By Daniel Nash
Injuries can happen at any time, anywhere: at home, on the job or out and about. Often, a visit to the doctor, and sometimes surgery, is the necessary solution to the problem. But medical help is only the beginning of the journey back to a healthy life.
Bonney Lake Physical Therapy and Hand Rehab exists to close the gap. The private practice opened in March and features a variety of exercise and rehabilitative equipment.
Occupational/hand therapist Brandy Campbell and physical therapist Michael Egbert co-own the practice. Campbell has 16 years of experience as an occupational therapist. Egbert has 19 years of experience as a physical therapist.
Egbert has 10 years of experience running his own private clinics. He also owns A.I.M. Physical Therapy in Tacoma. He closed down another clinic, Airport Physical Therapy in Seatac, to open the Bonney Lake clinic.
“Brandy and I both live in the area, and we wanted to be able to work in the community,” Egbert said. “I’ve always wanted to be able to work in the community where my kids go to school and my family lives.”
To fund the clinic, Campbell and Egbert applied for a Small Business Association loan in what was possibly the worst economic environment for obtaining a loan, Egbert said. In addition to demonstrating his experience as a therapist, he had to draw up a meticulous business plan proving the viability of his proposal.
“I know how to be a therapist, but that by itself doesn’t make you a good business owner, necessarily,” Egbert said.
Both owners attended a workshop on Small Business ownership at Green River Community College’s Kent campus. They also received help from advisers developing their business plan.
After six months to a year of planning, the end result is a clinic stocked with the equipment to diagnose injuries, physically train patients and return them to normalcy.
Most clients are referred from family physicians, orthopedists and other doctors. The therapists signed on with a referral networking group, BNI International, to place themselves on local doctors’ radar.
The interior of the clinic looks part doctor’s office, part gym and part tinker’s workshop, with medical exam tables and high-tech rehabilitation equipment within walking distance of stationary bikes, weights and more. Physical and rehabilitative therapy requires a variety of skills to serve the single purpose of returning an injury patient to normal living.
Campbell and Egbert’s separate roles as occupational and physical therapists round out the capabilities of the clinic.
“While Michael and I may have had similar backgrounds, education-wise, we have different areas of focus,” Campbell said. “Michael focuses on the physical ailments themselves. But as an occupational therapist, my job is to assess how an injury is creating limitations on my patient’s lifestyle and come up with strategies to help them continue to lead a normal life.”
Campbell’s further specialization as a hand therapist allows her to deal directly with the intricacies of muscle, bone and ligaments in the upper extremities. She actually deals with the whole of the arm, from shoulder to fingertips.
The job requires a certain ingenuity to find a solution for each unique injury. Campbell pulled one of her custom-made wrist braces from her drawer of projects. The brace had a metal wing on either side.
“This splint was for a gentleman that lost movement in his wrist,” Campbell said. “With this, a string connected to the hand on each side, and we could tighten it on one end or the other until mobility was restored.
“What I make can either be complex like that, or it can be simple,” she said, picking up a device that looked like two plastic semicircles with some Velcro. “This one was for a patient who couldn’t bring their pinky to their ring finger. So we used this to attach them until they built up more strength.
“Every injury is different, and a big part of our job is to find the best possible treatment for the case at hand.”
Bonney Lake Physical Therapy and Hand Rehab is at 20919 state Route 410 and can be reached at 253-862-2575.