Physical Therapists

Parent Q&A

  • Physical therapist for pregnancy

    (8 replies)

    I am 22 weeks into my second pregnancy. I had diastasis recti after the first which never fully healed. Chasing around (and more to the point, lifting) a toddler, is challenging, and this time around the loosening of the ligaments is killing me. Sometimes it feels like my spine is going to disconnect at my tailbone, and my back spasms so much it takes several minutes before I can stand up straight again. My Kaiser OB wouldn't give me a rec for an OT based on what I was describing, so I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a private pay OT who specializes in pregnancy who might be able to give me some recommendations for exercises/ equipment/ strategies to minimize the pain and damage and make recovery later a little easier.

    I would also go see Armene at Awaken Chiropractic. She and the other chiropractor there specialize in pregnant women and children and she really helped me through some really painful sacral pain during my pregnancy. Her adjustments are extremely gentle. They are more a suggestion to your body than the "snap crackle and pop" adjustments chiropractic is better known for... but they work!!! 

    That is so annoying, ugh Kaiser. 

    I am sorry your OB is not taking you seriously enough, I would try again with your doc before moving on to pay out of pocket for care they should provide! 

    I was able to see a Kaiser PT after my pregnancy, my OBGYN submitted that I had a Diastasis and Coccyx pain and that got me in to get a PT to work on these things. Another FYI if you are at Oakland Kaiser they make you do a class before they will refer you to a PT, but if you go to Richmond you can start with a PT without doing a class. No idea why. 

    Otherwise I can't recommend an OT- but I do have a masseuse who is super experienced with perinatal issues. Just the other day I said to her "I wish I'd found you before I had the baby!"  She is not only an excellent masseuse who has tricks for releasing ligament tension etc but she will also give you tips on exercises to do among other things- she taught me how to massage my C-Section incision to promote long term healing. And if she can't help you with an issue she can advise who can.

    Her name is Skya Livingston

    Skya was originally recommended by my chiropractor, Kenda Burke, who might also be able to assist you! She specializes in perinatal care as well and really helped me through my pregnancy. 

    Kenda Burke at Awaken

    Have you considered acupuncture? Kaiser has. Also, after dealing with chronic low back pain, the combination of acupuncture, yoga and massage was the cure for me. 

    Best of luck to you.  

    So sorry about your pain. I was broken after my first pregnancy and Anne-Marie @ Miracle Physical Therapy helped mend my nerve issue and have me my life back. Highly recommended. Sliding scale too! Good luck.

    Miracle Physical Therapy

    Hello - My recommendation is to contact Stephanie Forster

    Stephanie teaches pre/post natal Pilates in SF and she really specializes in diastasis recti.  Looks like she does private and in home sessions as well.

    Hope that helps and best of luck!

    I can't recommend an OT for you, but I just took Mary McQueen's Core Diastasis Repair course through Baby Bootcamp and thought she and her program was really fantastic and helped a lot with repairing my separation. You will have to be post-partum before taking this class, but some of the things you can be doing while you are pregnant is always make sure when you're getting up from lying down that you do a log roll out of bed, or off the couch, don't use your abs to jack yourself up sit-up style. Roll onto your side and use your hands to push up from there. That's huge. Also, when picking up your toddler, get low, bring them in close and your your legs to stand--basic healthy lifting. Also, limit your twisting. 

    I would also recommend you get a low belly support band to go around your hips and support your growing belly. That helped me a lot. And I worked with a cranial sacral therapist named Tomi Knutson who really saved me during my pregnancies. I had terrible sacral issues to the point where it felt like I was being electric shocked if I moved wrong and Tomi was able to help realign things in a few sessions. Cranial sacral is extremely gentle and not at all like chiropractic. You just lay down and the therapist uses different gentle holds under your spine to help your body realign. It really seems like magic, but it works and it felt much safer than chiropractic. 

    Good luck!

    I'm sorry I don't have a recommendation for you but I think you want a referral for a PT, not an OT.

    I go to awaken chiropractic on grand ave in oakland, they specialize in pregnant women and babies, they are life savers!

    New replies are no longer being accepted.
  • Lower Back Pain treatment at Kaiser Physical Therapy

    (2 replies)


    Does anyone have experience with Kaiser PT to treat a lower back SI injury with sciatica, would like to hear your thoughts and any particular providers you would recommend?


    I saw several PTs (and doctors, and back specialists, and pain specialists) at Kaiser and some private pay, all for back pain related to my SI. None was a miracle worker, but I would recommend Jaime Hitteratchi at Kaiser Oakland. I made the most progress with her and she thinks more out of the box than other Kaiser practitioners. 

    See if you can get in to the Physiatry Dept., also called "Physical Medicine."  This specialty deals non-surgically with orthopedic conditions, and the docs there seem to know more how physical therapy works.  The main problem I've found with KP PT is that they limit the number of sessions per diagnosis -- usually to about 5.  You can get good mileage out of this if you diligently do the prescribed exercises.  I have had good care from the physical therapist Arlene Suda at Oakland KP -- she knows what she is doing.  Also, it is good to know that Kaiser has recently expanded their acupuncture coverage.  If you want highly focused and knowledgeable care and can afford to go outside the system, Beacon Physical Therapy in downtown SF (easy BART ride) employs a highly effective technique that can actually bring more flexibility to the SI joint and ease structural anomalies.

    New replies are no longer being accepted.
  • Recommendations - Diastasis Recti Physical Therapy

    (4 replies)

    I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations of a physical therapist that can diagnose, and provide therapy for diastasis recti?

    I'm one year post-partum, and workout regularly. I didn't even know what diastasis recti was until a friend mentioned it a few weeks ago, and warned me that I should be careful about the core exercises I do. I googled, and read up on it. I did the lying on the back self-diagnosis, and think that I am actually ok. I don't really have any pooch, and that I don't have more than one of two finger separation, but who really knows.

    I don't usually over worry about things, but I don't want to go back to my normal workouts if they could potentially harm me so I thought I would get a professional to evaluate me, and hopefully get the okay to go back to my normal workouts. 

    Anyone have any experience with this, or can recommend a PT?

    I had a really positive experience at the pelvic rehab center in oakland/Berkeley across from Whole Foods. They specialize in post labor injuries.

