John DeLaRosa

Physical therapist and clinic director of South Coast Orthopedics John DeLaRosa sits behind the desks near the entrance of the clinic.

COOS BAY -- After any sort of medical issue one of the most important parts of the healing process is regaining independence. The physical therapists at South Coast Orthopedics help people recovering from all sorts of ailments regain that independence.

South Coast Orthopedics sees many different types of cases ranging from folks recovering from surgery, to people who are overcoming an injury.

“We’ve got a pretty broad spectrum here, but the majority of what we see at the clinic is a lot of orthopedic,” clinic director and physical therapist John DeLaRosa said. “The nice part about being a physical therapist in this community is that because there is a shortage of medical workers here, each member of our staff has to wear whatever hat we have to put on ready each time someone walks in.”

DeLaRosa was originally a senior investigator for Child Protective Services in New York. After his own experience as a physical therapy patient he decided to go back to school and pursue physical therapy as a career.

“I was inspired, because I myself was injured, and my PT at the time said I should probably do this if I was thinking of switching careers, and I was. As I researched it everything just fell into place, so it was kind of naturally meant to be,” DeLaRosa said.

DeLaRosa says he takes pride in all of the success stories that come out of the clinic, with no one success story being more important to him than another.

“The things you hone on the most are the ones that don’t work out. You always look back and think what could we have done better, what science could be caught up with to work better … You could have somebody come in here with so many complexities going on, and if they actually get through the whole thing then you’re glad to see it. And then you could have someone who is a perfectly healthy person and they struggle with getting past a surgery and just aren’t getting it,” DeLaRosa said.

South Coast Orthopedics does not use pharmacological treatment, and would rather help its patients understand pain and how to manage it.

The clinic works with its patients to help them return to the lifestyle they once had. DeLaRosa spoke about avid fishermen going through therapy who the clinic helped get back behind a rod by simulating a fishing experience in order to retrain those muscles. He also mentioned loggers who had on-the-job accidents who harness themselves to trees in front of the clinic and climb to regain that skill.

“One of the more challenging things for the patient is learning how to rewrite the book on how to do their activities, daily living, work tasks and even their recreation tasks,” DeLaRosa said.

DeLaRosa is proud of his staff at the clinic. For the first time in his four years as director, he has been able to recruit a full staff of therapists who are permanent employees.

One of the more interesting practices at South Coast Orthopedics is that it’s one of few clinics in the country that offers Schroth Scoliosis treatment, which is a nonsurgical treatment exercise designed to de-rotate, elongate and stabilize the spine in a three-dimensional plane. The treatment was developed in Germany.

South Coast Orthopedics works daily to provide folks in the area recovering from many different ailments the opportunity to regain their livelihood after their particular incident.  

“There’s no real spare parts for anything in the human body. We’re lucky enough to be able to replace a knee, and a hip and put pins into bones, but for the most part our job is to really help preserve the machine that we’ve been given as best as possible,” DeLaRosa said.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.