Comprehensive Therapy Services in Greater Rochester

Rehabilitation services at Frisbie Memorial Hospital offer innovative programs designed to help patients safely return to their previous level of functioning. We serve patients throughout New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, and we believe everyone, regardless of age or fitness level, should enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.

To fax a referral, please use (603) 369-4517.

Inpatient Acute Rehabilitation Center

Frisbie Memorial Hospital’s new Acute Rehabilitation Unit provides patients with high-quality speech, physical and occupational therapy in an inpatient setting, using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. The new unit features 19 beds, including 17 private rooms.

Recovering from a major trauma or illness takes time, and patients respond best when they can be close to home, their families and support networks. This new unit helps residents of the Seacoast stay in their community, and helps address the shortage of inpatient rehabilitation beds in the region.

Designed to treat patients recovering from illness and injury, the unit treats patients who have experienced strokes and heart attacks, as well as other neurological and cardiovascular events, trauma and major illness. We welcome transfers from facilities throughout the region.

We provide:

Occupational therapy: Our occupational therapists support you in regaining independence with daily living skills, such as eating, dressing, grooming, household management and other various activities patients need to complete upon discharge. They also offer activities to maximize upper body movement and cognitive and perceptual skills. Occupational therapists make recommendations to improve independence and safety such as home modifications and adaptive equipment.

Physical therapy: Our physical therapists assess your needs to create an individualized treatment program, addressing any physical limitations for mobility. They help you reach your goal with functional activities such as bed mobility, transfers, walking, and stairs so you can safely return home. Additionally, they make appropriate recommendations for durable medical equipment, environmental modifications and orthotics/prosthetics, to further improve your independence and quality of life.

Speech therapy: Our speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat speech production, receptive and expressive language, cognition and swallowing. Speech-language pathologists develop individualized treatment plans to support a patient’s ability to communicate with others, complete daily cognitive tasks necessary for a home environment, and swallow food safely.

Additionally, the rehab center has an Activities of Daily Living suite to help patients prepare for their return home.

Getting back to daily life, to doing what you love is an important part of any patient’s recovery. And Frisbie Memorial Hospital can help you get there.

For more information or to schedule a tour, call (603) 602-5500.

Individualized treatment programs

Our highly trained and experienced physical, occupational, speech and cardiopulmonary therapists treat each patient as an individual. We begin the treatment process with a one-on-one evaluation to assess the individual’s current physical condition, which helps us design a personalized treatment plan.

After the initial evaluation, the therapist works closely with the individual, gauging progress and making adjustments to meet their personal goals. Our therapists collaborate with additional therapists as needed to ensure the best possible outcome.

Throughout the program, the therapist instructs each person on how to perform in-home exercises, including injury prevention techniques designed to help the individual maintain a healthy and independent lifestyle after therapy. Our entire team is dedicated to the success of each person, making therapy an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all.

Frisbie Memorial Hospital’s physical therapists are specially trained, and have advanced certification in multiple specialties and techniques, to treat a multitude of diagnoses and conditions.

We treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Neurological conditions
  • Orthopedic injury
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-concussion therapy
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vestibular (vertigo) and balance disorders

Outpatient physical therapy programs

Our therapists use innovative techniques, exercises and comprehensive modalities to treat a specific diagnosis / condition. Outpatient Physical Therapy programs include:

Cancer Rehab

The Cancer Rehab Program at Frisbie Memorial Hospital aims to increase patients’ quality of life, reduce depression, relieve fatigue, improve heart and lung performance, enhance muscular strength and endurance, and increase flexibility and balance. Our exercise program is rooted in the protocols established by the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute (RMCRI), which is part of the Northern University of Colorado, and has been researching the impact of exercise on cancer patients since 1996.

We have adapted the RMCRI’s four-phase program and married it to our physical therapy knowledge to offer a multidisciplinary approach to patients experiencing chemo toxicity and deconditioning as a result of their primary cancer treatments.

Evaluation and plan

We perform an initial evaluation that looks at the whole person and the phase of cancer treatment you are currently undergoing or whether you have completed your active treatment phases. During this initial evaluation, we perform certain tests to measure your cardiovascular performance and strength at the start of the program, which allows us to follow your progress over the course of the program.


