News - Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy
Sunday April 1, 2018


Weighted blankets

The concept of a sensory room is becoming more of a hot topic but still remains a new concept for many. A sensory room was a new concept for Pella native Mark Van Roekel, but it perfectly answers a calling God laid on his heart. Van Roekel felt led on two distinct occasions to start a program within children’s ministry that would give students with special needs and other disabilities a safe haven at Third Church in Pella.

As Van Roekel began to take steps forward on this idea, the concept of a sensory room was born. Although the concept was new to Van Roekel, it was not new to many who volunteer and work at Third Church.

“Teaching to a class that has children with special needs or children who may be easily overstimulated can lead to positive growth,” explained Cathy Diehl, a children’s ministry team member of Third Church. “However, it also can lead to some negative and tricky situations for all those involved.”

Thus, Diehl shared the same burden as Van Roekel, desiring a place of refuge for children with sensory needs at Third Church.

The dream for Third’s sensory room was to create a space for children with special needs or overstimulation issues to wind down, feel safe, and be ministered to. Third Church is home to a large congregation, so many members’ children would reap benefit from a sensory room. However, figuring out the logistics of who would oversee the room, how they would pay for the room, and where the room would go were called into question immediately.

By the grace of God, as Diehl described, everything simply began to fall into place. A room opened up that was situated directly between the two wings of the church that comprise the children’s ministry. With a door leading to each wing, children can come in and out of the room with ease. Moreover, there was a small amount of money left over in the children’s ministry budget. These leftover funds were used to purchase furniture, sensory activities, and other equipment for the room.


The final piece that fell into place occurred when Diehl emailed Kinetic Edge’s Occupational Therapist Elise Spronk. Diehl knew of Spronk’s vast knowledge and experience in working with children and sensory preferences, so she asked her for any assistance and wisdom she was willing to share to help complete the room.

Spronk wanted to ensure that all sensory areas would be covered and have a correlating activity. Thus, she helped Diehl fill the room with bean bags chairs, weighted blankets, moon sand, plastic tubes, bubbles, and other activities that would help with all areas of sensory stimulation. In addition to helping with what went in the room, Spronk began to train all of the children’s ministry leaders, giving additional and more in-depth training for those who provide one-on-one care.

Spronk taught strategies for noticing if a child was having problems processing sensory stimuli, how to calm their anxieties, and how to better handle outbursts and emotions. With Spronk’s training, all those involved with children’s ministry began to feel more comfortable and capable for caring for students with sensory stimulation problems.

“The sensory room is a blessing for all,” shared Spronk. “A room like this has been on my heart for years now.”

Elise and SaraSpronk reflected on an experience she had a few years ago while sitting in a service at Third Church. A little boy who had sensory processing issues would come and sit with her in the back when the music started playing and things got loud. Spronk knew the boy because he was a previous pediatric client of hers, and she knew that he suffered from sensory overload issues.


“I thought then how it would have been nice to have a room that he could go to when things got to be too much,” explained Spronk. “Now we finally have that room!”

The number of kids in the space varies depending on the day and time. Kids may be in the room for the entire duration of the service or just for a few minutes, depending on their needs. Regardless of how long they’re in the room, kids are guaranteed to find a safe refuge filled with sensory rich activities.








Spronk would love to see sensory rooms available throughout more churches in the Pella area and beyond. She and her son Bennett frequently volunteer in Third’s sensory room together, giving them an opportunity to bond with each other and with students from the children’s ministry. Kinetic Edge’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) Ashley Beekman and her husband Spencer have also become active volunteers in Third’s sensory room.

Third’s sensory room has been open since September, 2017, and is thriving. The children and their individual helpers love it and so do the volunteers and teachers. The sensory room is manned twice a month by Van Roekel and his family, once a month by Spronk and Beekman, and then other volunteers, including Diehl, help when they can.

Weighted blankets

All agree, the sensory room has proved time and time again to be a blessing for many children at Third Church.





