Get to Know Our Therapists: Heather Black, MSPT, SCS, CSCS
See how Luna is reimagining physical therapy with a behind-the-scenes look at our team of physical therapists.
By Lily Beltran
What’s your personal and professional background?
I grew up in Canada and recently moved to the Bay Area with my husband. I’ve been a physical therapist for 19 years and have worked in just about every area of PT at this point. I play a lot of sports, which is how I got into physical therapy in the first place. I grew up doing soccer and figure skating and then switched to rugby in college. After college, I got into triathlons—mostly short course, but I’ve done one Ironman race.
What drew you to want to become a physical therapist?
I had a lot of aches and pains as a kid from playing so many sports and remember wanting to fix them myself. I’d walk to the library and get as many books as I could about anatomy and exercise to learn how to heal. Then, in the tenth grade I took a class about physiotherapy and thought to myself, “Wait, this is a real job? That’s awesome!” Becoming a physical therapist was the best decision I’ve ever made.
What is it about physical therapy that inspires you?
The job itself is so dynamic. There’s no redundancy and I never get bored. I love that there are endless opportunities to learn. The more you learn about different ways to treat pain, the more you realize that you’re never going to learn it all. I like having the ability to learn something new over a weekend course and apply it straight away on a patient that next week.
What's the greatest reward of your work?
I love helping my patients achieve their goal, especially when it’s something they never thought they’d be able to do. A lot of these patients have been passed around between multiple doctors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists who couldn’t fix their problem. I’ve had patients break down in tears because someone’s finally listening to what their problem is and taking care of them.
And the greatest challenge?
Probably convincing my chronic pain patients that physical therapy can help them. Many of these people have lived with pain for so long that they’ve become skeptics of the healthcare system. It’s my job to convince them that I’m on their side, I want to help them get better, and that physical therapy is the answer.
What’s the best part of being a part of Lunaverse?
I just moved out to the Bay Area in May and took a home health job. I like it, but it’s not as exciting as the orthopedic occupation because there are less mysteries to solve. With Luna, I have access to that population again. I see about six to eight patients a week and my experience has been absolutely wonderful. Everything runs so smoothly and I really appreciate the flexibility of scheduling my own hours.
What advice do you have for other physical therapists who might be struggling?
Burnout is super common in the physical therapy community. My advice would be to do your best to keep variety with your caseload. Don’t be afraid to jump out of the clinic setting or try something different like Luna.
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m big into the running and biking community. I’m also part of the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club.