Featured PT- Danielle Azar, PT, DPT


Meet Danielle Azar!

Danielle is a staff Therapist at our Blue Bell location.

1  .What is your favorite part about working one-on-one with patients through the duration of their care?  I love being able to see my patients’ progress throughout their duration of care. It is my passion to help my patients meet their own functional goals and get better in physical therapy. If they were being followed more often by another PT, PTA or assisted by PT aides, I would not get the pleasure of seeing their progress from visit to visit. I love the motto here at E&A where patients stick to one PT

2.  In your words, what is the “E&A Difference?” Getting to spend  1-on-1 time with our patients and having treatment directed by your PT only!  Our standards here do not require quantity but quality. We do not have to see 15 plus patients to make any productivity standards. We see on average 10 patients a day, and that enables us to spend quality time with our patients and provide only the best treatment. Almost everyone receives manual therapy intervention, which is a hands on treatment approach to help our patients restore their normal function. Their exercises are then determined by their PT for their specific impairments. There is no cookie-cutter approach here at E&A; everything is individualized!

 3Please share with us your most memorable patient, or patients, and their story.  It is hard to choose just one. I remember a patient who made tremendous progress and quickly; he was a gym teacher with 2 young children and had trouble working and playing with his kids. He came in to PT after multiple back surgeries with another one scheduled. I wished I had seen him prior to those surgeries! He presented with significant pain and loss of motion, sensation and strength and had difficulty walking.  We provided treatment on day 1 with the evaluation. Before the evaluation was even over, the patient was walking better and his strength improved so much that even he noticed and exclaimed, “Wow that was much better!” I know when my patients are getting better based on some objective measures but it is great when they recognize it and appreciate it, in such a short amount of time. Needless to say, his scheduled surgery was cancelled!!

 4. What do you like to do in your off time, outside the clinic?  My husband and I have been spending a lot of time getting ready for the arrival of our daughter, our new addition to the family;  spending time with family and friends and cuddling with our fur baby, Stewie.


Helpful Hints for healthy gardening!


Gardner Kneeling
Kneel whenever possible.

Spring is here and our focus starts to turn to the outdoors.  Walking outside in the crisp spring air is something to look forward.  Getting the gardens and lawn in shape, maybe not so much!

This could be due to the fact that we look at getting the gardens ready as a “necessary evil of spring”, something that needs to be done before we are able to do the things we LIKE.  Common gardening activities can cause stress throughout the body, especially if we have not been very active throughout the winter.

Digging, edging, planting, weeding, mulching, raking, clipping and bending all stress our joints and muscles.  To what extent is determined as much by our bodies as it is by the intensity of the activity.   Depending on the activity, the shoulders, neck back and knees can all be vulnerable to injury and overuse when tending to your garden in the spring.

The following suggestions can help you prevent waking up the next morning wishing you never started tending to the garden.

  • Set up a plan for what you want to accomplish.  Start out slow to allow your body to get warmed up.  You could even perform some simple calisthenics to help increase your blood flow and prepare your body for the tasks at hand.
  • Vary your activities – break up a digging or shoveling session with some quiet weeding or transplanting.  You can avoid stiffening up and over stressing a body part.
  • Pay attention to your body!  If you are noticing achiness in your body, take a break or move onto a different activity.
  • Use a cart or wheelbarrow to help you move heavy material and tools.  In addition, get assistance to help you with trees and larger shrubs.
  • Kneel as much as possible.  This will prevent you from bending at the waist.   Use knee pads or use a gardening pad. If you have discomfort form kneeling, try kneeling on one and keep the other foot on the ground.
  • Always use good body mechanics!  This goes for picking up a shrub or the small spade that fell to the ground.  Back pain is the number one reason people go to a physical therapy.
  • Avoid twisting your spine when lifting, pivot instead.  Lift and move the feet to get the object where you want it to go.
  • End your gardening activities with some gentle backward bends.  With gardening, we are bending forward, leaning forward and doing things on the ground.  This is a great activity to counter the time leaning forward.

Gardening does not have to be a painful activity.  Enjoy the outdoors and be safe doing it.

Back Bend
Gentle back bend to be performed during and after gardening









Thanks go to the APTA at http://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/gardening



Mason Fullerton for #LifeWithoutLimits

Below is a success story submitted by patient Mason Fullerton. His journey reminds us how important engaged, focused PT care is. 

“My name is Mason Fullerton and I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – a connective joint and tissue disorder.

I have been getting physical therapy since I was ten months old, and now I am 8 years old. At Excel I have been working on my balance and strengthening my ankles because I was falling a lot. I have been at Excel for 3 months. I like Excel because we started out seeing how my ankles are and they built up my strength before I started running, so I would have energy. At my old PT, they would just say run 3 laps for 3 minutes. They didn’t push me too hard. Now I am having fun! I get to throw footballs and do stool racing. I look forward to going to each session and I used to hate going to my old PT.

After 6 weeks of Excel my orthopedic doctor said I improved a lot! That was the first time my mom and I ever heard that! Thanks Excel.”

Mason is pictured with the Jenkintown team of Meredith Mayes, Dan Reppert and Danielle Veacock.

Yolanda Anderson for #LifeWithoutLimits

Below is one of many success stories, contributed by our patient, Yolanda Anderson. Her recovery inspires us to do what we do. Go Yolanda!

1. What made you consider Physical Therapy?

I was referred by my Orthopedist.

2. How have your perceptions/expectations changed since beginning treatment with Apex?

I should have sought treatment sooner. My therapist not only helped to treat my injuries but taught me preventative exercises that I could do at home on my own.