Our core treatments are always one-on-one and set at a level appropriate to your cancer diagnosis and physical condition when you enter the program, and include individually tailored:

  • Cardiovascular exercise
  • Strength training
  • Balance training
  • Flexibility

Falls prevention

Falls are among the leading cause of injury and death in the U.S., particularly among older adults. Every year, one in three adults 65 years old and older will fall, of which 30 percent will sustain a moderate to severe injury requiring costly medical intervention and/or hospitalization. Individuals with a history of falling often develop a fear of falling again, which could increase their risk of future falls and decrease their mobility and activity, leading to a decline in fitness level and a decrease in overall quality of life.

The falls prevention program is for individuals 65 years old and older who have concerns about falling. The program is individualized to address each person’s unique needs with the goal of decreasing risk of falling, maximizing safety and increasing one’s ability to live independently.

We treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • History of falling
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-concussion disorder
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Vertigo

Our physical therapists work one-on-one to improve balance and increase strength and endurance. They use various balance assessments, include the SMART Balance Master*, which is a treatment and assessment system using interactive computer technology to guide and prompt patients throughout evaluation and treatment. Individualized treatment plans may include:

  • Balance training exercises
  • Strength training
  • Visual training
  • Activities of daily functional retraining
  • Ambulation and elevation training
  • Vestibular exercises (South Main Street Campus only)


LSVT BIG is a physical therapy and occupational therapy program developed to improve physical abilities for those individuals with Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s-like diagnoses. The LSVT BIG program was developed specifically to address the unique movement impairments for people with Parkinson’s disease. After treatment, individuals notice an improvement in the ability to walk faster and with bigger steps, balance and in daily living activities.

The LSVT BIG program is individualized to meet each person’s specific needs, consisting of a total of 16 one-on-one sessions over the course of four weeks, with activities performed daily at home and carryover exercises to maximize outcomes. Our goal is to empower individuals with the potential to improve.

The LSVT BIG program is based on the founding principles of LSVT LOUD, which has been shown to improve vocal loudness, intonation, and voice quality nearly two years after treatment.

Lymphedema management

Lymphedema is a medical condition occurring when the lymphatic system is compromised due to surgery, radiation, injury or congenital abnormality within the lymphatic system. The result is an accumulation of fluid in the affected tissue and eventually the region of the body.

Common symptoms of lymphedema include swelling, hardening and skin discoloration of a part of the body, which may feel full, fatigued or has a heavy sensation. There may be a decrease in range of motion and/or the presence of a wound. Left untreated, there is a high risk of infection.

Our physical therapists are specially trained to treat lymphedema, earning national certification through highly-regarded clinical programs.

Lymphedema management consists of complete or complex decongestive therapy (CDT), which is the most effective treatment for chronic extremity lymphedema. Types of CDT include manual lymphatic drainage, which is used to re-route the lymph flow around blocked areas and into healthy lymph vessels. Another form of CDT is compression therapy, which uses multi-layered compression bandages to improve the efficiency of the muscle and joint pump, exercises activating the muscle and joint pump, as well as skin care to prevent infection.

Manual lymphatic drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage is a very gentle manual treatment which improves the function of the lymphatic system throughout the body. As part of the body’s immune system, the lymphatic system helps to protect us from infection and disease. Lymph fluid passes through lymph nodes which are connected by a network of lymph vessels. The nodes are found throughout the whole body. In lymphedema therapy, manual lymphatic drainage is used to re-route the lymph flow from blocked areas in to healthy lymph vessels.

Frisbie’s physical therapists evaluate and treat individuals with limited ability to move and perform daily activities as a result of an acute medical condition or surgery. Our physical therapists establish personalized treatment plans designed to meet the unique needs of each individual that include strengthening exercises, education on a home exercise program, gait training, and balance activities. They work one-on-one with individuals to improve mobility so that they may return back to their previous level of functioning.

Our therapists are an integral part of the patient care team, working together to provide the best plan of care for each person during their hospital stay, and help determine the safest discharge plan from hospital to home, or to another health care facility.

Manual lymphatic drainage therapy is used to treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • Above and below knee amputations
  • Acute pain
  • Back and neck surgery or injury
  • Cardiac events
  • Critically ill patients who have been intubated or on mechanical ventilation
  • Multi-trauma
  • Neurological disorders
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • Stroke
  • Total shoulder, hip and knee replacements
  • Vascular surgeries
  • Vertigo

Vestibular and balance management

The vestibular and balance management program helps people overcome dizziness (vertigo) and balance problems. Our physical therapists hold advanced certification to help patients overcome dizziness and achieve a higher level of functioning. The therapists design individualized plans of care, including the use of various balance assessment tools, such as the SMART Balance Master, which is a treatment and assessment system using interactive computer technology to guide and prompt patients throughout the evaluation and treatment. Most patients with vestibular and balance problems receive benefits within a few therapy sessions.

