THE BUZZ: Therapeutic expansion

A new building for Health in Motion will open this year, as demand increases for physical therapy

In its first three years, demand quickly grew for Physical Therapy Specialists, so much so that the business soon outgrew its current downtown location—and its name. 


As the business looks to relocate to a brand new 3,000-square-foot facility on Wausau’s west side, the need for services is increasing as the role of physical therapists grows, says Ben Solheim, who along with Physical Therapist Mike Haylett and Therapy Assistant Graci Dietz currently operate out of 408 Third Street above Malarkey’s Pub. The company broke ground on the new facility at 930 S. 17th Ave. in early January, and when the business opens in its new location April 1 the name will change to Health in Motion.

“We’re becoming a doctoring profession,” Solheim says. That means it’s becoming more common for physical therapists to graduate with doctorate degrees (in fact it’s now required of new physical therapists), and that expands the range of what physical therapists can do, Solheim says.

Most people probably think of physical therapy as only a doctor’s referral after someone receives treatment or surgery. But physical therapists can treat patients without a doctor’s referral. Everything from back pain to tennis elbow can be treated directly by a therapist.

Solheim says he hopes to educate more people on that option. Right now, only about 25% of patients come in without a doctor’s referral. He hopes to spread the word that people can come directly to a therapist for many ailments. “We can refer them out if they need imaging or surgery,” Solheim says, “but we want them to know we can be that primary care provider for muscular-skeletal complaints.”

Going directly to a physical therapist can save thousands of dollars in medical bills, Solheim says. A good example of that: Someone seeking treatment for lower back pain could save between $5,000 and $7,000 in medical bills by going directly to a physical therapist, Solheim says. Health in Motion offers a free screening that can tell someone whether direct treatment through physical therapy is the right approach for them.

Health in Motion is associated with Spine & Sport Physical Therapy Specialists, which has six locations throughout Wisconsin, Solheim says. The company has recently hired new therapists at some of its other locations such as in Rhinelander, and the Wausau expansion will pave the way to add new employees in Wausau as the company grows, Solheim says.

Greenheck wins manufacturer of the year… again

Greenheck Fan Corporation, based in Schofield, won the grand award for best manufacturer at the 29th Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year awards. This is the third time the company has earned the honor. It also won in 2004 and 2013.

Greenheck won the award in the mega category after competing with 26 other nominees to earn the honor hosted by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce organization. Greenheck was one of four manufacturers in the state to win a grand award in various categories. Jobs at Greenheck are sought after, and as recently as last fall there has been a decade-plus- long waiting list to get on first shift at the company.