Proven independence, Proven results
Steven Coppola's practice philosophy is grounded in New England practicality

By Karen Lundquist
Photos by Larry Dunn

This post reproduces a part of the full article published in the 2011 Fall edition of the Rehab Insider by Patterson Medical.  Please contact Patterson Medical for a copy of the full article.

Exploring other modalities

Coppola Physical Therapy is one of only three clinics in the united states to offer treatment with the Advanced Spinal Mobilization Instrument. Developed in the United Kingdom, the device has been used there for several years and is now approved for use in the United States. It treats by mobilizing, as apposed to manipulating, the spine through the range of motion.  The hand-held instrument rotates the spine gently back and forth, applying pressure to diagonally opposite transverse processes of adjacent vertebrae to help restore mobility to the joints. It normally takes six to 11 treatments to restore flexibility and mobility to the point where a home exercise program can take over. In most cases, the treatment is covered by insurance.

This specialized therapy led to an unexpected marketing opportunity. When Concord television station WMUR learned of Coppola’s unique offering, it sent a crew to his facility to shoot a “Living Well” feature, filming Coppola as he demonstrated the device on an appreciative patient. Immediately after the piece aired, the clinic received 42 inquiries from intrigued viewers. Coppola was pleased that the segment was objective and informative, affirming that “people can decide whether that’s something that works for them or not”.

Coppola and his staff are constantly educating themselves, taking courses to explore potential treatments whose value is based on support evidence. If a treatment seems worthwhile, the staff will try to incorporate it into the practice. Sometimes an otherwise promising treatment is too esoteric for Coppola’s down-to-earth practice philosophy. “That’s not saying there’s not a place for it, but that’s not our practice,” he said. “We’re more ‘see-it, move-it’ type of people. If there is something that needs to be moved, we move it. If something needs to be stabilized, we stabilize it.”

Coppola is currently investigating total motion release, a modality premised on using non-affected body parts to fix the affected area, with the aim of empowering patients to heal themselves. His staff shares his open-mindedness and willingness to spend time investing in “new tools for the toolbox.”