Meet the Team
John Morris, PT, serves as the Director of the Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program and Clinical Manager of MossRehab Lansdale. He specializes in treating patients with neck and back pain.
What motivated you to become a physical therapist?
I always wanted to work in healthcare. Helping people is one of the greatest things that someone can do. When I was in high school, I injured my shoulder and back at different times and went to physical therapy. I appreciated the time that the therapists gave to me and other patients in the clinic. During this experience, I realized I would like to be a physical therapist to help patients get back to their prior quality of life.
Can you discuss your educational background and training?
I earned my bachelor's and master's in physical therapy from Ithaca College in New York. I also completed the Regis University Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy and am board certified in orthopedics as well as in mechanical diagnosis and therapy treatment of pain and spinal origin. More recently, I completed my Masters of Business Administration through Capella University. I'm currently enrolled in a Doctor of Science Physical Therapy program at Bellin College in Wisconsin.
Why have you worked at MossRehab for more than a decade?
I’ve been at MossRehab for over 13 years, working with outpatients at both the Landsdale and Castor Avenue locations. I'm focused on clinical and professional advancement and feel very aligned with MossRehab’s mission to provide the best care to as many people as possible. I’ve pursued different certifications to extend my skillset in providing the best care to patients. Just like the MossRehab network, I want to ensure patients get the best experience.
What are your roles at MossRehab?
In addition to treating patients at MossRehab Lansdale as a physical therapist (PT), I serve as the clinical manager of the facility, overseeing a staff of six PTs and occupational therapists and ensuring the clinic operates efficiently and smoothly. Because we’re a newer clinic, I work on building relationships with patients, prospective patients, and physicians throughout the region.
In 2016, I started the MossRehab orthopedic physical therapy residency program, which educates and mentors residents in orthopedics. I call it supercharged professional growth because it offers over 300 hours of education and 200 hours of mentorship over 50 weeks. Serving as a mentor, I shadow residents to review their clinical reasoning and decision-making in developing a care plan that accelerates the patient’s recovery. We also meet in one-on-one sessions where we review patient encounters. The culmination of work should prepare residents to test for their certification in orthopedics.
Who are your patients?
I primarily treat patients with neck and back pain. Many have cervical or lumbar spine disorders, such as cervical radiculopathy and sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy (nerve dysfunction caused by compression). Some experience cervicogenic headaches (those associated with neck pain). Pain can originate from a trauma such as a fall or a car accident, repeated movements, or prolonged positioning that stresses the neck and spine. Some patients have injuries from earlier in life that get worse.
What is your approach to therapy?
My primary approach is listening to patients to identify how their injury or pain is affecting their lives. I develop mutually agreed-upon solutions that focus on their concerns. I want my care to address their personal limitations or goals, such as how pain limits their ability to walk the dog or watch the grandkids. Therapy might not get rid of the pain right away, but can help them accomplish activities important in their lives.
Can you tell me about the use of PT in treating cervicogenic headaches?
Headaches impact up to three-quarters of the population per year. It's a significant medical issue that many people ignore but can get treated if they communicate with a physician. Cervicogenic headaches are not uncommon and are thought to be caused by neck pain. I might have a patient experiencing neck pain after a car accident who doesn’t realize their headaches are associated with it. Physical therapy and exercise can successfully treat these headaches.
Can you describe a therapy session?
If it’s a new patient, I review how they’ve been feeling and their biggest limitations or aggravating activities. If it’s an existing patient, I want to know if they feel they're making progress. At every therapy session, I review a patient’s goals to ensure we are working towards meeting them. As noted, I’m big into creating an alliance with the patient instead of just advising my patient about what I think is best. We mutually discuss a recommended therapy in every session. If treating a back or neck disorder, I typically prescribe a combination of manual therapy and active exercise, along with some home exercises.
What inspires you on the job?
That's shifted a bit after becoming a clinical manager. I’m inspired by my staff and want them to have the skill set to be confident in their role in managing patients. So, I’m always trying to identify activities, meetings, or groups in which they can participate to support their professional growth.
Who has had a strong influence on your life?
My biggest influence is my mother who was a single mom for the early part of my life. She raised me while going to college at night - sometimes bringing me along - and developed a career in the upper echelons of management within healthcare. It’s amazing to see where she started and how she retired as a director of pharmaceutical research. She instilled in me the importance of learning and improving regardless of my age and credentials.
What are your interests outside of work?
From a fun perspective, I like to golf, read, and spend time with my family. One of my daughters lives with blindness and faces a lifetime of challenges. That brought me into the rare disease world. I’m a board member of the International WAGR Syndrome Association that focuses on patient advocacy and research for this rare genetic syndrome that causes eye abnormalities and other conditions. It’s tireless work. I average 5 to 10 hours a week working with them.
Last book read?
Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won't Get You There. I'm trying to learn from experts on how to coach and inspire my staff and be a better version of myself.
What is your life motto?
Only regret the things that you don't do.
Learn how PT helps treat cervicogenic headaches.
May 10, 2022
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