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Todd Swango

I always knew that I wanted to work in healthcare and found out about physical therapy when I was in high school. I was just so interested in the idea of using exercise to heal the body. In PT school I went from being interested in amputees and prosthetics to orthopedics and manual therapy. After graduation I worked for a couple of years before going into a residency program to become a manual therapist, which totally changed the way that I work with patients and made me a significantly better therapist. I can’t imagine not going into that program, which landed me here at Orthopaedics Plus. It’s hard for me to believe it, but I have now been working here since 2004. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, because there are always new people I’m meeting and different problems that I get to address using a variety of techniques. I know it has been a long time when I see a former patient return to see me many years after they finished PT for another problem and they say something like, “Oh you weren’t even married when I saw you last time.” I enjoy getting to work with people of all ages, including kids, and teaching them about the importance of exercise, posture, and strength so that they can continue with activities that interest them. In the clinic love seeing how things change over time with respect to treatment methodologies, both from a PT and a medical/surgical standpoint, and that is something that keeps things fresh for me. It’s also fun to see how many interests I have in common with patients, whether it’s soccer, biking, interest in food and cooking, or kids and family.

I have a beautiful wife, who also happens to be a physical therapist and 2 young boys at home (and one super easy-going dog). They keep me busy outside of work hours with coaching them in soccer and baseball, mountain biking, hiking, and camping. We all enjoy music and singing and there is rarely a quiet moment in our house! I also enjoy woodworking and always have a project going on or am planning for the next one. I enjoy building furniture for the house and am excited to tackle any home improvement project on my own. It may take me longer than others, but I always strive for perfection in all my work.

Amy Sbihli

My love of exercise and mind-body wellness turned into my lifelong career in physical therapy. My training began at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) as a student-athlete. I earned a degree in Kinesiology and high honors in NCAA Cross Country and Track. I left Ann Arbor, MI and moved to St Louis, MO to further my studies in Physical Therapy. I attained my Masters and later my Doctoral degrees at Washington University. These two schools taught me how to combine the orthopedic and neurological systems in a way to improve functional movement treatment approaches to patient care.

I found special interest in Pilates and manual orthopedic spine treatments before learning about the Schroth Method for treatment of scoliosis. Since 2005, I have traveled back and forth to Spain, Italy, and Germany learning the method as it has evolved. With it, I have combined all my areas of training to work almost exclusively with people of all ages who have scoliosis and related conditions.

It has been extremely rewarding to see the successes that patients find with non-surgical approaches to scoliosis treatment. Typically, a patient comes to their first appointment a little timid and unsure of what they are about to experience during a physical therapy evaluation. It is through the process of each patient sharing their story about doctor visits and potentially orthotist visits that I get to listen and learn about how I might best be able to facilitate physical, cognitive, and emotional support along their journey. After the evaluation, together, we design a plan that is a fit for the patient’s needs that will also optimize the best outcome.

During treatment, I customize each person’s program in a way that best fits their learning style and lifestyle. I seek ways to mingle the person’s current responsibilities, activities, and interests with new ideas about how and when to incorporate what they are learning in physical therapy into their life. This is how I am able to see high levels of home exercise adherence, which in turn leads to positive treatment outcomes.

Taking this love that I have for the Schroth Method and the patients I serve, four other early adopters of the method and I founded Schroth-Barcelona Institute (SBI), a US-based school to train physical therapists on the Schroth Method. This is the American branch of the International Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School (BSPTS). We educate physical therapists from around the world about non-surgical approaches of care for scoliosis. It is my mission through SBI and BSPTS to spread the word about the Schroth Method to support this underserved patient population. I have been so fortunate to both find something that I love to do and to help patients and the healthcare providers that serve them.

Nothing excites me more than to see one of my most timid patients offering to volunteer towards my mission and that of SBI’s. To carry out this mission, several times per year I teach courses for physical therapists to learn about and obtain certification in the Schroth Method. Part of these courses involves patient lab time. I offer civic duty volunteer credits for my patient-volunteers that offer their time during lab sessions. For me it is one of the most rewarding things to see a patient come to acceptance of themselves so deeply that they are willing to give back through the sharing of their body and condition to a community of learning therapists so that these PTs can go out into the world and in turn help others with scoliosis. The full circle that I see for these patients starts with the challenge of learning that you have a diagnosis. It is shortly followed by learning all the unknowns and what ifs about the future. Then, during physical therapy, the patient understands and takes actions toward wellness. The last step when some choose to volunteer shows acceptance. In the end, I see that these patients come out strong people: mentally, physically, and socially.

