While only 37 years old, Blanca is no stranger to back pain.
She’d seen her father struggle with years of back issues and then began having them herself in her early twenties.
An avid fitness enthusiast, she enjoyed working out at the gym, sometimes even a couple of times in one day. She started having some pains and then suspected that she pulled a muscle in her upper back. When she visited a doctor for the first time at age 25, she says the doctor “blew it off” and told her that she was too young to have back issues.
Blanca continued to work out, despite the pain. Finally, her back seized on her one night while unloading the dishwasher, and she was unable to get up without assistance.
She tried another doctor, who she says took her seriously. An MRI showed that she had a herniated disc in her lower back. She tried some physical therapy and also had epidural shots periodically, but her doctor warned that they were more for “maintenance” and would not ultimately be a cure. In fact, he said that there would come a time when they would simply stop working.
Blanca had been living in Florida at the time but moved to Charlotte while she was continuing to deal with her back issues. Once in Charlotte, she found another doctor who would continue to give her epidural shots. Ready to start a family, Blanca got one shot before her pregnancy and one after.
Once her baby was born, however, the pain became unbearable to live with. Blanca says, “It was really bad. I was barely able to hold my baby or stand up – let alone hold a full time job.”
She consulted with three spinal surgeons to determine the next step. When she went for the next epidural shot, it failed. A repeat shot three weeks later failed as well. At this time, the doctors suggested surgery. Blanca, hesitant to have surgery prematurely, asked if she could try some physical therapy first.
For the next year, she went to what she describes as “intensive” PT three times weekly. She was able to get back on her feet and could lift her legs and tie her shoelaces again. She was discharged but not given any direction regarding workout guidelines.
Eager to resume a workout routine, Blanca began working out on her own. “That didn’t work out!” she says. Her back flared up again, and she came to a new conclusion regarding workouts: “I need to be supervised!”
She was hoping to work with a physical therapist who would be able to help her maintain a fitness routine. She says, “ I googled PT + exercise or PT+ fitness and found KCP.”
When she initially started her exercise program , she began slowly. Some workouts were only ten minutes long. She soon graduated to longer workouts and joined one of the group exercise programs, where she discovered that her trainers could help her modify any exercise to match her ability level and prevent injury.
“I never imagined that I could work out with a group,” she says. She joins group exercise classes twice a week now and says, “The results are amazing!”
When she returned for a follow-up at the doctor’s office, she said he was also amazed at her progress with physical therapy and exercise.
“I will do anything to avoid surgery,” Blanca says. “And I will keep coming to KCP. The individual care and attention that I’ve gotten, with interest in my specific case, has been so great. I could tell from the first appointment it was going to work out. They asked so many questions about how my body was functioning on a daily basis, and they were really interested in me holistically. They were completely customized in their approach,. They will catch me in the middle of a workout doing something not quite right and will stop me so that I can keep from hurting myself again. That’s exactly what I need right now!”
Karina, an exercise specialist at KCP, says “Blanca’s progress in PT and fitness is very exciting! Throughout the process, she has been dedicated and determined to keep getting stronger. She has worked incredibly hard to get to the point where she is now, and I am so proud of her.”