Therapist Sherry McLaughlin of Michigan Institute for Human Performance Shares Her PT Experience

Sherry McLaughlin is the President and Founder of the Michigan Institute for Human Performance, innovators of MoveWell® (The Pain-Free Corporate Solution).

Sherry recently checked in with us to talk about her practice and share one of her favorite patient success stories. Here’s what she had to say:

We’d like to talk about a patient success story you’re especially proud of. Tell us about the patient. How did they learn about your practice?

An ultra marathon runner who was complaining of knee pain at mile 15 of his runs. The problem was he was training for a 50-mile run.

Why did this patient come to your practice? What problems were they experiencing?

He had heard about us from another athlete.

How did you go about diagnosing him or her?

We always do a full-body biomechanical assessment. Many times the problems at the knee stem from issues in other joints. In this case, there were limitations in hip and ankle mobility.

What treatment course did you decide on?

Normalized muscle function and joint mobility at the hip and ankle with manual therapy and a functional movement-based exercise program.

What was the impact your treatment had on the patient? How did you help him or her?

He not only called to tell us he ran his 50-mile race, but also that he was now on par to run a 100-miler in Hawaii in a couple of months and he was so excited that he would be able to do it. He finished that race a couple of months later without any knee pain.

That case was just the beginning of our journey here at MIHP. Since then, we have helped thousands of people return to normal pain-free living through our method of full-body assessment. In fact, our MoveWell program was launched based on our clinical work in an attempt to prevent injury and help people find solutions to their pain problems at work.

What advice would you give PT students today? For instance looking back at your own career is there anything you would do differently?

I would advise PT students to think outside of the box. To always ask “why?” until they come to a solution. Pain doesn’t just happen because of age. There are problems to be solved and our education as PT’s lines us up to be the experts in musculoskeletal health. In order for us to be a valuable part of the health team, we can’t forget the basics of how the body is designed.

Please talk about any ways you are trying to impact the community you’re a part of:

Mentoring/Teaching?

I have taught Kinesiology and Musculoskeletal PT to PTA students at Macomb Community College since 1994. I launched seminar series called The Missing Link and Real World PT to educate other therapists on how the body is designed to move and work.

MIHP regularly accepts student interns and volunteers and our doors are open for budding and seasoned clinicians who want to shadow us for a day or more. Our staff is very amicable to teaching the things we have learned in our journey.

Community involvement/awareness?

I sit on the board of a local nonprofit called Back Alley Bikes where we take donated bicycles, fix them up or teach others how to fix them up and then allow them to have the bicycles for transportation. I love working with the youth in the Youth Earn-a-Bike program. Though not PT related, I enjoy helping others maintain an active lifestyle.

I have also spoken to area church groups, delivering our Five Key Facts About Your Body’s Design seminar. Helping people become aware of how their body works is very empowering in their quest for a pain-free life.

Working with veterans or the disabled?

I have lectured to PT’s at West Point Military Academy, Camp Lejeune, Onslow Memorial Hospital and Portsmouth Naval Hospital.

What is the funniest thing, if any, that has happened to you in practice?

We use this manual technique, muscle spindle massage, to facilitate muscles that might not be working correctly. It involves stroking a muscle in a certain direction and is very effective in activating a muscle. We once had a runner who had a lazy gluteal muscle, so one day he was doing squats and realized his gluteal muscles weren’t working. He yelled, “Hey Sherry, can you come over here and rub my butt?”

Anything (that you care to admit) that you would never do again?

I could never again do PT the old-fashioned way. It is impossible for me to evaluate a joint in isolation without taking into consideration the entire biomechanical chain.

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