by Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
11/25/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- With
today's Air Force being the smallest it's ever been, mitigating lost
days due to injury is of the utmost importance. Seeing a range of
injuries from wrist pain all the way to post-surgery recovery, the 4th
Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy office and its technicians
aim to get their patient's back to good health so they can continue to
complete the mission.
"As a physical therapist assistant, I get to see a greater outcome,"
said Staff Sgt. Amber Coley, 4th MDOS physical therapy technician. "I
help individuals heal. Depending on what they come in with injury-wise, I
get them from nothing to something; whether it be walking or throwing
again, either post-operatively or preventatively."
More than 1,440 patients each month receive treatment at the clinic.
With a consistently full appointment schedule, the three technicians
currently assigned to the clinic provide a healing touch to those in
"I see about 15 [patients] per day. It depends on what's going on that
week, but [I see] anywhere from 120 to maybe 220 [per week] and that's
just per technician," Coley said. "Without physical therapy, a lot of
our patients wouldn't be able to continue doing the work that they do or
normal daily activities."
Coley explained that physical therapy is a process and most injuries
require multiple sessions to get Airmen back to full health. The goal,
however, is to increase mobility enough for patients to safely and
comfortably resume duties with the ultimate objective of getting them
To achieve this goal, technicians use equipment and exercises, such as
the anti-gravity treadmill and balancing exercises, as well as other
therapeutic techniques, such as dry needling and foam rollers, to
alleviate pain and strengthen muscles and tendons. Other methods include
dumbbells, exercise bungee cords and aerobics steps along with icing
and heating the affected area.
Senior Airman Temika Johnson, 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron
armament support technician is a frequent visitor to the clinic
following surgery earlier in the year.
"It has helped me regain 70 percent mobility in my left knee since
having surgery on it in early September," said Johnson. "They have
allowed me to walk almost completely unaided by crutches or a cane. I
can now bend my left knee to almost 80 degrees from the first reported
52 degrees back in October. I get ice therapy as well as physical
therapy to help with swelling, and they provide me with at-home
exercises to help increase strength and dexterity."
Team Seymour's physical therapist technicians help with more than just
physical pain and injuries, they also assist patients by giving them
"I love my job mostly because I can see the task or job through from
start to finish; especially post-operative patients," said Master Sgt.
Shannon Stoner, 4th MDOS medical services flight chief. "We have to
give a little tough love to get the patients back to their goal, but it
is inspiring to see them pass their next physical training test or run
One patient noted the dedication and care technicians give their
patients is evident through the time and effort they distribute.
"I definitely suggest that others who are dealing with physical injuries
get into physical therapy as soon as possible," Johnson said. "Their
goal is to help people reduce pain and increase strength in order for
people to heal."