October is Physical Therapy Awareness Month! It is the perfect month to share how physical therapy, and our practice, in particular, has changed many Central Oregonian lives for the better. This month we are featuring three patient stories; however, there are countless more. These physical therapy success stories showcase how perseverance and steadfast hard work transformed the quality of life of these individuals. 

Morgan’s Overuse Injury Story

Physical Therapy for AthletesMorgan is like most thirteen-year-olds. She loves hanging out with her friends, spending time with her family, and playing sports. Morgan is quite an athlete. In addition to softball, she also does alpine ski racing, cross country, and track. Her schedule is brimming with activity. Unique for her age, Morgan is highly in-tune with her body. When in pain, she knows that there is a weakness that must be addressed to keep performing at a high level. But this knowledge came at a price.

“Morgan has had a variety of injuries over the past two years, including an overuse injury as her team’s pitcher and a knee injury caused by ski racing,” said Christie, Morgan’s mother.

Understanding the importance of not letting pain or an injury snowball into a long-term problem, they took Morgan to Step & Spine Physical Therapy’s Redmond clinic. During the evaluation, her physical therapy was able to assess Morgan’s movements while simulating pitching. Her PT taught Morgan proper techniques and exercises to build strength in the weak areas.

“I have been very impressed with her physical therapist’s knowledge in what she can do to help Morgan,” said Christie. “We don’t want a long-term injury to happen that will cause her to compensate for her natural motions and end up being harder to correct down the road.”

Mary’s Car Accident Story

Mary of Bend experienced a severe car accident that left her with 75% limited neck mobility and shoulder and hand pain. Because of her pain and limited mobility, she could not do ordinary things around the house and needed help from her family. 

To get to the root of Mary’s pain, she was referred to Glenn Maclean-Talbot, PT, DPT. “Mary came in with severely limited mobility and was in a lot of pain,” said Maclean-Talbot. “We began her treatment with hands-on manual therapy to improve mobility without causing pain,” added Maclean-Talbot. 

Once Glenn helped Mary improve her flexibility and joint mobilization he improved neck function by strengthening the surrounding tissue. 

“Once my pain was reduced, Glenn gave me home exercises that were very easy to do,” said Mary. “I still do my exercises because they make me feel better,” added Mary.

Mary’s physical therapy success story has a happy ending. Eventually, with the proper treatment and home exercise regimen, she made a full recovery. Mary regained full mobility and function of her neck and is now pain-free. 

Mark’s Shoulder Dislocation Story

physical therapy for kayak injuriesMark has been whitewater kayaking for 25 years. He loves the exhilaration of kayaking off a drop into gushing and rapidly flowing waves of water. It is pure adrenaline-pumping fun and not for the faint of heart or unfit. 

Shoulder dislocation is a common injury for whitewater kayakers. This is what happened to Mark when in 2002, he dislocated his shoulder while kayaking off a drop. 

“I tried physical therapy pretty seriously but proceeded to have two more dislocations,” said Mark. “In 2004, I had to have surgery, and afterward, my shoulder was great for about a year until I dislocated it again.”

For someone who lived for whitewater kayaking, this was a devastating blow. Mark had to tone down his passion and do “easier stuff” to maintain his health. But at 43 and with two small kids, he wanted to get back to the sport he loved so much while still young enough to enjoy it. He attempted to do this, and in February of 2019, he dislocated his shoulder again. His plans for a five-day kayaking trip in the Sierras came to a screeching halt. 

“I didn’t think physical therapy alone could do much for me,” said Mark. “Surgery failed, and I didn’t know what else I could do. I talked with Glenn, and he convinced me to give physical therapy another shot.”

“Glenn’s psychological approach to treatment gave me confidence that I could regain sports performance by doing targeted exercises specific to the motions I make while kayaking,” said Mark. 

“Mark needed to get stronger so his body could handle the continuous impacts that occur while whitewater kayaking,” said Glenn. “Having full strength and range of motion was only a small goal. We wanted to improve his full stability with an impact, so I developed a plan that included exercises using his shoulder and core as appropriate to kayaking to improve shoulder stability. We also needed to ensure his body could handle multiple days of kayaking.” 

‘’Understanding the mental aspect of a sports injury is critical in the rehab and return to high-level athletics,’’ said Glenn. “Working with a physical therapist that gets your injured body part into the positions that could cause fear or compensation, then working on stability is critical. Helping patients realize that they are okay to use that body part during treatment builds confidence and control, which translates to progress.”

“After having several different therapists and surgical efforts fail, this is the first time I have had a marked improvement and effect on the quality of my life,” said Mark. 

Physical therapy success begins with finding the right physical therapist for you. If you feel inspired to learn how physical therapy can help you get back to enjoying the things you love, schedule an evaluation. We have offices in Bend, Eagle Crest, Redmond, and Sisters.