    You might be fine then. Not everyone gets it. Most of the yoga teachers I have had post-partum have checked me. If you want to be sure I can recommend my PT, Amy Selinger, who has been really great for other issues I have had during pregnancy and post-partum. Her practice is called Back to Life and she is in Oakland and SF.

    i'm about 10 months postpartum and just found out i also have it from a friend who is a yoga instructor who checked me. (why don't our OBs screen for this?!) i also have about a 2 finger separation. i made an private appt to see my pilates instructor who gave me some exercises to do to help close the separation. she also told me a few things to stay away from in yoga. here's a website she sent me with things you can do during your day to work on it.

    i'm sure any good PT could advise you on this. it's not really that your workouts will harm you, but that you won't close the separation and that just makes any pooching there worse. if you have only had one baby, it may not seem like such a big deal, but after a second pregnancy it could get worse so i would do the exercises and try to close is as much as you can now. 

    Anna Shapiro is not a PT but is an excellent Pilates trainer certified in Pre-natal/Post-natal Pilates including diastasis repair.
    She helped me with a long term diastasis I had (from years earlier). There are specific exercises to repair it.

    Less then 2 finger width separation is not considered severe diastasis. It also depends on how deep the separation is.
    If it's more then the 1st knuckle, there is more to be concerned about.  It might be worth at least talking to Anna and 
    maybe having a session. You want to be really conservative about forward flexion (ie: sit ups). Ab/core strengthening
    exercises can be done on hands and knees....planks are a great example.
    Give Anna a call, 510-621-8746. 

    New replies are no longer being accepted.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Physical Therapists Related Pages

2010 - 2013 Recommendations

Physical therapist for hip

Feb 2013

I need to have PT on my hip. Can anyone please recommend a really good physical therapist in Berkeley or surrounding area? I have had PT for various orthopedic surgeries over the years in other parts of the country, and the good ones are hard to find. In particular, I have been recommended to Physiotherapy Associates in Berkeley and SOL in Oakland. If anyone has particular therapists to suggest, that would be very helpful. Thanks, Hopeful in Berkeley

I highly recommend SOL on College Ave for physical therapy. In particular, I specifically recommend Clarice Cummins. I have been going to Clarice at SOL for rehab on my knee and hip replacement. Although my hip surgery was many years ago, it wasn't until I went to Clarice at SOL that I felt like I got the proper attention for stretching and strengthening. They also are in a great location and have great trainers who teach you the exercises after you have spent time with your therapist. anon
Two top-notch PTs - have had wonderful results with both: Steve Ryan, Anjoe Physical Therapy: Janet Soto, Berkeley Physical Therapy: Jessica
I have to give a shout out to the PT I have been working with for the last several months. I can say in no uncertain terms, she has changed my life. I was in chronic and serious pain for several years on and off due to what was a chronic overuse injury and that was kind of a mystery to everyone else I saw. I saw several doctors and physical therapists over the years and none were able to help me. Then I met Amy Reitz. She is amazing. She really cares if you get better and will not lose focus until you do. She made sure my exercises were being done properly and her soft tissue work is incredible. Magic hands! I have to say I am about 90% better and am back to my active lifestyle. I cannot recommend her enough or say enough about her skill level. Her contact is amyreitzpt [at] Hope you get to feeling better soon. Up and Running

Physical therapist in Albany

Dec 2012

Hi, I'm looking for a physical therapy practice in Albany (or environs) and would love any leads. Thanks so much!

HI - Albany PT is generally good, and located in Albany off San Pablo Avenue, between Marin and Solano. It's in the same ''mini-mall'' as Happy Donuts and Round Table Pizza. There is also PT Innovations which is in El Cerrito, but very near the Albany border, on the El Cerrito side of the El Cerrito Plaza. I'm a practicing physician and have sent many dozens of patients to both facilities. Generally, I think Albany PT is probably a better bet for treatment at this time. I was treated at Albany PT myself many years ago, but my therapist has since left the group. I did, however, have very good results with her treatment. I have had some complaints that Innovations is using PT assistants and possibly students to provide treatments. David Clement I believe owns Albany PT, and has been there for many years. I am not as familiar with the other therapists who are there currently. Hope that helps. Local doc
I MUST tell you about Meridi Williams PT- she is an angel and highly gifted as a physical therapist/pilates instructor.

I am currently on a medical leave after struggling for 8 months with chronic sciatica and lower back pain. During this time I stopped all my outdoor activities of hiking, bicycling, yoga and even walking. I'd been taking 2,000mg of ibuprofen just to get through the day. My diagnosis is severe degenerative arthritis, and spondylolisthesis.

When I walked into Meridi's mat class for the first time 3 weeks ago, I was in tears after the first 2 minutes because I wasn't able to simply bend down like everyone else. She keyed into me and gave me specific instructions that differed from the rest of the class. Her voice was calm and nurturing and her instructions very precise. I left that class with greater flexibility. After three weeks of private sessions with Meridi, I can now walk briskly, bend a bit more, sustain a standing position for several hours and am now taking only 800-1,000mg of ibuprofen.

She has helped me become aware of how I use my muscles, both beneficially and not. She's helped me to strengthen areas that were becoming weak as a result of protective strategies due to pain. I am now walking much more comfortably without straining and I feel good! My sessions with her are medicine that will help me work with my back whether I decide to do surgery or not. I cannot recommend Meridi highly enough. If you are struggling with any physical limitations I am certain you will benefit from working with Meridi. And if you're not, she could be what keeps you from hurting yourself in the future.

