Osteopractic Pain Clinics
A Better Solution To Orthopedic Pain and Dysfunction
Dr. Ken Wheeler
Fort Worth Clinic
Ken Wheeler graduated with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2012 and has since completed fellowship training in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy and multiple board certifications in Orthopedics and Neurology. He holds a Diploma in Osteopractic as well as countless certifications in sports training, nutrition, functional medicine, manual therapy, dry needling, and spinal manipulation.
Ken has a passion for the latest rehab treatments and research and is currently the only physical therapist in the nation with this combination of credentials. Ken has worked with college teams, in hospital settings, and in dozens of private practice pain clinics. He takes pride in creating an eclectic and functional approach to healing within his clinic. Every patient can expect private, comfortable, and personal care.
Click this link to check out Ken's latest research publication on dry needling and spinal manipulation for HEADACHE PATIENTS.
- Doctorate in Physical Therapy
- Fellowship Trained in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy
- Diploma in Osteopractic
- Functional Medicine Practitioner
- Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist
- Board Certified Neurologic Specialist
- Certified in Dry Needling
- Certified in Spinal Manipulation
- Registered Strength Coach and Certified Strength Specialist
- Certified USA Level 1 Track and Field Coach
- Certified in Sports Nutrition
- Certified Industrial Rehab Specialist
- Certified in Functional Movement Screening
- Certified in Kinesiotaping
A Different Approach To Pain
ClearCut ORTHO provides one-on-one hour treatment sessions. No more being treated by techs, unqualified assistants, or with multiple other patients. This full hour with a clinician is very rare in healthcare. It puts us in a unique position to be able to cover a wide range of treatments, manual therapies, mobility exercises, coaching, education, and relaxation within every visit. Research shows that this is the kind of time and effort it takes from the patient and provider to make important and lasting changes in lifestyle, pain, and dysfunction.
We work to search for the true underlying causes of all pain and dysfunction, as well as treating current symptoms. For every patient that walks in, there is a percent of their symptoms that can be allocated to a variety of factors, including: nutritional, genetic, environmental, activity related, biomechanics, strength and power, efficiency of movement, ergonomics, soft tissue related, joint related, and other neural and reflexive components. We will address as many as possible in every visit based on the patient's individual needs and goals.
Proven Faster Healing
Our diverse tools and treatment approaches allow us to get you better significantly faster than other clinics and providers. How do we know this? We track our outcomes and compare them to the national average for a variety of pain conditions. At most outpatient clinics you'll see a therapist every few visits, or for a few minutes during each session. At ClearCut ORTHO you'll see a therapist for the entire time, and won't repeat exercises or stretches that you can easily be doing by yourself at home.
We explain every aspect of the chemical, mechanical, and neural components that make up your pain or dysfunction based on the latest research. Some clinics create a patient dependency on the practitioner by telling them that something is "out of alignment or out of place", that they need frequent "maintenance visits" to keep the condition from perpetually coming back, or that they are "inherently unstable." For the vast majority of clients, these are proven false and only create fear avoidance patterns, decreased performance, and more money spent on unnecessary care.
There has been a big shift recently in our profession to a psychological side of care that explains pain much more in depth and teaches patients how to overcome pain through an understanding of the science behind it, the regions of the brain affected, and various mental practice models with breathing, meditation, and mindfulness techniques at the center. These are appropriate and useful, especially in chronic pain, and will be addressed if needed. With this in mind it also makes sense that the place you are visiting to overcome these pain conditions needs to be conducive to relaxing, focusing, and healing as well.
Whether for the weekend warrior, college or professional athlete, or elderly patient getting back to golf or gardening, every exercise program prescribed should be elite. We utilize the best research in planning mobility, strength, endurance, and skill activities, and employ the latest neuropriming techniques for quicker outcomes when learning new skills and movement patterns. We also conveniently offer telehealth services to quickly follow up with any questions you have on these activities and movements without having to come back in for a full treatment session.
We Are Experts At
At ClearCut ORTHO we treat a wide variety of patients, from intense chronic pain to professional athletes with overuse injuries. We take pride in giving honest and highly accurate diagnoses and care, and get patients better quicker than traditional clinics.
