Happy Wednesday Mamas! This week we are kicking off the Wellness Wednesday Series. Wellness is something so important for everyone, but especially Moms. We as Moms need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of our little families. I am so excited to kick off our series with Dr. Molly McDonald and her practice, Your Goals Physical Therapy. Mamas, I am a huge fan of physical therapy, specifically during and after pregnancy. It’s helped me so much in my life and anytime someone needs a little help, physical therapy is often my go-to advice. Physical Therapy was instrumental for me after having my second baby. My back and my pelvis were in desperate need of help. I recently got to meet Dr. Molly who is a local Mom to two adorable kiddos and she is so down to earth. I have really enjoyed getting to know her and I am so happy to be sharing this interview! There are some things that I never imagined could be helped through Physical Therapy, for example controlling having to pee when you sneeze! Who would have known? I learned this just from talking to Dr. Molly at my daughter’s swim lesson one day. Dr. Molly is so passionate about helping people, especially Moms. I got to chat and learn even more about Dr. Molly and the benefits of Physical Therapy at her practice and I thought she would be the perfect fit for our first Wellness Wednesday Feature – I hope you enjoy the interview!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the area?
I was born here in Houston, Tx and I’ve had the opportunity to live in several different parts of this city. My father has lived in Spring Branch for 35+ years. My mom moved us to Clear Lake, after they divorced, which is where I graduated highschool. My brother and I bounced from Spring Branch to Clear Lake for most of our childhood. Then, while working on my undergraduate, I lived in Pasadena and South Houston to be closer to school. It still amazes me how different one part of the city is from another, but I believe all that moving around helped me prepare for my big move up north.
I moved to Boston, MA to attend the Physical Therapy program at Northeastern University. I spent 6 years total in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, first for school then since I met my Husband. After 6 years of cold winters, I convinced my husband to move to Houston. Initially, we moved to Cypress for the proximity to our jobs. However, we started our family here because of the amazing community we’ve found.
Do you have any children? If so, what are their ages?
I have two amazing children. Ayden, 5 years old, who has just started kindergarten. He is absolutely having the best time at school meeting new friends. My daughter is 18 months old, and embodies the phrase “Tiny But Mighty”. She truly believes she can do everything her big brother can do, while wearing the proper accessories. These two definitely keep me busy but it’s such fun to learn new things with them each day.
When did you decide you wanted to be a Physical Therapist?
My journey to becoming a physical therapist was a little long and windy. I started at a junior college with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. In fact, I still had no idea after the first year when I was told I had to declare a major. A friend of mine suggested Nutrition because I was interested in working out and eating healthy. About halfway through my Nutrition degree I still wasn’t convinced this is what I wanted to do so I branched out and got my Massage License.
For most of my last year in undergrad I was planning on just finishing my Nutrition degree and working as a Massage Therapist. Who doesn’t love their Massage Therapist and I loved giving them. I still found Nutrition interesting but I didn’t love it enough to want to apply for the Masters degree that is required to become a Registered Dietitian. The only thing about Massage Therapy that I wasn’t fully sold on was that people kept coming back for the same reason, weekly or monthly. Of course, most people didn’t mind having to come back for recurring shoulder pain, they assumed it was just a normal part of working at a desk 40 hours a week. Unfortunately, there were a few people that became very frustrated by this cycle of pain. And honestly I agreed with them. If I ,as a Massage Therapist, could “get rid of the knots” in an hour session then why did they just come back. What was causing the pain? Was it really the “knots” or was it something else? Why didn’t the massage get rid of the pain for longer than a week? Or a month?
While I was finalizing my classes in the school counseling office getting ready to graduate from University of Houston I saw the description of physical therapy. I’d never heard of Physical Therapy. Reading this professions’ description opened my eyes to a whole new world. The more I read about Physical Therapy the more I fell in love with it. Physical Therapy combines my love of massage, working out, my desire to stay healthy all with the ability to help others move and feel better. I finally found what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Now I spend my days helping people overcome their aches and pains to keep them doing their favorite things and I couldn’t be happier.
Where did you go to school?
I started my education at San Jacinto Junior College then transferred to University of Houston for my undergraduate degree in Nutrition. I moved to Boston, MA to attend Northeastern University for my Doctorate of Physical Therapy.I’m still very attached to my massage therapy roots so I’ve maintained my massage license through the years. While I was in Boston I studied for a separate certification called Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, which has enhanced my ability to break down and progress specialized treatment plans to help active adults get back to their favorite activities.
