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How Finding the Right Physical Therapist Changed My Life: Manmohan “Manu” Riat’s Success Story

By, Allison R. Weder

Manmohan Riat, or Manu as he likes to be called, has felt the effects of scoliosis since high school. He tried everything to relieve the pain: medication, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Manu remembers, “I had been to many physical therapy places before. They wouldn’t spend a lot of time with their patients. They would just do 30 minutes of physical therapy and say, ‘it will take time’. I would say, ‘I’m not getting better. I’m not feeling better. I’m not progressing.” The pain began to travel down his leg. “I couldn’t lift, I couldn’t sit for too long or walk for too long. My life quality was very low. I took medication but I still couldn’t perform my normal activities.”

Manu decided to have surgery, but insurance complications made the process difficult. Not knowing where to turn, Manu searched for someone with knowledge about his specific needs, which included a test to show he was a candidate for surgery. He reached out to several healthcare providers, including Phoenix Physical Therapy in Herndon, Virginia. The Clinic Director picked up the phone. She invited him to the clinic for a consultation. While the test Manu needed is not a service Phoenix Physical Therapy provides, the Clinic Director was able to confirm that his condition would require the expertise of a physician and guided him to a trusted spinal surgeon she had worked with in the past. The new surgeon was able to provide the care Manu needed, which included four surgeries. The first was for was for a disc herniation due to his scoliosis. The second was a ten-hour spinal fusion surgery. The third added spaces between two of his vertebrae. And the fourth tightened a screw that had become loose. The surgeon also prescribed physical therapy as part of Manu’s recovery process.

Manu’s Post-Surgery X-ray

Manu was hesitant about trying physical therapy again, but was pleased with how his Phoenix Physical Therapist guided him through some uncertain times. He decided to give her and Phoenix a try. “I was scheduled with (her), and everything was like magic!” Manu instantly knew Phoenix was different. “I’ve seen a lot of Physical Therapists. I would do 30 minutes and they would say, ‘you’re good to go home’. (My Therapist) has spent two hours with me at times. I don’t think any other Physical Therapist has spent two hours on me. And it’s not just me, it’s everyone. She spends time and takes care with everything. She has a passion. People who have a passion go beyond. They care. They listen. They change things to fit the patient.”

Manu was eager to attend each therapy session. His treatments included, “dry needling, manual therapy, strengthening exercises, stretching, treadmill walking, lifting, and things that strengthen the core muscles. My favorite is dry needling.” The exercises made Manu feel like himself again, but that is not the only reason he continues to choose Phoenix. “The main thing is care. She doesn’t rush through the material. She speaks with the patient and has a plan and includes the patient in the plan. Phoenix PT brought my confidence back in physical therapy.”

Music Credit: Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti

Manu’s trust in the Herndon team resulted in his whole family choosing Phoenix. “My parents go to her too. My mother and father go there. The whole team is excellent. (Patient Care Coordinator,) Denise Kelly is so caring and so nice. She helps with insurance and the schedule. I’ve never met a team like this. I have the best medical team in the world, I tell people.” And he believes the proof is in the results he can feel after surgery, followed by an individualized physical therapy program made just for him. “I have lived with scoliosis for 8 years. Now, thanks to my surgeon and physical therapy I am walking straight with a confident posture, pain free. I’m building muscles. I’m back working. My life is great thanks to them.”

Manu is grateful he gave physical therapy another chance and found a team whose fundamentals and goals align with his. “Physical Therapists can only change your life if you are going to help them too. But you need to believe in your therapist. (My Therapist) has been trained and has the experience and expertise. Phoenix has the best trained Physical Therapists. We all consider them like a family member. My whole family respects them a lot. 100%, I will go back to them! I could have been done with PT. I’m so glad I gave it another chance.”