Some of the common pain conditions we see include:
- Low back pain, neck pain, whiplash
- Back or neck radiculopathy, "pinched nerves", sciatica, etc
- Disc herniations or bulges
- Degenerative joint and disc diseases
- Headaches (cervicogenic, tension type, migraine, etc) as well as TMJ dysfunction and jaw pain
- Thoracic outlet and rib displacement syndromes
- Chronic pain of all kinds, including fibromyalgia
- Shoulder pain from rotator cuff tears, capsulitis, bursitis, osteoarthritis, tendinopathies, and impingement
- Wrist and hand pain/strain, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Functional spinal deformities like scoliosis, torticolis, and lateral shifts
- Hip pain from strains/sprains, bursitis, impingement, and osteoarthritis
- Knee pain from strains/sprains, meniscus tears, ligamentous tears, osteoarthritis, etc
- Connective tissue dysfunction like tendinopathies, compartment syndromes, tendon avulsions, etc
- Ankle and foot pain from plantar fasciitis, calcaneal tendinopathies, neuromas, hallux valgus, heel spurs, etc
- Elbow pain from lateral or medial epicondylitis (golfers elbow and tennis elbow), ulnar nerve entrapment, sprains/strains, etc
- Central and Peripheral nerve entrapment syndromes, nerve pain, loss of neural mobility
- Vertigo, dizziness, imbalance, etc
- And much more...
The Science Behind Our Treatment Philosophy
The term Osteopractic describes a treatment paradigm and specialist post-graduate training program that combines the most evidence-based treatments from various healthcare disciplines and offers them in one setting. Treatments include both traditional therapies such as exercise and soft tissue work, as well as innovative therapies, such as dry needling, spinal manipulation, and many of the terms described below. A high emphasis is placed on accurate diagnosis and the ability to retest progress not just between sessions, but within each session to analyze what the patient is responding to the best.
This phrase applies to figuring out what exactly is at the root cause of your symptoms and distinguishing it from many other conditions or factors that present with similar features. Many healthcare practitioners are under a ton of pressure to provide the patient with a single overarching “diagnosis” and “label” that encompasses all of what they are going through. The truth is most of the time there are multiple factors and conditions at play that all work together to create the variety of chemical, neural, and mechanical factors that may be influencing the patient’s symptoms. You could have an amazing treatment plan set out by a great therapist, but if a surface level diagnosis has been accepted and is the foundation of your treatment plan, you likely will only get mild relief of your symptoms.
Likely the single most influential piece of rehabilitation second to the diagnosis. Loading the right tissues in the right ways can have powerful effects on muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, chemicals in the body and brain, and even your immune system. Medically targeted exercise simply means a protocol of exercises, stretches, mobility activities, or self treatment techniques that are specifically tailored to your own anatomy, symptoms, lifestyle, and goals.
Neural Priming (or transcranial direct current stimulation "tDCS") involves stimulating parts of the brain (in this case the motor and pre-motor cortexes) with a device that gives off a very tiny amount of electricity. This electricity excites neurons and cells superficially along those parts of the brain and opens up a window of time where it can be more easily changed and altered. It doesn’t replace hard work, but there is a large body of research showing that pairing this technique with the right therapy can help the patient learn new tasks and motor control activities more quickly. We are currently testing its efficacy for use with chronic pain patients prior to and during manual therapy treatments and mirror therapy to help alter the motor and sensory-motor cortexes. To sum it up, your brain and how it perceives information going in and out from your body plays a huge role in chronic pain. If we can help the brain to change at a quicker rate, that equals quicker results for recovery.
Pain science education is more than just information on the neurobiology and neurophysiology of pain passed along throughout your treatment sessions. In the field of physical therapy it has become synonymous with how the therapist listens, interacts, and talks with the patient...forming trust, relationship, and alliance. It also represents an effort to describe injuries and chronic pain in a more honest way, with the focus being on overall changes in how our brain and tissues interpret these pain "sensations" instead of older models that teach patients that the amount of pain they are in varies in intensity with how much "tissue damage" there is. It may sound funny at first, but this information and behavior added into your therapy can be a strong foundation for a chronic pain patient to regain confidence in their body's potential for movement and healing.
Over the last 10-15 years there has been a gradual increase in popularity of a technique called dry needling. It is shared among many different healthcare professions and varies some in technique between providers. The term sounds less than appealing, but has been shown very effective for a variety of conditions, and many people often wonder what it is, why it’s used, and if it works.
