I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when I was 50 years old. I knew before that time that I surely had it because of my symptoms and since both my parents, sister and brother also had it. My grandparents, aunts and uncles on both sides of my family suffered from it as well. I felt that I was always going to endure severe pain for the rest of my life. I started seeing a Rheumatologist, Orthopedic Surgeon, and a Neurosurgeon. Scans, X-rays, MRI’s were all performed along with physical exams. I was diagnosed with a condition called spinal stenosis.
Arthritis of the spine can also narrow the openings that make space for the spinal cord and for the nerves that branch off of it. I would have shooting pain running down both legs. This pain was unbearable at times. After sitting for periods of time and especially riding in a car, my joints would get stiff and my knees were extremely painful. I noticed that I was not able to fully bend, flex, or extend my joints. My left knee began making crunching or popping sounds as the arthritis was getting worse. Getting up in the morning could be very hard. My joints were stiff and creaky for a short time until I got moving. I was placed on anti inflammatory drugs and had to go through many of them to find the one most compatible for me. In addition, I was placed on pain medication to be used when the pain was most severe. My knee was treated with the rooster injections and physical therapy. I did not get good results from the injections and only limited results from the physical therapy. At the age of 68, It became necessary for me to have my left knee replaced because of arthritis. I had a wonderful orthopedic surgeon; the surgery went very well and my physical therapy helped me get back on my feet within five weeks. My only regret was that I didn’t have the surgery done years earlier.
Now, back to my back. During these past years, I had two epidural blocks which did nothing for me. I was referred to several physical therapists for pain and to strengthen my back. These only provided very brief but temporary relief. Beginning in March 2010, I started having pain in my stomach which was due to the anti-inflammatory drug I was taking. I had to stop taking the drug and have been off of it now for nine months. I don’t want to start taking that drug again because of the side effects.
Susan is a tremendous physical therapist as she is so consistent, professional and perseveres with her plan for each patient. All the stretching and releasing of tissue on various areas of my back felt wonderful even in the beginning. I was also faithful in doing my stretching exercises which Susan taught. Half way through my sessions, I began seeing extreme results. My back pain had ceased. When I began my sessions with Susan my pain level was between 9 and 10 (with l0 being most severe). After all these years of coping with pain, I was now pain free. How wonderful is that? Successful treatment outcome for me consisted of more than one component. It included not only therapy sessions with Susan applying myofascial release but my commitment to doing the exercises at home as well. The results were improvement in functional ability and decreased pain. Without any hesitation, I would recommend Susan Jenkins, PT, at Integrative Physical Therapy, Inc.
P. Osborn, TN