It's not uncommon for a child to pass on an illness, so Desiree Torres wasn't surprised when she caught her son's cold. She has three boys, so it wasn't the first time that a cold traveled through the house.
But Desiree's asthma made the coughing fits difficult. During one episode, she pulled a muscle in her neck.
"It was worse than a crick in the neck," she says. The pain radiated from her neck down her left arm. Her fingers would tingle and go numb.
"My stress lives in my shoulders," Desiree says. She had reasons to be stressed. She had just moved into a new apartment.
She thought the pain would get better on its own and lived with the it for over two months.
When the pain traveled to her chest and became unbearable, she took action.
A trip to the Easton Hospital Emergency Department brought relief - it was not a heart attack. It also led to a referral to the Comprehensive Spine Management Program.
Amy Huber, the program's patient navigator, called Desiree and scheduled an appointment with Scott Naftulin, DO, a specialist in physical medicine, rehabilitation and pain medicine.
Desiree had a pinched nerve, so Dr. Naftulin decided physical therapy would be the best course of action.
Three times a week, Desiree met with Good Shepherd Physical Therapist Christopher Johns, DPT, OCS.
"It wasn't easy, but Chris worked with me through a process to find the appropriate exercises that would help stretch out the muscles and relieve the pain," she says.
After a month, the pain had subsided. Another trip to Dr. Naftulin revealed that she didn't have any nerve damage, so physical therapy was still the best option to find an answer.
Then the break-through occurred.
Chris had her try a new exercise where she pushed a towel up a door, extending her arms as far as she could.
This exercise brought instant relief.
"I would joke with Chris that he had the cleanest door in the place," she says. "Chris is a Godsend. He never let me give up. He knew that we could find the exercises that eliminated the pain."
Desiree says her story has a happy ending.
"The pain is gone," she says.
She still keeps "cleaning the door" at home along with other exercises, even after visits to the program ended. And she is proud that she didn't take the pain medication route.
"I know what happens with people on those medications," she says. "While had a prescription, I did not use them unless I was desperate."
Today, she is back to life with her boys. "The three of them keep me very busy," she says.
Not so busy that she hasn't kept up with her studies. Desiree is nearly finished with an undergraduate degree in human resources.
So soon, she may be helping employees who have back pain find relief at Easton Hospital's Comprehensive Spine Management Program.
"I would recommend it to anyone," she says.
250 South 21st Street
Easton, PA 18042-3892