The name originates from overseas where occasionally injections are referred to as wet needling, and anytime a monofilament needle is used without medication to affect various tissues it’s referred to as dry needling. Dry Needling differs from traditional Chinese acupuncture due to the underlying theories, diagnosis, and treatments chosen. In traditional Chinese acupuncture the same needles are used, but the goal is to move and balance energy, or Chi, along varying meridians in the body. Although in western practice with dry needling we do utilize many of these same points, our goal is to affect the target tissues specifically in a variety of different ways. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, teno-osseous junctions (where the tendon attaches onto bone), ligaments, perineural tissue (tissue near nerves), fibrotic tissues, bursae (small fluid filled capsules – think bursitis), and much more.
These changes and effects on the tissues can be broken down into mechanical, chemical, and neural changes, both locally where you are having pain or dysfunction, and systemically in the entire body. On a chemical level dry needling helps release a variety of cells and messengers in the blood that combat the pain response. Many of these are chemically the same as pain medication that you take in the pill form, like endogenous (opioids and serotonin). Other cells are brought into the area to help clean up debris and tissue (macrophages), others to trigger a healthy immune response (T cells), and lastly other cells assist by helping lay down new tissues appropriately (Fibroblasts).
Research shows dry needling can affects tissues on a mechanical level as well, stimulating production of new capillary formation, which we call neovascularization, and can with enough use create a lasting change in nitric oxide levels which also represents increased blood flow. Possibly the most interesting of changes, though, happens on the neurological level. The areas in the brain associated with judging pain responses appropriately as well as interpreting sensation and feedback for resting muscle tone and activation patterns seems to be stimulated at increased levels with needling of certain local and distal points.
All together these tissue changes make dry needling is a fascinating tool, and when used appropriately with a variety of other treatment techniques it can be a huge boost to your recovery and treatment of pain symptoms.
Spinal and extremity manipulation describes high velocity techniques that are meant to cause cavitation (popping) in the associated joints. It is different from types of “mobilization” which tend to be slower, more methodical, and with a greater prolonged force applied. Both techniques are appropriate at times within rehab settings. Higher velocity manipulation has been researched extensively, and while there is still some grey area, we know that it can help alleviate pain through many mechanisms, including altering excitability of local sensory nerves, altering excitability of other tissue receptors in muscles, tendons, and joint capsules, and by release of opioid-like chemicals both at the brain and spinal cord levels.
When any practitioner does spinal or extremity manipulation, there is a wide range of factors that may be occurring to provide pain relief. Keep in mind that there is no research to show that we are putting joints back into place or changing the alignment of any system. A more accurate description for a patient would be that we are decreasing tone, spasm, and pain locally and helping the joint or structures move more freely in place. When used appropriately as an adjunct to other therapies it can greatly assist in decreasing pain and increasing range of motion.
GOes by many names, graston, etc.
Cupping has been around for ages and is used across many different professions. Some claim that it helps remove toxins from the body, or increase bloodflow to an area. In cupping, negative pressure visibly lifts the skin and superficial tissues away from the body. It may lead to improved fascial gliding if there were significant losses of range of motion prior to the treatment (whether physical or perceived.) What we know from the majority of research studies is that there are small superficial effects to soft tissues (which is great if you have actual scars or incisions that may be a source of pain or dysfunction) and there are some small chemical and neural changes that likely create a temporary increase in feeling good and having some increased range of motion. When this is combined in moderation with other movements, or in preparation for movement and strengthening, it can be a nice (and surprisingly gentle) addition to treatment.
Bloodflow restriction (BFR)
Traction itself can decrease load on the tissue temporarily which for some patients does ...... When traction is done in a seated position and performed with gentle movements, it can have a calming effect on neural tension and neural tissues as well, and help reinforce ....
Slow breathing triggers parasympathetic nervous system and may allow temporary decreases in tone and spasm.
Probably the most controversial of the group. From ultrasound and e-stim to laser therapy (hot or cold), kinesiotaping, topicals like biofreeze, and tens units. We incorporate these things as needed, and as requested by the patient if they have had a successful experience with them in the past, but it is a very small part of what we do, as it should be. The research will always be mixed, but it is VERY clear that if your provider spends most of his or her time on these things, you are not getting the care you deserve.
We will be as creative as possible and think outside the box, using whatever combination of new or old techniques necessary to find what fits your symptoms, needs, lifestyle, and goals the best.