By Lorelei Lawson
Making a difference in people’s lives — that’s the philosophy driving physical therapist Dr. Jan Tregre of Hattiesburg as she forges ahead and gets things done — the right way. Dr. Tregre, owner of Southern Physical Therapy, has brought together her years of expertise in patient care, her diverse academic and real-life experience, and her support and encouragement of others to offer a unique and comprehensive treatment plan for those who need the services of a physical therapist in the Hattiesburg area.
After three years in operation as Women’s Therapy Center, specializing in physical therapy treatments for women’s issues, Dr. Tregre has now rebranded her practice to include all types of physical therapy patients: thus the renaming the clinic, Southern Physical Therapy. She now offers therapy for all patients with back and neck pain, orthopedic and joint rehabilitation, balance and fall prevention, and occupational injuries while still continuing individualized treatment for women’s issues.
The Long and Winding Road
Dr. Tregre began her university education with a full scholarship to William Carey College in music education. There she learned about a degree program in music therapy and switched her major. “Music as an adjunct therapy to helping people and making a difference in someone’s life appealed to me, so I made the change,” she said.
After graduating in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, Dr. Tregre worked as an activities director in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. She and her family relocated to Philadelphia, PA for her husband’s career advancement, where Dr. Tregre applied to the Temple University doctorate program for physical therapy.
Her graduate studies were grueling, as she began the three-year program with two young children at home. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Dr. Tregre explained. “I’d go to school for eight hours, get home around 8 p.m., and start studying at 10 p.m. I survived on only three or four hours of sleep a night.
Once her degree was complete and she had passed her demanding boards, the family was homesick and the “die-hard Southerners” returned to the South. Dr. Tregre began working as a physical therapist in Hattiesburg and has had experience in both hospital and outpatient settings for nearly 10 years.
After working in the field for many years, Dr. Tregre saw a need in the area — a physical therapy clinic that would specialize in women’s health issues, especially those involving the pelvic floor. So she branched out on her own to found Women’s Therapy Center of Southern Mississippi in 2011. It was the only woman-owned, independent physical therapy clinic in the area.
“We specialized in women’s issues because there weren’t any clinics for pelvic floor rehab and we were trying to narrow down the field and find a niche for ourselves,” Dr. Tregre said. “Most of what was available was very strongly orthopedic-based.”
Dr. Tregre trained with the best clinicians from as far away as New Jersey and Texas, and continues to work and educate on the need for physical therapy for those with issues due to improper muscle tone in the pelvic floor region.
“With or without surgery, you need to have muscle tone in the pelvic floor,” Dr. Tregre explains. “When a patient has a knee problem, you know you need to build the muscle back up, and it’s no different for the pelvic region. It has taken a lot of education for the public and for physicians. We have a close relationship with gynecologists and urologists in the area so we can help our patients.”
The muscles in the pelvic floor are what hold the organs up, and they can get wasted or stretched due to childbirth, age, disease or surgery. This can cause incontinence or overactive bladder. Dr. Tregre uses a combination of strategies and treatments to rehabilitate the pelvic floor, including EMG Biofeedback and manual therapy.
Sometimes, the opposite condition exists in the pelvic floor muscles, and this can lead to very painful conditions, including interstitial cystitis. “We can see tightening of the pelvic floor muscles that leads to urological symptoms that can have a lot of pelvic pain associated with it,” Dr. Tregre said. “Interstitial cystitis is more common in younger to middle-aged women with highly stressful and active jobs, like nurses and teachers. The pelvic floor is always contracted. It feels like the worst bladder infection of your life.”
Often, women with this condition will have their bladder stretched surgically, but that does not always solve the problem. “You need to get those muscles working correctly again,” Dr. Tregre said. “The muscles need to stretch and work out just like any other muscle in the body.”
Seeing that her patients are having good success with their therapy, Dr. Tregre began accepting patients with different kinds of rehab problems, including neck and back pain, knee problems, shoulder problems. One of the newest modalities Dr. Tregre has started to use for her patients is dry needling. “It’s been one of the most effective things I’ve done in a long time,” she says. “It really works.”
Caring and Healing
After nearly a decade in the physical therapy field, Dr. Tregre knows what her work can do to improve her patient’s lives, and she knows how to make the entire experience a pleasant one.
“We start by treating our patients as friends, and by the time they are through with their therapy, they’re family,” Dr. Tregre said. That family feel begins with the clinic itself — no institutional furniture here, but a comfortable living room set, inviting colors, and a peaceful, inspirational atmosphere.”
Recently, Dr. Tregre’s staff took over billing, a task she had previously outsourced to a company in Michigan. This allows her to be more flexible in managing the business side of the physical therapy practice. “We have all the bells and whistles for electronic record keeping, we are in network with most insurance companies, and we also work with payment plans and do pro bono work,” Dr. Tregre said. “If you need help and I can help you, we will work with your doctor and your budget to get you well.” Dr. Tregre also knows the importance of follow-up visits once the initial treatment has concluded. “Once you’ve done your four, six or twelve weeks of therapy, we like you to come back at least once a month for wellness visits to keep the gains you’ve made and maintain your progress,” she said.
Her caring attitude and willingness to help others manifests itself in her dedication to the small business community. She is the current president of the Hub City Business Network and a member of the ADP. She is also on the leadership team for Women Business Owners of the Pine Belt. “We want this clinic to be part of this community. More than anything, we want to make a difference in people’s lives through what we do. The connections we have here with other business leaders, our church, and other medical providers is vital to the purpose and growth of this business.” Dr. Tregre and her staff are excited about the future ahead.
For more information or to schedule a physical therapy evaluation with Dr. Jan Tregre at Southern Physical Therapy, call 601-336-8287 or visit our website at www.wtc-sm.com.
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