Melanie Johnson – Physical Therapy for Post-Surgical C-5 Nerve Palsy

 

On Dec 9, 2019, Dr. Jeffrey Carlson performed a posterior cervical laminectomy and inserted four rods in my spine to relieve compression of my spinal cord. The surgery went well and as always, Dr. Carlson did a great job. However, after I woke up, I found that I couldn’t use my left arm. I had a complication called a C-5 palsy, which means because the nerves between that cervical vertebrae had been compressed for so long, they had been damaged and I was going to have to “re-learn” how to use that arm.

I had physical therapy at home for about five weeks. It was determined it could be up to a year or more for me to gain the use of my arm. Mid-January, I was released to PT at OSC’s Physical Therapy Center and saw Dr. Paige Tretter for an evaluation. At that time, I could lift my left arm at about 25 degrees in front of me, couldn’t bear any weight on it or lift more than a couple of pounds. A program was set up for me and I began working with one of the therapists for about three weeks and he did a good job. But after that, I began working with Fred Wintermantel, LPTA.

Fred Wintermantel, LPTAOver the next four months, Fred worked the program that was set up for me, but he went above and beyond during each appointment to adapt therapy for me that met my specific needs to help continue healing for my neck and to help me regain the use of my arm. He would always ask how I was feeling when I came in. He would listen, really listen, and then work through my program and add or take away exercises that would better help me progress. My exercises were often difficult & sometimes painful, but I always felt encouraged to push through as I felt comfortable. Another helpful thing he did was to explain WHY we did some of the exercises we did. He would explain how using certain muscles or movements were going to help me heal. g with at the moment, because he always gave 100% to each patient, but this just shows the commitment to what he does.

Each month I would follow up with Dr. Tretter to see if I should continue my therapy. She, too, is committed to the care of her patients and always supported me continuing until we felt I was doing well enough to work on my own. She was often amazed at the progress I was making each month knowing what my prognosis was initially.

Dr. Paige Tretter

After four and half months of therapy at OSC with Fred, I am now able to lift my arm over my head, bear weight on my shoulder, use weights in my exercises and have close to 100% mobility in that arm. I still have numbness and have to limit the weight I lift/carry with my arm and believe I’ll get to 100% , but I know that had I not worked with Fred over these last months, I would be nowhere near I am now in my healing process

The skill, heart and motivation he has for his patients is not often seen and OSC should be thankful for quality employees such as Fred Wintermantel, LPTA and Dr. Paige Tretter .

Melanie Johnson

 

 

Make an appointment with Dr. Carlson or Dr. Tretter, or Fred or another OSC provider by clicking the “Request Appointment” button below or by calling (757) 596-1900.