The RehabAuthority, Detroit Lakes’ first private physical therapy clinic, is now open at McKinley Plaza.

Clinic Director Kim Anderson has 35 years of experience in physical therapy, and he said he and his family have history in the area, especially in Perham.

Clinic Director Kim Anderson with exercise equipment at the new RehabAuthority clinic in Detroit Lakes. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)
Clinic Director Kim Anderson with exercise equipment at the new RehabAuthority clinic in Detroit Lakes. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

He most recently ran a private physical therapy clinic in the Twin Cities with his son, Caleb Anderson, who now operates that clinic on his own. Caleb Anderson was a football standout at Perham High School 15 or 20 years ago. “He played against Adam Thielen a little bit,” Anderson said with a wry smile.

His daughter, Gabriele Grunewald, was a Perham graduate, professional runner and rare cancer advocate who founded the Brave Like Gabe Foundation. She died in 2019. Her foundation was honored at the Vikings-Lions game Sunday through the NFL's Crucial Catch to fight cancer program.

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Anderson recently lost another daughter in a car-pedestrian crash. Abby Anderson, also a Perham grad and University of Minnesota track star, was hit and killed by a vehicle on Saturday, Aug. 14 in the Twin Cities.

Multiple work stations are available at the new physical therapy clinic in Detroit Lakes. At right is Clinic Director Kim Anderson. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)
Multiple work stations are available at the new physical therapy clinic in Detroit Lakes. At right is Clinic Director Kim Anderson. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

That most recent loss of a daughter is what brought him back to the Detroit Lakes area, he said.

Detroit Lakes is overdue for a private physical therapy clinic, Anderson added. “Alexandria has three other private physical therapy clinics and a major medical system — Detroit Lakes is ripe for one,” he said.

“We specialize in orthopedic conditions, joint replacement rehab, and especially spinal injuries — if your back or neck hurts, we can fix it,” he said.

The clinic accepts all types of insurance, from Blue Cross to auto insurance to MediCare. “We’re credentialed for everything in Minnesota,” he said. “If not, we’ll get it.”

Clinic Director Kim Anderson stands in a physical therapy room at RehabAuthority clinic in Detroit Lakes.  (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)
Clinic Director Kim Anderson stands in a physical therapy room at RehabAuthority clinic in Detroit Lakes. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

The clinic uses different techniques and therapy processes that “you might not get elsewhere,” he said.

Those strategies are based on pain patterns and “sub-classification of diagnosis,” he said.

Not to get too deep in the weeds, but an example of a diagnostic sub-classification model would be one that considers the range of problems faced by people with chronic pain.

It might involve patho-anatomics, or issues with tissue, as well as motor function (movement patterns, translation control, respiratory control and motor fitness), psychosocial factors, pain mechanism, and central nervous system coordination.

“Response-based assessment really tells us how to rehab someone and whether they have a rapidly-reversible condition — about 80% of people do, even if it’s been chronic for some time,” he said.

Therapy “doesn’t always have to be high-tech,” Anderson said. “It’s working with the patient to self-assess and implement exercise and movement to immediately make the condition better, or not, how to fit in long-term recovery and monitor it over weeks and months.”

Tingling and numbness in the arms and legs “are particularly good candidates for our type of rehab,” he added.

The RehabAuthority clinic in Detroit Lakes is one of several that are opening at about the same time in the area. Others are in Hawley and Alexandria. Still others, in the Fargo-Moorhead area and in Thief River Falls, for example, have been up and operating for a while now, Anderson said.

The Detroit Lakes facility is fully equipped with multiple treatment tables and is ready for staff expansion, but for now it’s a two-person clinic, with Anderson providing therapy and office support provided by Regional Front Office Administrator Crystal Baukol.

The plan is to grow as the client base grows. “We don’t want to staff it up until we build up our clientele,” Anderson said. If you’re unsure, call for a free consultation. “We can talk about their condition,” he said. “We can reconcile what we do with MRIs or other imaging,” and private physical therapy can also work well in cooperation with chiropractic care, he added.

While Sanford Health and Essentia Health offer physical therapy services, private physical therapy is new to Detroit Lakes, and “it will be a little bit of a process to let people know they can go to private practice. Everyone is welcome,” Andersons said. “You can usually get in the same day or the next day.”

He said the RehabAuthority’s approach is different from what people might expect from traditional clinics.

“They definitely never had physical therapy like we do here, and the strategies we do,” he said. People considering surgery should check out the new clinic first, he said.

“You don’t necessarily have to have surgery — give us a shot — that’s the truth,” he said. “I know it gets better because I use it myself, and things get better with the right strategy.”