This week, I sit down with Laura Davis, PT, DPT, as we discuss some of her favorite success stories when she took a neurological approach to rehabilitation for her patients.
Dr. Davis is a physical therapist in our Austin headquarters and also does telehealth appointments for patients who have the Neubie, our direct current stimulation device that we use to impart massive neuromuscular reeducation.
Garrett Salpeter 00:14
I’m Garrett Saltpeter. And I believe that the most powerful and transformative way to help people recover from pain and injury, heal from trauma and reach their highest levels of fitness and performance is to focus on the nervous system.
In this podcast, we’ll share knowledge from the frontiers of neuroscience and inspirational stories of how applying that knowledge has empowered people from all walks of life to heal, adapt, and grow.
We are here today with Laura from our NeuFit headquarters team and Neubie team. And I’m so excited for you to be here and share your story. So thank you for being here, Laura.
Dr. Laura Davis 00:49
Garrett Salpeter 00:52
Laura has a very interesting background. She is a DPT and has been in practice had been in practice for about 10 years before we met. And can you tell us a little bit about your history and your career path before we started working together?
Dr. Laura Davis 01:07
I’ve been a PT for just over 11 years now. And I’ve always been working in some sort of background with neuro so either an acute care hospital and a trauma ICU, or inpatient rehab hospital, and also outpatient neuro and vestibular clinics. And neuro is really my passion. And so it’s been rewarding to see people from the time they initially get into an injury all the way into the outpatient world. It’s great to be the first line of defense to help someone set up in an ICU. And then it’s also great to be able to see him in an outpatient setting where they’re just starting to walk more and get back to their daily life. So it’s been a rewarding career for sure.
Garrett Salpeter 01:51
Any particular high points from those 10 or 11 Pre-NeuFit years.
Dr. Laura Davis 01:58
I would say there was a time where I was working, actually for a hospital in Austin, and also at the same time, a rehab hospital in Austin. And so in a matter, I had one shift at the hospital in an ICU. And we sat up a girl and she had this long, beautiful red hair. And there wasn’t a lot she could do. When she was sitting she was on a ventilator. So we kind of just brushed the knots out of her hair. And then the next day she was gone.
So about a week or two later, I went to work at the inpatient rehab hospital. And I had walked by a patient’s room who had this beautiful long hair, and she was sitting Indian style on the bed. And I did a double take, not her. So it turns out that was her and she was walking and talking. And this was only a week difference. So to be able to see someone in both of those settings was one of the coolest things that I’ve experienced so far.
Garrett Salpeter 02:53
Cool. I’ve heard that story. You know, going chronologically here, can you talk about how we first got connected or your first experience with the Neufit.
Dr. Laura Davis 03:07
So I had a foot injury. Actually, my husband was working in Houston, and there was cryotherapy placed there that said, Oh, she should go use the Neubie and the headquarters are there, just go talk to Garrett. And so I came in, and I had no idea what to expect. It’s not anything I had heard about before. And so Garrett did a scan and worked on my foot and I was like what just went on, and then as I learned more about it, I didn’t really think about my foot anymore, but I was like, well, what could this do for my neuro patients? And so we had kept in touch and then next thing you know, I was at the course in February of 2018, I think maybe 20– Anyway… So I went to the course and then my head exploded and I wanted to know all the things and a couple months later, I guess kind of had an interview and he was looking for a PT and I said I’m your girl. So that’s how that started
Garrett Salpeter 04:07
So coming from that background where you’re on the front lines in the thick [phonetic 04:17] of neuro PT setting hospital based inpatient clinics. What are some of the differences that you experience between NeuFit and how we’re doing things and the more traditional PT approach generally or neuro– Just, you know, kind of your perspective?
Dr. Laura Davis 04:37
So, I think one of the important things is that the Neubie and a NeuFit principles, they don’t replace what we do as therapists. It’s just an added tool. But I think overall, it’s really helped me to think outside the box a little bit more. And I feel like I’ve been more creative so you’re a little bit tied down when you’re at a clinic or a hospital. And there’s rules. And there’s so much time really to even be creative with our treatments. And so being able to learn what I have in the course, and then work with this technology has just opened my eyes to a lot of things that either we didn’t learn in PT school, or, of course, technology that we don’t yet have in the hospital. So I feel like I’ve just been more creative and to be able to work with the team here, and everybody’s open minded, and we all bounce ideas off each other. It’s just been a really good change and refreshing change, I would say.