Classes are easy to get to and the space is clean, spacious and cozy. Check her out at 1061 Eastshore Hwy Ste. 213, Just before Target in Albany. mallorie

Physical therapist for prenatal lower back pain

Dec 2012

Hi, I just found out I am 6 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I have severe lower back problems that gave me trouble during my previous pregnancies to the point where I couldn't quite walk. I am a member of Kaiser, but have been unimpressed by their PT and am willing to go outside the network. So I have a few questions: 1. Does anyone have a PT at Kaiser or elsewhere who specializes in dealing with pregnant women? I am looking for someone amazing and understanding. 2. If you had lower back problems during pregnancy, what helped you? Did anyone do acupuncture? If so, did it help? Where did you go? Thanks for your help! nicole

There is prenatal physical therapy that is specifically geared towards prenatal and postpartum women at ProBalance in Alameda. It is worth it to get help from a specialist with advance prenatal and postpartum experience and this place has it! 510-523-1900 ext 55 There are also Pilates classes/sessions for maintenance and fitness after your physical therapy is complete. Suzanne
Awaken chiropractic in Oakland! They work with a lot of pregnant women and it really helps! The initial diagnostic was somewhere around $150 and each appointment was $55 thereafter and I found it to be really helpful in pregnancy. Swimming helped too! Good luck! Akat
Hi, I recently started going to SOL to deal with some nerve pain in my arm, which needs to heal before I give birth in May. They list pregnancy lower back problems specifically in issues they treat, though I am not sure if they have a specialist per se. The PT I have been seeing, Bryan, is truly amazing. He approaches my arm problem holistically, and is knowledgeable about what shifts in a woman's body throughout pregnancy, how we hold ourselves differently, as well as the typical physiological issues new mom's deal with (i.e. neck and shoulder problems from how we pick up and hold our newborns). He's also helping me with lower back pain that is increasing as my belly size does. He does mobility testing, hands-on muscle release, and strength training in every appointment with me. I have been very satisfied and am seeing results! They have offices in Oakland and Walnut Creek. Syd

PT/Rehab Specialist for Baseball elbow injury

Oct 2011

My 16 year-old son has a recurring elbow injury from playing baseball. I am looking for a physical therapist or rehab specialist who can guide him to healing his elbow and help him figure out what he is doing wrong with his pitching motion. Can anyone recommend someone to do this? I would love to hear from someone who has experience with this same injury. Daryl

I can't reccomend Lauren Masi at Lafayette Physical Therapy enough. She has extensive experience in sports injuries and is very good at what she does. You can reach her at 925-284-6150. Jacques
Hi there... Dr Greg Arnold is great and is all about Baseball! check out his website.. sara

Physical therapist for torn disk

Oct 2011

Hi, I'm looking for a good physical therapist for back pain. I searched the archives but they were a few years old. I'd especially like someone who can help with a torn disk, sciatica and numbness on one side. Thanks. - can't stand the pain

I recommend Edie Murphy, owner of Lakeview Functional Rehab Center in Oakland. I think she's the best PT in the East Bay, and I tried plenty when I have a back injury no one could figure out. She got me standing up at my wedding (no small feat), and back problems at all. I even backpack. She's good at deep tissue work, and good at giving effective home exercise programs. She's near Lake Merrit at (510) 451-5560. Good luck
Edie Murphy (; 510-451-5560) is the best physical therapist around. She'll pinpoint not just your problem areas, but why those are your problem areas. She combines bodywork with a very targeted set of stretches and exercies to get you on the right track. Highly recommend her. anon
low back pain/sciatica is one of the bread and butter of a physical therapist. you have to take into consideration the proximity of where you live or work. most PT's should be knowledgeable about your problem. make sure they accept your insurance too. Just in case you work or live close to San Ramon area, Matt Wollaston at San Ramon Regional Medical Center - 925 275 8442 will be great. or at San Leandro's Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility and ask for the only male therapist that works there 510 618 1800. PT friend

Physical therapist for pelvic/lower back pain and hands

March 2011

I'm looking for physical therapists (preferably in Berkeley/Oakland) to continue work with my hands and pelvic/lower back. I'm currently treating with two different therapists at Standford but would really like to find some that are closer to where I live. The only complicating factor is that I really need physical therapists that either specialize in or are very familiar working with people experiencing chronic neuropathic and myofacial pain conditions and the hypersensitivity that often accompanies such conditions. If anyone happens to know of any I'd be really grateful for the referrals. Thanks. NS

Did you try Alta Bates outpatient physical therapy at 5700 Telegraph? Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Physical, Sports and Hand Therapy 5700 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609 (510) 204-1788 I saw Esther Dolowich for pelvic floor work (she is amazing), and they have PTs working with hand injuries right outside. Call and ask if they have the experience you're looking for. anon
If you are looking for a Physical Therapist, look into Physical Therapy Innovations. They have offices in Oakland, El Cerrito, and Orinda. Theire website is here: Happy with PT
Try Edie Murphy at Lakeview Funcitonal Rehab Center in Oakland. She is excellent, and has helped me through several serious injuries, incuding pelvic pain and shoulder surgery. When the problem started, I tried quite a few physical therapists, and can say with some experience that Edie's competence and experience really stands out. Myofacial pain is part of many physical problems, and she definately works with it. For the neuropathy, it would probably be best to call and see what she says - she has a lot of advanced training, so it's quite possible that she has worked with this. (510) 451-5560 Pat
Dear NS: You will be oh so happy if you seek treatment at Avery and Associates in Oakland. I can personally recommend Linda (the owner) and Leigh, both of whom saw me extensively for low back & pelvic floor work. I received excellent treatment and saw truly amazing progress in my body thanks to their help. The women at this office are amazing human beings as well as being gentle, skilled, knowledgeable, kind, trustworthy, and just all around great. As a lovely bonus, the office is beautifully decorated, which adds to feeling comfortable and relaxed. I saw your post this morning, and happened to go there this afternoon for a cranio-sacral treatment (they also offer massage and Feldenkrais), so I asked the receptionist if the PTs focus on myofascial pain, and she said that they do! Please give them a call. You really won't be sorry. They are at 3000 Webster St. Suite 402 Oakland 94609. Their website isn't very complete, but don't let that deter you one bit: I wish you health and pain reduction. Caryn
Edie Murphy is a fantastic physical therapist. Between us, my husband and I had seen probably a dozen physical therapists for a variety of problems (elbow tendonitis, neck and shoulder problems, lower back and hip pain) before we found Edie, and she is hands down the best. Edie has an impressive knowledge of the human body and is a gifted body worker. Sessions are usually a combination of assessment, body work, and review of a specially crafted set of exercises to do at home. I don't know for sure if Edie has experience with your specific conditions, but I would highly recommend at least calling and speaking with her. Edie Murphy (510) 451-5560 Happy PT Patient
I have been to many physical therapists in the past for my back and ankles. Deena Levy at Move Easy PT is the one person who has been able to help a persistent SI (lower back) problem that no one else could figure out. She sees you herself for a full 60 minutes in a completely private office, which is very different from a group practice where you might see an assistant in a large gym filled with patients. Fascinated by the body in motion and at rest, she is a dancer and also volunteers to help dancers understand how to move well to avoid injury., 540-7816. Reba
I highly recommend Em Squires for anybody with chronic issues. She is gentle and knowledgeable, and has done better things with/for my pelvis than anybody I've ever seen. She has her own office on Grand about a mile up from Lake Merritt; she spends a full hour with you (and will let the session run over if it's what your body needs). I have seen countless PTs and chiropractors over the past couple of decades, and nobody comes close to Em in terms of sensitivity to the wholistic nature of body function and dysfunction. You can schedule an appointment with Em at Em's phone number only shows up on the website once you've made an appointment. If you'd like to talk with her first, you can email me directly I'll put you in contact with her. n.n
Nov 2010

