Your Pain-Free Plan

Humpal Physical Therapy offers tailored solutions for patients to enjoy long-term relief and return to life.

By: Anne Booher
Photos by: MC Studio Workz

Pain and inability to perform normal activities of daily living can be frustrating. Thankfully, the path toward improving function and decreasing pain is one you don’t have to navigate alone. Humpal Physical Therapy has provided quality, customized care in the Coastal Bend for the past 28 years. Founder Scott Humpal shaped this practice into a vital institution, delivering relief and positive functional results to thousands.

“We like Corpus Christi because it is a large city that operates like a small town,” Humpal says. “We equally love our Alice, Calallen, Portland, Aransas Pass and Rockport clinics, as each one is unique and services many small, surrounding communities. Advances in the medical community have made leaps and bounds since we’ve been here.”

While the practice prides itself on being an orthopedic outpatient facility, the benefits of physical therapy can be felt through a range of medical conditions, from neurological issues to cancer recovery rehab, treatment for vertigo and rehab for pregnant mothers before and after delivery. Any condition that involves pain and limited function can benefit from the expertise of a physical therapist.

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, physical therapy referrals were limited and often included the blanket use of hotpacks, ultrasound and massage. This course of treatment did not appeal to Humpal, who preferred to branch out from the norm and approach physical therapy care from a new perspective. “I was a big proponent of home programs and exercises,” Humpal says. “What I did right away was implement what I like to do, which is manual therapy – introduce techniques that were new to the area.”

While passive treatments are beneficial, as well, unless attention is given to whole-body functioning, and the dysfunction is not addressed through proper manual therapy and exercise, physical therapy intervention won’t be successful.

Once a patient is assigned to a therapist, they will also work with a team of assistants who may help out with manual therapy, exercises, heat, cold, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, laser and numerous other treatments to help the body heal and affect change. “Every time you come in, you are building a personal relationship in your recovery,” Humpal says. “Each therapist gives our clients a thorough evaluation to find pain, discover what daily functional activities someone is unable to do and figure out a goal the patient would like to reach with this type of care. As long as the patient responds, you stick to that plan. If the patient doesn’t respond, we change it. We’ve got a huge bag of tricks to help our patients achieve their goals.”

This results in a treatment plan that is exclusive to your particular needs and goals. “Our expertise is in the musculoskeletal system and how to properly evaluate that and look for deficits,” he continues. “Where does this person have a strength deficit? Where are they tight? What tissues are immobile? What motion is limited? And most of all, what limited function needs to be addressed? Since you have hundreds of muscles in your body, you have to have ways to narrow down what muscles and tissues need to be addressed with each particular patient because it’s unique for everyone.”

Each of Humpal’s physical therapy centers offers pools, which are invaluable to those suffering from joint pain. “I saw that need in our area and decided to implement clinical therapy pools long ago,” he says. “Our first pool was dug by hand in the Alice clinic in 1996. Water unweights the patient and takes a lot of pressure off their joints. The hydrostatic effects of the water in general promote positive change. When a patient completes a therapy session, they feel refreshed even though they’ve done strengthening and stretching exercises that would have left them sore and tired in a regular office setting.”

Feeling exhausted following a physical therapy session is par for the course, but Humpal assures his patients that as long as they stick with the program, results and relief are in sight.

“We give each patient a home program, which is very important in the rehabilitation process,” he says. “We develop each one specifically to fit that individual. We want them to communicate with us as to what goals they are trying to achieve and give their bodies a chance to respond to treatment. If, for example, a patient decides to go running, is not ready for this activity and doesn’t consult with us, their condition may flare up and slow their recovery. The most important thing they can do is stick to the program, and then we progress from there. There’s always a progression.”

Communication between patient and therapist is vital to moving beyond pain and finding long-term solutions. Humpal’s team will develop the best course of action to solve the problem, but it is up to the patient to verbalize if something isn’t working correctly. “There are always other techniques we can try,” Humpal says. “After their first treatment, it’s intense. You’re testing them; you’re reproducing their pain. I always warn them, you might not feel better after the first treatment. It’s not an immediate fix. Rehab is a long process.

On occasion, a patient will come in thinking they have a specific problem that no treatment seems to help, only to find out that it’s another issue entirely. For example, sacroiliac pain can often be misinterpreted as lower-back pain, and a patient can feel frustrated when traditional pain relief methods fail. When these types of situations come into Humpal’s office, he says it’s one of those times when it might be an easy fix.

“Most of the patients we see with sacroiliac dysfunction have been suffering for years and treating the wrong issue,” he says. “They get MRIs, and nothing shows up. What they really need is someone who understands SI joints and how to get them back in alignment and keep them there. Even after one treatment, patients can feel immediate relief.”

Beyond the aches and pains associated with lifestyle and genetics, there are a number of ways physical therapy can help heal even more extreme physical damage. “Cancer treatments involving removal of a lymph gland or a mastectomy can leave extensive scar tissue that limits movement,” Humpal says. “It takes scar tissue about eight weeks to fully form, and once it’s formed, it’s immobile. Up until that point, however, it can be manipulated, stretched and smoothed to maximize range of motion.”

For those with scar tissue forming around their shoulder or chest, seeking physical therapy as soon as possible can mean the difference between limited and full mobility, and it can be a way to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse.

Customized, progressive care is at the core of everything Humpal does. From the front office to the therapists, assistants and technicians, he prides himself on a quality staff that provides exceptional service from scheduling the first appointment to living pain-free. Physical therapy is only one of the medical services that is structured to your body and its abilities and limitations. When such services exist, there is no reason to continue living in discomfort when a solution is readily available. Humpal Physical Therapy can help you find that relief you’ve been missing.

For more information, visit www.humpalphysicaltherapy.com.