Welcome to SMART Physical Therapy
SMART Physical Therapy is an independent Physical Therapy clinic founded in 2011 with goal of bringing an outpatient practice to the New London area that would be renown for outstanding patient care, advanced clinical practices, and exceptional results.
At SMART PT we will provide excellent "Hands On" care but also empower patients to manage their conditions independently through cognitive and movement education to restore normal function. We will listen to their story and treat their own unique causes of their condition, not their symptoms. We understand the importance of treating the person with their own history, beliefs, and circumstances that can affect their recovery.
What does S.M.A.R.T. stand for?
Most acute spinal pain injuries are simple tissue injuries that calm and heal pretty much on their own . Some disorders of the spine do not settle within expected healing time and there are many factors that may contribute to one's pain experience.
- Structural injury or pathology (only in 10% of cases). A disc injury would be an example.
- Issues in your daily life such as lack of sleep, decreased activity and stress, home and work environmental factors
- Poor control with posture and the way you control your spine with daily activities
- Nervous system changes that result in lowering your pain tolerance - meaning that things that wouldn't normally hurt you do cause pain now!
- Poor conditioning, strength and endurance of different muscle groups
- Psychological factors such as excessive attention on pain, fear of movement, anxiety, negative beliefs regarding your pain and mood changes
- Genetic factors - these can actually be influenced by what we do throughout our lives.
The combination of these issues are different for every patient who presents with pain. At SMART Physical Therapy we are focused at looking at the YOUR whole story and trying to find the underlying cause of your pain rather than treating symptoms. We will develop treatment and management approaches for improving your function and managing your pain . The emphasis will be on teaching you to care for yourself and be in control of your own health.
Why SMART Physical Therapy for your Low Back Pain?
1. At SMART PT you will receive care from an experienced Physical Therapist who has trained under some of the worlds leading clinicians in this area and is trained in the latest approaches such as Peter O'Sullivan's Cognitive Functional Therapy. Tim has had the opportunity that only a few have had in this country, being trained by one of the leading clinicians and researchers in Low Back Pain in the world today, Peter O'Sullivan of Curtain University. Tim has witnessed Peter assessing and treating clients during these courses which significantly impacted his approach and success in treating spine patients. Tim has been to the last two Interdisciplinary World Congresses on Low Back Pain and Pelvic Pain, in Barcelona in 2007 and in Los Angeles in 2010. He attended presentations on the latest research and clinical approaches to treating Low Back Pain from the worlds experts and had opportunities to speak and form relationships with these experts.
2. You will be treated by a Physical Therapist every visit (No PT assistants)
An article in the September 2008 Physical Therapy Journal found that clinics that used Physical Therapy Assistants less were:
- 6.6 times more likely to be in the highly effective category
- 6.7 times more likely to be in the low utilization category (takes less visits to succeed with patient).
- 12.4 times more likely to be classifeied in the best performance group
3. You will be treated by a Therapist with significant Manual Therapy skills and experience. Tim McCullough has the ability to assess joint motion and treat with soft tissue work as well as perform joint mobilization and manipulation. At Sports and Spinal Physical Therapy in Washington DC, Tim's patients were often people who had chronic Low Back Pain and had failed with other Physical Therapy or other medical approaches. With the help of his mentor, Peter Boyle and other spine experts at the clinic, Tim developed advanced treatment skills in the treatment of Low Back and spine pain.
At SMART Physical Therapy you will get SPINE CARE from a multifaceted approach that considers all the possible causes of your condition.
What is Manual Therapy? Manual Therapy is a "Hands On" approach to assessing and treating a client. It is just one piece of the puzzle that allows a Physical Therapist to have success in treating patients, but a very important piece that not many Physical Therapists have acquired. Why is that? Successfully acquiring advanced Manual Therapy skills comes only after repeated failure in the attempt. My Mentor, "the late' Peter Boyle, explained to me that it can take years of daily practice with every patient before one might feel they have become proficient at the skills. He was correct, it took 4-5 years for me, even with the daily mentoring from this master of the craft. Even now I have difficulty with the more subtle cases, but that is when the other pieces of the assessment provide the clues to help achieve a successful outcome with a client.
