Health and Fitness: Getting the most from physical therapy |

Health and Fitness: Getting the most from physical therapy

Charles Agar
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

It probably happened in an instant, and just as quickly you wished you could take back those precious few seconds before you were injured. Maybe you slipped on the ice, had a bad fender bender or took that “just one more” ski run at the end of the day and your tired legs failed. Perhaps you’ve seen a doctor to have your injury taken care of, but where do you go from there?

Physical therapy is an important part of any healing regime, according to local practitioners, and whether coming back from injury or recovering from surgery, work with a physical therapist is vital to reaching recovery goals such as returning to competitive sports or living without pain.

Two local clinics, Alpine Physical Therapy and Mountainland Therapy, offer a range of methods for recovery, and therapists across the board say that clients need to be motivated and proactive in their own healing process.

“Perform the exercises that are prescribed,” was the suggestion from Dave Siegfried, a certified physical therapist and owner of Mountainland Therapy in Granby. “Compliance is huge for end results.”

Like other therapist, Siegfried works with prescribing physicians and does an initial evaluation to determine a course of care. He focuses on his patient’s goal, whether it’s to return to a functional level of activity and independence, or return to a sport they love.

As a one-man operation, Siegfried said he offers the personal touch and develops a strong rapport with patients. If something isn’t working for a patient and they are experiencing pain or difficulties with a home routine, Siegfried is able to tweak the plan, he said.

“I think the continuity of care by seeing the same therapist is vital,” Siegfried said.

He also consults with some patients about diet, and some even get hooked on exercise and continue working out in his full-service gym.

“It is important that patients take an active role in their recovery,” Siegfried said, adding that following through with home treatments is essential.

The clinic covers most major medical plans, including worker’s compensation and Medicare. Siegfried also offers affordable out-of-pocket payments for uninsured patients. His hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and Friday by appointment only. The clinic is located at 62801 U.S. Highway 40 in the Grand Elk Building. (970) 887-2733.

The Alpine Physical Therapy and Wellness Center in Fraser also strives to give its patients that personal level of service. But along with a full exercise gym, the clinic offers fitness and wellness classes that help a recovering patient carry on and progress to higher levels of stamina and flexibility.

Jeff Russell, one of the seven certified physical therapists at the clinic in Fraser, echoed Siegfried’s sentiments and said that patients get out of therapy what they put into it.

“The people who do their home exercise program and do it well are the ones who get better faster,” Russell said, adding that following through with appointments to update a home regime ensures progress.

A free 15-minute consultation at the clinic is the first step to healing, Russell said. And unless the injury requires a doctor’s attention (a requirement by some insurance agencies), he can match the patient with one of the diverse members of the Alpine Therapy staff for anything from basic “manual therapy,” or hands-on techniques such as massage or assisted stretching, to ultrasound and laser therapy methods, progressing on to exercise.

“It often start more simply, then we progress to more functional exercises,” Russell said, the kind that mirror everyday activities or sports that patients hope to return.

Russell stressed the importance of form, saying that doing an exercise incorrectly can lead to further injury.

“The ‘how’ is more important than the ‘what’ in terms of getting better,” he said, and working with a therapist to develop an exercise routine is an important way to make sure clients do their exercises correctly.

What distinguishes Alpine Therapy, Russell said, are their many ongoing wellness programs, such as Pilates, aerobics, ski conditioning classes and a host of other offerings that clients can enroll in to build their fitness level far beyond basic healing and injury recovery, Russell said.

“It takes people to the next level of independence,” Russell said.

Staff members at Alpine Physical Therapy each have different expertise in physical therapy.

Lori Myers, PT, the clinic owner, is a Certified Feldenkrais practitioner. Myers utilizes her skills by locating the cause of a problem through a body’s movement and using her knowledge to treat and prevent an injury. She offers this on an individual basis or through group Feldenkrais classes.

Jeffrey Russell, MSPT, uses a functional kinesiology approach. With a specialty in outdoor sports, he is able to analyze movement disorders, help prevent injuries and condition the patient to become more efficient in his or her athletics. He also specializes in custom orthotics.

Mara Pacyga, MS, PT, is a certified physical therapists and Pilates certification. She leads Pilates classes a week in Fraser, and finds the classes the center offers are a good way to segue people back into their sports.

Mary Leone, OTR, CHT, is a Certified Hand Therapist who works full time at Alpine’s Granby office. She specializes in hand therapy, splinting and work site evaluations, but also treats all other types of injuries.

Christina Russell, CMT, a Certified Massage Therapist, utilizes an integrative approach. She is a Certified Gyrokinesis, Kickboxing instructor, and Personal Fitness Trainer, and teaches an action-packed Sports Conditioning class.

Sue Seeman, Certified Aerobics Instructor and Winter Sports Conditioning Instructor, brings talent, many years of experience, enthusiasm and a rewarding workout.

CJ Cebul, DPT, has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Regis University. She uses manual therapy, including manipulative techniques to get a joint moving to the level it should. She educates her patients to help them maintain mobility through flexibility and strengthening exercises. Her goal is to empower patients to progress to


Therapists at Alpine are generalists, but each has their strengths and unique ideas they can match with the varying needs of clients, Russell said.

For more information visit, or call (970) 726-8503. The clinic is located in Fraser and Granby.

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