Outside of work I seek to be with my friends and family, preferably running, hiking with my new Australian Labradoodle Roo, biking, or any outdoor activity. I have the fortune of being married to an awesomely supportive husband and the mom of two fun-loving active boys.

Cherie Hamelin

My desire to become a health care professional started at a young age. I remember being intrigued by the physicals therapists who worked with my aunt who had sustained a brain injury. They provided hope when there didn’t appear to be any. I have always been fascinated with the human body and in awe of what our bodies can do and overcome, especially when we get the “formula” right. The formula being a combination of patient education, exercise, proper nutrition, sleep and emotional well-being. I believe Physical Therapists play an integral part of total body healing and getting people to their maximum performance and back to living the life they want.

My years at Quinnipiac University were busy ones. I played on the Field Hockey team for a few years, then minored in Athletic training and waitressed on the weekends. I graduated with my Master’s in Physical Therapy in January 2002. Immediately after I took my first job at a large Rehabilitation Hospital and had the privilege of working in a multidisciplinary setting. After a few years, I yearned for a more wellness and preventative approach to therapy and sought a job in Orthopedics. I earned my Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy degree from Massachusetts General Hospital of International Health Professions in 2006. I still yearned for more manual orthopedic skills, so I started the fellowship program at the Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (lead by Orthopaedics Plus) and the opportunity to work for the company presented itself that same year. I then finished the two-year fellowship program in 2011.

I enjoy the variety of treating all types of conditions and very often treat multiple body parts at the same time because after all, everything is connected. I try hard to fit in as much as I can in the allotted time I have with my patients. I enjoy listening to my patients and meeting them where they are in their stage of healing both physically and emotionally if needed. I like treating pre and postnatal women and working with diastasis recti and just giving mamas the encouragement they need, whether it’s a new mom or a mom of 30 years.

Through my own personal experiences overtime and raising my small children, I have developed a deeper appreciation for light touch, myofascial release, and other alternative and natural therapies. I since have completed two Courses in Craniosacral Therapy from the Upledger Institute in 2018.

I have 4 crazy children of my own, including a set of boy/girl twins! Outside of the clinic, you will find me in my big blue van with a large cooler of food carting my kids around to various activities. Although I only let them do one activity at a time, it somehow feels like they are all in multiple activities DAILY! The days I am in the clinic however, you will find my husband in that same blue van minus the cooler of food!

Judy Antonelli

I have always enjoyed playing sports and leading an active lifestyle, so when I was choosing my career path, physical therapy was a logical option. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts- Lowell in 1984, I chose to work in various health care settings like rehabilitation, hospital inpatient, home care and outpatient orthopedics to find my niche. I eventually found my passion in the outpatient setting.

I continue to enjoy helping people see beyond their present injury to help them find a positive and productive way to heal. In my free time, I love to golf, play tennis, hike, and bike. My favorite past-times often give me great insight into many orthopedic and overuse injuries. I enjoy working at Orthopaedics Plus because the therapists who work here strive to be their best and it is reflected in the outstanding patient care and patient outcomes.

Alan Visnick

My journey to becoming a Physical Therapist started with an outstanding guidance counselor at Malden High School who suggested that I combine my interests in athletics and the human body and look in to becoming a Physical Therapist. That advice led me to majoring in Physical Therapy at Boston University. From there, an introductory course to the Allied Health Professions exposed me to the discipline of Athletic Training, which combined my interests into even a better fit!!

The end results of my studies at Boston University, in 1984, was that orthopedic physical therapy and sports medicine became my profession, and my passion and gave me the ability to say, that I never go to work, because the enjoyment I get out of treating patients, couldn’t possibly be considered as work!!

After spending my first 3 years in the profession as a Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer covering Football and Ice hockey at Boston University’s Sports Medicine Unit, my partners , Bill Antonelli, PT and Vincent Buscemi, PT and I opened the Burlington office of Orthopaedics Plus in 1987. In 1998 we opened a second location in Beverly, MA.

In the early 90’s, I realized than I wanted to get better outcomes for my patients and turned my continuing education energies to Orthopaedic Manual Therapy. As the culmination of those years of study, in 1996, I was tested and passed by one of the pioneers of manual therapy, Olaf Evenjth and his International Seminars of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy. That milestone allowed me to use the designation of OMT (Orthopedic Manual Therapist) and really identified who I had become as a clinician. After that, I began teaching and eventually became senior faculty of the Woburn, MA based Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy.