I highly recommend Chris Gallo at VibrantCare in Pinole. He's a bright, creative, caring PT - I felt comfortable with him right away, and have had great success with him dealing with a variety of issues. I think there are several competent PT's in that office, but my personal favorite is Mr. Gallo. The number there is 510-724-1248 Good luck! - no longer in pain

I highly recommend Edie Murphy for physical therapy for your daughter. She is a very experienced and effective practitioner who greatly reduced my back pain. I know she has experience helping those with cerebral palsy. Her number is 510-451-5560. ariel

Physical therapist in Berkeley/Oakland

Oct 2010

PLease recommend a physical therapist in the Berkeley/Oakland area or in Walnut Creek area. Also, please give any input on Dr Delene Bivolcic or Dyanna Anfang. Thanks. Simona

Have you tried Oakland Manual Therapy? Randy Lind practices a form of physical therapy called called the Erickson method that has done wonders for my shoulder when traditional physical therapy did not work. His work takes physical therapy to a whole new level and gets people out of pain and back into life. I know several people who have gone to him and rave about the success they've had. Randy Lind Oakland Manual Therapy 2939 Summit Street Ste. 302 Oakland 510 459-7768 randy [at] laura

Physical therapy for dislocated knee

June 2010

I recently dislocated my knee and have been referred for physical therapy by my doctor. My health insurance group is Alta Bates Medical Group so I can go to any of the following providers: 1) Albany Physical Therapy 2) Berkeley Physical Therapy 3) Physical Therapy Innovations 4) Alta Bates Physical and Sports Therapy 5) Montclair Physical Therapy Does anyone have any experience with any of these providers? Thank you very much for your help! Liz

My husband went to Berkeley Physical Therapy, covered by Alta Bates HMO, and had a great experience with a hip injury and underlying hip degenerative changes. Can't speak for knees, but they did well with his hip. Lynn
Sorry to hear about your knee. I LOVE Dianne Kerns at Berkeley Physical Therapy! She is smart, patient, positive, and knows just what exercises to give you. Dianne is just great. The front desk staff at that office are also super helpful. - knee got better with Dianne

Physical therapy for knee problems

June 2010

I'd like recommendations good physical therapists. I've got mostly knee problems (meniscus and chondromalacia, both knees!) but also possibly related back and foot problems. Feedback, good or bad, on the following? Orthopaedics and Sports Leaders, Oakland Craig Norton at LaFoot, Berkeley Sports and Orthopaedics Specialists, Oakland Next Step, ALbany anybody else you love? and why? THANK YOU! janet

I sure do have a physical therapist (and practice) I would recommend: Simon Gibson at Montclair Physical Therapy in Oakland (510.339.2116). Actually I also would very much recommend Kris, the other PT at the practice. But I adore Simon.

1) Simon listens, feels, looks and gets to the root of the matter. Then he fixes it. With me it was a foot. I saw (and talked to) a lot of people with knees there, too, and shoulders, and backs. So while my recommendation is based on my foot, I would go back in a heartbeat for anything else.
2) They have a busy, cheerful, friendly practice that is tied in with the gym so there is a lot of equipment available for therapy-related exercises.
3) Simon's a New Zealander with a wry & dry sense of humor. I love having something to laugh about when I'm doing something boring like sitting with ice & stim on my foot.
4) Efficient administrative crowd. Scheduling, insurance, payments, etc. are straightforward and done right. They have early hours (like 7am) which means you can be in and out and make it to work.

I had tried many other things to solve a persistent inflammation and pain in the foot, and in a matter of weeks I was well on my way with Simon & the gang at Montclair PT. Check them out. - Nancy L

Physical Therapy? Personal Trainer? Where to start

May 2010

Over the past year, my weight has gotten out of control and it is seriously affecting one of my knees, my foot, and the opposite hip due to overcompensation. I can feel/hear my knee grinding (ugh sorry) and while I know surgery may be required, I'd like to deal with the problem with physical therapy first. Along with that, I know if I dropped my excess weight it would help. I don't know where to start, though. Started Weight Watchers (again) to deal with the weight issue but what about the rest of my body? I'm a member of the YMCA in Berkeley, should I just use the physical therapists there? I've had arthroscopic surgery in the past (in '87) on that knee so I've lived with knee issues for a long time. Will a physical therapist help me with a workout routine for my body as well as the issues with my knee and foot? Lastly, I'd love some recommendations. I have Blue Cross PPO, if that helps. I don't know if I need a referral from my family practice doc. Thanks for any help!

I'd like to recommend Edie Murphy of Lakeview Functional Rehab Center in Oakland. She works out of a detached and very nice home office. She is excellent with knee pain, foot pain, and many other physical problems. She always creates an individualized exercise program to build strength along with the tissue work she does. When I saw her some years ago, she was a Blue Cross provider. I don't know if that's still the case.

She helped me with back, shoulder, and knee problems (at different times). I found her when I was searching for a good PT and had tried several (one made my problem worse). She was the only one who figured out the real problem and got me going again. She is way above average. At the time I had Kaiser insurance and paid her out of pocket - and it was worth every penny. I've since referred others to her, all with positive results.

