Feb 062006
Authors: Kristen Majors

The physical therapy department is located in the basement of HHS and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For appointments or more information, call (970) 491-1735.

Buried among the many fees CSU students pay is a health fee. This fee enables Hartshorn Health Service (HHS) to offer the least expensive physical therapy in Fort Collins.

Physical therapy (PT) is available for $20 for the first evaluation appointment and $10 for every appointment thereafter. University sponsored insurance covers the costs of the services. Students with non-university sponsored health insurance can send the bill on to their insurance after the cost is charged to his or her student account.

"It's available to all students," said Carol Miller, PT supervisor. "Patients can come here by referral, or self-referred as well. They don't need a prescription; you can just call up and make the appointment."

The seven physical therapists on campus treat everything from chronic headaches to overuse and sports injuries. One therapist works out of the Student Recreation Center to serve patients doing weight exercises or exercises in the pool. A Pilates class is also available for physical therapy patients.

"I would say this clinic and the staff they're in is probably the most highly skilled PT staff I've ever worked with," Miller said . "We have one therapist trained in vestibular, one trained in chiropractic, we have an athletic trainer; it's the whole myriad."

There are also three separate orthopedic clinics running out of the department; one is a sports medicine physician, one is a hand surgeon and the other specializes in knees. The fee is $25 for an appointment with any of the orthopedic clinics.

"We have a lot of overuse injuries, shoulder injuries related to sports, and knees and backs," Miller said . "We can see everything from TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) down to ankle sprains. We see it all and that's what makes it fun. We really have a variety of diagnoses that come through here."

Casey Earp, a sophomore political science major , utilizes the physical therapy program to recover from shoulder surgery and receives physical therapy twice a week for six weeks.

"Right now it's range of motion, and he's starting off with some isometric strengthening," Miller said , "and then he'll go into more strengthening exercises using therabands and then progressing over to the weight room after that."

Earp's injury resulted after dislocating his shoulder several times while playing hockey. He plans to make a full recovery and eventually rejoin CSU's club hockey team.

The physical therapy department also offers a massage therapy program. Massages are $21 for 30 minutes or $37 for 60 minutes. Swedish massages are available for stress reduction, as well as deep tissue massages for injuries or chronic pain. Trigger point therapy can also be used for chronic pain.

Anne Gaioni, a physical therapist, said most of the patient referrals she makes for massages are related to postural components, like neck and back muscle tightness

"I think we can all benefit from (massage), and a lot of times I tell people to do what they can afford," Gaioni said . "Sometimes if you have a specific thing you're recovering from, then you increase the frequency a little bit and then maybe decrease it for a maintenance program."

Kristen Majors can be reached at campus@collegian.com.

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