What made you decide to open your own practice as opposed to joining an already established one?
There were two distinct catalysts that fueled my desire to start my own.
The first reason was that I was tired of random policies dictating how I treat clients. Anyone who has worked for another person, has felt some rules at that job don’t make sense.
Unfortunately healthcare jobs are no different. However, one day I’d finally had enough with seemingly random rules dictating my care. I came to work only to be told I had to change five different patient’s treatment plans. I was told to discharge one person because they reported no pain at our last session. It didn’t matter that I also wrote about their difficulty going up stairs or getting up from chairs. Apparently, the insurance company thought that based on the number of visits and the pain rating this person was fine to continue on their own. The second person had no more authorized visits so I was told to spend the next session only going over their home program in order to discharge them. Again how the patient was doing was not part of the discussion. The remaining three patients required similar changes to their plans. I spent all my down time between patients that day trying to negotiate for more visits for each of these patients. However, in the end these five patients had to stop their care because of a policy.
On my drive home, I came up with the name of my company, Your Goals, because that is all that should matter in a physical therapy session.
The second reason is that I want to tell the world that just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that your world has to shrink. This is what I mean…I started my career off working Monday – Friday at a traditional outpatient physical therapy clinic and on the weekends I worked at a skilled nursing facility. As you can imagine these are two very different populations. At an outpatient clinic the average client is in their 40s and in a skilled nursing facility average age is 70 + years old. Most of the people I met at the skilled nursing facility had been dealing with pain for years. I heard countless stories of people that started to hurt in their 30s for a variety of reasons and they toughed it out for years. Over the years they changed how they moved, they changed their daily routines, they did anything they could think of to avoid the pain. Eventually the pain became part of who they are, it affected every part of their life. They stopped going on vacations for fear of long walks or not knowing how they would navigate all the unknowns. These stories all started with a mild pain that over the years worsened slowly taking their mobility and independence until they were completely dependent on family, friends or health care workers for all aspects of their lives.
Everyone of these stories breaks my heart. I know that every single one of these people would have been able to keep their independence and enjoy their families longer; If someone had helped them find the root cause of their pain, addressed their concerns about their pain, and explained how to safely move.
Flash forward several years, I have created a company where I’m able to listen to my clients stories, learn what matters to them and help them get back to their favorite activities.
Tell us about your practice?
As a busy mom myself I understand that we are alway more concerned with our families health more than our own. We feel that we’ll have time later to see that doctor or start that exercise program. Moms are constantly pulled in multiple directions and it feels like if we stop to take care of our needs then someone else in our family will go without.
This is why I offer 3 different ways to get treatments.
- Physical location: Perfect for moms that need the quiet privacy of a clinic to allow them time to only concentrate on the task of healing without distractions.
- Mobile/ Concierge: Perfect for moms who don’t have the time or opportunity to leave the home even though they have the desire or need to work on their health.
- Telehealth: Perfect for the mom that is always on the go. Perhaps she travels or has a fully packed schedule and needs her visits to be where she is going to be that day. ****This is also a great option for a mom that has someone close to them that is high risk for COVID. If the risk of exposing their loved one is great this is a safe way to get the help you need without the anxiety of going to a clinic.
The first session is the time I get to hear your story and find out what you want to get back to doing. I will complete a detailed exam to find out how your body moves, how your muscles feel and see what causes and/or when your body hurts. With that information I will tell you the root cause of your pain and how long it will take to get you back to your favorite activities. When you leave you will have things you can do at home that will help you reduce your pain and you will know what we are going to work on next time.
Follow up sessions will have hands-on treatments that are designed to either reduce pain or improve motion depending on your goals. Then we will progress any exercises or activities that are specifically designed for you to achieve your goals.
Each treatment plan starts with activities that first stop pain, then heal the injured tissues, and the last few sessions are there to life proof your body. The last few sessions are important to make sure the problem doesn’t just keep coming back time after time. (of course if it does return you will know how to treat it without me)
Can you tell us why Physical Therapy is so important for Moms?
