"I believe that the hands are a powerful tool and the power of the mind is unsurpassed," says Suparna K. Damany, MSPT, CHT, CEAS.
"I also believe that physical therapy is a science as well as an art.More than ever, in this age of myofascial pain syndromes and chronic pain, these two aspects of physical therapy must blend together to achieve results." Damany
firmly believes that healing is much more than simply fixing an injury.To her
, the conditions with which her
patients present are just parts of the bigger picture of what is going on in their bodies.Therefore, the whole patient must be treated if he
is to feel completely restored to vibrant health and complete functioning.This philosophy prompted Damany to found Hands On Healing Physical Therapy Center in Allentown, PA, a facility that pursues a holistic model of treatment.Her
facility is small, with an emphasis on treating chronic pain, myofascial pain syndrome and repetitive stress.Damany
provides one-on-one individualized care, hands-on treatment, job site evaluation and preventive lectures."Our patients have typically seen several physicians, have sometimes undergone surgery without success and/or have been through several types of conservative care -- again, without success," she
The patients Damany
sees have often been struggling with the effects of an injury or illness for some time."In my mind, by this time, more than just the initial injured part(s) is/are involved," she
physical therapy career is distinguished.She has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 1999, a designation that is not easy to earn.
It is the domino-effect tendency of chronic and myofascial pain that convinces Damany
that treatment must be holistic to be effective."Our hands-on treatment is aimed at restoring tissue health and mobility, joint mobility, restoring circulation, relieving nerve compression and restoring nerve gliding without tension," she
...A Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist, Damany performs "work site evaluations [and] corrects the work area, body mechanics [and] work habits in order to establish a safe working environment."
assesses a given work station, she
pays attention to tools and equipment used during the action of the job."It also includes work habit assessment (e.g., how does the patient type/use the mouse, or how does the patient play the instrument?) and retraining," she
says."I do several talks on prevention of repetitive stress injuries, especially in computer users.I have noticed -- with alarm -- that the average age of my patients suffering from this injury is dropping as the use of computers, combined with a sedentary and high-stress lifestyle, has increased in the younger population.By spreading the word about the condition and how to prevent it, I hope to help control what seems to have become an epidemic."Three years ago, Damany published her book, It's NOT Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which she co-authored with a writer and a former patient.Her
patient following has grown since then, including out-of-state clients and even several from Europe seeking relief from carpal tunnel syndrome.More information about Damany's book can be found at www.RSIProgram.com.She
aspires to conduct international seminars on carpal tunnel and other topics in the future, and would also like to engage in research someday.Damany
is also considering sharing her
knowledge more directly."[I] would like to possibly train other physical therapists in my treatment approach," she
says, explaining that "the most obvious thing that [my] treatment [model] differs in is the extensive hands-on work and the amount of one-on-one time spent with the patient.Training seminars would be one way to spread the technique."She
faces many of the same challenges as physical therapists in other specialties, including dealing with insurance companies, difficult employers and the seemingly endless documentation."[I really] dislike nothing, although paperwork can be a pain," Damany
finds it all worthwhile, though, because she
thrives on "the ability to provide personal, one-on-one care and deal with a challenge."
Damany's enthusiasm for her
work is tempered by her
belief that managed care and traditional medical practice sometimes compromise the well-being of her
patients."Even in this age where myofascial injuries are escalating, insurance companies and traditional medical practitioners are not willing to find out more about the condition and its treatment," she
remains optimistic, however.At times, she
is able to convince those skeptical of her
therapeutic methods."Sometimes, after learning about our approach, practitioners are excited.Similarly, sometimes we can convince an insurance company to allow trial of treatment," she
says."We are always willing to talk to whoever it takes for our client to be able to receive care, as long as the client is willing to fight as well.We make it very clear to our clients that getting better [requires] a team approach."Suparna K. Damany, M.S.P.T., CHT, CEAS, earned her B.S. in physical therapy from the University of Bombay, India, in 1989 and her M.S. in physical therapy from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, in 1992.She has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 1999 and became a Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist in 2000 after completing a training course by the Back School of Atlanta.She is also a board member of the Hand Rehabilitation Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, where she edits the group's newsletter, "Hand Prints."