For the past few months, David was coming to Aim2Walk for intense therapy to help him recover more function in his legs. Last year David came to Canada for therapy at a different physiotherapy clinic. While he made some progress, David realized at that time that if he was going to get walking on his own again, he’d need more intense therapy. Originally it was the Lokomat at Aim2Walk that motivated him to once again fly 1,738 miles from Montego Bay to Toronto. At this point I don’t think he had any idea what he was getting himself into.
David’s injury happened in 2008. Doctors were unsure what actually happened. All that was known is that after an exciting day of bouncing around on his jet ski, he had a large pool of blood putting pressure on his spinal cord. David had surgery to relieve the pressure on his spine and awoke unable to move his legs.
When David first arrived at Aim2Walk, it was clear we had our work cut out for us. Since the surgery, not only was David barely able to stand, he had experienced constant back pain, gained a significant amount of weight, and his whole body had become stiff as a board. Day one, Jesse had his hands on him, stripping out scar tissue and stretching the muscles in his back. We weren’t sure if David would be on the first flight back to Jamaica after this day of torture, but like a true warrior, he came back ready for more. While David maintained a healthy fear of Jesse’s hands, he couldn’t deny the significant overall decrease in back pain and improved mobility… after just one treatment!
Davids legs where also stiff as boards and would spasm and shake when we stretched them. In no time however, David was becoming more flexible. He even commented after about a week that in his whole life he had NEVER been able to stretch his legs like that!
Four days a week therapists continued to work on David with deep tissue massage, muscle stimulation, strength training and even acupuncture (which was the only thing he didn’t complain about because it “didn’t hurt”). Then there was the Lokomat… Getting this 6’3″ solid man strapped into the Lokomat was a bit of a struggle, but we had lots of laughs doing it. It’s here where he got the nick-name “The Jamaican Burrito”.
David had a few other injuries that we were able to help with also. A few weeks into therapy, while David was working on his balance, Jesse discovered an old injury to his left shoulder. Several years ago David had a sports injury and had since not been able to lift his arm past 90 degrees. Again, it was time for more muscle stripping (oh the fear in his eyes!). In less then 10 minutes, with a few moans and groans and a shirt drenched in sweat, David was able to lift his arm well over his head!
All in all David did really well. He lost a lot of weight (not just from the sweat, we also had him on a diet program), he gained significant strength in his back, was pain free, could walk short distances with only a cane, and most importantly, was inspired and motivated to continue therapy on his own back in Jamaica.
Sadly, David and his mother had to head home. We look forward to having you both back again in the spring for more intensive therapy. Remember to keep up with your home exercise program, we expect to see progress!
Oh, and don’t forget to eat your greens David.