Sunday April 1, 2018

Everything You Wanted to Know About Shoulder Problems

Shoulder Structure

Shoulder Potpourri: Everything You Wanted to Know About Shoulder Problems

by Dr. Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear this: Shoulder pain is a common problem. Studies suggest that 70% of us will experience shoulder pain at some point in our lifetimes. It’s no wonder, because the shoulder joint is an extremely complex system.

The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the human body. It is a major link in the kinetic chain wherein the entire arm is connected to the rest of the skeletal system only by a very small joint between your collar bone and your chest.

This ball-and-socket joint is unique because the ball is large and the socket is small, kind of like a golf ball setting on a tee. Control of the ball on the tee requires very specific and fine actions by the rotator cuff muscles, which are relatively small and require appropriate, neutral postures to ensure they work efficiently.

Frankly, the shoulder is a source of job security for the physical therapists and movement experts at Kinetic Edge.

I reached out to a few friends this month to ask what they wanted to know about the shoulder joint, so this month’s article is a potpourri of information that will likely help you in one or more ways.

My shoulders are healthy. What exercises can I do to keep them that way?

First, I want to make an important point: We often equate lack of pain with health. If your shoulders don’t hurt, they must be healthy, right? Well, that’s not exactly true. Let me tell you why.

Shoulder StructureWhen we think of the shoulder, we commonly picture the ball-and-socket joint, but the shoulder is really an entire complex that includes the collar bone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula), and upper arm bone (humerus). The health of shoulder is also directly impacted by neighboring areas including the neck (cervical spine), midback (thoracic spine), and rib cage.


Most shoulder problems occur because of muscle imbalances that place the shoulder complex in a position that reduces the efficiency of the rotator cuff muscles, which causes tissues in the system to experience increased mechanical stress (i.e. compression or tension forces). Muscle imbalances contribute to postural changes that make shoulder problems more likely to occur. Poor mobility of the mid-back and rib cage can lead to the same result.

A recent study looked at 379 participants with at least one rotator cuff tear. Only 2.9% of them had ideal shoulder alignment, while the remainder had forward head/rounded shoulders (65.8%), flat back (54.3%), or sway back (48.9%).

Often times people demonstrate these postures for years without any symptoms, but the presence of these postures – even without pain – indicates that your shoulders are not exactly healthy. They are at risk for future problems.

So, to make sure your shoulders are truly healthy, it is important for you to do exercises that help you maintain or restore muscle balance and allow for neutral shoulder positioning. It is extremely important to stretch the pectorals, upper traps, and suboccipital muscles, those most likely to get tight from gravity-induced postures. Furthermore, it is also very important to strengthen the upper back and shoulder blade muscles, those that are often ignored in our typical postures and work activities.

Stay tuned throughout the month of April as we’ll be posting video examples of how to stretch and strengthen these important muscles. And guys, it’s okay to work on your “mirror muscles”, but you should do so only if you’re willing to do maintenance with the aforementioned exercises. 

What are some movements that the shoulder doesn’t really like?

Great question. In general terms, no joint appreciates the combination of end range motions with high speed and/or force. This is the reason why people experience shoulder injuries and pain, for example, when they slip and, in an attempt to avoid a painful fall, grab onto something, which suddenly jerks the shoulder into full elevation. That, of course, is something that happens naturally, so it’s difficult to avoid.

One of the most common regions of shoulder stress is in a small area called the subacromial space. If you place your fingers on the top edge of your shoulder, you’ll feel a portion of your shoulder blade called the acromion. Below that bone is a 5 mm interval called the subacromial space, through which run important rotator cuff tendons and, to reduce mechanical friction, a bursal sac.

Simply having muscle imbalances can increase mechanical compression on the rotator cuff tendons and bursa running through that space. For example, tight pectoral muscles pull the shoulder joint forward a bit, and those tissues are likely already experiencing increased pressure. Over time, this can cause cumulative trauma that eventually manifests as tendinitis, bursitis, or even rotator cuff tears.

The combination of shoulder elevation with internal rotation closes down the subacromial joint space and increases pressure on the tissues within it even further. It’s easier on those tissues to lift objects at arm’s length with the palm up, not down.

