Helping Airmen get back on their feet

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The rigors of accomplishing daily tasks as part of their mission as well as participating in recreational activities can at times render Airmen unable to perform their duties.

To ensure Airmen are fit to fight after an injury, physical medicine technicians work one-on-one with patients to get them get back on their feet.

Tech. Sgt. Tim Stine, 28th Medical Operations Squadron physical medicine technician, who has been helping Airmen recover from their injuries for more than seven years, and said he's seen a wide variety of injuries, ranging from pulled muscles to torn ligaments and sprains.

"After patients are referred by their doctor for therapy, they're set up with a physical therapist who provides them with an initial evaluation," Stine said. "That's when a therapist diagnoses their injury and determines the best care for them."

Stine said after establishing a care plan, he or one of his colleagues begin teaching patients techniques that are designed to strengthen their muscles and in turn, improve their quality of life.

"After sustaining an injury, the muscles surrounding the injured area are affected significantly," Stine explained. "That results in pain, discomfort and in certain cases, loss of mobility. These are usually folks who just came back from a deployment and need to get back to their work routine here and support our home mission. We help them build those muscles back up so that the affected area can heal, and to prevent any future aggravation of the injury."

Senior Airman Haylley Turney, 28th MDOS physical medicine technician, said recovering from an injury requires time and effort from both the patient and their provider. She added that the clinic staff makes sure patients work with the same provider throughout their healing process as a way of promoting quality health care from start to finish and no abrupt changes in styles of recovery.

"We usually work with people for more than six weeks," said Turney. "It's important that all of our patients get the best care possible. Sometimes the only way to do that is to develop a healthy patient and provider relationship."

Turney added that most of the patients the clinic cares for go back to work feeling better, but sometimes, if they don't see progress, they send them to see an orthopedic specialist downtown.

"Our goal is to help our patients become pain free and recover as quickly as possible," emphasized Turney. "If we aren't able to take care of them, we refer them to someone who can. That's the reason why I love my job. We all want the best for our patients. It's amazing to see them progress and gain back their confidence."