By Allison R. Weder
Rotator cuff surgery.
Michael Furdella has had his share of medical issues for years. But he always knows where to turn to feel better. Michael has been going to Phoenix Physical Therapy in the Richland Township – Johnstown, Pennsylvania area for 15 years. “When I came into the clinic for the first time, I had to hop. Doctors told me I would only be able to walk with a cane. After months of therapy at Phoenix, I was able to run up and down the lane the clinic is on.” Michael tried other places, but could tell right away what makes Phoenix different. “They are very professional and even when there is a lot of people in there, they treat you like you are the only one. It’s not like the other PT places where you do your exercises, and you leave. They are constantly writing down your progress and they keep good records.”
Michael’s latest round of therapy is for sciatica. Sciatica, which is very common, is nerve pain from an injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve which originates in the buttock area. The pain can travel all the way down the leg. Michael’s pain is especially bad. “I’ve been to pain clinics. I’ve had injections. I’ve tried medications. I’ve tried everything. The hard part is having to stand for long periods.” Michael’s wife weighs in. “He can’t sit and watch TV either because it hurts. He can’t sit down for long.”
Anthony Damiano, PT, DPT is the Richland Township Clinic Director. He created a treatment plan for Michael that includes strengthening exercises for his core. Michael understands repetition of these exercises will build muscle to support his core, ultimately helping to relieve the pain. “Anthony keeps coming up with new exercises, so I don’t get bored. He’s always trying something different. I sit on the big ball, and I do stretching exercises with that. Then I have a smaller ball that I use to squeeze between my legs. Then I use a band around my legs, and I stretch outward. Then I do the table exercise where I put one hand down and one leg down, and the other hand up and the other leg up.”
Michael is struggling to find complete relief from his pain, but he is confident Anthony will do everything he can to find a solution. “It’s impressive how Anthony tries to help me. He went to a class on core problems. He came back with some new exercises just for me! He actually spent his weekend learning new things and brought them back to me!” Michael is grateful for Anthony and the entire Phoenix team. “Missy (Melissa Ribblett, PT) is good too. She is very professional and down to earth. She is very friendly and congenial. So is (Patient Care Coordinator), Tina (Homyak) and so is Annie (Anne O’Leary, PTA). I’m very thankful to them. They’re so nice. But they’re nice to everybody. It’s not just me. They treat everyone with the same degree of professionalism. They get right down to business, the business of physical therapy. You can’t ask for more than that. I’d recommend them to everyone. If you need physical therapy, try Phoenix at least once. I guarantee you won’t go anywhere else.”
Michael is slowly seeing progress and hopes to one day, be pain-free. “I know everything takes time. My pain isn’t as bad or stabbing as it was at one time. I was able to go work on the public address system at my church. I worked for 2 hours, and there were times I had to sit on the floor and lay on the floor. I couldn’t have done that 3 months ago. I’m sure I’ll continue to see improvements.” Anthony agrees and believes Michael will reach his goals. “During each physical therapy appointment, Mike puts forth great effort and shows that he is motivated to get better. He even goes above and beyond to help motivate and encourage other patients in the clinic; his positivity is contagious.”
Michael wants everyone to know, Phoenix is a comfortable, friendly physical therapy clinic. “I want to go where everybody knows my name, just like ‘Cheers’!”