Have you ever experienced shoulder pain while lifting something out of your refrigerator? It’s likely you performed this movement with an extended arm and your palm down, a position that can increase stress on tissues within the subacromial space. So, instead of reaching, move your body forward to reduce the distance from your trunk to your hand when you reach, and keep your palm or thumb up. Your shoulder will definitely appreciate that habit over time.

If you have cumulative tissue changes already beginning in the subacromial space, you may wake up at night with shoulder pain from laying on your side, a position that increases pressure on the subacromial space. I realize that it’s difficult to prevent yourself from defaulting away from a favored sleeping position. You’re unconscious, of course. Nonetheless, it is less stressful on your shoulders to sleep on your back. If you wake up on your side, move to your back (and hope that your snoring doesn’t increase J).

I am experiencing shoulder pain. Can I continue doing shoulder exercises as long as they don’t cause pain?

I might be accused of copping out here, but… it depends.

You must recognize that there is a difference between discomfort and pain. If you recently began an exercise program, you know what delayed-onset muscle soreness feels like. It’s uncomfortable, but normal. You don’t have to avoid minor discomfort as long as it is the result of tissues accommodating to a new stress.

Pain, however, is a different beast, though it serves a noble purpose. Pain protects your tissues. If you were incapable of experiencing pain, you would likely experience higher levels of tissue damage from repeated stress, and you would also experience a more rapid and premature deterioration of function.

Therefore, if you experienced a recent injury (within the past month or so) and are actively experiencing shoulder pain, any motion that exacerbates the pain should be considered a warning signal. Avoid that motion. In this situation, it’s probably a good idea for you to consult with a physical therapist that understands the shoulder joint and can give you a personalized exercise plan to overcome this problem and allow you to continue being active without slowing up your progress.

If you have experienced shoulder pain for quite some time (6 weeks or more), you have reached the chronic phase. In this situation, it is generally acceptable to experience some shoulder pain during exercise, but it should be minor and go away within minutes of completing the exercise. If it is more significant or lingers for hours after exercise, that’s a good sign that you’ve slightly overdone it. Adjust your exercise volume downward next time.

If you’ve experienced shoulder pain for 6 weeks or more, you should definitely consult with a physical therapist. Solutions to these problems are generally pretty simple, and the earlier you get attention, the quicker it goes away.

But, what about the exercises that don’t cause pain? Well, they’re likely just fine for you. However, please review the answers I provided to the previous two questions to better understand what’s good for your shoulders and helps to enhance your shoulder health. Just because an exercise or motion doesn’t hurt your shoulder, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you.

As I indicated in the introduction, shoulder pain is common. In fact, it’s the second most common problem among the many clients we serve in our five clinic locations.

Free Screen day on April 10, 2018 at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy

To thank our faithful customers for allowing us to survive and thrive for 20 years, we are offering a FREE SCREEN DAY on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. On that day, each of our clinics will have 33 slots available between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm for you, your family, and your friends. If you’ve been dealing with shoulder pain – or any other musculoskeletal ailment for that matter – we’d like to invite you to sign up for one of those slots.


Hurry before they’re gone, though. We expect slots to be spoken for very quickly. So, call us today at 866-588-0230 and pick the most convenient time for you.

Tuesday March 27, 2018


Free Screen day on April 10, 2018 at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy

Free Screen day on April 10, 2018 at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy2018 marks our 20th year in business, which is why we wanted to do something special to celebrate!  This is our BIG THANK YOU for allowing us to serve you.  To thank you, our valued clients, we are having a day of completely free screens for:

  • All past clients who have not been seen in physical therapy in more than three months
  • All present clients who have another problem currently not being treated
  • All loved ones, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers of our past and present clients.

The day of free screens will be on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 7 AM – 6 PM.

Call 866-588-0230 to schedule your free screen.

Your free screen consists of a 20-minute one-on-one appointment with one of our movement experts! That expert will ask you about the history of your problem and then test your strength and how well you move.  After a thorough screening, they will give you a written copy of:

  1. The cause of your pain or problem.
  2. A plan for successful treatment.

The appointments are free but limited as each clinic only has 33 spots available.  Call 866-588-0230 now to schedule your free screen.

