In 1984, fresh out of college and searching for an adventure, Dallas Williams joined the U.S. Navy and became an aviation electrician. The navy delivered on its promise of world travel, sending Dallas on two 7-month-long Mediterranean cruises on the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dallas enjoyed visiting Italy, France, and Spain, but after nearly six years of service, he was ready to come back to Texas. When his mother, Dolores Williams, was unable to persuade him to make the navy a career, she suggested physical therapy school.
Dallas had always been interested in athletic training, and the idea took root. He already held a degree in kinesiology and sports studies, but before long, he was back at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce), using his G.I. bill benefits to satisfy pre-requisites for physical therapy school. He later graduated from the physical therapy program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s School of Health Professions.
Now a physical therapist with more than 15 years of experience, Dallas is the owner and physical therapy director of Physical Therapy Associates. Patients always have a choice where they fulfill their physicians’ physical therapy prescriptions, he says, and many patients in the area have learned that they appreciate the caring, personal approach at Physical Therapy Associates.
“They genuinely cared about the outcome,” says Pam Markham, a local realtor who selected Physical Therapy Associates because she knew of the clinic’s reputation. Pam, an artist, was scheduled to go on a painting tour of New York City just six weeks after partial knee-replacement surgery, so she was motivated to regain full use of her knee in record time.
“I did everything they said and then some,” she says. “They understood what I was trying to do. We really focused on specific things. Six weeks from surgery I was in New York City, tromping around and painting scenery.”
Pam appreciated the friendly, upbeat atmosphere at Physical Therapy Associates and liked the contemporary Christian music that accompanied her therapy. “Everybody knew my name,” she says. “I could come in in a bad mood, and I would leave in a good mood. I enjoyed it. When it was over, I missed it.”
Clyde Tauriainen, the founder of an air conditioning and heating company, often lifted heavy Freon drums during his workdays, but it was a water sporting accident that finally tore the rotator cuff in his shoulder and left him in constant pain. He came to Physical Therapy Associates before surgery because the clinic is “well revered in the community and the medical profession,” he says. “I trust them and knew of their personal and professional integrity.”
At first, Clyde avoided surgery, but “finally made the quality decision to get it done,” he says. During the procedure, his surgeon, Dr. Skip Heath, discovered that the damage to his shoulder was worse than expected. “It wasn’t just the typical wearing out the joint or rotator cuff,” Clyde says. After surgery, he was in considerable pain, but soon returned to Physical Therapy Associates to gain mobility. His results were excellent.
“I can do 100 percent of the things I want to do,” says Clyde, a water sports enthusiast. “This shoulder is not limiting me in any way. I don’t do anything to compensate for it.”
Physical Therapy Associates’ team includes Walt Stowe, an experienced physical therapist who joined the practice in 2007, as well as two physical therapy assistants. “The people who work here like working here,” Pam observed, “and that’s huge.”
Physical Therapy Associates offers orthopedic physical therapy, as well as therapy for some neurological conditions. Common courses of treatment include therapy for neck and back pain, shoulder and knee conditions, and balance deficiencies. Physical Therapy Associates has an indoor pool and is one of the few practices in Huntsville that offers aquatic therapy, says Diane Williams, Dallas’s wife and the office manager of Physical Therapy Associates.
“The patients love it,” she says. “The warmth of the water relaxes the muscles. It eliminates the gravity that puts pressure on your joints, so you can exercise and get better in the water without the pressure.”
In addition to physical therapy and aquatic therapy, Physical Therapy Associates offers massage therapy. “Other muscles get tired when you are favoring your knee,” Pam says. “It was a big plus to be able to do therapy and sometimes stay for a massage.”
Another plus for patients is that the exercise equipment at Physical Therapy Associates is available in the evenings for people who want to work out on their own, but don’t like the “health club scene,” Dallas says. It’s all a part of the concept at Physical Therapy Associates, which includes ease of use, a friendly atmosphere, and a genuine commitment to helping each patient.
“This is a healing environment,” Dallas says. “The doctors have done their part. We are taking them to the finish line in restoring their function.”