Aiding Recovery through Movement

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
“It’s going to hurt, but it’s going to be a good hurt,” said Staff Sgt. Kivynn Pabst. “You’re doing a great job!”

He offers helpful words of encouragement, as the patient’s face wrinkles with a grimace of pain and struggles to complete the movement. Pabst places his hand on the patient’s leg helping increase her flexibility with a leg stretch.

Their bodies mimic each other as he accompanies her by performing the stretch together in a clinic filled with material and equipment to help service members heal from physical wounds.

Pabst is a 779th Medical Group physical medicine technician that works at the Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Joint Base Andrews.

“We are the caregivers that help the injured get back to their day-to-day activities and perform their units’ mission,” said Pabst.

JBA technicians provide quality patient care base on their unique needs in an ethical, safe, sanitary and caring environment.

“He had a pre-medical bachelor degree before joining the Air Force,” said Master Sgt. Robbin Free, 779th MDG physical medicine flight chief, who is Pabst’s supervisor and has known him for four years. “Therefore, Pabst is extremely knowledgeable about the human anatomy. Communicating with patients is one of his strengths. He is able to relay the reason the patient is here and show the significance of performing the exercises.”

This contributes to the purpose of Pabst’s job to not only show patients what to do, but also encourage them to do it at home.

Patients normally get a referral from their primary care manager to attend the clinic. They then visit the clinic to be evaluated by a physical or occupational therapist to develop a treatment plan. Their next appointment will be with a technician.

“For example, a patient with a hip injury will use equipment such as a thera-band and will perform exercises called train tracks and steam boats, which both consist of stretching the band with their legs a number of times,” said Pabst. “This helps work their hip abductors. Once the appointment is complete, I will log their progress in the clinical database.”

Approximately 15 people staff the fast paced physical therapy clinic, which averages 150 patients a day.

“I have been doing this for five years,” said Pabst. “I love observing the progress of the patients. It’s rewarding to work hands on with them and see how grateful they are for the help we provide to reach their recovery goal.”