This free screen is ideal for people suffering with:

  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Knee pain
  • Problems walking

If you are having pain or problems with day to day activities such as walking, standing, sitting for long periods, going up or down steps, getting in and out of the car, sleeping or driving, then this is an excellent opportunity to see one of our expert therapists and find out the cause of your problem.

Call 866-588-0230 to schedule your free screen for April 10.

PS – As a special bonus, all people attending a free screen on April 10 will receive a free report: “The Seven Secrets to Permanent Relief for Neck and Back Arthritis”.

PPS – In honor of our 20th anniversary, we’ll also be giving away five free CamelBak water bottles.  These are going to the first 5 people to schedule a free screen for April 10.

Friday March 23, 2018

NOW HIRING: Collections Specialist

Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy is a unique place with exceptional therapy professionals. Our company is celebrating its 20th year of excellent service and continues to steadily grow. Though we’re a mall company with five locations, we’ve added 12 new employees over the past two years. Our combination of insurance-covered care and cash-based programs has created stability and strength, and our commitment to transforming lives and restoring hope is the fuel that drives us.

We currently have a GREAT OPPORTUNITY for a COLLECTIONS SPECIALIST to work in our back office at our headquarters in Pella. This position will begin as a prn position with an expected +/- 10 hours per week, but we expect that it will quickly grow into a full-time position.

Job responsibilities will include providing support for the Billing Manager and Assistant Financial Officer managing the following activities:

  • Aged Receivables
  • Denials

Future tasks may include:

  • Preparing monthly invoices
  • Preparing and reviewing patient statements
  • Trend and tracking report completion

Past experience in medical billing and/or collections is desired but not required. Candidates with past experience will receive extra consideration. Associates degree or equivalent experience is required. Pay rate will be determined based upon experience.

Job Type: Part-time

kinetic edge physical therapy whole company photo

Thursday March 22, 2018

NOW HIRING: PTA for Des Moines, Ames, Newton, Pella and Oskaloosa

kinetic edge physical therapy whole company photo

PTA (Floater) position now available

Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy (formerly Work Systems Rehab & Fitness) is a unique place. Our reputation is unmatched in the care we provide our clients and our commitment to select the most effective treatments that are in the client’s best interest without the concern to meet billing quotas. Our company is  celebrating its 20th year of excellent service and continues to steadily grow because of our commitment to transforming lives and restoring hope through movement. Our combination of insurance-covered care and cash-based programs has created stability and strength.

We currently have a great opportunity for a physical therapist assistant to work full-time as a floater in our outpatient ortho/sports medicine clinics in Des Moines, Ames, Newton, Pella and Oskaloosa. This position would begin as a temporary contract position with the opportunity to develop into a full-time salaried position. At a minimum, the provider would be working though Labor Day, though a long-term, full-time opportunity at Kinetic Edge.

Kinetic Edge commits itself to the following:

• Commitment to Purpose – Every decision we make is based upon whether it will help us advance our mission to restore hope and transform lives through movement. You will not have quotas or productivity requirements; instead, you make decisions that are in the best interest of your clients.
• Active treatments – our focus is on therapeutic exercise, functional enhancement, and manual skills, not passive modalities
• Autonomy of practice – our therapist schedules are flexible to allow for a comfortable work/family balance
• A lifetime of learning – we provide ample opportunities for continuing education, advanced education enhancement programs, and encourage unique skill development
• The platinum rule – we treat others better than we expect to be treated

Full-time members of the Kinetic Edge team are given the opportunity to grow professionally and clinically with:

• Competitive salary with bonus-earning potential
• Generous paid time off package
• Generous CEU & advanced education benefits
• 401(k) plan
• Health savings account, flexible spending accounts, and dependent care accounts
• Company paid disability and malpractice insurance plans
• Company paid association and section memberships to stay involved and active in your profession

Join the team that exists outside the box and supports therapists with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to do things differently than the norm.

For more information, please email your inquiry, resume & references to:

Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

kinetic edge physical therapy whole company photo

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