LEE’S PROFESSIONAL and PERSONAL JOURNEY
Hello, my name is Lee Spannhake. I am a licensed physical therapist with over two decades of experience in the industry. I graduated with my Master’s in Physical Therapy from the University of Saint Augustine in 1998. My passion for becoming a physical therapist has been simply to make a difference in someone’s life.
I have worked in numerous settings including acute care hospitals, outpatient, inpatient rehabilitation and home health. What I learned from my experiences in these settings is how much I love the home setting. It truly gives me an accurate picture of a person’s movement patterns and functional needs. The home setting is where I feel I can make the most impact on someone’s life.
Early in my career, my specialties developed into the treatment of vestibular balance disorders and osteoporosis. I enjoyed teaching the first osteoporosis education class for doctorate students at the University of Saint Augustine. I also enjoyed developing osteoporosis and vestibular programs for a local health care system. Recently, I have been providing free educational community workshops on osteoporosis called, “Be Hip. Don’t Break One.” There is so much to teach with our balance and osteoporosis populations. Through education, a positive change can be made.
In 2018, I started my company, In Home Body In Balance. I enjoy helping those of all ages find wellness through safe exercises, despite other health issues they may face. Since I come to my clients’ homes, their energy and time are conserved. For many people, they want to get healthier through exercise and safe movement. Often, gym settings and in-person exercise classes are intimidating. These settings can be difficult to physically get to for some people. I want to ease these stresses. When we exercise, we need time and patience. I provide both. Exercise prescription should be individualized. Understanding how illnesses, diseases and conditions affect your body is crucial in developing an appropriate program. I want to ensure my clients get what they need so they can achieve their best outcomes.
I was diagnosed with a neurological condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), along with mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) and hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) in my mid 40’s. I had suffered from a cobweb of symptoms associated with POTS since I was 30 years old. These symptoms varied from difficulty standing due to dizziness, headaches, joint pain, skin and GI issues and so much more. For many years I was misdiagnosed and misunderstood because I looked good, and my labs were good. After 16 years, I finally received my diagnosis of POTS. Unfortunately, my symptoms progressed as I got older. This progression of symptoms motivated me to spend time taking coursework and reading current research on POTS. I have made POTS education for medical professionals, families and clients one of my life’s missions. I want to get the word out that there is help for those with POTS. I would like physicians, nurses, therapists, parents and clients to know the updated research on this syndrome and how symptoms can be better managed. Those with POTS are often isolated due to the years it takes to get an appropriate diagnosis. Then they are faced with the question, “What do I do next?”. The Exercise With POTS and Education With POTS programs were designed to ease the frustrations with this question. Those with POTS need to know there is someone out there who will listen, understand and help them better manage their POTS symptoms.
I believe in the BEST in everyone, no matter the age. I aim to make a lasting impact on people’s lives!