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Patient Spotlight – Pamela

When you have to literally fight with your own body to do your daily routines, it can really take a toll on your entire being. This has been a continuing struggle for Pam, a patient from Freehold that has been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for the past 16 years. An autoimmune inflammatory disease that strikes the joints, tissues, and organs, RA can be complex and unpredictable as it can cause pain and even disability to the body. A mother of 3 young children, Pam was diagnosed with RA in 2002 when she got the shingles in her leg, resulting in her wrists swelling up. Once she was diagnosed, she saw a Rheumatologist and tried self-administered injections at home. The home injections did not slow down the RA, which lead to a routine of IV infusions and blood work every month for the last 12 years. Pam would get shingles every time she tried a new iv infusion treatment. In January, 2014 on top of getting major dental work to replace all of her teeth that were deteriorating due to Sjogren’s Syndrome (another autoimmune disease), she also started to get neck and shoulder pain. At that time her Rheumatologist sent her to a pain management doctor where she tried steroid injections, Physical Therapy and traction, all of which she felt did not help. As someone who is constantly on the move, not being able to sleep, do her daily activities, or do her favorite recreational activities such as hiking and kayaking, left Pam very frustrated and disheartened. She began to have little to no feeling in her left shoulder and arm rendering it useless as she predominantly used her right arm to do work around the house. “It was dead weight to me,” she explained. In September of 2017, she went to see a NYC Pain Management doctor and a NYC Neurologist who both advised her go to a psychologist and learn to accept to live with the pain and no use of her left shoulder and arm. With all the different treatments she has tried, including Physical Therapy, Pam came to the Freehold office with no expectations of Physical Therapy being able to help with her pain and function.

“Everyone here works here as a team and they genuinely care about you. This place is a miracle, they have truly changed my life.”

With the encouragement of her new local orthopedic shoulder surgeon who recommended she visit Alliance Orthopedics, she met with our Patient Care Coordinator Jessica and Physical Therapist Dr. Bryant, who told her to give him two weeks before she makes any decisions of not continuing with Physical Therapy. She felt the positive vibes from him and the office and agreed to start coming in for treatment. “Within two weeks, there was a slight quiver in my left shoulder! I would do the exercises at home too.” Dr. Bryant, along with other team members such as Dana, Richard, James, Dr. Greg, Sean, and Taylour gave Pam different exercises to strengthen not just her shoulder and arm, but also her whole body. This included TRX and resistance bands to increase her strength and stability, kettle bells for the stability of her shoulder joint, laser treatment and FRC (Functional Range Conditioning) to improve her mobility and flexibility. As a result, Pam now has full function of her left shoulder and arm and feels stronger and stronger every day. Best of all, a month ago, Pam was finally able to paddle with her husband in their kayak! “Everyone here showed me different exercises that I could use and it amazes me just how much they care. The other day Sean noticed I was feeling down and changed the radio to play classic rock music because he knows I love classic rock. People are always cheering me on.” Pam continues to do her PT and recently began seeing our new Occupational Therapist Todd, who helps strengthen her RA damaged hands. Pam does not let her 16-year battle with RA keep her from getting better and better both physically and mentally each fay. We admire Pam’s bravery and strength. Thank you for trusting in AO!

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