To use insurance, you need a diagnosis from an MD, and a referral to physical therapy. For my later problems, I asked my doctor to refer to her. The referring doctor can be an MD, DO, or chiropractor. Edie is at 510.451.5560 Good luck

Since the weight is causing problems right now, perhaps something like lap band surgery would work. It's not as drastic as gastric bypass. It's adjustable and fully reversible. It sounds like you wanted to things the ''right'' way but you only have two knees and you already have problems with them. Your knees hurt so you don't exercise. You don't exercise so you are overweight. You're overweight so it hurts your knees. Don't feel guilty for taking a shortcut.
DEENA LEVY, at ''Move Easy Physical Therapy'' is a very detailed and attentive physical therapist. She has many years of experience in the field and brings a lot of integrity to her work. I would highly recommend that you call her to see if she can help you. She is located in Central Berkeley. You can reach her at 510-540-7816. She has a lot of connections with other professionals that she can point you to if she thinks you need other modalities to help your process. Good Luck! Leah
I have had a terrific experience with Bob Baker and the Emeryville Sports Physical Therapy office over the past 7 months. They have a wonderful team of therapists and well trained aides. I actually read about Bob on a post in Berkeley Parents Network last September when I moved to the area.

Bob presided over the post operative rehabilitation on both knees and my shoulder which have grown much stronger under his guided PT. His office never skimps on modalities or giving the patient time. Rather he emphasizes using as much electric stimulation, heat, ice, ultrasound, massage, soft tissue work, and manipulation of the surgical area as will make the patient comfortable and then designs a thorough and systematic exercise program.

The entire staff is personable and friendly. They all know how to listen and not just give advice or instructions. I really look forward to the appointments. And they are no-nonsense. If you are not doing an exercise correctly, you will be advised quickly.

Bob Baker in particular is cutting edge both in assessment and program design. He is very involved in research and is getting advanced degrees working with top medical personnel from around the country. He is also working on research projects with professionals from Stanford and USC. The training and reading he does hone his analytic skills and provide him with an arsenal of approaches to rehab that reflect the most current science in the field. A simple sample was that exercises I had been doing (squats against a wall) were only strengthening my overdeveloped quads at the expense of my gluts. The hips were underdeveloped and no doubt a factor in my knee problems. Bob's program, informed by current research, emphasized building up the key muscles which would prevent a recurrence of my injury. I have felt very lucky to be guided by someone as professionally capable, personable, and honest as Bob. Alan

Monclair Physical Therapy or other local gym?

Feb 2010

I am out of shape and that may be putting it mildly. I am ok with that because I am going to do something about it. I need to join a gym because I am having some feet/ankle issues that make walking (forget about running!) for exercise not an option. I am thinking stationary bikes, mild weights, some personal training to get me started. I have been looking around at what the options are and it seems like Montclair Physical Therapy & Wellness might be a good option for me. Can anyone recommend this on the basis of it being a gym - not just for PT? I live in Montclair so it seems convenient and low-key. Is this true? I really do not want to feel intimidated by all the in-shape people who go to the gym. Do you think this could be the gym for me or do you have any other recommendations. Thanks Ready to Get Fit

I would really recommend you make an appt. with Em Squires at the Working Body. She is a really unique Physical Therapist using manual functional physical therapy. My wife has had serious injuries, surgeries, etc. and working with Em is unwinding a lot of the issues that she's had. The Working Body also has personal trainers and pilates and a variety of ways to work out. I'd recommend checking it out. Rachel

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Physical Therapist for Achy Distance Runner

Oct 2009

I'm 43 and recently returned to distance running after many years off for pregnancy and an ankle surgery. With longer runs I'm having pain in my lower back and hips that feels like it wraps around the lower part of my abdomen. I'm looking for a physical therapist or M.D. who will help me figure out where this pain is coming from and how to address it with strengthening exercises. I want one or two visits for a consultation with someone who practices sports medicine. (Sorry, not open to chiropractic care.) Thanks! Middle-Aged Running Mama

Hands down, I would recommend SOL PT in Oakland (at the corner of College and Broadway). I live in N. Berkeley and gladly made the trek over there. I have had years of joint and back problems and they have made a huge difference in my life. I saw Tammara Moore (the founder and co-owner). She is extremely knowledgeable, thorough, and caring. They treat all types of patients and problems, but they are also very sports oriented. Sessions combine time with a PT followed by time with a personal trainer to work on home exercises and strength training. They are a great team of people. 510-547-1630 Feeling good in N. Berk
I recently started some work with Kevyn Sebastian. She works out of a studio within 7th Heaven Yoga in Berkeley. She recently moved here from Austin. She does myofascial work, Active Trigger point release work and functional strength training. She really knows her stuff and loves her work. She would be a great person to work with. a misaligned athlete
Achy Runner, I would wholeheartedly recommend my amazing physical therapist, Lynn Shankliess. You can find all her info at I have been running casually most of my life, but back in 2002 I began having hamstring/hip issues. I went to at least SIX different physical therapists over 4 years who were unable to help. Lynn thoughtfully listened to my plight and analyzed my entire body (not just working on my hamstring). She found most of the issues in my back, corrected that and I've been back to running (even a little racing) for over a year. She's truly amazing and has a super personality to boot. Good luck! Laurie

Physical therapy after cervical spine surgery

Nov 2008

I am recovering from surgery on my cervical spine. I would like to start physical therapy close to home in Alameda or vicinity. Anyone have a recommendation? Jenny

I have seen Deirdre McLoughlin for a wicked back injury and she is fantastic. Her practice is located in the Strawberry Creek Bldg. on Addison in Berkeley, and she is extremely caring, knowledgeable and focused on each patient. Unlike many pt practices where you get handed off to different assistants and trainers, Deirdre spends a full 50 min/hour with each patient herself and puts her entire attention on your care. She works with her patients on all the usual PT things- ongoing assessment and progress tracking, exercises, stretches, icing, ultrasound, estim, massage, but because she doesn't hand you off to other people to do pieces of your treatment, she is 100% attentive and responsive to what she thinks you most need. She doesn't take insurance, but I got a big chunk of her fee reimbursed by my ins. company. 510-883-1126. ALISSA

Physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery

Nov 2008

I will be having rotator cuff surgery in the Boston area soon and will be staying with my daughter and her family in the East Bay Area to recuperate. I am looking for recommendations for a physical therapy facility in the Orinda area. Thank you. anon

I can highly recommend Physical Therapy Associates of San Ramon, as the best of breed. Both my teenage daughter and myself have been going there as needed for 5 years for our specific healing and have found the care to be exceptional. We drive all the way from Alameda as we have found no better. They are easy to access off 680 at 2817 Crow Canyon Road. Call 925-838-9846 and ask for Pat Scott. Enjoy! Louise and Sarah happy patients
I had a very good PT experience with Bob Baker of Emeryville Physical Therapy. About 1 year ago I severely injured my right shoulder and had to undergo surgery to repair tears in both my subscapular tendon and labrum. My surgeon was concerned that an unknowledgeable PT might re-injure my shoulder and therefore recommended I use Bob for my PT. I visited Bob's office twice a week for about 3 months and received excellent care and advise. Today I have 100% mobility and strength in my shoulder. The icing on the cake was that Bob's approach to PT resulted in very little pain. I was warned by friends that PT stood for 'Physical Terrorist'. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that no severe pain was involved in the process. Bob takes a slow and steady approach that gets maximum results with minimal discomfort. Bill

Physical Therapist for strengthening pelvic muscles

Oct 2008

Prolapsed Bladder - any recommendations for physical therapists who can mend/strengthen muscles. I'm not interested in surgery. thanks for your help

For pelvic floor problems, the greatest doctor/phys therapy team is Dr. Jerome Weiss in S.F. See here for info: Great doctor, great staff! joanna
I have the same issue and have been working with Avery and Associates on Pill Hill. They are very knowledgeable, and make you feel comfortable. I have had some success with the treatment (has been going on for 8 weeks now), but if you are breastfeeding, be prepared for this to take a long time to get better. Best of luck! Sister in suffering
Try Leigh Hollowell, one of the PT's at Avery & Associates on 3300 Webster St, Oakland, CA. 510-451-6020. She is licensed to do pelvic floor therapy. Good luck! rosie
Linda Avery and Associates is a fantastic PT practice that specializes in women's health issues. They greatly helped me with rather substantial pelvic floor issues. While, ultimately, I will probably have to have surgery down the road, they provided me with lots of information, exercises etc. to slow the process and make an educated decision about my physical status. I highly recommend that practice! saggy yet strong!
i've posted about liz rummer at the pelvic health and rehabilitation center in the past. my mother saw her for a different, extremely bothersome issue, but - knock on wood - is cured at the moment. i believe she sees patients for a variety of pelvic issues. liz is in sf at 2000 van ness.
I posted a similar question a while back, seeking a physical therapist and a personal trainer who could help with nonsurgical options for my uterine, bladder, and rectal prolapse. Maybe the moderator could check the responses, because I've lost them! [Editor: See Jan 2008 question, below]

I ended up doing PT with Esther Dolowich at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center on Telegraph in Oakland. I think the number is 510-204-1788. Once she's taught you the right way to do them, the exercises themselves are pretty minimal (different variations on the Kegel), but the lifestyle and behavioral education was useful. Good luck! Droopy

Check out ProBalance Pilates and Physical Therapy for a Women's Health therapist. They are on Park St. in Alameda and the phone number is 510-523-1900. anon

Physical therapist for shoulder injury

May 2008

Hi, Looking for a good, experienced physical therapist in my Hill Physicians Network to rehab from a shoulder injury. The only places that are covered are: NovaCare Rehab in Oakland Flex Physical Therapy in Oakland Pacer Physical Therapy in Walnut Creek Anyone have a good (great?) experience with a PT at these places? Any advice is much appreciated, Maura

I highly recommend Flex Physical Therapy. I had a back pain and I was given ideas and ways to get rid of the pain. It worked! The staff is wonderful. anon
I tried 4 different Hill Physicians' PTs, and attempted a request for an out of network assignment (refused) before I changed to AltaBates (now Sutter Group) and got a great PT (Allan at Berkeley PT). For some bizarre reason Hill has even refused to certify Summit Hospital PT -- which has good PTs and would be willing to be part of the Hill network; they tried to get re-certified by Hill Physicians, and were unable to do so. Sadly, your best solution is to switch out of Hill Physicians, if you can, to get a decent PT. --glad to have better PT care than Hill offered

Physical therapist for chronic knee problems

April 2008

I am having chronic knee problems. I know it falls under the catagory of patella-femoral syndrome. It has been so bad that I have dislocated my patella in the past. I am looking for a physical therapist that focuses (in their practice) on this type of condition. Any recommendations? diane

You might want to try Physical Therapy Innovations in El Cerrito. They have great therapists and specialize in knee and back pain. They also have Pilates and Aquatic physical therapy if you should need it. PTI also has 2 other clinics in Oakland and Orinda if that is more convenient for you. The tel no is 510-524-2177 and you can go to their website for more information. A.
I know an excellent physical therapist who specializes in chronic knee problems. Her name is Deena Levy (510) 540-7816. She's dedicated to her profession and excels at finding solutions. I've seen her for treatment and she's the best. She's located at 2301 Grant St. in Berkeley. L.
I was diagnosed with patella-femoral syndrome last year. I have been going to June Graham PT at UCSF sports medicine clinic at Mt. Zion campus. She is an expert in knees, and is great. The telephone number is 415-353-7598. R.

Pelvic floor reconditioning

Jan 2008

I was just diagnosed with various pelvic organ prolapses (uterine and bladder) and my OB gave me a referral to see a physical therapist to recondition my pelvic floor. (Public service announcement: when they say ''Do your Kegels,'' they MEAN it! I'm only in my 30s and my OB is already talking hysterectomy because all my pelvic organs are drooping out of my body.)

I need two things:

1) A PHYSICAL THERAPIST. The person my OB recommended is a pelvic floor specialist (Esther somebody), but she isn't available until March. There are two physical therapists who treat postpartum issues mentioned in the archives (Suzanne Koval and Em Squires). Does anyone have experience working with any of these three women? Any other great PTs I should look into?

