Episode 140 - Steven Grubb, Dan Perry and Ryan Tauzell, part 1: Speaking the Same Language

Dan Perry PT, Dip MDT     Steven Grubb MD      Ryan Tauzell PT, Cert MDT

In episode 140 I’m joined by Dr. Steven Grubb, Ryan Tauzell and Dan Perry from southwest Virginia USA.  We talk about the dynamics of working together, therapists and surgeon, and sharing a similar approach and assessment and treatment philosophy. This week on MCF!

Daniel Perry MPT, Dip MDT is a Physical Therapist specializing in mechanical assessment and treatment of the spine and peripheral joints. His formative years were spent in Norway where he attended the Norwegian Gymnasium, and from there university. He studied mathematics and chemistry at the University of Oslo for two years prior to returning to the United States to complete his studies.  Daniel received his BA from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, with a major in chemistry in 1992. He completed and received his Master of Physical Therapy degree in 1997 from College of St. Catherine’s in Minneapolis, MN.  After graduation Daniel worked in a small rural hospital where he was first exposed to the McKenzie Method ( Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment).  From there he went to work in the Twin Cities at, what at the time was, the home of the international Mckenzie Diploma program. There he received his diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment in 2000. In 2001 he was hired privately by a Saudi family to perform 1:1 rehabilitation on family members who had suffered from stroke, and spent 10 weeks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Once Daniel returned from Saudi Arabia, he went to work with Dr. Stephen A Grubb in Southwestern Virginia. Here he has dedicated the last 14 years of his career to spinal orthopedic rehabilitation with a mechanical diagnosis and treatment emphasis. Outside of work Daniel is a member of the McKenzie Institute and The North American Spine Society (NASS). Within NASS Daniel is involved with the Evidence Based Medicine Guidelines Committee, and given presentations at the national conference.

Dr. Grubb is the founder and Medical Director of the Virginia Highlands Orthopaedic Spine Center, and the North Carolina Spine Center in Chapel Hill, NC (recognized as a center of excellence for spine care as a member of the National Spine Network). Before establishing the Spine Centers, Dr. Grubb served as the Head of Orthopaedic Adult Spine Services at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Grubb provides pediatric and adult comprehensive non-operative and operative spine care. He has devoted the last twenty years to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of spinal pathology.

Ryan Tauzell is a Physical Therapist with advanced training and experience in mechanical diagnosis and therapy of the spine and peripheral joints. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a Master of Arts in Physical Therapy from The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. He is also certified by the McKenzie Institute International in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), is currently attending the McKenzie Diploma Program and an active McKenzie Institute member. Ryan currently serves as active faculty for the North American Spine Society (NASS) and has presented around the country on topics related to non-surgical active treatment of the spine and clinical decision-making. Ryan started his career working for NovaCare at the clinic that ran the McKenzie Institutes Diploma Program clinical training site in Coon Rapids, MN. He then moved to Virginia to work with Virginia Highlands Orthopaedic Spine Center as Assistant Director of Rehabilitation. This role carried over after a merger with Carilion Clinic. Currently, Ryan is excited to share his experience and enthusiasm with this region as new partner of Choice Physical Therapy & Wellness.

Show Notes



Ryan Tauzell is a native of Minnesota. He gives his background education and how he came to be involved in his current endeavors.

Dan Perry, another native of Minnesota, tells the familiar story of how frustration with clinical practice early in his career pushed him towards MDT. He explains how he came to meet and work with Dr. Steven Grubb, as well as how the “lightbulb” turned on.

Dr. Steven Grubb is a retired orthopedic surgeon whose background includes a stint at UNC-Chapel Hill as well as clinical practice in Virginia. He talks about the selling points of MDT, and how his personal clinical experiences coincided with the proposed theories of the McKenzie Method. 

Dr. Grubb also talks about the differences he sees between the MDT approach and the sports medicine or orthopedic physical therapy approach that he had previously been exposed to. 


The Assessment


Dr. Grubb talks about how the MDT assessment allowed for an early diagnosis, patient empowerment, and excellent outcomes when surgery was indicated due to a better understanding of the patient’s problem.

Ryan and Dan go on to talk about the difference in being “part of the team” versus being a physical therapist reporting information to an unknown surgeon. They also talk about the frustration of being told what to do rather than making clinical decisions, and how different and positive working with a physician who speaks a common language can be.


Patient Interactions

Ryan and Dan talk about how the consistent message between you and the patient, as well as between the patient and the physician can improve the patient experience and communication overall. 

Dr. Grubb tells about his side of the story, and goes on to explain how his referral to his team members was meaningful to him not only for the information provided by the therapists, but the confidence instilled in his patients that he was doing what was best for them.