Michael Parlatore, DPT, is a physical therapist and clinical manager at MossRehab Einstein Medical Center Montgomery specializing in shoulder and jaw dysfunctions. He created and co-leads a Sports Medicine Special Interest Group, bringing clinicians together to learn more about working with athletes.
What motivated you to become a physical therapist?
During high school, I worked with our school's head athletic trainer on injuries with the basketball and football teams. At first, I thought I wanted to treat on-field injuries. But I became more interested in what happens after the injury and helping in rehabilitation after the person is medically stabilized or had surgery.
What is your background?
I earned a bachelor's degree in biology and a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT) at Arcadia University. Part of my DPT included completing clinical internships at a veteran's hospital in West Virginia, Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA, and a private physical therapy practice in Newtown, PA. For the past 14 years, I've been an associate faculty member at Arcadia, serving as a lab instructor and lecturer for students in the DPT program.
Why did you decide to join MossRehab?
I've worked at MossRehab for 14 years, starting at Elkins Park, moving to Jenkintown, and finally settling in Norriton, where I've been for the past 7 years. What drew me here was my high regard for the lab instructors and guest lecturers from MossRehab while studying at Arcadia University. I found MossRehab clinicians were very knowledgeable and experts in their field. I also value that it is a teaching hospital and provides therapists with the opportunity to provide innovative and individualized care to their patients.
What are your roles at MossRehab?
In addition to working with patients as a PT, I am clinical manager of MossRehab Einstein Medical Center Montgomery. In this position, I maintain daily productivity and a high level of performance at the site. I also look to expand patient services and help staff foster new skills. We also are building programs for cancer patients, pelvic floor patients, and athletes. In the role of clinical manager, I must understand the needs of the patient population and develop programs based on the strengths of our staff. I work with a phenomenal group of people that make the clinic so successful.
Can you talk about the Sports Leadership Committee on which you serve?
As part of the committee, I have developed sports medicine continuing education conferences for physical therapists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, and other clinicians throughout the area. One of my favorite past events focused on myths in sports medicine. Our presenters spoke on common misconceptions related to sports injuries and rehabilitation. For example, I spoke about traditional stretching principles that may not be the best way to prepare athletes for activity and competition.
What is the sports medicine special interest group that you co-lead?
MossRehab’s sports medicine special interest group gathers clinicians within the network who are interested in treating athletes following an injury. In past, we explored different topics related to injury prevention, rehabilitation, and return to sport guidelines for athletes of different sports. I co-lead the group with Yoni Reinfeld, physical therapist at MossRehab Jenkintown.
What is your specialty?
I have spent a better part of my career developing knowledge and skill with the athlete population, specifically baseball pitchers. I also enjoy working with individuals with jaw pain and dysfunction. I teach our orthopedic physical therapy residents about the management of jaw issues and am listed as a clinical resource for examination and treatment of the shoulder for neurologic and orthopedic patients. I also have fun mentoring and assisting other clinicians with challenging cases throughout the MossRehab network.
Who are your patients?
My patients range from middle-school aged athletes to older individuals with orthopedic and neurological injuries. Having a diverse caseload really drives my pursuit of advancing my knowledge in all areas with a focus on patient education and active involvement during their course of care.
What is your approach to therapy?
I individualize therapy by connecting with patients and understanding what motivates them. If I can make a solid connection and build trust with an individual, we are more likely to achieve a higher level of recovery and meet goals.
What is a therapy session like?
I initially evaluate a patient's physical condition and problems. For example, a patient may be experiencing shoulder pain and can't put a coffee mug back into the cabinet. In addition to describing the problem, I ask the patient to demonstrate the activity so I can analyze their movement strategy (something that we physical therapists do a great job with). The examination then shifts to specific body regions and structures that may be contributing to a change in the persons movement pattern. Based on the results, I develop an exercise program for both the clinic and at home. If a patient is not strong enough, I might prescribe resistance-based exercises. For those with limited flexibility, I would teach stretches. It is also imperative that patients understand what the expected response of the body will be related to any interventions performed.
What are your clinical interests?
One of my big interests is working with baseball pitchers. Another is the use of movement observation to serve as a guide in determining patient therapies during rehabilitation. If someone has a hard time getting out of a chair, I will watch the movement to help determine how I need to intervene and help the individual achieve their goal. Using observations in movement analysis can help me be more efficient with my patients.
What inspires you on the job?
Patient reactions to their progress for sure. When someone is excited about getting out of the car without knee pain or can walk to the kitchen from the living room without fatigue, I get excited. It's reassuring to know I can help guide them towards their next goal.
Who has had a strong influence on your life?
My parents never told me what to do in my career, but always provided support. They instilled in me to do my best regardless of my career path. Watching them work hard in their careers influenced me to put everything I have into my work while maintaining a work-life balance. They worked incredibly hard to give me a chance to do what I love.
What are your interests outside of work?
I love music, whether it's listening or playing it. I taught myself how to play the guitar and have a drum set. I'm also a sports fan, particularly of baseball. I have two kids, so I take advantage of any opportunity I get to stay active and involved with my son or daughter. I am actually coaching my son in baseball, which is an absolute blast.
What is your favorite food?
Any kind of pizza, just no mushrooms please.
Do you have a Life motto?
Keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate things.
Learn more about Sports Rehab Services at MossRehab.