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Published on October 08, 2015

Music Teacher Sings Praises of Physical Therapy to Relieve Her Back Pain

Almost all of us experience back pain at some point during our lives. For Joyce Thee (pronounced “Tay”), back and leg pain started to bother her about ten years ago.

Joyce Thee on treadmillJoyce was an active music teacher who had been a gym member and felt it was important to stay fit in order to keep up with her students, including those in the marching band. But she developed back and leg pain, commonly known as sciatica, along the way. It was intermittent for a while and she just tolerated the pain, but there came a point where she couldn’t walk without being bent over! Her doctor prescribed a course of prednisone, and that got her upright on her feet again.

Fast forward five years, and the pain came back. This time a prescription for prednisone, even given twice, didn’t work as it had before. Hydrocodone, a pain medicine, helped Joyce take her vacation cruise, but that wasn’t a permanent solution. Her doctor recommended an MRI to determine just what the cause of the pain was, but Medicare didn’t cover this expensive procedure unless physical therapy was tried first.

Physical therapy hadn’t been on Joyce’s radar, because she didn’t have any experience with it. But she did what she needed to do. She was seen at our Cone Health Outpatient Rehab Center at Brassfield, convenient for her since she lives nearby, and a plan was established for therapy sessions 2 times a week for 6 weeks. Joyce worked mostly with Valerie Rosenberger, PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) and Elke Naumann-Houegnifio, PTA. After four weeks of therapy, Joyce’s pain was virtually gone. Valerie counseled her that she really needed to keep up an exercise program in order to keep feeling good, and suggested a convenience that is available to people who have been patients at some of our centers—the ability to come in and use our gym equipment for a small monthly fee.

Joyce Thee at rehabJoyce made the choice to continue her exercise program at the Brassfield clinic and has been doing so 2-3 times a week for the past three years. She uses many of the weight machines and cardiovascular equipment such as the elliptical trainer, arm bike, and stationary bike, and works out for 35-45 minutes each time she comes. In addition, she has a home exercise program designed to help her avoid the type of back problems she had before.

Since her experience, Joyce endorses physical therapy to take care of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. For the most part now she stays feeling good, though she has occasional discomfort that lasts for a day or two. When it does, she knows how to take care of it. Joyce says she is able to do whatever she wants to do, as long as she avoids overdoing, and she is grateful for that at age 70!