Back in the swing
despite back pain
Physical therapy helps patient manage pain
R ICK HA I NES
has had back problems most of his life.
He’s seen chiropractors hundreds of times. His pain kept
Finally, the pain reached the point where he couldn’t sit to
drive a car across town. He was desperate and despondent.
His doctor diagnosed Rick with degenerative joint disease and
pinched vertebrae. Both his doctor and neurosurgeon thought
he had no choice but to have back surgery to fuse his vertebrae.
Rick knew what that meant—giving up the things he
loved, such as dancing. He wasn’t ready to do that and
pressed his doctors for another option. That option was
physical therapy, and it was life-changing for him.
He began seeing Belia McNabb, a physical therapist with
PeaceHealth Outpatient Therapies. Belia worked with
Rick for six sessions, putting an exercise routine together
specifically for him.
Now, more than a year after starting physical therapy, Rick
is stronger and fitter than ever. He credits this to what he
learned in PT and his exercise regimen, which he faithfully
follows for 30 minutes each morning and night. “It keeps me
going,” he says.
“Therapy gave me the tools I needed to live with my pain,”
Rick says. “You have to do your part and make them part
of your lifestyle. It’s worth the effort! I have less pain—it’s
manageable—and I can continue doing the things I love.”
As for dancing, his therapist, Belia, agreed: “It’s a good
exercise. It keeps your muscles strong.”
Rick adds, “I’m so glad to have turned my situation around
with what I learned in PT.”
for good days
used to feel tired all the time.
She had trouble sleeping at night but had no idea why.
After hearing her symptoms, Dora’s doctor recommended
a sleep study. Following a study at the PeaceHealth Sleep
Disorders Center, Dora was diagnosed with sleep apnea.
means “without breath,” which happens when the
airway collapses during sleep. Dora was fitted for a CPAP
(continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which is
designed to supply a steady flow of air to keep the airway
open during sleep.
The first time Dora used the CPAP, she felt a “world of
Preetha Rosen, MD, sleep specialist at the center, says Dora’s
sleep study showed that her breathing stopped about 18 times
every hour. With CPAP use, it was reduced to once per hour.
“That’s considered 100 percent treatment, and it shows CPAP
treatment has long-term effectiveness and benefits,” she says.
CPAP makes an important difference not just in the
quantity but also the quality of sleep, Dr. Rosen says.
Untreated apnea can lead to or worsen several medical issues,
including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke,
kidney disease, and depression. “We take sleep for granted,
but it’s vital for optimum physical and mental health,” she says.
Dora’s been using her CPAP machine for two years, and
it has greatly improved her life. She can now read a book or
sew without dozing off.
“If you’re tired all the time and have no idea what it is, get
tested for sleep apnea,” says Dora. “Don’t wait. My husband
did and ended up with a heart attack—he didn’t get his CPAP
machine in time.”
P A T I E N T P R O F I L E
P A T I E N T P R O F I L E
Belia McNabb, PT
PeaceHealth St. John
852 Commerce Ave.
Sleep well! To learn more about sleep disorders,
go topeacehealth.org/st-john/sleep .
make an appointment at the Sleep Disorders
For exercises to help with pain management,
on “Back and Neck Pain.”
Learn ways to help you start on
your path to a healthy weight.
Wednesdays, Jan. 18,
Feb. 15, or April 19, 10 a.m. to
noon; or Wednesday, March 15,
5 to 7 p.m.
1615 Delaware St.