3. What has been the best part of your recovery?

I am now able to participate in physical activities without any pain, such as running and strength.

4. What can you do now that you couldn’t do before starting therapy? Long distance running.

Prior to coming to therapy I couldn’t run past two miles without knee pain. Now I can run a full marathon.

Below is a note from Yolanda about her experience:

“I was experiencing minor knee pain off and on while running. The pain worsened and I was diagnosed with IT band syndrome. I began receiving Graston and ART techniques at Apex along with exercises to strengthen my hips. I was advised by my physical therapist to stop running as the pain persisted. After a month or so, I was able to gradually start running again while continuing treatment. I have completed many running events since the start of my treatment, including a full marathon. I’m happy that Desirae was able to help me get back to pain free running.”

–Yolanda Anderson

Phyllis Krichev for #LifeWithoutLimits

Below is one of many  success stories, contributed by our patient, Phyllis Krichev . Her recovery inspires us to do what we do.  Go Phyllis!

1. What made you consider Physical Therapy?

All other options had been exhausted, i.e., injections, medications, pain management, as well as another reputable physical therapy venue (which actually aggravated my arm), at which point my neurologist suggested Excel.

2. How have your perceptions/expectations changed since beginning treatment with Excel?

Both my perceptions of physical therapy in general and my expectations specifically have changed 180 degrees. Prior to my Excel experience my perceptions could fairly be described as skeptical; my expectations were rather dim.

3. What has been the best part of your recovery?

Regaining a right arm which once again functions thereby retaining my ability for independent living.

4. What can you do now that you couldn’t do before starting therapy?

I would have to say that I can do countless things now that I could not do before therapy. I can wash my hair, open the oven door, drive with both hands, and even just lay down in bed. In short, I can now do a myriad of tasks required to successfully get through any given day.

The following is a letter we received from Phyllis following her treatment.

Perhaps you are wholly aware of the asset you have in Cherry Hill. In the unlikely event that you are not, I feel compelled to add my two cents. It has been six months since I started therapy. And before I continue, let me preface my remarks with this caveat, what I am writing is simply accurate and without embellishment.

Having been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, I knew the challenge to restore function in a shoulder with adhesive capsules became more difficult. On my first day I could barely lift my arm away from my body. However, even with the major roadblock that is RSD, my PT has cajoled this very arm to great heights, to a place where I can once again function independently. It has been my PT’s expertise, initiative, creativity, and unparalleled sticktoitiveness that it bringing me back from desperation. 

And, of course, a span of six months affords me a good deal of time to observe. The overall environment created by your Clinic Director is one of the most conducive to healing. Therapists don’t simply work on patients but they very smartly work with them as well. Patients are working hard with smiles on their faces! I am a seventy year old woman who unfortunately has been in and out of therapy for fifty of those years. And I can tell you  without reservation that I have never seen a therapeutic environment so healthy and healing! All of which is owing to the stewardship of your Clinic Director. And I, for one, wanted to acknowledge his talent and abilities and your good sense and leadership.”


We are unsurpassed! Well, at least our patients think so!

“I first came to Excel Physical Therapy as a skeptic. I was wrong to think that way. I experienced whiplash in a recent car accident & figured one appointment to assess my back couldn’t hurt. Through my therapy I discovered just how strained my back muscles were.   I saw results immediately. Excel gave me the hands on experience needed to heal. They also gave me exercises to take home so that I could further work on my recovery outside of the office. The staff was amazing, putting things lightly. Everyone goes the extra step and always has a smile on their face. If you choose physical therapy, choose Excel because the care, customer service & satisfaction with your therapy will be unsurpassed.”

-J.S.- Satisfied Excel patient

Did you know? Here are some myths about Physical Therapy

“People everywhere are experiencing the transformative effect physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, as experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life. But there are some common misconceptions that often discourage people from visiting a physical therapist.” -APTA

  1. Myth: I need a referral to see a physical therapist.

2. Myth: I can do physical therapy on my own

  • Fact: Your participation is key to a successful treatment plan, but every patient still needs the expert care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist. Your therapist will leverage his or her specialized education, clinical expertise, and the latest available evidence to evaluate your needs and make a diagnosis before creating an individualized plan of care.

Learn more about physical therapy myths

Click here to learn more about Apex & to see the difference.

A Physical Therapist’s Guide to Concussions

Concussions can be a scary injury. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that in sports alone, more than 3.8 million concussions occur each year. There are many symptoms related to concussion, and they can affect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Good thing the physical therapists at Excel can help treat concussions and get you feeling better. We have 24 vestibular physical therapists (a physical therapist who specializes in treating balance disorders and dizziness) waiting to help you get back to being yourself.







Learn more about how Apex Physical Therapy can get you feeling better…

Click here for more about how Physical Therapy can help with concussions…

Continuing Education makes us “A Step Ahead, A Step Above!”

This past weekend, 17 of our fantastic therapist took a course titled, “Movement system syndromes of the cervical spine and shoulder: interaction and evidence,” by Shirley Sahrmann PT, PhD, FAPTA.  Dr. Sahrmann is a pioneer in the research on movement.  In her courses, the attending therapist learns what ideal movement is in the body.  When people move in ways that deviate from normal, degeneration of the body can occur and this can lead to pain and disability.  Using Dr. Sahrmann’s approach, our therapists can dig deep and get to the actual cause of the pain and disability, addressing it at the root of the problem.  This will lead to better, more specific treatment, better home exercises to prevent a recurrence of the symptoms.

Arcadia University hosted the course and there was said to be Arcadia course150 attendees, with a wait list of 40 people who couldn’t come because they couldn’t accommodate more.