Physical Therapy


medical education

Master of Science in Physical Therapy
Des Moines University

Erik Nieuwenhuis MS, PT, CAFS graduated from Des Moines University in May of 1998 with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy degree.  Erik worked at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s for 19 years from August of 1998 to August of 2017, treating patients after surgery’s and MSD injury’s in the outpatient and inpatient settings.  Erik began treating workers at St. Luke’s after work-related MSD injuries when he worked in the Employee Health and Wellness department from 2009 to August of 2017.  He led the Industrial Athlete WorkSmart Ergonomics and MSD Injury Prevention Program evaluating all departments for improved ergonomics, evaluating and treating employee’s after work injury, led yearly management and employee ergonomics training, and led the Safe Patient Handling Mobility Equipment (SPHME) program from 2006 to August of 2017 which reduced OSHA recordable MSDs for workers involved in patient care by 95% from 2001 to 2016.  

At Tri-State Specialists Erik treats patients both pre and post surgery since November of 2017.  With his manual therapy background from Des Moines University he uses his manual therapy techniques with his patients daily to reduce daily stiffness and pain, improve joint and fascial mobility, speed improvement in 3D functional strengthening and improving patient outcomes with manual therapy techniques including; Muscle Energy Technique (MET), Myofascial Release (MFR), Joint Mobilization (Jt. Mob), Positional Release (PR), Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM), Trigger Point Release, Suboccipital Release (SOR), and Snakebite Technique to reduce facial restrictions, joint stiffness, pain, numbness and/ or tingling.

Erik has continuing education experience over the past 20 years including certifications in “The Work Injury Practice”, and “Return to Work Consulting” from 2000-2002 by Lauren Hebert of Smartcarept.  He has completed 174+ hours in Applied Functional Science from the Gray Institute from 1999-2009 by attending 4 Chain Reaction Courses, 4 years of The Functional Video Digest Series (FVDS), and Fast Function.  Erik completed his Certification of Applied Functional Science (CAFS) from the Gray Institute in February of 2016.  He was awarded the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) faculty status in November 2011, and has completed 15 WELCOA certifications.  Erik is currently in the process of completing his certification in 3DMAPS (Movement Analysis and Performance System) by the Gray Institute.  

Erik was named as a Top 10 Health Promotion Professional by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) in their DISH competitions in April 5th of 2017 for his “Creation of a Safe Patient Handling Mobility Equipment Program”, and in February of 2015 for his application titled “Transforming your Musculoskeletal Well-Being by Optimizing Your Body’s Vital Mobility with his Dynamic Stretching Program”™.

Erik had an expert interview and podcast published with Ryan Picarella, president and CEO of WELCOA in June of 2016 on the Value of Workplace Ergonomics.  He led a webinar titled “WorkSmart Ergonomics – Transforming Your Musculoskeletal Well-Being by Working Smart and Living Well” through WELCOA on July 13th, of 2016. 

Erik was led into the field of physical therapy from the results of a motor vehicle accident in the summer of 1992, and lifestyle challenges managing juvenile diabetes since his diagnosis in December of 1989.  He has a passion to encourage and inspire others to improve their daily posture habits, learn dynamic stretches, functional strengthening exercises, and self-care techniques to reverse and treat headaches, lower back pain, shoulder pain, hip and knee pain, tendonitis pain, trigger finger, and carpal tunnel syndrome.  He also loves to encourage others to improve their daily lifestyle habits to improve their daily quality of life and well-being. Erik and his wife Jenilyn live in Sioux City, IA and have 4 children Abbigail, Maelynne, Hunter and Brady.