Jack's story
 Jack's story

  Physical therapy

Physical therapy helps Jack relieve pain, avoid surgery

Bit by bit, exercise by exercise, the pain in Jack's left leg and the left side of his lower back has started to subside.

Determined to avoid a second spine surgery – a 2016 procedure had helped with pain on his right side – Jack started in June with twice-a-week physical therapy sessions at Mayfield Brain & Spine's Norwood offices.

Working with physical therapist Rebecca Metz and physical therapist assistant Laurie Ranne, he would lie on the ground and lift one leg, and then the other. Soft-tissue massaging helped loosen tight muscles and improve the function of his hip and knee. Traction provided some immediate pain relief. He even tried dry needling, with Metz creating a micro lesion that helps reduce tension and improve circulation in a specific area.

Jack with Laurie Ranne, PTA

"I began to feel relief through the whole process," Jack said. "It's unquestionably a vast improvement compared to the way I felt before. I don't really have any pain in my leg anymore. It's almost like fatigue instead of pain, and I'm getting stronger."

Jack was a motivated PT patient. When the pain started this past summer, he had originally sought an appointment with neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Bohinski. After a visit with nurse practitioner Lauren Gilmore, she referred Jack to physical therapy to relieve his symptoms before making any decisions about surgery.

"I didn't want to have surgery," Jack said. "That was my last choice."

Nearly 80 percent of the patients who come to Mayfield seeking relief for back pain or other spine problems see their cases resolved without surgery. For most of those, the conservative treatment includes physical therapy. At each of its five offices, Mayfield has a team of physical therapists and PT assistants who help patients relieve their pain and improve their strength and function.

Metz, who started at Mayfield in early 2023, said many patients are determined to avoid surgery, and the exercises, stretching and other physical therapy techniques can help them accomplish their goals. The most important thing is finding a routine that helps relieve pain and increase strength – and sticking to it. Jack does that successfully by integrating the PT exercises into his regular workouts, she said.

"Physical therapy can benefit a patient both in the short term, through relief from the pain and stiffness, and in the long term with increased flexibility, strength and ability to perform daily tasks," she said. "Every patient responds differently, so we work closely with patients like Jack to design a custom routine that fits their goals and lifestyle.

"Jack's commitment has helped bring results, and we're delighted he continues to get better and more active," she added.

Jack working with Mayfield Physical Therapist Assistant Laurie Ranne.

Jack started four months ago, visiting Mayfield Physical Therapy twice a week, and he may reduce the frequency of his appointments. But he's determined to remain faithful to the exercises at home, including those targeting improved balance.

"When you get to be my age, balance is a big issue for the future," he said. "The entire experience is very positive for me."

~ Cliff Peale

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Hope Story Disclaimer -"Jack's Story" is about one patient's health-care experience. Please bear in mind that because every patient is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Results are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.

Related links:

Mayfield Physical Therapy

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