Chatting with Chris Guempel

Chris Guempel, Encore Physical Therapy, Corvallis, Oregon

What path did you take to becoming a physical therapist?

I took a path less traveled by. Initially, I studied music at the University of Louisville, earning a Bachelor’s of Music in Cello Performance, and then I continued to study music in Mainz, Germany. Upon my return to the U.S., I made a radical decision to switch gears and pursue physical therapy. I completed my graduate studies at the University of Louisville in December of 2001.

Why did you decide to open Encore Physical Therapy?

I decided that when I started working as a Physical Therapist, I would allow at least five years to pass before attempting to build a private practice. I spent this time focusing on my physical therapy evaluation and treatment skills while gaining a feel for the needs and wants of my clients and community. As a part owner of a business, I can work to meet the needs of the community as well as set professional goals for myself.

Give us an example of your typical client – one whom you enjoy working with and whom you can help.

There is no “typical” client who walks through the door. Each client is unique. I want every person who walks through our door to be evaluated and treated to know that he or she is important to me no matter what the diagnosis is. I enjoy working with each one and know that I can provide great services that will help. I have treated a broad spectrum of diagnoses including: post-operative, orthopedic, neurological, work-related, etc.

What’s your approach to developing a plan of treatment for each individual patient?

A specific treatment or modality utilization is dependent upon the diagnosis. I prefer to use a hands-on approach with integration of exercises to help facilitate short and long term success. I often incorporate a modality, such as ultrasound, or use a specific technique, such as taping, to facilitate the healing process.

Have you ever needed physical therapy yourself?

Personally, I have never needed the services of a physical therapist in an outpatient setting. I have had a few injuries that I have been able to self-treat with the same advice that I give to my patients.

What’s the key to choosing a physical therapist and why would you recommend that someone choose you for his or her PT?

If I were a patient, I would seek a therapist with the following qualities: compassion, patience, knowledgeable, will provide a thorough exam, is able to identify the source of the symptoms quickly, will choose treatments that are highly effective, will help me see the “big” picture as well as highlight the important details, will educate me, will stay focused on my therapy goals, will be flexible in his/her approach, will be encouraging and motivating. Frank Hann and I feel strongly that we will provide care of highest quality. Anything less would be unacceptable.

Is there anything else that you would like a patient to know about you?

My patients are top priority for me. I pride myself on getting to the heart of the problem so that I can help you with getting rid of your symptoms quickly and effectively. I truly take it personally if my patients do not leave with a sense of personal accomplishment. My initial exam and treatment plan will be detail oriented and I will be quick to change the course of a treatment if you don’t indicate improvement. I want you to feel comfortable and confident that I am on your side with getting you better.

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