I owe my development in Manual Therapy to Peter, who was "the Guru" of Physical Therapy in Washington DC for over 10 years. He was taught by the true pioneers of Manual Physical Therapy while training in New Zealand and Australia. He brought a passion for the profession and for learning that could be matched by no one. He was a mentor in the truest sense of the word. He would interrupt treatment to bring me in to show me unusual conditions and specific treatment techniques with his clients . He encouraged me to grab him anytime I needed help with a client or treatment technique. Boy did I ever, making the man run late nearly everyday. The experience was invaluable.
Peter Boyle also helped me develop my Manual Therapy skills by:
- By surrounding me with experts in all approaches to Manual Therapy in hiring other highly trained Manual Therapists of different backgrounds (McKenzie Trained, Maitland Trained, Kaltenborn Trained, Paris Trained) many who were Fellows of Manual therapy.
- By having an unlimited continuing education budget and sending me to courses and conferences all over the country. He guided my selection of courses giving me the broadest exposure in Manual Therapy that one could receive.
- By allowing me to help him teach his Manual Therapy courses, further refining my skills by teaching others.
What are some of the Manual Therapy skills that will be used at SMART Physical Therapy?
- Joint mobilization and manipulation
- Soft tissue techniques including Myofascial Release
- Manual Traction
- Passive Range of Motion
At SMART Physical Therapy we value hands on care and assessment but recognize it is more important to teach the patient to help themselves as soon as possible.
Tim McCullough has been working with Athletes for 27 years, starting as a student Athletic Trainer in the Springfield College Sports Medicine Program. Since that time Tim has worked with nearly every sport there is from Football to Fencing and from Wrestling to Ballet. He has been a Certified Athletic Trainer for nearly 23 years and has worked with Youth level, High School, College, Olympic and Professional Athletes. He has worked daily with Athletes in the high School and Sport Camp settings and treated athletes of all levels in an outpatient Physical Therapy environment. Tim works seamlessly with Parents, Coaches and Athletes to achieve a successful balance of athletic performance and client safety.
Tim's Sports Resume
At SMART Physical Therapy we want our Athlete's to reach their full athletic potential. We also recognize to do so we must progress them safely, restore their normal movement patterns and their confidence, and reduce their fear of re-injury.
Research Based Care
SMART Physical Therapy will provide care based on the latest research in the field of Physical Therapy. Tim reads Physical Therapy Research journals regularly learning the latest Assessment, Treatment and Exercise approaches being used by experts in the field. He attends conferences consistently where leading experts present research and teach updated clinical assessment and treatment approaches. He forms relationships with researchers and clinical experts so he can stay on the cutting edge of Physical Therapy and get guidance with difficult cases or questions he may have.
In the Medical Community we treat clients everyday with techniques that have yet to be "proven" to cure the patients problems, but the research gives clinicians the background to choose treatments that are more likely to produce succeesful outcomes. At SMART PT we utilize the information from research to guide our care: especially in the following areas:
1. Chronic pain
In chronic pain the research has given us a framework to treat the "person" not the condition. It has shown we need to keep the patient as active as possible, help them understand their pain with effective patient education, and to have a multifaceted approaches in the self-management of their chronic condition. The work of David Butler and Lorimer Moseley has made an impact on Tim's approach, especially their book, "Explain Pain". Tim also took David Butler's course of the same name and has had the opportunity to hear Lorimer Moseley speak at Low Back Pain conferences. Their work helps the clinician find ways to reduce fear, improve their coping skills, and use graded exposure techniques to improve their tolerance to physical activity. They have done significant research with Mirror Therapy and Graded Motor Imagery which are used to help people manage their pain.
Lorimer Moseley, Author of Explain Pain, on what pain is.
David Butler videos on Graded Exposure with exercise
2. Low Back Pain:
Tim has spent significant time reading and studying spine research, taking courses by expert clinicians abd even attending the last two Interdisciplinary World Congresses on Low Back Pain and Pelvic Pain, in Barcelona in 2007 and in Los Angeles in 2010. There he attended presentations on the latest research and clinical approaches to treating Low Back Pain from the worlds experts and had opportunities to speak and form relationships with these experts.