Vestibular and balance management therapies are used to treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • Stroke or cerebrovascular accident
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Postconcussion disorder
  • Fall history

Specialties / techniques

Our physical therapists have advanced training and experience and use the latest techniques designed to improve mobility, reduce pain and discomfort, and increase flexibility.

Aquatic therapy (offsite)

Aquatic therapy facilitates muscle relaxation and circulation to decrease pain and sensitivity and improves body awareness, balance, stability and strength. The therapy is performed one-on-one, offsite in a pool with warm water (92 degrees), which supports joints by reducing gravitation pull. Aquatic therapy is for individuals of all ages. You do not need to be a swimmer to participate.

Aquatic therapy is used to treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Athletic injuries
  • Joint replacements
  • Neurological disorders
  • Orthopedic conditions
  • Spine conditions
  • Trauma

Benefits of aquatic therapy include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Decreased pain
  • Greater ease of movement
  • Improved agility
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Improved muscle strength and endurance
  • Improved posture, alignment and stability
  • Increased range of motion and flexibility

Specialized training to treat multiple diagnoses

Our therapists are specially trained and use innovative techniques, including the pediatric interactive metronome as well as numerous regulation programs (How Does Your Engine Run, Zones of Regulation, and Quickshifts) to treat many diagnoses and conditions, including:

  • ADD / ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Post-concussions, pediatric stroke
  • Reflect integration / primary movement patterns
  • Trauma and emotional dysregulation

Additionally, when appropriate, we work collaboratively with community-based service organizations for an integrated, longer-term intervention. Our treatment model places emphasis on all participants, from patients acquiring functional skills and achieving targeted goals, to parents and health care professionals working together to achieve those “magic moments.” We truly believe parents are the key to their child’s success.

Functional dry needling

When muscles tighten, they become sore with knots, also known as trigger points. These can be painful, causing loss of function and, in some cases, irritation of surrounding joints, nerve and other bodily tissues. Functional dry needling is the process by which small, thin needles are inserted into muscle to stimulate and release trigger points. Relief is felt quickly as muscle relaxes, leading to increased flexibility and comfort. Our physical therapists are specially trained and certified in functional dry needling.

Functional dry needling is used to treat the following diagnoses & conditions:

  • Chronic pain
  • Fibromyositis
  • Muscle spasms or trigger points
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendonitis

Gait analysis

Gait analysis is performed by a physical therapist using a multi-dimensional approach. An individual’s gait is unique to them, so a customized treatment plan will be developed to address their medical condition, current level of activity and the main difficulties preventing them from attaining their highest goals. The physical therapists use leading-edge evaluating tools such as the selective functional movement assessment, the functional movement screen and the breathing assessment. These tools allow us to be well equipped to isolate and identify the areas needing work so we can demonstrate the most effective corrective activities.

Gait analysis is used to treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • Chronic back and lower extremity pain
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Post orthopedic surgeries
  • Sports and athletic injuries

Graston technique (soft tissue mobilization)

The Graston technique is a procedure used to detect and treat areas of scar tissue, or adhesions in muscles and other tissue limiting range of motion and causing discomfort and pain. The Graston technique is used to “break up” this restriction or adhesion. Stretching exercises are used to promote re-alignment of the fibers so they behave more like healthy tissue, leading to less pain and more mobility.

Graston technique is used to treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • Achilles tendinitis (ankle pain)
  • Back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Foot and knee pain
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Neck pain
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis (shoulder pain)
  • Scar tissue
  • Shin splints
  • Tennis elbow
  • Women’s health issues (Cesarean scarring)

Benefits of Graston technique:

  • Decreases overall time of treatment
  • Fosters faster rehabilitation / recovery
  • Reduces need for anti-inflammatory medication
  • Allows for continued engagement in everyday activities

Joint mobilization

Joint mobilization is a form of manual therapy in which a physical therapist uses rhythmic, repetitive and passive movements of the joints to improve range of motion and quality of joint movement and reduce pain. Joint mobilization is used on individuals with a swollen, irritated or misaligned joint as a result of injury, repetitive movement or age-related wear and tear.

Joint mobilization therapy is used to treat the following diagnoses and conditions:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Arthritis (elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine)
  • Rotator cuff tears and sprains
  • Sciatica
  • Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow