Spotlight on Forward Movement: Physical Therapy Programs in TrainHeroic
Bridging the gap for physiotherapy coaching & care
Omaha, Nebraska—the Silicon Prairie, the heartland of farmland—is known for a few things: steaks, corn-flavored ice cream, Stacie Tovar, Peyton Manning, sticky-hot summers, and massive sports fanatics. With so many midwestern athletes, sports prehab/rehab is a solid business for Judy Gelber (@movement.physio), owner of Forward Movement just outside Omaha.
Forward Movement sees in-office physiotherapy patients from all walks of life, but the large athlete population has allowed Judy and her team to expand. Through TrainHeroic, they now offer online fitness classes, virtual movement analysis, and some specific programs for runners, postpartum moms, and military folks.
But that’s not all they’re doing. Forward Movement exists in a unique space, because they don’t just help with personalized care for movement patterns, at-home recovery, or myofascial release techniques. They also offer professional development and networking for other physiotherapists across the country.
Through Forward Movement, physical therapists can get medical continuing education units (CEU) and leadership training that spans all fields of focus. Judy’s Facebook group has over 600 members of movement experts and athletic trainers committed to helping athletes blow past “broken” to maximize their performance.
One of Judy’s coaches, Jenny LaCross (@thedysplasiadoc2), is a PhD candidate hoping to use TrainHeroic as a part of her dissertation. Between providing patient care and supporting other movement experts to become pros, Judy and Jenny had 5 minutes to spare for an interview.
Q: Give me a quick overview of Forward Movement – I know you have a physical location, but are there distance options?
Judy: We are modern physiotherapy coaching and education, which is a blend of two audiences: movement experts (like PTs, coaches, athletic trainers), and patients/athletes or people who just need to move well. I have both in-person and virtual patient care, athlete care, and then I work with a lot of other clinicians who also do patient and injury care. It’s a huge network of resources.
In the last year and partly due to the pandemic, I’ve overlapped these two groups big time. So, all of my PTs are welcome to take athlete classes and my athletes have access to rehabilitation and collaboration with therapists. We also offer courses for medical professionals to learn and keep up with their CEUs.
I’m a CFL2 and I’ve worked with affiliates for around 8 years. So, you can think of me as a coach with a medical degree. Imagine your own personal trainer who is also a doctor. That is us.
What are some of the more common sports injuries you work with?
Jenny: My speciality is in women’s & pelvic health, so I work with a lot of moms who are postpartum and trying to get back into running. They usually have some combination of urinary leakage, pelvic pain, back, and/or hip pain. These individuals want to get back into CrossFit and functional fitness movements, tennis, golf, or higher impact sports that were easier before childbirth.
Judy: My patient population is CrossFit-related and runners, so I see a lot of shoulder issues like rotator cuffs and foot/ankle injuries. We also see a lot of back pain related to weightlifting and powerlifting. Our practice reflects some of the more common injury problems in the athletic population.
I actually love working with adolescents and teens whose pain doesn’t make sense. Since pain is such an individual experience, it’s always unique when young people start having it for the first time. Adults have enough pain experience to distinguish between different types of pain, but kids need to learn those differences.
Find Forward Movement in the TrainHeroic Marketplace
Forward Movement is a physiotherapy education and practice platform. They offer a wide variety of professional experiences that support movement experts in finding their direction. Imagine your own personal trainer who is also a doctor. That is us.
How has TrainHeroic helped connect you and your PT clients?
Judy: I program my rehab for actual physical therapy patients in TrainHeroic. Traditional PT is more like, “Here’s your piece of paper, do these exercises X number of times per day and we’ll see you in a week.”
The app has totally changed my practice so I’m able to know if clients have logged in and are keeping on track. And it’s so nice to see the data for someone who doesn’t live locally.
I love that you can program custom entries like scar desensitisation, banded distractions, and stretches. I also use Trainheroic’s messaging feature to allow my people to communicate more freely with me. If you love or hate a movement, you can tell me on the spot so I can adjust your therapy. And you don’t have to remember on Thursday what you struggled with on Monday. It’s so efficient.
Jenny: Another interesting feature TrainHeroic has are those four or five readiness questions asking about topics like sleep quality, soreness level, etc. There’s more research emerging about how we can utilize these metrics in rehabilitation and how they relate to the pain experience.
It’s a nice way to categorically capture that information on a daily basis. If I only saw a patient in-person once a week and asked how they slept every night since their last visit, they might give me a vague answer. The readiness questions let you hone in on what’s really going on.
A big issue in PT is getting people to see the long-term value of actually doing the stuff. The app makes it more fun and familiar for the larger subset of athletes we see.
Jenny, tell me about your dissertation using TrainHeroic!
Jenny: I want to use TrainHeroic to explore the utility of an app in rehabilitation, especially for individuals who don’t live near a physical therapy clinic.
I’m fascinated with the hip joint, so for my dissertation I’ve partnered with a hip preservation surgeon who specializes in treating patients who have acetabular dysplasia. Acetabular dysplasia is when the ball of the hip joint sits in a socket that’s too shallow, creating instability. This can cause all kinds of performance and pain problems for athletes.
After my own hip surgery, I was still getting rehab at 8 months, but I had to stop when I moved out of state. If my PT had access to TrainHeroic, I would have kept working on my longer term rehab. Distance programming like this could be useful for active and athletic people across the lifespan to get them back to the level of activity they want to achieve.
Any final thoughts/things you want to mention?
Jenny: I think the app helps to promote equitable care, because almost everybody has access to a smartphone. The video feature in TrainHeroic is fantastic for people of all literacy levels. It’s also so much better than paper handouts because the videos won’t get thrown away or lost.The app really opens up the avenues of access to fitness care and wellness in general.
Judy: Forward Movement is bound by Nebraska and Missouri state licensure when working with pain patients. Jenny is licensed in Oklahoma. But our healthy clients and athletes can be anywhere. A healthy athlete is someone who doesn’t currently need care for a pain problem or injury, but they might have a history of issues they don’t want to come back.
When you’re in that iffy time period where you’re not sure if you need to go to the doctor, we can advise you. TrainHeroic actually helps us to collaborate with local therapists in the best interest of the client.
Lily is TrainHeroic’s Marketing Content Creator and a CF-L1 with an English background. She was a successful freelance marketer for the functional fitness industry until being scooped up by TrainHeroic. An uncommon combo of bookish, artsy word-nerd and lifelong athlete, Lily is passionately devoted to weightlifting, CrossFit, yoga, dance, and aerial acrobatics. Find her showcasing her artist-athlete hobbies on IG @lilylectric.