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A Gift of Health and Knowledge: Nancy Rosel Brown’s Success Story

By, Allison R. Weder

“Every time I walk I just think what a wonderful service Alyssa is providing to people like me. She makes the world a better, painless place.” -Nancy Rosel Brown, Phoenix Patient

Nancy Rosel Brown noticed pain in her hip and knee was getting in the way of her enjoying life. Nancy recalls an especially bad day. “I tried to walk around the block, and it was torturous.” An X-ray showed the 74-year-old had arthritis in both her joints. Her doctor suggested medication. “I said, no. I’m going to try physical therapy instead to see if that works. I didn’t want meds. I’ve had good experiences with PT in the past. It worked well for me.”

Nancy knew right where to turn for help. “I was at the senior center, and they were having a batch of seminars on balance and strengthening, and Alyssa Murphy was one of three physical therapy people who showed up to talk about Phoenix. I really liked her; she was very friendly. She had patience with a man who no one else has patience with. She showed us some exercises and seemed very approachable.” Nancy went to her doctor knowing she could make the choice about which Physical Therapist she would go see. She asked her doctor for a prescription to Phoenix Physical Therapy in Mooresville, North Carolina. Nancy was happy knowing she chose someone who was right for her.

Nancy was slightly skeptical on her first day at the Phoenix PT-Mooresville clinic. “I walked in, and I was a mess. I wasn’t sure there was anything she could do to help, but (Alyssa) said, ‘there is!’ I thought, well I’ll give it a try and see.” Alyssa Murphy, PT, DPT believes in treating people uniquely and personally, as if they were her own family. She creates an individualized plan for each of her patients with a focus on their goals. Nancy began working right away to reach her goal of being pain-free again. “She had me exercise on the bike and the steps. She had me walking and we worked on my balance. She put me on the table too. She stretched and pulled at my legs and massaged me with the massage gun. We also used the TENS machine with the electrodes.” The TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit is technology that sends out small electrical pulses that can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which helps relieve the pain and relax muscles.

Alyssa worked with Nancy for two months as her Physical Therapist and as an educator. Nancy is amazed at how much she learned from Alyssa. “The biggest thing I learned was as we age we don’t use our muscles as much and then they weaken, and that causes problems. That is what happened with me. She gave me an education on my body, my muscle groups, where I needed to keep the strength to avoid hip and knee pain and how to combat it. I learned about the names of my body parts: the glutes, the hamstrings. I found it really interesting. Alyssa was gracious enough to pass it on. Some doctors you can’t approach like that. They act like they don’t have the time. She’s very enthusiastic about what she does.”

Nancy noticed a change after about a month of hard work. “When I started walking I noticed the pain diminishing. Then it started to fade away and now it’s gone. I was pleasantly surprised.” Alyssa was happy to see Nancy’s success. “Nancy is one of the most hard-working, eager to learn ladies, I have ever come across. She took each facet of physical therapy and applied it to her everyday life, from learning anatomy, to walking, to working on her painting posture, and to how she spends her recreational time. I know this journey is only the start for her and I’m so blessed to be a part of it.”

Nancy knows what she learned from Alyssa will help her enjoy life to the fullest. “She gave me a whole folder full of exercises that I can refer to. There are ones I do when I get out of bed. They help me get through the day. And I’m walking more and more. When my hip acts up I can stretch it out. I know what to do to fix it. I can easily put on my pants now. I can put on my socks. I can bend over easier. I used to groan when I would bend over. My hip just couldn’t do it. Now I can bend over, no problem.”

Nancy reflects on her choice to try physical therapy with Alyssa instead of relying on pain medication. “I feel grateful that I can walk. I have to be mobile the rest of my life. I don’t want to be a crotchety person in a home. I can’t do that. I have to be active. Hopefully PT will keep me old and limber! That’s the legacy of physical therapy. It is learning how to exercise after PT. How you can stay away from pain and the PT, and keep going on your own. The whole thing is a gift.”

Nancy plans to keep up with her exercises and remain pain-free but knows she can return to Phoenix PT-Mooresville and Alyssa if she needs to. “She was just really nice to be around. She was really empowering. I enjoyed my time there. I miss her. I miss her as a person! She said, ‘come back anytime you need to.’ That’s a reassuring thing to know to have somewhere to go.”