Patient Stories

Rob Tarrell

Rob Tarrell just couldn’t get comfortable.

“It’s a really strange pain. It’s like a dull pain that you feel shooting through your leg. I couldn’t get comfortable when I laid down, and it was waking me up. I couldn’t make it feel better,” said Rob.

Rob came to Atlantic Medical Center. After a few tests and evaluation, the culprit was clear: sciatica. His provider recommended physical therapy and talked to Rob about his options and what worked best for him.

Rob chose Cass Health Rehabilitation Services, and made his first appointment, bright and early at 6:30 a.m., to accommodate his work schedule.

Kathy Denning, PT, was ready to work with Rob. She has been a practicing physical therapist for more than twenty years and is currently working on her certification with the Postural Restoration Institute.®

“She showed me a bunch of exercises, but then asked me how often I wanted to meet,” said Rob. “She was very accommodating and understanding. She took the approach of, ‘What can we do to help you get better?’ She understood that you have a life, and can’t just do physical therapy all day.”

Together they decided that it was best if they met once a week.

Kathy worked with Rob on some postural imbalances and Postural Restoration techniques and modifications of positions at home, work, and in the car.

“She’s very passionate about her work, and it’s kind of funny—you can tell she’s thinking. It’s like she’s solving a big puzzle,” said Rob. “She kind of talks to herself saying, ‘Okay I’m going to move this, what if we try that?’ It’s very intense, and you can see she’s very excited about solving the puzzle. At the same time, she’s not intimidating. She kept asking, ‘Are you comfortable with this?’ She is thorough, and you can tell she gets excited when things are working. I’m sure she didn’t just start yesterday, and when you have someone that passionate about what they do, it makes it easier to do your part.”

During this same time, Rob was getting ready for a family vacation that included a 10-hour car drive. At his next appointment with Kathy, he talked to her about the drive and his concerns about the pain being aggravated by sitting that long.

“She printed out copies of exercises and talked to me about things that I could do in the car,” said Rob. “And it was good. Vacation went fine.”

Rob continued doing his exercises at home, and when he would feel the pain starting to return, he’d break out his paperwork again and remind himself of the adjustments he needed to make. In total, Rob met with Kathy four times.

“After the second appointment, I had no pain,” said Rob. “I did my PT, but we made sure that I could do it on my own, to make sure this was a long-term fix. Kathy took her time to teach me how to fix it, how to prevent it, and if it did flare up, I knew to go back through this set of steps.”

Today, Rob rarely has any sciatica pain. “Very occasionally, I have a little bit of pain, but I can track it right back to how I was sitting in my chair at work or what I did that day,” said Rob.

Overall, Rob was impressed with his physical therapy experience. “I thought it was much more focused on me, and that she zeroed in specifically to my needs. It was always ‘what can we do for a long-term fix for this?’ and the focus was on getting you better, not lining their pockets, while listening to your life, not just your pain. They looked at the whole picture of your treatment, and that’s just not as common today. It was a very positive experience,” said Rob.

A happy patient who feels better is exactly the outcome we are all comfortable with.