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Swampscott Physical Therapist :: Kris Lohan

Why I became a Physical Therapist

RightSPINE Chiropractic Neurology Physical Therapist, Kristin Lohan

Kristin Lohan, PT

When I was young, I didn’t actually want to be a physical therapist. I actually wanted to be a chiropractor. My uncle was a chiropractor and I was endlessly amazed at how he could heal patients using his hands – no drugs and no surgery.

I was born in Hingham, Mass, but grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont with my parents and 3 sisters. Our family ran the farm and it was our responsibility to take care of the cows. I worked harder as a child than I ever have as an adult. Working and playing on the farm taught me the importance of hard work and responsibility but also how much fun being active was. At the same time, I played varsity field hockey and softball, and developed an obsession with skiing and cycling.

I attended the University of Colorado, but my dad made me promise to always ski back east because “it keeps you honest”. Just before my visit to Colorado during my senior year of high school, I fell skiing and tore 2 ligaments in my knee. Despite my injury I told my doctor I was going to go skiing when I was out west and he reluctantly gave me a very secure brace. I skied the entire week! When I returned, I underwent knee surgery and because the closest PT to my home was an hour away, the doctor told me to rehabilitate it at home. The cast came off 6 or 8 weeks’ post-surgery and I saw that my leg was the size of my arm, and I knew I had a long road ahead of me. I was so determined to ski again that I learned everything I could about strengthening my leg, and my focus changed from wanting to be a chiropractor to wanting to be a physical therapist. Interestingly, by studying biology and being pre-med, I was on the same track as if I was going to go to chiropractic school.

Education and Training

I loved every minute of life in Colorado. I competed in freestyle skiing, discovered mountain biking, worked as a waitress and volunteered for the Special Olympics. Working with the kids from the Special Olympics confirmed my choice as a PT, as I was able to help kids with physical disabilities ski and play all types of sports. I returned to Boston after college and attended Simmons College where I earned my Masters of Science in Physical Therapy. I met my husband, Scott, sailing in Marblehead and made the decision to stay locally after school. I worked at a VA hospital in Boston for 5 years and worked with many amputees and discovered that I had a penchant for that kind of work. My work with the VA led me to the North Shore and eventually I began working with Essex County Rehab/Baystate Physical Therapy in Salem. I was there for 15 years prior to joining RightSPINE.

I have now come full circle. I am back working with a chiropractor, as well as a medical doctor. I am excited for the patients – having access to various providers, all in one convenient facility. We have the ability to help a variety of different kinds of patients; virtually any condition short of surgery, maximize their function.

I am patient-focused, hands on and progress all patients eventually to exercise to aid in strengthening and stabilization. My main goal is to teach patients to manage their own pain or impairment. I also treat balance and vestibular disorders such as BPPV (Benign Positional Vertigo) and post-concussion syndrome. An injury is often an opportunity for one to find out they actually enjoy exercising.

When I am not working

Scott and I have been married for almost 20 years and we have 2 amazing boys, Xander and Mason. I would still rather ski than eat, and have enjoyed teaching my kids to ski and skiing as a family. I coach, and watch, my boys play a variety of sports. I still cycle, mountain bike, sail, run, surf (and still find time to work). I believe we are never too young or too old to become active and that sometimes we just need some help getting started.