By Jessica Sly, Communications Specialist
When physical therapists approach a problem, they go straight to the source. By doing this, they don’t just treat the current symptom. They balance the entire body and, sometimes, can completely restore function. Two Henning residents discovered the life-changing effects of this after visiting Erin Boesl, PT, DPT, at Henning Physical Therapy Clinic.
It was a seemingly ordinary Monday morning when Jessica Strege woke up with a pinched nerve in her neck and left shoulder. She endured the pain for a couple weeks, thinking it would go away on its own, but it soon progressed to numbness and pain in her hand. She called her provider, Amy Severson at the Henning clinic, who referred her to physical therapy.
“Dad and Mom had both seen Erin, and she just did wonders for them,” Jessica said. “So when my arm wouldn’t heal on its own, my dad especially said, ‘You need to go see her.’ My dad is like Erin’s biggest fan.”
After listening to Jessica’s history, Erin started her on postural restoration exercises, which revealed that most of her issues were indeed from poor posture.
When someone has poor posture, their muscles have to compensate in unnatural ways and thus cause problems. Erin helped retrain Jessica’s muscles to have good posture. “She made us blow into balloons,” Jessica recalled. “You’re lying down and you have to concentrate on your breathing and what muscles you’re holding and how your legs are positioned.”
As they worked on Jessica’s posture, they stumbled upon other unresolved pain, and they found that by using physical therapy to treat the problems at the core, many were improved.
“It went from her working on my neck and shoulder to addressing issues that I had been dealing with for probably the last 15 years with my hips and pelvis and my low back,” Jessica said. “It all just kind of fell into place. As soon as one thing was corrected, it helped another thing and another.”
When she finished treatment, Jessica took home the knowledge and exercises to nip poor posture in the bud.
“I don’t have pain every day anymore and I did before. Even before the pinched nerve, my back was just painful every day,” she said. “Whenever I start to feel like something’s out of whack, I go back to some of the things I learned.”
During a time in her life when she was under significant stress, Mary Trana’s neck stiffened and filled with pain. She sought the advice of a doctor, who told her that physical therapy was her best option. A Henning resident, Mary was pleased to see there were treatment options nearby.
Erin identified the problem and helped Mary ease into exercises and learn how her body functions and moves. It took an entire year for Mary’s neck to regain mobility. “I was just so impressed with how Erin does physical therapy,” she said. “She’s very caring, and she looked at the whole body. The assessment when I came in was head to toe.”
However, about a year later, Mary’s back, which had been plagued by chronic pain since the 1990s, began to get worse. So she asked her doctor to refer her back to Erin. This time, they found that her gluteus muscles weren’t functioning correctly, so they worked together to get them back to their optimal condition. Soon, Mary found the physical balance that she had been missing for so long.
Erin also passed along skills so that Mary could do self-care at home. She tries to complete exercises a couple times a week and can tell if it needs a little extra care.
“For the first time in years, I feel balanced. She just seemed to find the key that helped it,” Mary said. “It still bothers me, but now I feel like I can keep it under control and not live on Ibuprofen all the time. I can’t emphasize enough how much it’s changed my life.”