December 3, 2020: While a physical therapist isn’t the first health care provider that comes to mind for treating people with eating disorders, building strength and emphasizing healthy movement through physical therapy can be a valuable tool to help people who have them. It also is a means of improving people’s long-term recovery.
In this episode, physical therapist Nicole Sobotka explains how physical therapy can help patients with severe eating disorders address life-limiting strength and mobility issues. Its benefits include restoring physical function, enabling fuller participation in treatment and activities of daily life, and improving psychological well-being. And while most patients with eating disorders won’t develop severe forms of the illness, physical therapy can help a broad spectrum of people better address the challenges they face.
Nicole is part of a multidisciplinary treatment team that provides an ICU level of care to severely malnourished patients. She describes the workings of that team, highlights patient success stories, and talks about the care patients receive to lessen the chances of destructive behaviors recurring.
Nicole further explains why anyone with an eating disorder, whatever its severity, can benefit from having a physical therapist on their health care team. She also shares resources for getting help.
Here’s our conversation with Nicole.
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Nicole Sobotka, PT, DPT, treats patients at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health, where she has worked since 2018. She earned a doctor of physical therapy degree from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. Nicole is passionate about supporting patients through education, empowerment, and meaningful movement. She hopes to help more patients get access to physical therapy as a part of treatment for eating disorders by developing a database based on observations and results for this patient population.