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Medical Group promotes preventative care with physical therapy

Military personnel standing beside each other posing for a picture Air Force Capt. Rebecca Wilder, physical therapist, and Master Sgt. Jessica Brock, physical therapy technician, 380th Expeditionary Medical Group, are pictured, following a demonstration common exercises used during physical therapy sessions, Al Dhafra Air Base (ADAB), United Arab Emirates (Photo by: Air Force Tech Sgt. Michelle Alvarez).

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Did you know that physical therapy is not just for restoring mobility or physical function following a major accident or catastrophic injury? Physical therapy is also a great tool to promote movement, reduce pain, and restore function by evaluating and treating musculoskeletal injuries early. Preventative treatment can be the key to avoiding future injuries or complicated surgeries.

This is just some of the information shared by Air Force Capt. Rebecca Wilder, physical therapist, and Air Force Master Sgt. Jessica Brock, physical therapy technician, who deployed from Scott Air Force Base to join the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.

ADAB residents benefit from having the only physical therapy clinic in the Air Force Central Command region.

While physical therapy capabilities in a deployed location may be more limited than what your home base offers in terms of managing acute or chronic issues, ADAB's physical therapy program includes services such as therapeutic exercise, manual manipulation, dry needling, Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA), electrical stimulation and mechanical traction, explained Wilder.

Brock shared that while members may be hesitant to visit the medical group out of fear of being sent home early, a physical therapist can help minimize or eliminate the need for a member to be sent home by using physical therapy methods to treat musculoskeletal injuries.

"Our purpose is to keep people in the fight longer," she said.

Wilder expressed that many members come to ADAB with fitness goals, which is awesome, but stressed the importance of listening to your body. "Sometimes being healthy is honoring your body and taking a day to rest and come back ready the next day," she explained.

"While deployed, most members begin to work out more, have harsher work environments, and work longer hours, which can result in injury," Wilder explained. "Our goal is to help members bounce back from those injuries."

"Statistically, the rate of injury is higher when dehydrated," Wilder said. "Over-exertion when dehydrated can lead to an increase in the risk of muscle strains, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so make sure you are drinking enough water."

She added on, "if you do end up overdoing it, we are here to help!"

The ADAB physical therapy team provides regular outreach twice a week, visiting various squadrons across the Wing. Outreach sessions are great for quick consultations or evaluations and treatment of smaller issues.

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