2) A PERSONAL TRAINER. I made my prolapses worse by doing Pilates incorrectly on my own, so I've decided to treat myself to some one-on-one training. Someone who specializes in postpartum issues in general, and the pelvic floor in particular, would be awesome, but I'm open to any recommendations.

Thanks so much! -- Droopy

Linda Avery and Assoc is a fantastic practice! They specialize in pelvic floor, and other ''women's issues''. Each PT has their own sub-niche of specialization, and they are all wonderful. Good luck with your prolapse issues. Even if they can't ''fix'' everything, they will be able to give you lots of great information (that all women should know), and help you to decrease your symptoms. been there, done that!
Try Helene Byrne for post-partum reconditioning. She used to run these classes 2x/week for 8 weeks - it worked fabulously after my first child. She stopped running the classes by the time my 2nd came around, but she did visit my house for a private session one time. She has a website: and a book by the same name. Good luck! Sharon
I recommend Andrea Kennerley at Optimum Pilates in Montclair for pilates. She is great with pre and postnatal issues and is very knowledgeable about pelvic floor issues. I had a lot of pelvic floor problems (leaking when i coughed, etc) and she has helped me immensely with that. also, i have scoliosis and the exercises she has given me have been really helpful at making my back even and keeping the scoliosis from progressing. Anyway, i cannot say enough good things about my experience with her- she is really kind and supportive. she is at no longer embarrassed when i cough
I recently worked with Esther Dolowich at Alta Bates Physical Therapy, on pelvic floor and tailbone issues, who may be the same Esther your OB recommended? In any case, she was fabulous: very knowledgeable, very encouraging, very patient. She was also very good about explaining the relevant anatomy to me at just the right level -- not overwhelmingly technical, but not dumbed down either. And so far her treatment and exercise program has kept me pain-free where other solutions have failed. I highly recommend her! No more pain in the (...)
you should call and make an appointment with either liz rummer or stephanie prendergast at pelvic health and rehabilitation center in sf. they are in the medical arts bldg. at van ness and jackson. the therapy they do has made a huge difference for my mother, who had a different problem, but felt hopeless after seeing countless specialists for over a year. she said just the other day that they mentioned working with a lot of postpartum women. their website is: good luck
Em Squires is very good. I would recommend you at least go talk to her she will make you feel very comfortable. Of course if you can afford it she doesn't bill insurance. I would also recommend looking into some complimentary alternative treatments. I had a similar but not the same kind of problem and accupuncture can also really help. i would do it all at the same time. If think with these kinds of problems you really need to dedicate some time to it and then really be on top of it working on it all the time for a little while. Hope that helps
July 2007

Hi, I'm looking for a good physical therapist in the East Bay for fractured hip. anon

I am also looking for a PT in the East Bay, so hope to hear the responses. I had an unfavorable experience with Flex PT on Broadway in Oakland. In particular, I found the owner to be arrogant and disinterested in my case. The office manager was also terse. During my appointment, my PT, the owner, was distracted, somewhat flighty and just generally not focused on me, as she kept getting called away. Her recommendations conflicted with what my doctor and nurse's recommendations were and when I asked her about it, she was defensive and said she had the final say. I found her unprofessional and won't be going back. anon
May 2007

I am looking for a really good physical therapist who has experience with hips and young patients. Please send along any recommendations. anon

Sports and Orthopedic Specialists at 6300 Telegraph Ave in Oakland has a great group of physical therapists that can work with young clients and orthopedic issues of all kinds. You can call them at 547-8293 dawn

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Oct 2006

Re: Chiropractor who specializes in feet
I know a person who is not a chiropractor, but a licensed physical therapist as well as certified Feldenkrais worker and Pilates trainer. She is fantastic with foot issues. I had severe plantar fascitis (couldn't get my heel on the floor!) and was running again after two treatments, it has never come back in four years since. My daughter had foot pain for years and years, similarly after two treatments, has been painfree for years. She's great, great personality too. Her name: Kaivee, her phone: (510) 504-5484. She's in North West Berkeley, off Gilman by San Pablo Avenue, accessible and easy to get to. Leia

May 2006

Re: Chiropractor for postpartum back pain
I highly recommend Em Squires. She is a physical therapist who specializes in post partum issues, including posture. She also does adjustments, and insurance covers her if it covers physical therapy. She works near Lake Merrit. 286-8100 (I think). she is really knowledgable and very kind. Just fantastic. she knows more than the doctors I saw for some pp issues. I loved Em.

There is a physical therapist in the East Bay that specializes in postpartum healing and rehab. She helped me with my prenatal and postpartum postural issues. Her name is Suzanne Koval, MSPT and she can be reached at suzannekoval[AT] asayeed
April 2006

Can anyone recommend an excellent Physical Therapist in the Alameda/Berkeley/Oakland area, who is experienced with miofacial release? I had some major surgery on my legs 2 months ago, and am trying to gain my mobility and strength back while dealing with a lot of tightening from scar tissue. Someone who accepts Blue Shield PPO insurance would be a plus. rachel

I highly recommend Edie Murphy, (510) 451-5560. She is very experienced, intuitive, and finds muscles I did not even know I had. She is in Oakland and bills Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Ariel
March 2006

I would like a recommendation in North Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito for a physical therapist who gets the job done without drawing the therapy out for weeks. I want someone who will teach me the exercises I need and make sure I am doing them properly. It seems that so many physical therapists use the insurance payments to give their patients questionable treatments instead of teaching them how to use thier bodies to prevent injury, how to work hard to overcome the condition and how to set up a home program to continue the treatment. I want someone who is straightforward. Any suggestions? Lydia

I want to recommend Patrick Hannum Physical Therapy. He is located on Gilman and 4th street in Berkeley. This is a unique Physical Therapy clinic that provides quality hands-on manual therapy. Patrick is also a certified Rolfer which is a type of deep-tissue work. He has one other Rolfer and two other P.T.'s that work there also with great skills. They have a Pilates reformer for exercise training. I went to him for a chronic neck problem and then went through the Rolf series afterwards. It is amazing how much he has helped me. He is a blue cross and blue shield preferred provider. This is not your typical office. Linda

2003 & Earlier

July 2003

Has anyone had experience with a physical therapist named Dr. Janet Soto? She has been recommended to work with me for my ruptured disc. Thanks, Elyse

I've seen Janet Soto for different body parts, specifically shoulder and lower back, and I thought she was great. It has been a while since my last visit, but she was also recommended by a physical therapist friend who occasionally worked with her. She's a really nice person as well as a good PT. Robbie
November 2002

Any suggestions for a physical therapist who has particular expertise with knee problems? I looked in the p.t. archives but not a lot of therapists were touted as being particularly focused on knee stuff.

