Dr. Jeremy Dunker and his wife, Stephanie, have been married for 10 years. Both physical therapists, Stephanie says they’ve constantly tossed around ideas on how to fulfill one of their long-term goals — opening their own physical therapy clinic.
This summer, their dream was realized with the opening of Sage Orthopedic Physical Therapy in Urbana.
“We have been talking about this since we were married,” Stephanie Dunker said, her tones filled with energy. “We have been developing our philosophy of integrating wellness into physical therapy treatments — not just treating a back or a neck or a knee, but training the whole person in addition to that.”
Located in the Villages of Urbana, next to Subway, Sage Orthopedic is currently accepting physical therapy patients as well as individuals interested in developing a healthier lifestyle.
“With our physical therapy clients, these are patients who have specific injury or problems that their physician has written them a physical therapy slip for,” Dunker said. “And we have the five health habits — physical activity, nutrition, water intake, stress management and adequate sleep. … We integrate these five health habits into the physical therapy.”
In addition to treating physical therapy patients, the wellness program includes three tiers of patients who are not coming with a prescription slip. The first tier, Dunker said, is health coaching, a one-month program where a patient works with a therapist one-on-one twice per week. During this time, the therapist helps address the five health habits in the patient’s life by developing a personalized exercise program and monitoring their diet through an online nutrition program. The therapist also helps treat stress and gives tips on better sleeping habits and water intake.
The second tier is the practice’s personal fitness program, which is basically a gym membership with a personalized exercise program, Dunker said. In its clinic space, Sage Orthopedic has exercise equipment free for use by appointment. Dunker said a therapist is on hand at all times.
“Our gym is for the old the young, the weak the strong, a place where everyone can come and exercise safely,” she said.
The last tier is membership for a la carte membership to the Online Nutrition Program.
“You put in your personal stats, height, weight, activity level — it will break down for you if you are getting too many calories or not enough,” Dunker says. “It grades you. If you getting a lower grade it gives you suggestions of foods that you like to give you a more balanced diet.”
Sage Orthopedic also offers rehabilitation services, as well as services for seniors. The senior services include programs to increase balance to prevent falls, as well as programs for arthritis and osteoporosis. If it is difficult for the elderly to get transportation to the office, Dunker said she is available to do calls at patients’ homes.
Their emphasis on wellness, she said, was developed out of her observations from working in a chronic pain clinic and Jeremy Dunker’s stint working in health clubs. Their common observation was that patients often could have improved much faster if they had generally lived healthier lives outside physical therapy.
“The body cannot heal itself unless it is taken care of in all aspects,” he said. “We want the body to heal itself as quickly as possible, which ties in the water, the exercise, the diet so the body is capable of healing itself … and hopefully prevent re-injury.”
The duo, who both graduated from Andrews University, where Jeremy was also an assistant professor, lives in New Market. The Dunkers chose Urbana for their clinic because they see it as a welcoming place for their ideas.
“It is a growingly health conscious community, and we felt our philosophy and wellness concepts would be accepted here,” said Stephanie Dunker.
Sage Orthopedic Physical Therapy
3510 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite G-02