For years, Freehold resident and CentraState Associated Auxiliary member Marie Schubel dealt with stooped posture and pain due to spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease that significantly decreased her ability to walk.
“I walked hunched over and couldn’t straighten up or stand for more than 10 minutes,” explains Marie, 79. “Even the thought of going to the grocery store gave me anxiety.”
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces within the spine narrow, putting pressure on the nerves. Degenerative disc disease happens when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spine break down.
Improving Posture Through Exercise
Marie was reluctant to take pain medication or undergo surgery to treat her worsening condition. Her son—a chiropractor—thought CentraState’s Posture for Life program would help. The program is designed for those with posture issues, shoulder pain, or back pain and uses customized, easy-to-do exercises to improve posture, joint movement, and bone strength.
After a comprehensive physical evaluation, Marie met with physical therapist Nagema Kakar, DPT, PT, for 45 minutes two or three times a week for two months. Nagema helped Marie become more aware of her posture and showed her exercises to improve it. Participants start with non-weight-bearing exercises to strengthen the muscles involved in maintaining proper posture before moving on to weight-bearing exercises to strengthen bones.
“We developed a very specific program for Marie that started with low-level isometric exercises targeting the muscles along her spine,” Nagema explains. “As her movement improved, we added functional exercises, back stretches, and resistance training using elastic bands.”
After each session, Marie used a low-intensity vibration plate machine under the direction of physical therapist Risheeta Joshi, DPT, PT. The device helps redevelop muscles, restore joint function, increase circulation in the feet and lower legs, and stimulate bone growth.
Marie felt better almost immediately after starting therapy, and has received compliments from her family and friends about her posture. She now completes the exercises at home and has weekly chiropractic adjustments. She also enjoys walks with her husband.
“Many older people suffer and accept back issues as a part of old age,” Marie says. “This program helped me stand taller and kept my back pain at bay.”
For more information about rehabilitation services at CentraState, visit centrastate.com/rehabilitation or call 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727).