DO YOU Want to learn how to treat complex patients?

Tough To Treat Podcast with your hosts Susan Clinton and Erica Meloe -physical therapy

listen on your favorite app


Be the first to know about the next episode and as a bonus we will send you a copy of Erica's "Clinical Pearls" with some real case examples of how to evaluate and treat the "tough to treat" patient. You will also receive a copy of Susan's "Sleep Tips" and how they play into persistent pain.

About Us


Welcome to Tough to Treat Podcast

Welcome to Tough to Treat: A Physiotherapists’ Guide to Managing Those Complex Patients! 

Podcasts are hosted by Erica Meloe, PT, OCS, COMT, MBA, MA and Susan Clinton, PT, DScPT, OCS, WCS, COMT, FAAOMPT, who discuss how they successfully treated patients that others could not.  


Meet Erica

I solved unique financial puzzles on Wall Street for a decade. Now I utilize those same strengths to help rid my patients of pain so that they can live their lives on their own terms.

The greatest victories in my physical therapy career are realized when I apply my natural problem-solving skills, honed even further on Wall Street, to help alleviate my patients’ pain; … pain that in many cases no one else has been able to resolve.

I work with my patients to uncover the true source of their pain, and together we work towards them becoming pain-free.

I’m so fortunate to have found my true calling and to be able to help people in the most important area of their lives – their health!


Meet Susan

I currently practice in Sewickley, Pennsylvania and am the co-owner and founder of Embody Physiotherapy and Wellness, LLC. 

I am  active in teaching and research as an adjunct instructor for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, and Slippery Rock University. Additionally, I am an international instructor and presenter of post-professional education in women’s health and orthopedic manual therapy. My research activities include publications on chronic pelvic pain and clinical practice guidelines for the APTA Section on Women's Health and Orthopedic Section. 

I am active with the American Physical Therapy Association, serving in governance as a local delegate and alternate delegate, and as the Chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines steering committee for the Section on Women’s Health.  I am also an inaugural BOD member of the non-profit Women’s Health Global Initiative. 

In my spare time, I enjoy walking / hiking, country line dance and ballroom, and I am an avid supporter of music, the arts, and international objectives for women’s health. 

#50: Finding the real story


Do you sometimes want a better way to know where to start with some complex clients? What do you do when the body diagram is full with a long history. I think we all are used to hearing our client's stories - but do we really listen to their full narrative? This can be the true key to finding out what is important to them and sometimes, the simplest solution is revealed through their story along with the physical exam. 

#51: Is it really the root nerve?


      Searing shin pain, low back pain, night sweats, unable to sleep or walk-is it the disc? The nerve root? A sensitive nervous system? Or something else? Or all of the above? Join us as we make a differential diagnosis of this gentleman's problem. Once again, listening to his story will give you clues as to how to begin the objective exam.

#52: A shoulder or neck problem?


  Shoulder pain - or neck pain? Does it really matter to the intervention? What does the client believe and expect? How do you manage client expectations in this scenario? Join us in a rich discussion about this client's self-efficacy and managing expectations while reducing fear. Sound clinical reasoning shows you the value of asking the right questions to guide you in your treatment.

#53: Is an overactive TFL a poor movement strategy?


   Your patient cannot sit and cannot squat in the gym without lateral hip pain. They believe it is their overactive TFL. But is it the cause of the problem? Most likely, it is NOT. Why would someone have increased tone in a muscle? Think about a movement pattern where someone's center of mass is shifted to one side because of an old contralateral foot injury? You injure your foot and your weight shift off of that side where you stay that way for YEARS. Until one day, you run out of options. Sound familiar?

#54: Leaking and Running - a solution


  You have not run in over a year because of a foot and hip injury. Finally, it's all coming together-you have less hip pain and your foot pain has been gone for weeks. You are cleared for a return to run the program and then after 2 minutes into it, you leak. Does this sound familiar to you or your patients? In this episode, we bring in the patient who has these symptoms. This is a rare glimpse into "real-time" clinical reasoning. We highlight some unique treatment ideas as well as provide the patient with a strategy she can tap into when she does leak.

#55: Back pain or leg pain - why is it getting worse?


 Explore the narrative of this client with persistent hip and leg pain for over 20 years. In this episode, we explore the behaviors and mitigating factors that have increased the symptoms and is slowly turning this person with confronter behavior into an avoider. Sometimes the small changes can have a huge impact.