Chuck Renner says he was hooked on occupational therapy the moment he realized just how much it could help a person. During his youth, he observed the work of therapists.
“It was amazing how they could touch these people’s lives and get them back to their lives,” Renner recalls.
After earning his bachelor’s in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas in 1984, Renner has gone on to receive a number of other certifications. He’s owned or operated multiple therapy clinics since 1989 and currently owns outpatient rehabilitation clinic Advantage Therapy LLC, while serving as director of rehabilitation services at Ozarks Community Hospital.
Renner’s three areas of specialties are in hand therapy, which allows him to treat anything from tendon issues to replantations; treatment of lymphedema, a condition that causes tissues to swell; and chronic pain management.
Renner says he enjoys the challenge of breaking the cycle of pain.
The problem, Renner says, is that sometimes a patient has suffered from the same problem for years. Sometimes, the tissues or nerves are contracted or not gliding the way they should and the patient’s brain is programmed to expect pain. Renner works to set new patterns for the body and brain to break that pattern. But, he points out, patients have to do their part.
“Part of the treatment, too, for chronic pain on the patient end is exercise to help reduce stress, because that’s a big part of chronic pain,” Renner says.
Fortunately, all sorts of new treatment methods are emerging.
“It’s a really exciting time for the therapy profession right now because there are so many types of manual interventions that have been developed during the last 20 years,” Renner says. “Those different styles have made a huge difference in helping the body … so it’s really quite amazing the difference you can make by mobilizing or working with soft tissues or joints or with nerves.”
Renner says that while the hours are long – 11-hour days are typical during the week with a few weekend hours logged from time to time – he is motivated to press on. He attends a half-dozen continuing education courses each year and makes presentations, including this year at the American Academy of Pain Management and another for Associated Industries of Missouri. “I really enjoy what I do, so it never seems like drudgery,” Renner says. “Most of the time, it doesn’t seem like work.”Click here for full coverage of the 2012 Salute to Health Care.