable about topics that people are initially reluctant to talk about,” she said. “I think that there is definitely a need for the greater population to know there are options out there – some common symptoms and issues that arise on a pretty regular basis.”
“Women in Central Oregon will quickly discover just how valuable physical therapy can be for treating common pregnancy and post-partum issues as well as pelvic pain and embarrassing incontinence issues.”
Today, Molly is striving to pass along her lifelong commitment to an active lifestyle to her one-and-a-half-year-old son. Along with her husband, the Nelson family enjoys mountain biking, skate skiing, running, camping and yoga. In addition, Molly said she occasionally volunteers medical support during local running races.
“We’re thrilled to have Molly on board and are looking forward to introducing our clients and partners to her in the coming weeks,” Ford said. “Her experience, her commitment and her personality are all assets that will help ensure our clients always achieve the most positive outcomes possible.”