Knowledge Center

PT to Get Pauline Back on the Farm

September 16, 2019

Pauline has an incredibly busy life with 5 dogs, 5 horses to care for, a full-time job, and early morning cycling and lifting at the gym. Fifteen years ago, Pauline fell, rolled her right ankle and landed on her left butt cheek. She believes that is when she initially hurt her back.


Twenty-eighteen was an unusually wet summer in Texas, so caring for the horses became more work for Pauline because the horses had to be kept in their stalls more often. This meant more stall cleaning, moving hay bales and emptying and filling water buckets. Gradually her back pain and limited range of motion worsened.


Movement became intolerable. She could not toss hay, clean stalls, train with weights or cycle. Pauline went to an orthopedic specialist and was diagnosed with a disc protrusion.  She was given an injection in her spine and referred to Direct Orthopedic Care for physical therapy.  To make matters worse, Pauline also developed vertigo.


Kaitlyn Rios earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Kaitlyn is Pauline’s physical therapist at Southlake DOC. She spent one-on-one time with Pauline as the two of them worked together to create a PT rehabilitation program to relieve her lingering back pain and improve her strength and range of motion.


Kaitlyn used transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy for back pain relief caused by Pauline’s intervertebral disc problem. A small, battery-operated device delivers low-voltage electrical current through the skin via electrodes placed near the source of pain, which stimulates nerves in the affected area and sends signals to the brain that change the perception of pain.


The Epley maneuver is an exercise Kaitlyn performed to treat Pauline’s vertigo. The maneuver involved a series of movements that helped to reposition the crystals in Pauline’s ear that may have been the cause of her feelings of dizziness.


Kaitlyn’s PT program to treat Pauline’s spine condition included a combination of exercises. An exercise ball was used to strengthen and develop the core body muscles to stabilize the spine, and to prevent or minimize further episodes of low back pain. A customized slow, gradual stretching routine focused on stretching the lower back muscles, abdominal muscles, hips, and legs. Stabilization exercises strengthened the secondary muscles of the spine to support the spine through various ranges of motion and core exercises strengthen the abdominal muscles and low back muscles.


Pauline is back at the farm with her dogs and horses. High school students help with the heavy lifting and moving the horses from the pasture to stalls. She is continuing her physical therapy at home with some printouts from Kaitlyn to help her continue her path to her recovery.


Pauline feels confident that Kaitlyn helped with her journey back to feeling pain-free, vertigo-free, and strong, with range of motion improvement every week. Her goal is to resume her busy lifestyle caring for her farm, riding her horses, caring for her other animals, and returning to the gym, while maintaining a full-time job.

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