You should call Simon at Montclair Physical Therapy in Montclair, Oakland. He is a God in my book. I pay my own money, (I changed insurance and they will only allow me go to South Phyical Therapy)to see Simon and he has always made it better. Keep in mind that he will put you to work to strengthen which ever muscle needs it to make up feel better long term. But if you do the work he prescribes -- he has machines in his office-- you will get better. JDrew
Edie Murphy is an excellent physical therapist and Aston Patterner. She's in Oakland off of the lake. Her number is 451-5560. She doesn't specifically specialize in knees but she's very experienced and certainly knows knees and knee injuries. Good luck June
Patrick Hannum is a physical therapist and Rolffer who has been working on my knees as well as other issues. Patrick offers the added benefit of doing great deep tissue work in addition to standard PT work. I highly recommend him. He is located in the Tannery on 4th and Gilman, and his number is 524-6422. Maria
I have been to several therapists and had no improvement with a knee/hip problem I have until I found Karl Schmetz. I have experienced such dramatic improvement so quickly I am convinced he must be a witch doctor! He was recommended to me by a co- worker who had a very serious ski accident two years ago and was told he would never walk again. With Karl's help, he not only walks but he even skis. He also works with a lot of professional ballet dancers and athletes who, I am sure, have a lot of knee problems. He is in SF but right at the Montgomery BART stop, very easy to get to and well worth the commute. He has been a miracle worker for me. (415) 722-4415 Nicole
Two P.T.'s I'd recommend are Patrick Hannum and Lynn Schankliess (sp.?). Pat has an office down in the Tannery complex on Gilman and his number is 510-524-6422. He is super experienced, and a great guy to boot. He has a master's degree in PT but is also a certified Rolfer. Lynn works (or did work) at the Tang Center on Campus, and did wonders for my chronic knee problems. I like them both because they don't just give you a bunch of exercises and send you off into the blue -- they actually do some real bodywork, and as athletes (cyclist, runner) they're both attuned to the idea that you want to be able to get back into action soon. anon
I've been going to Albany Physical Therapy and have been pleased with the exercises and level of service. jamie
January 2001

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with the following physical therapists, especially for recovery from knee or other joint surgery? Alta Bates health pavilion on Telegraph Berkely Physical Therapy on Bancoroft Herrick Physical/Occupational Therapy on Dwight Craig Norton or Ortho-Sport Physical Therapy on College Wendy Katzman or Physiotherapy Associates Thanks! Raissa

I was treated by Laura at Herrick for a long-term shoulder problem and was very satisfied. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Fran
I have had extensive physical therapy and thus have encountered a number of physical therapists in the Berkeley area: My experience with Alta Bates Pavillion was ok, but I felt it was like being in a factory. Each time I went I had a different assistant. I didn't feel I was getting individual treatment or have much privacy since it was all out in the open. Craig Norton use to manage the Alta Bates Pavillion at that time. The concept was to provide service to a lot of people simultaneously with very few certified physical therapists, a lot of PT assistants/students, and save money. I often felt that Craig was not professional - in his comments to patients, and how he handled the physical privacy of his clients. I would not go back to that clinic nor go to Craig's clinic on College Ave. My experience with Berkeley Physical Therapy has been generally positive, except the office staff are often unhelpful, unfriendly, and very involved with their private phone conversations. Allen Horowitz is very good there and I saw him for my back and shoulders. I would recommend seeing him. My best physical therapist so far is Ellen Bier, who use to be at Berkeley Physical Therapy for many years, but now has her own private practice. I have seen her for my back, shoulder, neck and feet. She does a lot of hands on work, sets up a home exercise program that is realistic and not overwhelming, knows how to encourage you to do your part of keeping your body in shape and out of trouble. Her hands on work has been effective to me, where I have walked out of there with my back feeling normal within one session. Along with all this, she is a great person - and fun and personable. The only drawback is that she doesn't take health insurance. She can be reached at 510-843-9110,and her office is in Berkeley.
I don't have experience with the therapists you list, but I highly recommend Allen Ling at Physical Therapy Innovations, 425 Kearney St. in El Cerrito, telephone 524-2177. He is a UC Berkeley grad in molecular and cell biology who now has many years of experience in this field. He is truly exceptional - highly intelligent, astute and kind. He helped me after two years of physical therapy with different therapists failed to get me beyond a somewhat-recovered plateau. Betsy
I had responded earlier about recommendations for Physical Therapy. I had strongly recommended Ellen Bier (843-9110) who has her own private practice in Berkeley. While she doesn't take HMO like health insurance, she will take patients who are covered by workers compensation, med pay through their car insurance plans, and patients with PPO type of health insurance. I also want to add that Ellen, having experienced a number of injuries herself, is very empathetic and can understand the pain and difficulties of her patients.
I went to Wendy Katzman briefly for a back problem, and really liked her. She was a good listener and really targeted the areas I needed. Very helpful and realistic. I also saw someone else in her office, and liked her as well although I can't think of her name. S. Martin
Toby 7/99

I took my daughter and also went myself to SOS (sports orthopedic specialists) and saw John King. He's great and really knows the human body. I really got that healing myself from my injury was really my responsiblity. He could help me, but only if I did the exercises that he gave me. I didn't want to know this. I would much rather have gone somewhere where the therapist just treated and healed me, but the reality is that the healing is mostly in your hands. So, John is great and gives great exercises. We've been to 2 other physical therapists, one on San Pablo near Albany (don't remember the name) and Berkeley Physical Therapy and I think John is the absolute best!

Judy (7/99)

My husband had a serious knee injury for which he needed LOTS of physical therapy. He went to Sports & Orthopedic Specialists. He adores Pien, his therapist there. She is extremely knowledgeable, and uses the right balance of gentleness & pushing. Her kindness & wonderful sense of humor help a lot too!