Ruth Jenkins has set about expanding her reach when it comes to helping patients regain ’function’ back into their lives through physical therapy and now, teaming up with Fyzical Balance & Therapy centers for a focus on concussion therapy.

CRESTVIEW — In the most basic sense of the word, Ruth Jenkins is interested in how her patients function.


"We talk about (function) all the time," said Jenkins, owner of three Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers in Crestview, DeFuniak Springs and Niceville. "We think about the things we take for granted, like standing up out of a chair. Can you walk around the grocery store? Can you pick up your grandchildren?


"Most people can't imagine not being able to do these types of things."


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For Jenkins, a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT), it's the path back from the sort of physical pain that regulates what people do in their day-to-day lives where she has thrived.


Jenkins opened her first manual therapy center in Crestview in 2009 and eventually moved to her current, larger location at 728 N. Ferdon Blvd. She's the only COMT operating in Northwest Florida and specializes in joint mobilization and soft tissue techniques for orthopedic conditions.


"We have a multi-discipline approach here," Jenkins said. "You can come get your back treated with some physical therapy, but you may want to see a massage therapist with that as well, and you can do both here. It allows patients to make that transition from physical therapy to wellness or vice versa, and do it seamlessly.


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"What we want is to make sure they don't have that injury again so they don't have to come back," she added. "We have a pretty broad approach that can include one-on-one training, strength classes, relaxation methods ... even a mindfulness class is offered. I don't think you see that a lot in this area, with all of the different disciplines blending together."


Jenkins' value to Fyzical on a national level can't be understated. Not only does she own three franchises, her approach to the work has separated her from the pack in the eyes of other professionals.


"I've known Ruth professionally for quite awhile now, and I've come to really appreciate the advocacy she brings to the profession," said Dr. Rick Douglass, Fyzical’s president of franchise operations. "Her emphasis is on the spine and joints and mobilization ... lots of manual techniques, and with (Fyzical) she's added balance certification to her business and her clinical repertoire.


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"Our strength as a company is with people like Ruth, who operate independent, autonomous and are great at what they do."


Jenkins is a huge proponent of the balance therapy that Douglass referred to — specifically when it comes to helping people recover from concussions. The equipment to help patients is evident all around the Crestview location, including a harness attached to an overhead safety system and a high-tech balancing board.


"We'd like to be able to see more of the (military) veterans in the area who have brain injuries and who are dealing with balance issues after concussions," Jenkins said. "We have an amazing wealth of knowledge through Fyzical that we didn't have before ... now we have the ability to screen (patients) with goggles linked to a computerized system that helps tell how your balance and brain have been affected."