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Park North Physical Therapy Case Study: Elizabeth’s Journey Recovering from a SLAP Tear

Before checking yourself into surgery for an injury, it's essential to explore all available alternatives. The human body possesses an astonishing ability to heal and adapt, a capacity we often overlook. 

At Park North Physical Therapy in New York City, we believe that rehabilitation can often prevent surgical intervention. To highlight the power of PT, we’re showcasing one of our clients as a case study. Elizabeth's journey showcases how our therapists can help people manage pain and, in many instances, prevent surgery.

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SLAP Tear Case Study

Elizabeth came to Park North Physical Therapy in April 2023 with a diagnosed SLAP tear, which stands for Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior Tear. Upon her initial evaluation at the orthopedic doctor, the prognosis was grim. Her MD recommended surgery as the likely course of action.

Treating Shoulder Injuries at Park North Physical Therapy

Upon being diagnosed with a SLAP tear, the outlook seemed daunting for Elizabeth especially with the possibility of surgery. The recovery period for SLAP tear surgery is anywhere from 5-6 months with extremely limited range of motion for the first 4 weeks which can affect daily tasks. Instead of jumping into surgery, Elizabeth decided to try Park North Physical Therapy with hopes pinned on non-surgical intervention.

The First PT Visit

During her initial consultation in April, Elizabeth showcased limited mobility in her shoulder and expressed concerns regarding her pain and restricted movements. The Park North PT team laid down a tailored rehabilitation program to help restore her shoulder function using active release technique, the NEUBIE device and additional exercises.

Treatment Period

Elizabeth underwent 11 sessions with our physical therapists. These sessions, spaced appropriately for optimum recovery, were focused on:

Pain Management: We used modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound and electric stimulation to alleviate Elizabeth’s initial pain.

Mobility Enhancement: Using gentle range of motion exercises, we introduced and progressively intensified movements that would improve her shoulder mobility.

Strengthening: As Elizabeth progressed, resistance exercises were incorporated to strengthen the shoulder muscles and provide better support to the injured labrum.

Functional Training: These exercises were aimed at equipping Elizabeth to get back to her daily activities, like lifting her arms and carrying heavy items, without discomfort.

Physical Therapy Results

By early August, Elizabeth displayed significant improvement. She achieved full mobility in her shoulder and experienced a drastic reduction in pain. Most importantly, after re-evaluation by her MD, it was determined that she no longer required surgery.

The Impact of Physical Therapy for Shoulder Injuries

Elizabeth's recovery from her shoulder injury is a shining example of how physical therapy can often be an effective alternative to surgery. It's not just about healing, but healing in a manner that promotes holistic wellbeing. With Park North’s treatment plan, Elizabeth was able to actively participate in her recovery and continue her daily life without the interruption of surgery. Along with Park North’s treatment interventions, the team also helped her foster a positive mindset, reinforcing the belief in her body's innate healing abilities.

Plan Your Recovery with Park North Physical Therapy in New York City

At Park North Physical Therapy, we believe in the power of personalized care and evidence-based approaches. Elizabeth's journey from a possible surgical intervention to full mobility is a testament to the benefits of physical therapy.

To anyone facing similar challenges, remember, surgery might be a solution, but it's not always the only solution. It's stories like Elizabeth's that inspire us every day to keep doing our work as physical therapists. To learn more about our therapeutic options to prevent surgery, contact us for a free consultation and see how our experienced team can help you heal.