Garrett Salpeter 05:38
Awesome. What are some of the high points or the biggest successes you’ve had with patients now, when we’ve been working together in Neufit.
Dr. Laura Davis 05:48
So one of the things as I was transitioning out of the hospital, because I’ve always worked in an acute care setting, because I love being the first line of defense and being able to see people do things for the first time, I thought that one of the things I was going to miss was, you know, like I talked about being able to sit someone up for the first time or take their first steps. But those stories have continued to happen here, which is one of the greatest things. So one thing that sticks out is I had a patient here who had a spinal cord injury over 10 years ago. And he walks with canes, but he hasn’t been able to activate his glutes or his hamstrings since his initial injury 10 years ago. And he’s tried all sorts of therapies in the past, and he’s been at it for 10 years. And he came in on his third session, he was able to activate his hamstrings for the first time in 10 years. And his wife was holding his hand and he lifted it out of her hand in her hand shook and we all cried. And that was for sure. One of the coolest things. And he’s also been able to do bridges since then, which was something that he could never do before. So that’s certainly one of the best stories
Garrett Salpeter 06:52
What’s their codename for their NeuFit treatments?
Dr. Laura Davis 06:55
Operation bring that booty back. And it’s coming back.
Garrett Salpeter 07:01
That’s right. We have to have them on the podcast too.
Dr. Laura Davis 07:03
Yes, we should. And I think in general, I mean, people… So I had another patient who came in a wheelchair, he had been about six months post stroke, had been working in rehab, and still was dependent. So we had to lift him from the wheelchair to the table. And within two months, he was walking community distances with a cane.
One of the most rewarding things and these are stories that like I kind of see very frequently is, people hit plateaus, especially in the neuro population where they have been at therapy for months or years. And then they start using the newbie, and all of a sudden, you know, with work, but way faster than with traditional therapy, they’re hitting these milestones and getting over these plateaus that they haven’t been able to for months or years and that never gets old.
Garrett Salpeter 07:55
That’s awesome, changing the trajectory of that process a little to more dramatic.
We’ve had some– What if conversations and I want to ask you, Laura, what do you think it would be like if they had the Neubie in the hospital settings where you’ve worked? And what type of impact do you think you could have in that in that world?
Dr. Laura Davis 08:53
So I think about that a lot, especially as I transition from half Neufit, half hospital, and every time I go to the hospital, I thought, well, what if we were able to get the Neubie on patients when they’re in the hospital? Whether it’s in the ICU after an accident, or post knee replacement, like day one or two? What can happen because I feel like a lot of what we do with a newbie is we’re trying to reeducate these pathways that have been shut down for whatever reason, trauma, surgery, and if we were able to get into their system and help it along, prior to atrophying or shutting down, then I feel like I think people would, for sure move better and faster after knee replacement and get range of motion back sooner. I think people would get off ventilators sooner because they could move around more and their lungs working. I don’t know maybe we could avoid foot drop so these are all things that go through my head all the time. About what if we could get you know the Neubie on them since there’s really no risk after many surgeries I see and many patients I see you know what can happen if we got in before their systems were had time to atrophy or waist away.
Garrett Salpeter 10:01
That’s so interesting to hear you say that because when we talk about neuroplasticity, it really is a double edged sword. You know, there’s a specificity to it where we’re always adapting to whatever it is we’re doing. And that can be good if we’re doing the right things. But there also is an unlearned disuse component to that, where if we’re not doing something, if you have a patient who’s just had a stroke or a spinal cord injury or something like that, and they can’t move or it’s difficult to move, then they don’t move and we use it or lose it. And they adapt to that. And so being able to prevent some of those more negative adaptations could really help the overall recovery process.
Well, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for being part of our team. We’re very grateful to be able to work with you and love working with you. And we’re excited to keep the success stories coming.
Dr. Laura Davis 10:58
Yes, sure. Thank you.