Always Ready. Always Safe. Learn More About Our Health and Safety Protocols.corona close
Skip to main content

Gaining Her Independence Again at 85: Doris Snyder’s Success Story

By, Allison R. Weder

At 85 years young, Doris Snyder had always lived her life to the fullest. But stenosis and deteriorating discs impacted her independence. She remembers living in pain and in fear. “I had pain from my hip, down my leg, to my ankle. I was walking like an old person! I felt like my hip was giving out. I was using a walker because I was afraid I’d fall to the ground.” Doris did not want to live in fear and wanted to get back to enjoying life. After discussing her options, Doris and her doctor came to a decision. “I knew they couldn’t do surgery at 85, so the only thing I could try was physical therapy. I had trouble getting up from a chair. I had to lean on the table to get a boost. I knew I had to go for therapy. I had two shoulder and two knee replacements. I knew what physical therapy could do for me!”

Doris needed to find a new, trusted Physical Therapist after moving to Pennsylvania. A neighbor recommended Phoenix Physical Therapy after her husband, who had a stroke, had a successful outcome with the Phoenix – Jersey Shore team. Doris set up an appointment and met with Clinic Director, Barry Wrench, PT, DPT, TPS. Doris remembers that day. “Barry took a history right away and was quite thorough. I felt good that he knew what I needed.”

Therapy sessions began right away for Doris. “They didn’t have me doing the things that other people were doing. Everyone was doing something different. It wasn’t like you go and get on a bike. One thing didn’t go for everyone. It was individual treatment because everybody is different.” Doris’ exercises were aimed at strengthening her back, and restoring her mobility and flexibility. “I had a big ball. I’d sit in the chair and stretch out over the big ball. I did a lot of different exercises sitting in a chair. They wanted me to get up on a table and I couldn’t. So, they adjusted and found a table I could sit down on and then get up on it. They really worked with me.”

After being in pain for months, Doris noticed a difference at the end of her second week of therapy. “I just started to get relief. I really progressed quite well. When I started, I couldn’t even get in and out of my own car. I have a car that’s low. I bought it because I was having trouble. After a couple of weeks, I was able to get in and out of my own car. I was so happy!”

Doris’ therapy sessions continued for three more weeks. Her program included homework, which meant she needed to complete exercises on her own, to ensure the recovery process continued even when she was not at the clinic. Now, “my pain is completely gone. When I went to bed, I couldn’t stay there I had to get up because the pain down my leg was so bad. I’m sleeping better now, I don’t have any pain down my leg, I’ve been to the market myself, I keep my house picked up better, and I can shower comfortably! I can shop and I’ve even been out with the ladies. I’m independent! I’ve been liberated!”

Doris is grateful for physical therapy and the independence she has once again. “Why would you continue to suffer? Try it! I have a sister who had the same problem. She went and had surgery, now she must go back and have some more. I’m feeling great after physical therapy and she’s still battling her pain.” But Doris is quick to point out, not all physical therapy facilities are the same. “I’ve been to six different therapy places over my life. (Phoenix) is the very best. Sometimes you go to therapy someplace else, and they tell you what to do and leave you there. Then, they pick up someone else. When you get old, you forget what you’re doing. You lose track of the count and sometimes you don’t do it right. If someone isn’t right there to tell you are doing it wrong it doesn’t help. They pay attention. They didn’t expect you to remember. You don’t want to feel alone.”

Doris looks back on her time with the Jersey Shore team fondly and knows where she will go if she is in pain again. “They didn’t just say farewell. I know I could go back, and they will remember me. They were so patient with us, with the elderly. They were very kind and thoroughly interested in the person. Phoenix hires the right people. They care. I was very impressed. I’ve been a lot of places, and this is the absolute best. I’d travel quite a few miles to go back to these people. I’d go out of my way to see them again.”

Doris plans to keep up with her at home exercises to ensure she can keep living her life to fullest. She feels confident now that the trusted therapists at Phoenix are part of her healthcare team.