Two years ago, 49-year-old Roberto was on his way back from the US Open in New York with his father. While on the subway platform, he slipped and fell, fracturing his right shoulder.
Roberto was already suffering from spinal stenosis in his back at the time of his injury.
Taking anti-inflammatories to treat pain were not an option for him due to an existing diverticular disease. When he had taken them previously, they made him so sick that he ended up in the emergency room.
"The side effects of the anti-inflammatories were worse than my back pain," he said.
To help manage his intense back pain and rigidity that developed in his right shoulder, his physician recommended that he see a pain management specialist, who found that Roberto had disc herniations in his upper spine, as well.
Roberto's pain specialist referred him to a physical therapist, which Roberto embraced.
"I was motivated by not wanting to take medication and avoiding surgery," Roberto said. "From the moment I started, [my PT] was amazing,"
Roberto's physical therapist, Aleksandr Dekhtyarev, PT, DPT, treated the rigidity in Roberto's shoulder and performed pain management exercises for his upper and lower spine.
Roberto attends physical therapy sessions twice a week, once for his shoulder, and the other for back pain. His treatments include exercise, manual therapy, stretches, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic massage.
"I did not want to be operated on," Roberto said. "I knew with the physical therapy exercises I would improve.
"Now that I am in physical therapy, the pain in my upper and lower back has radically improved, and I have much less rigidity in my shoulder.
"My physical therapist, who really listens and cares, has enabled me to avoid back surgery and stop using the anti-inflammatories. Instead of using medications, I have my mobility!"