3. Sports Medicine:
Tim has maintained his certification as an Athletic Trainer and has attended several National Athletic Training Conventions to take mini courses and listen to the latest Sports Medicine Research. Tim constantly reads articles on Sports Rehabilitation and specific sports injuries. He has done presentations on many topics such as Tennis, Golf, Rugby, Baseball, Basketball, and Running injuries in which he researched the topics extensively. He does not rely on personal experience only in his treatment or teaching. He believes each clinician should take advantage of all the hard work and information provided by researchers.
At SMART PT you will get treated in a personal and intuitive manner but research is still the basis of how we treat our clients.
Tim McCullough graduated with a Health and Physical Education Teaching Degree from Springfield College in 1987. Springfield College is considered one of the top schools in the country in this area of education and produces some of the finest Teachers and Coaches in the United States.
Tim taught Health and Adapted Physical Education at Lakeland Regional Hiigh School in New Jersey, where he developed his skills in teaching Physical tasks to people with cognitive, behavioral, and physical disabilities. Tim learned how to carefully progress people of all learning abilities in physical skill acquisition. He honed his teaching techniques, using verbal cueing, visual and tactile inputs, and other specific methods he was taught at Springfield.
In Physical Therapy School Tim worked in the Student Health Center at Old Dominion University as a Health Educator. At his first two positions as a Physical Therapist he helped teach Courses with both Carole Lewis PhD (Geriatric Specialist) and Peter Boyle (Manip Therapist), two highly respected Professionals in their specialty.
Tim has done many Educational out reach programs in the community including Baseball, Tennis, Golf, and Basketball Injury Prevention presentations, Running clinics, and inservices on Low Back Pain, Headache and Jaw pain. He has also done guest lectures at Colby Sawyer's Athletic Training Program.
Tim is an avid reader of the latest research, attends advanced courses and conferences, and enjoys teaching and learning from other Therapists. It is our responsibility to stay up on recent advances in our field. Tim has studied under Peter O'Sullivan PhD, who is a leading researcher in the area of chronic low back pain. His research in Cognitive Functional Therapy is showing encouraging results in the treatment of chronic spinal conditions. The changes in healthcare make it even more important that clinicians teach clients effectively to allow them to manage their condition and implement their treatment plan more independently reducing the number of visits necessary to achieve successful outcomes.
Teaching is the most important part of being a Physical Therapist. To educate the client to understand the cause of their condition, how to successfully manage it, and to empower them to heal themselves.
Our SMART Treatment Principles:
Self-Management: The most important aspect of Physical Therapy is to teach the client to effectively manage their condition. By learning what eases and aggravates their pain the client can feel empowered by having some control of their condition. This reduces fear and gives them confidence that they will improve which is constantly shown in the research to improve outcomes in Physical Therapy.
Movement and Posture Re-training. While specific exercises are an important part of Physical Therapy the goal is improve the patients function. Teaching specific exercises is not enough, changing the clients movement behavior is something that will continue on long after they stop doing their exercises.
Assessments are to find the underlying causes of your condition not to identify and treat symptoms. At SMART Physical Therapy our evaluations look beyond the local diagnosis. We evaluate the function of neighboring joints and muscles, assess possible abnormal movement patterns, and listen to the patients story to see if their fears and beliefs may be contributing to their pain. The SMART approach is a patient centered approach.
Research based approach. At SMART PT our Assessment and treatment techniques are based on the best available evidence by the experts in the field. Tim McCullough regularly reads the latest Sports Medicine and Spine research and consults with clinicians he has met at the many conferences he has attended.
Treat the person not the diagnosis: I have been asked many times by friends, "I've got tennis elbow what can I do to fix it?" I tell them, "I don't know until I examine you." Each person may have the same symptoms with entirely different causes. Treating the symptoms will decrease pain but if the cause has not been identified it will come back. The cause for unrelenting low back pain may be a maladaptive movement or postural pattern that is driven by fear or apprehension with movement. Teaching the patient how to relax and breathe with these movements may be the answer, not direct treatment of tissues.
Smart Physical Therapy is open Monday through Thursday, from 6:30am to 7:30pm, Fridays 6:30am to 5:00pm, and weekends upon request.
We are conveniently located in the center of New London in the Kidder Building at 11 Pleasant Street.