Houlton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks
THERAPY SESSION — Adam Hatt, recently board certified as an orthopedic clinical specialist has been treating Kylee Holman, a speech therapist, for low back pain since the Christmas season. Holman said she has seen “a huge reduction in pain” in just a few weeks. Both work at Positive Steps, Houlton Regional Hospital’s out-patient clinic.
Patients save travel, time, expense
by Elna Seabrooks
HOULTON — “There’s a lot that goes into why people have pain, weakness or loss of motion,” said Adam Hatt, Houlton Regional Hospital’s (HRH) recently certified orthopedic clinical specialist (OCS). And, according to Barbara Bossie, the hospital’s director of out-patient services and regulatory compliance, Hatt’s specialty “enables HRH to provide the most current and effective standard of treatment to patients with orthopedic problems.”
Prior to Hatt’s certification in orthopedics, there was no one licensed locally with the specialized training and expertise he can offer patients. “There are not a lot of people in the state with this specialty. Maybe 24. and I’m the only one north of Bangor,” asserted Hatt. Bossie added that “many patients who may have previously traveled south to be treated are now able to receive services at Positive Steps.” It is a multi-disciplinary outpatient clinic on North St. in the Houlton Shopping Plaza.
“I have more to offer than a generalist. The big thing I’m doing now is a lot of hands-on manual things — joint mobilization is the technical term — where I am actually moving their joints in certain ways, stretching them in certain ways and getting them moving better,” explained Hatt, who deals with musculoskeletal conditions which affect the muscles and joints. “Probably 90 percent of my caseload is orthopedic patients.”
Although Hatt has a fair number of older adults in his client base, one of his younger patients, Kylee Holman, is showing signs of marked improvement in a just a matter of weeks. “She’s a great example — a success story. I started working with her this past Christmas and she’s already feeling much better.”
Holman, a speech therapist, also works at Positive Steps and knew of Hatt’s recent certification. “I’ve had a lot of back pain since I was 12 or 13 years old. It wasn’t getting any better and my doctor referred me for physical therapy,” stated Holman. “In just a week or two, I noticed a big difference. I didn’t have the low back pain and the stiffness.” She added that office sessions coupled with at-home exercises have given her more range-of-motion and flexibility without the prior stiffness and pain she was experiencing. Holman also said that a skiing accident a couple of years ago exacerbated her low back pain.
“A lot of patients like Kylee have back pain which can be aggravated by a traumatic incident. People can go for years and years with postural issues and if they don’t have it corrected, it can definitely lead to back problems. She’s young. We can do something about it,” said Hatt.
Holman said within a week or two she noticed a big difference in her condition. “I didn’t have the low back pain and the stiffness. I’ve been doing a lot of home exercises and reviewing a lot of exercises here. Adam always checks my range-of-motion. Now, I have so much more range-of-motion and flexibility and not the stiffness and pain I was having before. So, there’s definitely a huge reduction in pain which has been the biggest thing to me” she stated.
Hatt said if Holman is at the point of getting into some pretty advanced exercises and will probably only need another two or three more weeks until she can simply work on her exercises on her own.
Generalist to specialist
When he first came out of school, Hatt said he was kind of a generalist. “I always knew orthopedics was the area I would be working in and the part I enjoyed the most. And, anatomy was always my favorite subject. There was so much more I wanted to be able to do for myself and my patients. So, a couple of years out of school, I said ‘this is the time to take that next step.’”
His next step after completing an undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S. was to attend the Manual Therapy Institute in Manchester, N.H. and become board certified by the American Physical Therapy Association. “What I have done is gone on and learned even more kinds of joint mobilization and very special types of stretching techniques,” said Hatt.
Bossie said HRH is in the process of making physicians and other practitioners throughout the county aware of Hatt’s specialty and the potential benefits. “If it’s a musculoskeletal condition, an orthopedic condition, definitely I’m the guy to see around here. I’m hoping to get the word out that I am available and patients don’t have to travel to Bangor for an OCS. I’m right here in Houlton,” added Hatt.
Although a few patients pay for therapy themselves, most have some form of insurance. In addition to private treatment rooms at Positive Steps, there is equipment available depending on the patient’s progress and needs. The clinic is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 532-4093.
Houlton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks