Dr. Darren Beilstein, physical therapist and owner of PT Now—Physical Therapy for Health, Sport, and Wellness—exercises great consideration when it comes to stretching the public’s understanding that physical therapy can be an initial source of healthcare intervention.
“When it comes to back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain and the ‘tickle sprain-strains,’ physical therapists are the experts in the healthcare field for being able to deal with those things in a nonpharmacological way,” says Beilstein. “We all read about the opioid crisis and possible ways to combat it. Well, an answer has always been there—it’s just we have done a poor job of informing and educating people about what our capacities are.”
Beilstein has been a physical therapist for 26 years. Through his research and observation, he believes that one of the biggest reasons people see their family physician is due to musculoskeletal problems; however, only 7 percent ever get referred to physical therapy.
“The doctors and physicians are definitely needed and I don’t diminish their importance at all, but I believe people are looking for alternatives to medications, whether it’s herbal remedies, acupuncture-type techniques or chiropractic,” Beilstein says.
PT Now was the first clinic to bring a Class 4 laser into the healthcare prospective on the Virginia Peninsula. The laser helps reduce inflammation and sparks cellular healing. Beilstein explains, “Most pain doesn’t exist without inflammation, so if you can take care of the inflammation, you can take care of the discomfort itself.”
His newest acquisition is the most advanced cryotherapy chamber on the market. Says Beilstein, “As I did research on how the chamber reduced inflammation and how it can help people with different types of arthritic problems, I also realized the whole host of other types of issues that it can be useful for.” Cryotherapy uses extreme cold and heat to reduce inflammation and toxins in the body.
PT Now currently partners with the Peninsula Pilots, allowing players to use the chamber after a hard training. “The old-school athlete recovery program would often be ice baths, so they say about one minute in the chamber is the equivalent of 10 minutes in an ice bath,” says Beilstein.
As an athlete who has participated in triathlons and enjoys biking, running and anything outdoors, Beilstein has experienced the positive effect the chamber has on recovery.
It was Beilstein’s athleticism that played a role in his pursuit of physical therapy as a career. While in college at Denison University in Ohio, he considered going to medical school until a friend told him that since he was really into exercise, he should look into physical therapy.
“At that time, I had no idea what a physical therapist was. And, as I did some research into it, I thought, ‘this looks like a good option.’” He transferred to the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with a degree in physical therapy.
“After you graduate, you take continuing education courses to stay abreast of the latest techniques. Everyone who I was taking courses from and who really impressed me had an Australian background or were trained in Australia, so I decided to go to Australia to learn it first hand.”
To fund his trip to Australia, he sold his guitars that he was just learning to play. Now years later, his new hobby is playing the guitar again. “I’m not good, but I enjoy it,” he says.
He also enjoys spending time with his children, Abbey and Evan. Starting a family and raising children is what brought Beilstein to Virginia. “My folks retired to Williamsburg, and my wife and I felt that it would be wise to be near family. We haven’t regretted it. I love this area.”
It’s also evident that physical therapy is something he continues to enjoy. “My greatest satisfaction comes in helping people when they didn’t think that help existed; whether that’s helping them get out of pain or whether that’s helping them touch their toes for the first time in 10 years,” Beilstein says. For these people, PT Now has provided an avenue for an increased level of wellness, movement and freedom.
TO THE POINT:
Address: 704 Thimble Shoals Blvd., Ste. 400A, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Darren Beilstein, physical therapist and owner