Physical therapy is important for moms because we tend to push through pain just to make it through the day. Unfortunately, we can only ignore pain or our bodies not working quite right for so long before your body won’t be ignored any longer. While we are pushing through that pain we are slowly changing how we do things. Eventually if the problem gets big enough we start to miss out on precious time playing with kids. We will stop making Thanksgiving dinner because XYZ aches for 2 days afterward. You wouldn’t even imagine trying to dance with your daughter or sitting in the bleachers at a sporting event. For many moms they might have no pain but their body just isn’t working quite right for instance stopped controlling when you pee. You used to love walking to park but since you started peeing yourself every time you sneezed or laughed hard you stopped going out more than absolutely needed. The embarrassment was not worth it.
I can help you stop that joint pain from stopping you from fully enjoying your family. I can help you sneeze or laugh without peeing yourself at the next family event.
Tell us more about Your Goals Physical Therapy, what makes it unique and different from other practices?
The thing that makes Your Goal PT unique is that my priority is helping my clients achieve their goals. I designed my clinic to remove many of the road blocks my busy mom friends have struggled with over the years when they try to see other physical therapists.
From the first phone call I start by listening to your story to learn what you are struggling with and what you want to get back to doing. By taking the time to listen and fully understand what you are looking for I can also make sure I’m the right person to help you. If I’m not the right person I help you find the right person.
Because moms have different lifestyles I offer three ways to have a session (in person, mobile or telehealth) to take away the stress some moms have over how to carve out time for appointments.
Finally when I create your specialized treatment plan it takes into consideration your lifestyle and your goals. That way in all the 1 to 1 follow ups we are only concerned with how to work towards your goals.
For any skeptics in physical therapy, what would you tell them?
To all the moms that are skeptical about physical therapy I say, of course you are. There is so much information on health and wellness out there now that it’s hard to navigate fact from fiction. And even if you know what they are telling you is true for someone else would it work for you? It is very common and I would say normal to be skeptical of physical therapy. I know what I do works because I’ve worked with countless people who have come in with back problems so severe surgeons already had surgery scheduled. After starting with me and seeing progress they pushed the surgery back a month then eventually cancelled the surgery all together. I’ve helped moms that hurt their shoulder who went to several doctors for injections and treatments. This one mom was told not to move her arm at all. How do you cook, brush your hair or take care of your family without moving your right arm? That went on for 5 months, until she called me. After a few sessions she was able to move her arm more, she started doing house work again. She was finally able to get back to taking care of her family without worrying she would hurt herself. I know I can help because I see it every day in my clinic. This is my specialty. But how can you be sure I can help? Call me and ask
If you are still not sure if I can help you with your specific situation I offer a 30 minutes Discovery Session. This Free 30 minute session can be over the phone or in person. It is a time where you can ask me questions, I can ask you about your concerns to make sure we are a good fit before you have to pay for anything. If you are interested in the Free Discover Session, simply click this link
What is your main goal when treating your patients?
This is a great question! Most people would assume the main goal would be to stop pain but that is not my main goal. And here is why….
So many women either don’t have pain or they’ve been dealing with the pain for years. That pain is not the reason they are coming to see me; they are coming to get back to doing something. I want to help people get back to doing their favorite things; even if they haven’t been able to do that thing for years.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a business owner and as a doctor of physical therapy?
The biggest challenge I face as business owners and a Physical Therapist is finding ways to communicate to moms that they have more options for their aches and pain than medications or injection. Finding ways to explain that you don’t have to suffer for years until the only option left is surgery.
Future plans for your practice?
Currently, I’m happy with my practice. I love getting to know my clients and seeing them achieve their goals. But it would be nice to own a small gym that concentrates on helping empowering women to get on and stay on their health journey.
Any discounts or specials our moms can look out for?
On my website I have several Ebooks I’ve written to help moms overcome their aches and pains. I have put together my best tips and tricks to stop things like lower back pain or neck and shoulder pain. If you are currently pregnant and are looking for tips on how to move safety I have an ebook for you.
Simply go to www.yourgoalspt.com and pick the book that best fits your needs.
If you have any questions or if you are unsure if I can help you with your specific problem I offer a Free 30 minute consultation. In that 30 minutes you can tell me about your specific injury and we can make sure I’m the right person to help you achieve your goals.
Simply click this link: https://www.yourgoalspt.com/discover-visit.html