GROTON -- With the arrival of a major physical therapy center, the Mill Run retail plaza in Groton is quickly turning into a wellness mecca for the Nashoba Valley. This month's arrival of Live Free Physical Therapy continues the trend of new health-related facilities opening in the area, which has seen the introduction of a number of spas, fitness centers and medical practices.
"I looked at the full area, the surrounding towns, and felt that there was a big need for it in this area," said physical therapist Christine Awdycki, owner of Live Free Physical Therapy. "It seemed to me that a lot of people in this area are health conscious and decided that it would be a great fit. I came to Groton to offer my services to the people that need it."
Awdycki said she was drawn to Mill Run because of its community of health-related businesses.
"I always wanted to have my practice in a place that had a good network of similar businesses," she said. "It was really nice to find that Mill Run had a doctor's office as well as a whole array of things geared toward health. We can all help each other because my services are very complementary to what is going on down there."
Helping Awdycki in her decision to locate in Groton was the fact that similar services in physical therapy can't to be had for miles around.
"One of the important aspects of physical therapy is convenience and compliance," she said. "With the need for regular visits, traveling long distances is difficult for people.
A resident of Norwood, Awdycki will celebrate the establishment of Live Free Physical Therapy with an open house event planned for Aug. 6 from 5-8 p.m.
"This has been a dream of mine, starting in the physical therapy field," said Awdycki. "I always wanted to start a practice to provide services for people. It's just that the timing needed to be right. Finally, I was at a point in my career, the end of a kind of natural progression from managing clinics all throughout Massachusetts."
Possessing nearly a decade of experience in outpatient orthopedic physical therapy, Awdycki has managed successful clinics all over eastern Massachusetts. Most recently, she served as the vice president of operations for an outpatient physical therapy company, managing six individual clinics while also serving as a treating therapist.
"I have over nine years of experience, mostly managerial, but I've always remained a treating therapist," she said. "That's always been my big passion, treating patients and getting them better."
Awdycki earned an MS in Physical Therapy from Boston University in 2001, where she also earned a BS in Health Science in 1999. She has a varied background in the outpatient orthopedic field, which includes aquatic therapy, geriatrics, pediatrics and sports medicine. Her previous experiences as a personal trainer and an NCAA Division I lacrosse athlete further extends her knowledge of the human body, human movement and function-specific exercises.
"The field of physical therapy has grown a lot over the years," said Awdycki. "People want to keep themselves healthy. We educate patients in how to do that and how to keep themselves healthy after an injury. The concept of physical therapy is very conservative; it's a very non-invasive type of care offering a wide array of orthopedic techniques. We offer different modalities intended to help people relax their muscles and reduce inflammation, etc."
Now, with the opening of her own clinic, Awdycki can really bear down and do it her way in a newly renovated, 1,400 square-foot facility at Mill Run Plaza. Her offices include state-of-the-art equipment and everything needed for patients to achieve the best orthopedic rehabilitation program possible.
Setting herself an ambitious agenda, Awdycki said that with her new practice, she intends to cover the full range of therapeutic ailments including arthritic pain, back and neck pain, bursitis, fractures, gait and balance issues, hand and foot injuries, motor vehicle accident injuries, orthopedic and sports injuries, post-surgery (orthopedic, spinal), pre-natal back pain, sciatica and spinal disc dysfunction, sprains and strains, tendinitis and work related injuries.
"I believe that physical therapy is important in a person's overall medical care," said Awdycki of the exhaustive list. "A lot of our aches and pains are derived from imbalances in muscle strength and so what we do as physical therapists is we restore that balance and getting flexibility back for a patient's everyday functional activities."
In order to meet patient needs, the practice will have both early morning and evening appointments available during the week. Live Free Physical Therapy is usually able to see patients for their initial evaluation session within 48 hours of first contact.
Awdycki said her practice will cover patients from age 5 and up with at least an hour devoted to each when an appointment is made.
"I like to go home at the end of the day knowing that someone's life is better in that they're functioning better and getting back to normal," said Awdycki. "It's a very rewarding feeling to know that I've been able to help someone in a very painful state feel better. That was why I got into this field in the first place, to help people in pain get back to their normal lives."
For those seeking more information on Live Free Physical Therapy they can visit the clinic on the Internet at www.livefreept.comor telephone directly at 978-449-9772.