Rebecca Johnson is like many of the patients at Tampa Bay Physical Therapy.
She had a shoulder problem, tried other places with minimal success, wondered if she would ever find a solution, and then found Dr. Kelly Pearce Baez, PT, DPT.
“When I met with her the first time, it clicked,” Johnson says. “She went over everything with me — it was a very thorough first consultation, she used a skeleton, which she named ‘Fred,’ to point out areas where my injury was. Then, we went over a treatment plan.”
Johnson was suffering from frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, a condition where the shoulder bone is difficult to move, producing pain and swelling in the shoulder joint and inhibiting range of motion.
However, Dr. Kelly’s physical treatment, Johnson says, soon returned her to a pain-free life and a shoulder that she says is roughly 95% healed.
Dr. Kelly and her Tampa Bay Physical Therapy office in the Tampa Telecom Park off E. Fletcher Ave. have experienced the same kind of results for dozens of other patients since opening in October 2021 — for everything from shoulder, back and joint pain to injury and surgery rehabilitation to neurological-related issues.
In fact, Dr. Kelly says she can treat just about any type of ache or pain.
“I’m not your typical physical therapist who only focuses on one thing,” she says. “That’s the benefit of my practice. If you come to me, you have at least a 90% chance of me being able to resolve (your pain). Most often that is the case. It is extremely rare I need to tell a patient that they should go to see this other person, or a surgeon.”
At Tampa Bay Physical Therapy, new patients receive a consultation and a risk-free screening, where their mobility and strength are tested as Dr. Kelly searches for the root cause of any pain. She will then present a treatment plan to the patient, with the plan’s length depending upon the severity of the injury, as well as a home routine to help the process.
“We deal with everything from head to toe,” Dr. Kelly says.
She offers services for weekend warriors and athletes and those who have some kind of impaired joint movement and may be facing or are recovering from surgery. Dr. Kelly also takes on patients who are recovering from strokes, as well as those battling Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and other neuro-type disorders.
Dr. Kelly says that those suffering from neurological problems, including balance issues, concussion symptoms and vertigo, are at a high risk for dangerous falls.
The Tampa Bay Physical Therapy office has the latest exercise machines, as well as the Vectra Neo (electrotherapy) and Richmar HydraTherm (heat therapy) units to provide strength and relief. There also is a special room to treat those with neurological disorders involving issues like a stroke, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and PD.
Dr. Kelly also offers the LSVR BIG program, an intensive 1-on-1 treatment created for PD and other neurological conditions.
PT Massage, Too
Tampa Bay Physical Therapy also currently offers a physical therapy massage package, where you can get single sessions or purchase a membership that allows you two massages a month and a stretching program designed specifically for you.
“It’s really, really good,” she says. “We’ve had a lot of people sign up for it who are very satisfied.”
If a stretching program isn’t for you, Dr. Kelly can do joint mobilization and alignments as well — which, she says, are options most other physical therapists can’t or don’t offer.
Tampa Bay Physical Therapy, which accepts most major health insurance plans including Medicare (but not Medicaid), also has a wellness program, or personal training. Dr. Kelly describes it as a weight loss and maintenance program — and includes a nutritionist offering dietary advice — designed for patients who want to stay with her after their physical therapy concludes.
“It continues to develop their skills, and some of them just feel like I’m the one that helps them remain compliant,” Dr. Kelly says.
Johnson doesn’t take part in that program, but she understands why others do. When she finally went to see an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss other options, he offered to direct her to another physical therapist. But, Johnson declined, saying she wanted to stay with Dr. Kelly.
“She just listens,” Johnson says. “You can do exercises every day, but if your doctor isn’t listening to you about what is still hurting, then they aren’t going to be able to help you.”
Even though she no longer visits the visit the office for her physical therapy, Johnson is diligent about following the at-home plan designed by Dr. Kelly, and says she continues to improve. And, when she has a question, she says Dr. Kelly is always there to pick up the phone and help with an answer.
Dr. Kelly originally went to school to be a teacher, but changed course and got her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in health science (with a concentration in biology) from USF and her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from Nova Southeastern University: Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences in Tampa.
After working for a hospital, she decided to open her own practice.
Dr. Kelly’s husband Joel Baez runs the business and marketing side of the practice.
It is Dr. Kelly’s attention to detail that continues to draw in new patients. While most of the bigger physical therapy and orthopaedic businesses can make it feel like you are sharing your appointment with multiple patients, Dr. Kelly prides herself on 1-on-1 care, and she says she is a strong patient advocate, often going above and beyond to help.
Sometimes, that includes finding medical equipment or a wheelchair for a patient. “We don’t just stop when you leave the office,” she says.
That personal care is what attracted Johnson to Tampa Bay Physical Therapy in the first place. She had been to other physical therapists, but felt she was just being rotated between therapists.
“Here you get 1-on-1 attention,” Dr. Kelly says. “You start with me and you stay with me. You don’t get passed off.”
Dr. Kelly says fixing injuries is an important part of her craft, but she also is a firm believer in maintaining wellness. She is hosting the first Tampa Bay Physical Therapy 5K run on June 7, aka Global Running Day, at a site to be determined. She will provide free 15-minute massages and wellness testing for those who attend the event, which she says will be a family fun day with food trucks and other vendors on hand. More information will be posted soon at TampaBayPT.health.
“It’s just our way of giving back to and doing something for the community,” she says. “That’s something we like to do.”
Tampa Bay Physical Therapy is located at 13328 Telecom Dr., and is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sat. For more info, visit TampaBayPT.health, call (813) 771-0777.
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