Beth Collington of Cookstown, NJ has always led a very active lifestyle. But after training to participate in a charity triathlon, she injured her back. Over the next five years, she faced a series of health issues ranging from spinal problems requiring lumbar surgery to nerve pain and numbness in her leg, all of which hindered her favorite activities: horseback riding at her farm and downhill skiing. Moderate exercise seemed to help, so the 54-year-old worked through the pain…until her knees became an issue.
Discouraged, Beth was sure she needed knee surgery. Then she met Jacque Maclearie, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, at CentraState’s OceanFirst Rehabilitation Center – and learned a few simple exercises that changed her life.
“I’ve played hard my whole life and have been to many physical therapists, but Jacque was the first person who really took the time to look beyond my initial diagnosis and get to the root cause of the problem,” says Beth. “She pushed me to understand the mechanics of my body, and it’s made all the difference.”
Using the McKenzie Method
Maclearie is a McKenzie-Method certified physical therapist, which requires about 150 hours of special education to learn this evidence-based method of musculoskeletal care focused on practical approaches and patient empowerment. After a thorough assessment, Maclearie suspected that Beth’s current pain stemmed from an issue with her spine, not her knees.
Embracing the McKenzie Method’s exploratory approach, Maclearie worked with Beth to examine movements in muscles and postures related to the area in her spine above and below the fusion from her surgery. She determined what aggravated Beth’s pain – and in turn, the precise counter-movements that eased it.
“It’s a very patient-specific approach to problem-solving,” explains Maclearie. “Part of it involves teaching patients to get to know their body, and then we can apply and fine-tune the right exercises and posture education accordingly. Once we determine exactly what works for each person, the response can be immediate.”
Beth was committed to doing her prescribed set of exercises every few hours for several days, and was shocked and relieved to find her pain had dissipated. She now does stretching exercises twice a day, and knows when to apply specific exercises to alleviate any signs of pain through continued insight from Maclearie.
“If I could put a million dollars in her pocket, I would,” muses Beth, who skied a black diamond trail earlier this year and is back to riding and caring for her horses without the fear of pain or further injury. “You can tell that the entire team is really dedicated to their craft, which speaks volumes. Because of that thoughtful care, I now can live my life the way I want to.”
For more information on rehabilitation services at CentraState, visit centrastate.com/rehab or call 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727).