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PT Spotlight: Nate Hadley, DPT

Q:  How did you become a physical therapist?

A: I always thought physical therapy was an interesting profession, but it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I sustained a knee injury while playing football.  Going through the rehabilitation process was a really valuable experience.  I learned a lot about myself and finished the process wanting to help others in the same way that my physical therapist had helped me.  I graduated from of Whitworth University with a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in psychology.  After many hours of observation, I returned to Seattle and received my Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Washington.

Q:  How would you describe your treatment style? 

A:  I would say that I spend a lot of time listening.  Everyone’s pain is unique and everyone has a story before they see me.  Understanding details, such as hobbies and occupation, can provide a good starting place.  After that, I like to understand my patient’s goals for therapy. Patient goals are the basis for our plan of care.  Some people have really big goals for therapy, like running a race or getting back to playing in a rec league.  Other people have more basic goals, like putting on a shirt or being able to sleep at night.  Either way, I love finding what is important to my patients and partnering with them to work towards meaningful change in their life.

Q:  You recently finished the year-long mentorship program at MSPT.  How has this influenced your practice?

A:  I have a whole new appreciation for the complexity of the movement system.  Being able to identify movement patterns, both efficient and inefficient, has been tremendously helpful in the way I practice.  I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a knowledgeable group of therapists.  There’s a wonderful spirit of collaboration at MSPT and everyone is committed to providing the highest caliber of care.  It makes for a tremendous learning environment.  Being able to glean some of their expertise has been invaluable in assessing and treating the movement system.

Q:  Do you have any areas of special interest?

A:  I’m fascinated by pain.  The human body is tremendously complex, but researchers are discovering new ways to understand and explain pain.  I believe that everyone in pain, whether acute or chronic, can benefit from pain education.  Pain can be scary.  However, understanding our body can reduce fear and anxiety.  I love empowering my patients with strategies they can use to take control of their symptoms.

Q:  How do you spend your time when you’re not in the clinic?

A:  My fiancée and I got engaged in September, so we have been busy with wedding planning lately.  Otherwise, autumn is a great time of year for sports.  I’m a Husky football season ticket holder, so on most Saturdays you can find me at the UW rooting for the Dawgs.  I also enjoy following the Sounders and Mariners.