As a physical therapist, Carsten Neumiller values the opportunity to get to know his patients while helping them on their PT journeys and enjoys hearing their stories. Carsten prides himself on being a good listener – a personal trait he views as key to his role as a physical therapist. He is committed to providing personalized, compassionate care to his patients and works to ensure every patient is empowered, by the end of their course of care, with the knowledge and tools they need to live a healthy, pain-free and active life. Outside of the clinic, you may find him experimenting with cooking ethnic food, exploring a local running or hiking trail or enjoying time with his wife, Megan, their daughter, Shea and family dog, Finley. He appreciates the Tacoma area and is excited to provide physical therapy services to the Lakewood, Central Tacoma and surrounding communities.
Q&A with Carsten Neumiller
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career as a physical therapist?
I actually had never personally had PT, so I feel like that’s kind of a rare case. I was never exposed to PT as an athlete growing up – thankfully I never had any big injuries.
When I was going through undergraduate college, I was taking a bunch of science classes, but I didn’t really know what healthcare line I wanted to pursue. Then I spent a summer volunteering at Good Sam in Puyallup. They have a children’s therapy unit, so I was hanging out with kids, working with PT and OT and speech therapists, and I was like, ‘Man, this is awesome.’ And so that’s what got me hooked.
My favorite part about being a PT is the interaction with patients. I love hearing people’s stories, getting to know people, and building relationships. And then I love exercise – it’s something I’m passionate about. And so, physical therapy is kind of an easy marriage for a job field to have those two things incorporated into every day.
Q: What about outside of work, what are your passion projects?
Outside of work life is a little busy right now! My wife Megan and I are new parents – our 1-year-old is walking around, so that’s kind of crazy! Something I’m passionate about is learning how to cook better. I love grilling, love trying new things, love learning to cook. I’ve done some traveling to places like Thailand, and so I like learning new flavors and how to make them work in my own cooking. And so, anytime I get some downtime, that’s what I enjoy.
Q: Sounds like you stay busy on your days off! Do you have a favorite way to spend them?
Favorite way to spend a day off? I think I’ve determined that you have got to wake up around 7:00 AM. Anything later than that you waste too much of the day, although I love sleeping in. So, up at 7 for the morning workout – could be like a run, weightlifting, getting out shooting hoops … some sort of movement though to start the day.
Then a big brunch. I’m a big breakfast guy, so I like throwing down some serious waffles, bacon, eggs, coffee drinks, gotta have it all … a little bit of fruits to keep it healthy!
The rest of the day I think being out somewhere in nature – I love hiking, love being down at Ruston Way and taking a nice long walk with my family down there. But, yeah, best way to spend a day off is moving and being with people that you love spending time with.
Q: You mentioned shooting hoops … is basketball your go-to sport?
Yeah, my favorite sport to play has always been basketball — I’m a huge basketball fan! I love watching it, love playing it. As I moved out of the college phase of life, I found it was a lot harder to get basketball playing time in. And so, I’ve transitioned into more running. That’s something that I’ve really enjoyed lately. And then in the summers, I love being out on the trail, hiking, backpacking, and getting some camping in.
Q: Adventurous! Sounds like you'd do pretty well on Survivor. If you were selected to be a contestant, what would you want to bring as a luxury item?
I would choose some sort of flotation device, something that can make me move faster through the water. Like, I can swim, but I’m not a strong swimmer. I’m not beating anybody in a race in the water and in the few episodes I’ve seen, there’s been some water challenges so I feel like I need to cover my butt with a good flotation device.
Q: Speaking of TV shows, are there any you like to binge watch?
I’m a huge Office fan, so in terms of binging, I’ve seen that show like all the way through at least 10 times, and it’s something you can always throw on in the background. My wife Megan and I – our COVID show … it’s pretty impressive – we watched Law and Order SVU from season one all the way through the current season and that’s like over 500 episodes and so 40 minutes an episode. Don’t do the math. That’s a lot of time watching TV. But hey, it was like a marathon.
Q: That is ... impressive! What about your phone - any apps you spend a lot of time using?
Honestly, if you asked my wife, Megan, there would be two. It would be Untapped, which is a beer social media app. Basically, you check in and like you rate beers. I love trying different things in the beer world. And so, I have like four followers, but that’s how I stay in touch with my buddies – we do a bunch of Untapped stuff.
And then the other one is Strava, which is what I use to track running data. It has some awesome features using maps and stuff so you can plan out runs and hikes.
Q: What do you wish everyone knew about physical therapy?
I wish everyone knew that PT isn’t just painful and monotonous, that it’s a lot more active than they might think and is individualized and tailored to every patient. It’s not like a cookie-cutter recipe.
Also, the field is always progressing and changing. And so, there’s something kind of fun about staying up to date on new research, new best practice kind of standards … it keeps it fresh and it’s very difficult to get bored in PT as a provider or as a patient.
I also want people to know that if you come to PT, you’re going to gain some strategies to move better or move more effectively and efficiently, and also you’re going to get a lot of education and learn a lot about the human body, which is pretty cool!
Q: What is the most important attribute you bring to your role as a PT?
Being compassionate to everybody, whoever is coming through the door, showing them compassion, and then being a really good listener. I think that’s something that I kind of pride myself on. It’s a huge part of that first visit and of building that relationship with my patients, really hearing the person and what their experience has been.
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At Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy in Tacoma, we take pride in knowing we can play a meaningful part in helping you reach your goals and improve your quality of life. From injury recovery to achieving optimal performance, our passion is to help every patient live an active, pain-free life. Get started with PT today!