Victor's story
 Victor's story

  Lumbar stenosis with peripheral neuropathy

At 76 years of age, Victor had to learn how to walk again.

He came to Mayfield Brain & Spine in October 2020 with a long medical history and susceptible to frequent falls. At Mayfield Physical Therapy, he got back to basics.

"They started teaching me how to walk again, how to swing my arms and how to focus straight ahead," Victor said. "I was just shuffling and staggering and falling a lot. Now I don't worry about it so much. I'm feeling normal. I've got my life back."

Victor started his journey with Mayfield Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialist Matthew Merz, MD, who evaluated whether surgery was a good first option or whether offering physical therapy first would relieve Victor's pain and set him up for a successful recovery. Dr. Merz said Victor's journey is typical for many who suffer through pain and balance issues that affect their ability to perform daily tasks. Mayfield specialists first consider treatment plans with alternatives to surgery.

"The biggest issue was the instability he was experiencing," Dr. Merz said. "He needed to get back to some of the basic tasks. He has had multiple falls. It's the No. 1 thing by far that concerns a patient like this."

Kim, Victor and Brandee, at Mayfield Physical Therapy in West Chester

Dr. Merz referred Victor to Mayfield Physical Therapy. For Victor, that meant 12 sessions with physical therapist Kim Kallick-Taylor, PT and Brandee King, PTA, in Mayfield's West Chester office. She asked Victor to talk about his entire medical history to discern a possible reason for his falls. Often, that history helps providers discover clues that lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

In Victor's case, that history included a multi-level fusion on his lower back years ago, several strokes, surgery to remove part of his intestine and a diagnosis of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. He also suffered from neuropathy – weakness, numbness and pain caused by nerve damage, often in the hands and feet. The history informed the treatment plan that Kallick-Taylor devised for Victor. For example, patients exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson's often find themselves tipping forward, putting extra pressure on their lower back. Victor was falling several times a day, even while walking with a cane, and in constant pain.

Victor and Daun

"He was on the verge of having some serious problems because he was falling so often," Victor's wife Daun said.

Victor said the progress came slowly. He would walk several steps and touch a spot on a wall, concentrating on lifting his feet and swinging his arms. Looking up at the path ahead of him also was a challenge.

"They were patient with me," he said. "They encouraged me here. When I learned how to walk properly again, everything changed."

In early 2021, Victor faced another challenge. Just turning over in bed would make him dizzy. Kallick-Taylor recognized the signs of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Fortunately, the treatment was simple – a few head turns while supine that reorganized the crystals in Victor's ear that had become dislodged. Immediately, he found relief.

By the time February's heavy snows arrived, Victor was feeling much better.

"Six months ago, he could barely walk," Kallick-Taylor said. "This morning, he was looking forward to shoveling snow. He definitely has exceeded all of my expectations."

~ Cliff Peale

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Hope Story Disclaimer -"Victor's Story" is about one patient's health-care experience. Please bear in mind that because every patient is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Results are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.

Related links:

Dr. Matthew Merz

Spinal Stenosis

Mayfield Physical Therapy