Interview with Twin Cities Pain Clinic’s Physical Therapist: Maureen Henderson

In November, Maureen will be celebrating her 12th year with Twin Cities Pain Clinic. She has been a practicing physical therapist for the past 41 years. Maureen attended college at the University of Colorado. She is a very avid outdoor person. Some of her favorite activities are hiking, swimming and skiing. Anything to do with the outdoors, and she is in. She loves to be out in nature. That explains why one of Maureen’s favorite places is our great state of Minnesota. Minnesota has so much to offer from the prairie, to the hardwoods, to the northwoods, that she loves having the opportunity to travel to them frequently.

I was able to sit down with Maureen to talk a little bit more about physical therapy and all it has to offer patients with acute or chronic pain.

How does physical therapy help with pain?
Physical therapy addresses underlying biomechanical causes of pain. It helps address if the joints are in proper alignment and if the muscles are at the right length: too long or too short. Great example Maureen gave: if the pelvis is tilted forward, she can help retrain the hamstring muscles (muscles on the back of the thigh) to contract and help pull the pelvis back into place. Once the muscles are retrained, they should stay that way. And, once the muscles and joints are in their proper place, pain should also be less or eliminated.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part is being able to find the underlying biomechanical imbalance a patient has and be able to help fix that. With fixing that, I am helping improve their daily function, which in the end helps improve their quality of life, and I love being part of that.

The most challenging?
The most challenging aspect is the complexity of patients I see. The complexity of the patients brings on a challenging aspect of my job that I look forward to every day. It gives me a chance to use the valuable experience I have gained throughout my career to apply to the patients I see today.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Twin Cities Pain Clinic?
I love working for Twin Cities Pain Clinic, because for complex issues, you need a team to be able to fix that. We have such a great team of providers here at TCPC that I love working with. It is great because the providers are here in the clinic, and if we need to discuss anything they are convenient and always make time for discussion when it comes to the care of a patient.

What is a day in the life of a PT look like?
A typical work day for me is seeing my patients all day. It is great because it is one on one care and my appointments typically last 45 minutes, versus 30 minutes at other facilities. I love having the one on one care to devote that time to that single patient.

What is the most important personality trait that a PT must have?
I think curiosity is. If a patient isn’t improving how I would like, I have to figure out why. Constantly asking questions to help the patient improve is all part of the curiosity. I feel to be successful you always need to be learning. And with learning, you need to be asking questions and wondering why something is the way it is.

What is your favorite piece of wellness advice to offer?
My favorite piece of wellness advice is to inform others that how you breathe is a number one life force. Breathing is at the center of everything you do and can affect other musculoskeletal problems. Breathing is where it is at.

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