Moving to Help Patients Do the Same

UF Health Rehabilitation – Emerson expands to offer more specialized services.

By: Sarah Miller

Imagine recovering from back surgery and experiencing pain with every step. Now imagine wearing a pair of therapy shorts attached to a highly advanced treadmill. The shorts and a zip-up plastic chamber around you fill with pressurized air. Your body weight is adjusted to within 20 percent of your mass, and off you go. With the device, you are able to walk as you normally would, strengthening your muscles and reinforcing your regular gait. Not only can you move effortlessly, but now recovery is off to a great start.

AlterG treadmill

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is just one of the specialized pieces of equipment available at UF Health Rehabilitation – Emerson. At 10,000 square feet, the new facility is nearly three times the size of its former space. There are also two therapy gyms — one designed for orthopaedic and sports rehab patients and another for patients with neurologic conditions. Both areas are connected by seven private therapy rooms, a conference room and a staff lounge.

“The new Emerson facility is able to offer more — more services with more equipment to treat more patients,” said Amanda Roura, a physical therapist and supervisor of rehabilitation services at the Emerson campus.

This site now offers programs for balance, oncology rehabilitation, speech therapy, focused sports therapy and women’s health.

“We are thrilled to have the increase in square footage and new therapy technology,” said Jeanne Bradshaw, director of UF Health Rehabilitation. “It enables an already talented team of therapists to provide a broader range of therapies at Emerson, providing patients the best opportunities for recovery.”

Sports therapy

The netted area for sports therapy.

The facility offers higher-functioning equipment with heavier weights that can help elite athletes return to full function. The sports and orthopaedics room has a retractable net to assist patients with movements involving kicking, throwing and swinging.

Certified hand and upper extremity, sports, and strength and conditioning specialists work with patients to meet individual needs. These physical therapists study movements for each type of activity and can customize treatment plans.

Erik Alexander is a board-certified sports physical therapist who works closely with the orthopaedics department and local sports teams.

“With sports, there is a lot of movement involved, and the new facility gives us more room to move,” Alexander said.

Alexander is building on the existing sports therapy services by adding ACL injury prevention and post-concussion rehabilitation.

Neurology specialists provide customized balance, occupational, physical and speech therapy for patients recovering from traumatic head and spine injuries, stroke and those managing neurological conditions. Advanced equipment is used, such as an electrical stimulation bike, a computerized balance machine and a ceiling-hung suspension system that provides walking support.

Balance equipment

The new balance program uses specialized equipment to help patients with recovery.

The speech therapy room has special acoustics and equipment to capture sounds and give auditory biofeedback to accelerate therapy goals. Certified speech therapists work with patients struggling with the effects of Parkinson’s disease, stuttering, swallowing and those recovering from stroke.

UF Health Rehabilitation – Emerson offers therapy using the McKenzie Method for patients interested in nonpharmacologic relief from back pain. This methodology empowers patients to manage their own symptoms using stretches and exercises instead of medication, heat or ice, allowing for natural healing.

UF Health Rehabilitation has two certified clinicians who are specially trained in this method. In addition, most UF Health Jacksonville physical therapists receive some level of McKenzie Method training.

The new center, still located at the UF Health Emerson Medical Plaza, 4949 Emerson St., Building 2, Suite 300. An open house is scheduled from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18, with demonstrations and tours available. To RSVP, call 904-244-1140 or email by Jan. 11.