American Fork Hospital has a new outpatient physical therapy facility, which, according to outpatient coordinator Steve Shupe, will allow the hospital to expand its services and treatment capabilities.

The facility, located in Suite F of the 1100 East Professional Building, just north of the hospital at 226 N. 11th East, was opened Monday. An open house is scheduled for Nov. 29.Shupe, a physical therapist who specializes in orthopedics and sports medicine, said the new facility is three times larger than the old therapy area at American Fork Hospital, which served both inpatient and outpatient needs. Equipment and space limitations sometimes led to patients being forced to seek treatment elsewhere, Shupe said.

Physical therapy for hospitalized patients will continue to be provided in the main hospital facility.

"We had no room to expand our programs, to add new equipment or to work adequately with patients in the old facility," Shupe said.

American Fork Hospital is planning to spend approximately $110,000 to equip the new facility with the latest physical therapy devices.

"This is exciting for the community to have this kind of facility, which is one of the nicest in the state," Shupe said.

The physical therapy facility will feature a full range of strengthening, ultrasound, computerized biofeedback, hydrotherapy and isokinetic evaluation equipment.

Treatment for traumatic injuries, industrial accidents, aging diseases and pain control are provided by the three physical therapists at American Fork Hospital. Also, the new facility features private treatment rooms in which noise and light can be controlled, a necessity for treating patients suffering from severe headaches.

Several programs will be offered also, Shupe said, including evaluation sessions for high school, community or weekend athletes. Programs are offered free or for a small fee.

Computerized equipment at the facility can be used pre-season to analyze strength, flexibility, posture and to identify weaknesses that might contribute to injury. A gait analysis lab, which includes a videotaped treadmill evaluation to identify ankle, knee and hip difficulties, is available also.

A "back school" will be offered for those suffering back pain. Participants will be taught the anatomy of the back and spine, how to identify problems, how to provide back care and how to avoid injury. The course will be taught by physical therapist Barbara Norris.

Also, an educational program for headache sufferers will be offered, focusing on nutrition, stress management and pain control.