Derek Solomon is having a good year -- he just celebrated his 28th birthday and on Monday, he will be officially starting as the clinic director of the new RPI Physical Therapy in Newburgh.

RPI Physical Therapy is an independently owned physical therapy company that started two years ago and already has four other locations throughout the tri-state -- the fifth location opens up in Newburgh this Monday and is located at 425 West Jennings Street.

Solomon, who grew up in Southern Illinois, lives with his wife and their two dogs in Newburgh -- the place he wanted to end up long term.

"Warrick County has done an excellent job of trying to promote health and wellness with the Warrick Trails," Solomon said. "And with the Riverfront up here, you always see people biking and running and so I wanted to be in a community where they also value that health and wellness."

Solomon said downtown Newburgh truly is the perfect location for RPI Physical Therapy.

"I really like the modernity of the downtown area," he said. "And there's a lot of recreational athletes that use this, so we want to be right where that niche is."

Solomon he first became interested in becoming a physical therapist after he broke his ankle playing basketball in eighth grade.

"I had some rehab after that and that was kind of like my first exposure," he said. "It first sparked my interest in whenever it came for my first clinical in grad school, it was like, 'this is it.' "

Solomon graduated from the physical therapy program from the University of Evansville and is proud that RPI Physical Therapy in Newburgh is the only place locally where DPT students can participate in an orthopedic residency.

Solomon is also certified in functional dry needling, which is similar to acupuncture.

"It's just a little bit different process, whereas I'm looking at it from a musculoskeletal approach to find a dysfunctional spot," he said. "I'll put that needle in there, get a couple of twitches out of it and it's like hitting a reset button on your computer, so you can get a little bang for your buck on your correctives afterwards."

Solomon said he uses a full body approach when working with patients.

"If you come in because your shoulder hurts, I'm not just gonna treat your shoulder," he said. "Your shoulder pain could be coming from other areas as well so we want to find the why. The shoulder pain is the what and we want to find the why and that's what these systems allow us to do."

Solomon said RPI is all about building great relationships with their patients.

"You have a dentist you usually go to," he said, "you have your primary care doctor that you always go to, you have a hair stylist that you always go to -- so we want to develop that relationship so if someone needs physical therapy, we're their first call."

Solomon said patients will be prioritized when they come visit with him.

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"So if you're seeing me at 1 p.m, you're only seeing me at 1 p.m.," he said. "I'm not going to be seeing anyone else. And that's kind of our motto, we really like to keep it one on one care."

RPI Physical Therapy in Newburgh opens on Monday, Nov. 5. It's normal business hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Solomon said anyone with private insurance can come and visit them without a doctor's note.

"In the state of Indiana, anyone with private insurance has direct access to physical therapy," he said. "So you don't necessarily have to go to the doctor to get physical therapy treatment. You can come in, set up an evaluation and go from there. But if it's any type of government insurance, they require a doctor's order."

Solomon said he just wants to empower his patients "with their health and wellness and really develop that relationship with people," he said. "My goal is not necessarily that everytime you tweak your back or something, you come in a couple of times and not come back until it happens again. What I'm going to do is teach you some things so you can recognize your symptoms and say, 'hey, I've experienced this before, I know how to fix it and I can do it as well.' "

Solomon said he is humbled to be so established in his career at a young age.

"It's very exciting," he said. "This was my long-term plan, I just did not expect it to happen this soon."

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