No Pain, All Gain
Led by Dr. Heather Moore, Total Performance Physical Therapy helps patients of every feather—endurance athletes, weekend warriors, and those injured at home or in the workplace—return to a life without pain. 
by Phil Gianficaro

The woman was just 38 years old, in the prime of life, likely with another 50 years ahead of her. Her life changed in an instant following a debilitating stroke. Her doctors regretfully informed her the rest of her life would be spent in a wheelchair.
Then she met Heather Moore, P.T., D.P.T., the owner and founder of Total Performance Physical Therapy.
“The doctors told this woman she would never walk again,” Dr. Moore recalls. “We worked with her. A year later, we got her to walk again. It didn’t happen right away; there were a lot of twists and turns, and hard-fought first steps, but she did it. As I watched those first steps, I think that was one of the first times I cried on the job. I don’t know if I can describe the feeling of helping give someone their life back. It’s an example of why we do what we do.”
While this particular patient’s success story is as rare as it is remarkable, its outcome underscores the unparalleled commitment to healing by Dr. Moore and the other 12 practitioners on staff at Total Performance Physical Therapy.
Since founding the practice in 2011, Dr. Moore has promoted an unwavering philosophy to use only the most capable staff and the most current physical therapy techniques to help patients improve. Techniques include Kinesio taping (a thin, flexible tape designed to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, and provide support to joints and muscles), vestibular therapy (to address balance issues) and ergonomic assessments (to ensure correct postures at a person’s workstation to prevent repetitive strains), all designed to help patients return to doing the things they love without pain.
Total Performance Physical Therapy treats a wide variety of issues from mild to severe pain. Maybe the patient struggles with chronic headaches, was injured at work, or the pain began while doing chores at home. Whether the client is a competitive athlete, weekend warrior, recovering from a surgery or a car accident, they can be confident that, as Total Performance Physical Therapy’s motto assures, “we treat the patient, not the condition.” Every pain affects every patient differently, and the practice’s therapists are there to help guide patients to be pain free.
“We get so much satisfaction helping someone who may have been sidelined with a chronic condition until they come to us,” says Dr. Moore, a Montgomery County native who received her B.S. in kinesiology at the University of Maryland in College Park. She went on to earn her master’s and doctorate in physical therapy at the university’s Baltimore campus. 
“So many people come in six months or a year after they were injured,” she adds. “They say they’re done with medications because the medications are not helping. That’s because often nobody has looked at the underlying condition. Let’s say your hip hurts. I bet no one looked at your ankle to see if that was the cause. I tell people, the sooner they come to see us, the quicker we can help them return to the things they love.”
Total Performance Physical Therapy strives to eliminate pain without injections, medications, or surgery. Each patient receives treatment only from a Doctor of Physical Therapy. The strategy is not only about movement and exercise; it’s about treating the entire body, not just focusing on the affected area, and correcting the muscle and joint dysfunction that causes the pain.
“Our approach provides one-on-one treatment,” says Dr. Moore. “With us, clients will see their primary physical therapist the majority of the time. My experience when I worked at other PT companies was clients had issues with seeing a different therapist at each visit. Seeing the same therapist is very important because it helps us to better monitor their progress. Our therapists work together to accommodate their patients’ schedules to ensure they are being seen as needed, and are continuing to move forward toward their goals.”
Total Performance Physical Therapy also offers Aquatic Therapy, which is PT conducted in a swimming pool. This type of therapy is preferred by clients who want to reduce the amount of pressure on their joints, allowing them to move with less pain. Not only does Aquatic Therapy help to alleviate pain and improve mobility, but most patients find it relaxing.
“With our water therapy component, we can start people out in a private heated pool, because for some patients, PT could be painful,” Dr. Moore adds. “The water therapy helps with their treatment.”
Dr. Moore swears by the effectiveness of physical therapy, not simply because it’s her profession, but also because she experienced its benefits personally. A lifelong competitive swimmer, she earned a scholarship to the University of Maryland where she also competed in water polo. It’s a demanding sport that often takes a physical toll on those who play it. When an injury disrupted her ability to play the game effectively, she sought out a physical therapist who could help her return to pain-free competition.
“That was one of the reasons I chose this profession,” Dr. Moore says. “When I looked at possible careers, I considered going the doctor and surgeon route. What I didn’t like about those careers was that they didn’t really enable you to get to know your patients the way I do now.”
Dr. Moore is a nationally recognized Doctor of Physical Therapy who has worked with athletes on the PGA and LPGA tours, and has been selected to be part of Team USA’s sports medicine division, at its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is also a contributing writer to fitness journals and websites, as well as the author of the book, Run Better, Not Less: The Beginner to Pro Guide to Running Stronger, Faster and Better Without Injury.
Besides treating athletes, Dr. Moore remains an athlete herself. At age 46, she continues to run competitively, having participated in numerous 5K, 10-mile, half-marathon, marathon, and triathlon events.
“I tell my athlete clients about my [athletic] career so they know I can relate,” she says. “Kids come in injured, and I tell them I know what they are experiencing. I gain their trust. I always say treatment is 99 percent mental health and 1 percent physical health. 
“We’re committed to helping people return to the life they want without pain,” she continues. “I’ve been in Walmart with my children and run into people we’ve helped. They hug me, crying, and say, ‘Because of your help, I can play sports and hold my grandchildren!’ That feeling is indescribable.”
For more information about Total Performance Physical Therapy, including details about its five area locations, call (215) 458-2897 or visit
Photo by Jeff Anderson
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life, September 2022.