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Meet Dana Tress of Smith Physical Therapy + Running Academy in Crystal Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Tress.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I applied for college, I was not 100% sure if I wanted to become a physical therapist or a teacher. But, since I had to select a major, I checked the box next to physical therapy because of my love of biology and anatomy, and having gone through some physical therapy myself while in high school. As I progressed through my schooling and my career, I realize that being a physical therapist is someone who teaches and educates patients and the community regularly, so I have the best of both worlds!

I earned my degree in physical therapy from Bradley University and have been in the field for 21 years now. I have worked in a variety of settings, starting in acute care at a hospital, moving to subacute rehab, and finally outpatient. I believe that my variety of experiences helps me to better understand the full journey many of my patients have endured before ending up in an outpatient setting. While I enjoy treating all types of patients, my largest interest has always been in neurology and, most recently, vestibular rehabilitation.

The majority of my continuing education since graduation from college has been focused on treating patients with balance disorders, vestibular (dizziness) disorders, headaches, and concussions. I am a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist, and most recently became a Certified Concussion Specialist through the American Institute of Balance.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
While I have changed settings during my career, I believe each of those has brought me to the right place at the time, as I have learned from each setting in which I have worked – both good and bad. I think that as a working mom with a husband who is not home frequently due to work as a firefighter, balancing my career with my home life is always a challenge. I have been very fortunate to work in a place right now that is very supportive of each of the employee’s home/work life balance.

The biggest struggle that I have found is also being able to provide each patient with the time and attention that each deserves. The population that I work with, whether it is a concussed high school athlete or an older individual with vertigo, requires a significant amount of hands-on work and close observation. At times it has been difficult to balance patient needs with corporate demands and requirements in terms of patient volume and time allotment per patient.

Right now, I am so fortunate to be in a location that provides the perfect balance of the business aspect of physical therapy with patient care needs.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Smith Physical Therapy + Running Academy – what should we know?
Smith Physical Therapy + Running Academy is a small, privately owned concierge-style physical therapy clinic. We offer outpatient orthopedic physical therapy in addition to our specialties. Denise Smith, owner of the clinic and physical therapist, is certified in the Pose running method. She provides onsite and virtual running video assessments, and works with runners to improve their form and technique to decrease risk of injury, and increase speed and efficiency of their running. She works with athletes of all ages, including local high school cross country teams.

Dana is one of the only physical therapists in McHenry County specializing in vestibular rehabilitation. She is also the only physical therapist in the county who is certified in Concussion Management. In addition to patient care, Dana works with local sports teams and organizations for concussion management, training and education for athletes/families/coaches and baseline concussion testing. Because of the vestibular and concussion specialty, Dana’s treatments are also effective for individuals with headaches and TMJ problems.

Both Denise and Dana are active in the community and teach classes on each of their specialties at the local community college.

We are extremely proud of our business because we are the only concierge style physical therapy clinic in the area. Our patients each have one-hour long appointments and spend that time one-on-one with their physical therapist. We have also won the Best of The Fox – Physical Therapist category 2 years in a row.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My passion and love of what I do fuels everything I do as a physical therapist. I continuously strive to provide the best care possible for each of them, and to challenge myself with new knowledge and certifications.

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