34 years later, the professional satisfaction that comes from identifying structures causing pain and dysfunction and developing a treatment plan to address those issues still rings true. Whether it is helping patients recover from spine or extremity issues, rehabbing throwing athletes or treating side by side with some of the most talented clinician’s in the area, I am very proud that I can continue to be part of the organization that we have built over the past 30+years.

Outside of the clinic, I am fortunate enough to be able to be combine my passions for teaching and sport, through coaching youth. Always mindful that youth sports is all about the kids, this has been my guiding principle through more than 25 years of coaching baseball and soccer. As a result, I have been blessed with being able to interact so many wonderful children and often get to hear two of my favorite words, ” Hi coach!” when I see them as adults. There is nothing better than knowing, as a coach, that you didn’t ruin a child’s enjoyment of the game and helped them develop their athletic skills, exercise habits and become better teammates.

Personally, the love for baseball runs deepest and I have been able to extend my playing days through the Boston Men’s Senior Baseball and Boston’s Amateur Baseball leagues. 25+ years of competition and camaraderie with countless teammates who love the game and refuse to let it go has been gratifying, to say the least!! Along with “Senior” competition comes the occasional sports injury, which only makes me a better Physical Therapist as I gain “experience” as patient. My own rehabilitation from a Rotator Cuff repair has been both enlightening and ironic, as injuries of the shoulder has always been one of my clinical interests.

When I am not playing or coaching, my wife and I have had the pleasure of watching our 4 children play their games at various levels. Many miles driving and many hours of watching soccer, baseball, basketball and track, have produced long lasting memories. Whether it is the youth, middle school, high school, club or college level, there is nothing quite as enjoyable as watching your own children compete, succeed and enjoy the end results of their hard work and commitment to themselves and their teammates. The lessons that sport teach, really are life lessons about setting, working towards, and achieving individual and team goals.

I guess my high school guidance counselor was correct in helping me assess what my interests were as a 16-year-old high school student. Looking back, it is hard to imagine having taken a different (or better) path!!!

Mike Stare

Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit about me! I’m the co-owner of Orthopaedics Plus, where I’ve worked as a clinician since 2003. I’m also the founder and co-owner of Spectrum Fitness Consulting, a personal training studio located right next door to our clinic in Beverly since 2006. In addition to my clinical role and management roles, I also lecture on a monthly tour across the country teaching continuing education seminars for healthcare professionals.

So here’s my story, which if you are working with me or my colleagues, might be helpful for you to know.

In short, I’m a proud father of 3 amazingly kind, witty, strong, and occasionally challenging girls. I’m also a husband to Danielle, who is an unbelievably talented family nurse practitioner, and a complete nerd about all things pertaining to fitness and rehabilitation. I do my best to keep my nerdiness in check by getting out to enjoy some good music, playing softball with the guys, and learning to surf so I can keep up with my kids. But for the most part, I’m mostly doing family and work stuff, and getting in my workouts.

I got into the world of rehabilitation and fitness by being like most of you: a patient. When I was 17 I had a severe neck injury from football that left me with a badly damaged neck, requiring extensive physical therapy. While initially devastating, it was an eye-opening experience. As a patient I saw people who suffered severe pain and injury, yet persisted and regained their function through the help of Physical Therapy. It helped me realize that my function was not to be taken for granted and that the body can be incredibly resilient if treated well. Just as important, it exposed me to the profession of Physical Therapy that requires a unique combination of scientific knowledge, creativity, problem-solving, communication, skill, and compassion. At 17 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and my passion was sparked to pursue a career in Physical Therapy.

I went on to study kinesiology and biomechanics at the University of Illinois where I first became a personal trainer. I then pursued my Master’s Degree at Boston University and Doctorate at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH IHP), and finally a 2 year fellowship at the Institute for Orthopaedics Manual Therapy (IOMT). Along the way I obtained the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, and also became a Board Certified Nutritionist (CNS).

It was at BU when I first learned of Orthopaedics Plus, as 2 of my most skilled professors were clinicians who worked and trained with OP. Eventually, the opportunity arose for me to join the practice.

I quickly realized that the clinicians at OP were treating at a completely different level. The culture of constantly learning and sharing treatment tactics, an environment that allowed clinicians to spend adequate time with their patients, and the support to grow as an expert clinician was unparallel. It’s what every clinician hopes to have. I believe this is why so many experienced clinicians stay to treat at OP.

A few years later, with the help of OP’s founders, Al, Bill, and Vin, I opened Spectrum Fitness Consulting next door to our Beverly office. This allowed me to incorporate my vision for aligning fitness and wellness with my rehabilitation skills. You can learn more about that story here. While Spectrum grew, I continued my clinical role with OP.

As I honed my abilities and skills over the years, I was given the opportunity to teach my treatment approaches by providing continuing education seminars to Physical Therapists all across the country. My courses focus on managing and preventing low back disorders, and therapeutic exercise for older adults. I have had the chance to teach over 7000 clinicians in more than 150 cities, which I continue to do today. This has greatly improved my skills in teaching patients in the clinic and forces me to stay on top of the most recent research.

My roles as an owner of Spectrum Fitness Consulting has allowed me to see rehabilitation as more than a process of restoring function and eliminating pain. It was about finding the cause of the pain and treating the whole person. Getting rid of knee pain might be something that can be accomplished with 6 weeks of traditional rehab, but if poor training, obesity, and diet issues persist, not only is the knee pain going to return, but more dire conditions may surface. As a PT, we can get rid of your pain, but with the right mix of skill, perspective, and compassion we can do even more. My patients really respond well to that type of approach.

I’ve found that educating my patients empowers them. Being in pain, having “damaged” joints, and various injuries or disease can be daunting, but being able to better understand your condition with a concise, clear explanation and a straightforward plan helps immeasurably. The calm and control you feel allows you to focus on what you need to do to get better and stay that way. I’ve been a patient many times before, and I know how important this is. It takes time to do this, but it’s worth it.

I’ve also found that results breed motivation. Many people struggle with motivation. We all do. So I know the quicker they can see and feel results, the more likely they will get motivated and press on.

I also know that individualizing treatment is absolutely the key to success. We need to fit programs to people, not people into programs. Taking into account your unique needs and goals must be at the center of the best treatment plan.

I also believe firmly that you are not “too old!” Too many people are allowed to expect that being older means being weak and in pain. I love showing the older adults that this is not the case! Few things are more fun than helping older adults to get out of pain, and be strong and independent.

I love sharing my ideas and research on all things related to rehabilitation, fitness, and nutrition. Be sure to check out my articles and videos. While some are on some great fitness sites, you’ll find my best stuff on this site or at www.spectrumfit.net. A great way to learn more about me and OP is come to one of my workshops. Even better, reach out to me on Facebook or feel free send me an email at mike@spectrumfit.net.

Justin Pezick

Hey everyone! My name is Justin, and I am the co-owner of Orthopaedics Plus. I’m excited to share my journey with you. I think knowing your physical therapist is crucial to your success as rehabilitation requires you and your therapist to work as a team. This teamwork includes communication, and with exceptional communication, the rehab process is so much more effective and enjoyable. So here’s a little about me and who I am.

I’m a very driven person in all aspects of my life, especially with helping patients achieve their goals, and making this practice as successful in helping patients as it can be. This drive started when I was young with playing sports, fueled by an intense sibling rivalry with my little brother. This naturally led me to learn all that could about working out and enhancing performance.

I became fascinated with the human body, and how to make it perform optimally. I read everything I could get my hands on about health and fitness. By 14 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a Physical Therapist. I was so lucky to have found my passion at such an early age.

In addition to being consumed with sports and fitness, I worked construction and waited tables. This instilled a work ethic that served me well for my pursuits in becoming a physical therapist and business owner.

I went on to complete a 6 year, double major program at Boston University, earning my Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training and Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. Throughout college, I worked as a personal trainer and became a certified strength and conditioning specialist. After graduating, I continued my educational journey and completed a 2 year fellowship at the Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy in 2015.

It was shortly before completing the fellowship that I joined Orthopaedics Plus. It was the exact culture I was looking for! There were great clinicians, a fantastic support system, and plenty of growth avenues!

Fast forward to 2016, where I married the love of my life. I’m obsessed with dogs, so naturally our dog was the ring bearer for our wedding (yes, he carried the rings up by himself, then returned calmly to his seat by himself as well!). In August of 2016, we purchased our first house and of course the first house project was to turn the basement into a complete gym!

As much I love exercising, my passion for teaching people to exercise, helping patients recover from injury, and meeting great people in the clinic is just as strong.

Fortunately, I have the same passion for the running the business side of Orthopaedics Plus. The prior owners were instrumental in my success as a clinician and my journey to become an owner of Orthopaedics Plus as of 2018. My partner, Mike Stare, and I seek to continue the legacy of excellence that defines Orthopaedics Plus for many years.