Keri Dahlstom, PT answers our questions:
What do you love most about what you do?
The thing I love most about my job is making a difference in people's lives. Allowing them to live with greater independence and empowerment.
What do you most love to do with your work?
One of my favorite things to do while working is getting to really know the person and develop our treatment plan around their goals, so that when those goals are accomplished, they can really be proud of all their hard work.
What is unique about people working with you? I believe that one of my unique qualities as a physical therapist is my ability to really listen to each persons individual needs, and develop a unique treatment plan for them.
What are 5 success stories with different conditions?
1. I had a patient that was a traumatic brain injury, was wheelchair bound and could not sit on his own. He is now walking with an ankle brace and walking staff up to 300 feet with supervision.
2. I had a 2 year old boy who had significant problems with textures and touching/exploring anything that would feel slimy or dirty. After 7 sessions of craniosacral therapy, he was able to play in the sand and use finger paints!
3. I had a patient that had severe dizziness, difficulty walking and the inability to drive or be out in the community. After treating her dizziness, balance system dysfunctions, doing vision exercises and using craniosacral therapy, she was able to return to work, return to driving and is now involved in her community.
4. I had a patient with multiple sclerosis who was having great difficulty performing her daily activities and possibly needed to move out of her home into an assisted living facility. After educating her on energy conservation techniques and self awareness while also focusing on a strengthening, stretching and balance program - she was able to manage her day in a way that allowed her to stay in her home independently.
5. I had a patient who had a spinal stroke and was wheelchair bound. We worked with a strengthening program while also fitting him with an appropriate ankle brace that decreased his tone. This allowed him to be discharged walking with a cane.
***Of course, many of these patients were also receiving adjunct therapies, and we worked together as a team. I do not believe that one individual therapist is as efficient as a team of medical practitioners.
What conditions do you feel the most confident treating?
I feel very confident treating patients who have had a stroke, concussion or brain injury, suffer from a balance disorder or vertigo, children who have poor body awareness or sensory processing disorder, and people who suffer from neck or shoulder pain.
How exactly would you treat a post-stroke or head injury patient?
As with any patient I treat, I feel that the most important thing is the evaluation. In each evaluation, I work hard to find out where they are breaking down in their nervous system. Are they having difficulty with muscle movement, sensory overload, poor awareness of body position or body sensation, difficulty concentrating or thinking through tasks, impaired vision, and finally I evaluate their home situation and the support they are or are not receiving. I also spend a significant amount of time with the patient and their family members discussing what their concerns are and what they would like to see happen in therapy. After I have taken in all of this information - the patient and I will develop a treatment plan to help them achieve their goals. Finally, I will refer them to any specialists I feel they will benefit from (speech/occupational therapist, nutritionist, accupuncture/chiropractor, optometrist, and neurologist if they have not already been referred) I then try to establish good lines of communication with each individual working with the patient so that we can work together as a team.
How do you treat a dizziness patient?
When someone has the complaint of dizziness, it is very important to spend a significant amount of time clarifying what their symptoms are. There are so many different causes of dizziness that can include: low levels of vitamin B-12; dehydration; medication side effects; cardiac disorders, thyroid or endocrine dysfunction, vision changes, stroke, head injury, or calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear to name a few. Because of this, I spend a lot of time during the initial evaluation either ruling things out or referring them back to specific physicians. If I find that they are medically stable, I typically work on improving their strength, balance reactions, inner ear/vestibular function, improving their ability to know where they are in space and finally some visual exercises.
What conditions are you most passionate about?
I love to treat anything that involves the brain. Each of us is so individual and our brains are all unique. I love to work with the brain - determining what each brain responds to - and then "playing" with it while encouraging the development of new pathways. I call this "play" - because it truly is a creative process - not just with each individual, but also sometimes from day to day.
If you could only see 5 patients a day, what types of cases would you want?
If I could see five patients a day, I would love to treat a child or infant with craniosacral therapy, a stroke victim, a head trauma of some sort, someone with balance dysfunction and finally a young athlete who is recovering from an injury to their knee or ankle.
What do you feel like you have to offer Jacobson Chiropractic with your particular work?
I feel that my strength in treating neurological disorders, my ability to listen and develop a plan according to each patients individual goals, and the ability to see the "big picture" and develop a strong team of practitioners will complement the functional medicine model at Jacobson Chiropractic.
When you look at a patient, what are you noticing and what are you committed to taking care of?
When I look at a patient, I notice how they hold their body, how they move their body and how healthy they appear. I am committed to improving their movement, their confidence and overall health.
Please explain what a certified neurodevelopmental practitioner is?
To quote from the NDTA page : "NDT is a holistic and interdisciplinary clinical practice model informed by current and evolving research that emphasizes individualized therapeutic handling based on movement analysis for habituation and rehabilitation of individuals with neurological pathophysiology." This is a very wordy explanation to say we have in depth training in typical and atypical developmental patterns and are experts in postural analysis and movement patterns. The therapists then use facilitative handling with each patient to give the most feedback to their nervous system while also focusing on alignment and posture to allow for the greatest impact on their developing nervous systems.
How do you treat a patient that would be different than chiropractic?
A "typical" chiropractor focuses on skeletal alignment and how this affects posture as well as their bodily functions. The chiropractor's treatment for this is to manually adjust the spine and extremities to improve alignment.
Physical therapy also looks at the alignment of the body, however we also relate this to movement and spend a significant amount of time with movement analysis to determine which structures are strong and which are weak or tight. We then focus on improving the patients flexibility and strength to allow for improved alignment while also working to improve movement patterns to reduce re-injury.
What has attracted me to Jacobson Chiropractic is their desire to create an integrative care team, so that the patients can have a strong support system to address each of their individual needs under one roof. I also really appreciate their focus on health and nutrition while working with functional medicine to prevent the process of disease.