Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Therapy program draws Olympic inspiration

Monday, August 11, 2008

Physical therapist identifies future pain with new exam

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND People looking to prevent weakness and pain later on in life don’t really have a way to educate themselves on how to do it. Until now.

Eric Browning, physical therapist at Keith Physical Therapy, 13301 N. Meridian, created the Musculoskeletal Exam to predict the likely places an individual might develop pain and identify muscles that already might be causing episodic pain.

“Nobody else has done anything like this as far as I know,” Browning said. “It’s just using the knowledge we already have in a systematic way.”

Browning does an assessment of strength and flexibility of the main muscles through 140 to 160 tests during the exam, which costs $120. He said he takes patients through at least six tests per every area of the body and so feels confident in his predictions. Tested muscle areas include wrist, biceps, triceps and feet. He then enters the data into an Excel program, which graphs the strength of each muscle, identifying low- to high-risk areas.

His exams are unique in that he uses a manual muscle tester to measure strength, Browning said. He then compares that to what studies have shown an individual’s strength should be based on their age and body weight. Most doctors and physical therapists measure strength on a one to five scale. Browning said typically when people go to the doctor strength analysis is determined by squeezing the doctor’s hand.

After the MSE exam, Browning gives the individual a report of their exam and educates them on exercises they can complete for muscles that have been determined to be at high risk for pain. He said he also can refer an individual to the appropriate doctor if any problems are found.

“It allows me to help them learn how to fix something before it’s broken,” Browning said. “Most of what we do is empower people to do therapy with minimal equipment.”

He said people can come in for an MSE, work on strengthening their weak muscles and then come back for another exam.

“It’s a tracking system,” Browning said.

Browning said the exam also is good to help people identify what muscle is causing the episodic pain.

For example, a baseball player kept coming in for therapy because of pain in the middle of his back. However, the pain actually was coming from a weakness in his hip and was being absorbed in his back.

People who are planning to train with a personal trainer or people with hypermobility or flexibility are good candidates for an MSE, Browning said.

“People that train at extremely high levels are likely to have pain at some point,” he said.

Browning created the exam about a year ago and began implementing it about five months ago.

“Everyone that has come has been extremely pleased with the information I’ve given them,” he said.

All patients have been motivated to reverse effects, Browning said.

“The response he got is excellent and his predictability is excellent,” said Thomas Keith, Browning’s partner. “I think it’s an outstanding idea.”

Browning earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in physical therapy at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

FOR MORE information about MSE, visit