When Dan Peetz began as a physical therapist 36 years ago, there were only five or six subspecialties of the profession, now there are at least 20 he said, which have helped to grow his business Skyline Physical Therapy, located at 3624 N. 163rd Plaza.
"Some folks only treat from the elbow down or just hands. That is very specialized." Peetz said.
Some of the special treatment programs he offers include TMJ treatment, functional dry needling, Graston Technique, low-level laser therapy, pain management and orthopedic physical therapy. He also specializes in posture tips, sports injuries and custom orthotics.
"Posture has become a bigger problem now, too." he said.
With everyone using their cell phones constantly, he said that people who have their head down texting all the time are experiencing the same trauma as if they have 40 pound weights around their necks.
"I also work with a lot of people with jaw pain." he said.
He partners with other health care practitioners such as oral surgeons to help in the elimination of their patients' pain. He works on patients from pediatrics to geriatrics.
Peetz also works two days a week at an organization called On With Life in Glenwood, Iowa.
"It's unique because all they work with is traumatic brain injuries. I work with patients whose muscles are usually very tight, and I help them get more relaxed. I get them up and walking again." Peetz said.
One of the biggest changes he has encountered in his career is the dwindling number of insurance companies.
"There used to be dozens of them. Now, we are down to about for or five major ones." he said. "I believe in 2017, there will be lots of changes in healthcare and insurance."
Peetz has learned the skill of dry needling using very fine needles rounded at the ends.
"It allows me to separate their tissues, with a lot less trauma." he said. "There are fine trigger points. You go in there with needles and you can put electrical stimulation with it. It makes muscle fibers relax and they are more pliable."
He also uses low-level laser for tissue repair.
"It's one of the safest modalities. I can even use it on children for tissue repair and to decrease pain." he said. "You can also use it on knee replacements and it helps it to heal faster."
There have been many trends in physical therapy through the years, but he said that even after more than three decades, he is still using some of the same treatments he learned in the beginning that are very helpful to patients.
Peetz began his medical career in 1976 serving as a corpsman in the United States Air Force working on a base hospital in labor and delivery. He graduated from University of North Dakota in physical therapy.
"I came to Omaha thinking I wanted to be a doctor, but I realized I really loved physical therapy." he said.