Feature Article:My Exciting Interview with Dr. Sean Altman

My Exciting Interview with Dr. Sean Altman


Written by

Mark A Breiner DDS


In a break from my Decades of Dental Wisdom series, I would like to interview and introduce you to Dr.Sean Altman. Dr. Altman is a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I want you to understand that not all physical therapists are created equal! One day, Sean came to our office to introduce himself. Upon questioning him about several things, I could tell there was something different about him. A few months later, I took my wife to him for a chronic problem, and my suspicions were confirmed. Dr. Altman is in a class by himself! I knew we had to have him as a member of our team.

Sean, why did you become a physical therapist? 

I studied premed at Colgate University. After graduation, I took a gap year while applying to medical schools and worked as an Emergency Medical Technician. One afternoon, I was watching my father play softball, and I realized that he was having a heart attack. I called 911 and began CPR. He ended up having triple bypass surgery. I stopped all my applications at that point to rearrange my schedule so that I could help take care of him. Three times a week, I took him to cardiac rehab. His therapists at the rehab center were inspiring. They were so passionate and dedicated to his care that it inspired me to pursue a career in physical therapy.

What happened after you graduated?

When I graduated, my learning started. I took course after course on many different approaches and philosophies of physical therapy. I sought out older clinicians to get other perspectives. Working in an integrated chronic pain clinic, I realized that the diagnosis is not necessarily the patient’s real problem and that you must look at the whole person to determine the best course of treatment. I then ran a rehab department at a hospital and tried to bring a more holistic, patient-centered approach to treatment. After about two years, I realized that the hospital would not allow me to improve patient care. They finally told me I needed to be more interested in the bottom line, that too much time was spent with the patients. So I left.   

That was disappointing. What happened then?

I was working in an office when I met you and your wife. I became intrigued as we discussed various things you were doing at your center and that many treatments are frequency-based. You gave me a book on Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM), which blew me away. When I met Adam and saw the results he was having with FSM, plus all the other great treatment modalities he has, I knew this was a match made in heaven; I needed to be here. And most important, the patient comes first!

Are your results what you expected?

As soon as I started studying, I realized what a revolutionary technology FSM is. It allows people to heal themselves with appropriate stimuli from the physical therapist. I’ve always viewed my role as a physical therapist to facilitate recovery through exercise and manual therapy. However, FSM results are so much faster; it’s incredible. If you know what needs to be done and if you select the correct frequencies, someone can recover more quickly with the FSM. It’s just amazing.

What sort of things have you seen?

I’ve seen some things that I didn’t think were possible. I’ve seen people recover from concussions faster than I had ever experienced. I’ve seen long-standing instability be resolved and repaired. I’ve seen patients increase their range of motion in only a few sessions, whereas something like that would take me a month or two with traditional physical therapy care.

Sean, tell our readers about the patient with TMJ.

TMJ and upper cervical instability run hand-in-hand. This particular patient had a history of headaches and upper neck tension stemming originally from instability caused by playing soccer for 40+ years. He played competitively in college and professionally, and all the headers created instability in his upper cervical area. He also had a long history of headaches and migraines, and then superimposed upon this was a lot of neck tension. He developed TMJ when he started clenching and grinding his teeth as a means of additional reinforcement to try to stabilize his head and neck region. Using FSM, I was able to restore his stability in the neck area and to teach his body to stop clenching and grinding his teeth by essentially eliminating the muscle guarding, in other words the muscle tension in his head and neck. This was accomplished with the FSM, not by relaxing the muscles with massage, but by eliminating the impulse, the muscle-guarding neurological mechanism that was creating the grinding and clenching. By doing this, I was able to cure his TMJ and his headaches.

Before FSM, would you have been able to do that with traditional physical therapy?

Without FSM, the instability cannot be fixed unless it is done surgically or with injections in the spine. Then, getting a person to stop clenching or grinding takes a lot of time, practice, and reinforcement to teach them to calm their muscles down. Some people cannot teach themselves to do this, even with the right exercises and encouragement. On the other hand, the FSM corrects this muscle guarding on a neurological level very quickly and effectively. 

Isn’t it important that you must be a good detective to figure out what is behind everything in order to choose the correct frequencies?

Yes, that’s correct. Interestingly, the frequencies are so specific that they are also diagnostic. So, if you pick the proper frequency, the fact that the person gets relief and benefits from it confirms that diagnosis or whatever condition is linked to that frequency. I just had a fascinating case. She had major ankle surgery, and from the time of the ankle surgery until now, she has had persistent swelling and the surgeons thought it was just because it was a complex surgery. Because she has some venous insufficiency issues in her legs, when the swelling did not improve, they blamed it on the venous insufficiency. She ended up having vascular surgery to try to reduce the swelling, which helped a little but still did not eliminate the swelling. During this time, I continued treating her with FSM and manual therapy to control the swelling and to relieve her pain. Nothing worked to eliminate the swelling; it just kept coming back. It wasn’t until I tried something related to allergies that I started having some success. The reason I tried that was because she mentioned the ankle was itching. That week, she had a follow-up with her surgeon and mentioned my findings. After some testing, the surgeon discovered that she was allergic to the metal used for pining the bones, and this was causing the swelling. She is scheduled to have the metal removed this month, and I am sure that will resolve the problem.

As the last case demonstrated, it is so important to listen to the patient; because you picked up on the word “itch,” the case is coming to a successful conclusion. 

Sean, thank you very much. This information has been fascinating.

Would you like to permanently heal injuries, and chronic pain instead of just decreasing symptoms and finding ways to compensate? Book an appointment to start treatment; you can also book a free 15-minute phone consult with Dr. Altman to discuss your situation. Please call our medical office at 203-371-8258. ext. 2 to get started. Learn more at wholebodymed.com . 

Dr. Sean Altman, PT, DPT, CPT, Cert SMT. Cert DN practices physical therapy and functional medicine at Whole-Body Medicine in Fairfield, CT. He treats musculoskeletal and neurologic issues, including Migraines, Concussions, orthopedic injuries, prenatal patients, spine disorders, chronic pain disorders, and TMJ.

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