You've probably heard the saying,"fight fire, with fire." Well physical therapists at Avera Queen of Peace are taking that saying to heart. Instead they are fighting pain, with pain.
A snowmobile accident may have paralyzed Toby Russell, but that hasn't stopped him from living an active life. However recent tendonitis flare ups in his elbows, have proven painful and debilitating.
"I had tried traditional physical therapy, injections, I was kind of at the point where I was at my last leg trying to figure out what to do to take care of the pain and discomfort in my elbow." Said Russell.
Toby's condition is often referred to as tennis elbow. But his pain was caused by everyday life, not by swinging a tennis racket.
"It isn't really an inflammation so much as a degeneration of the tissue and it's affected by overuse and repetitive activities. Because he's in a wheelchair he's using his arms pretty repetitively." Said Dr. Brian Kampmann, an orthopedic surgeon with Avera Medical Group Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
"I do a lot of times 15 to 20 car transfers a day and I was really starting to notice it during those activities as well and it was time that I certainly needed to ramp things up and try to get the pain and discomfort taken care of." Said Russell.
When all other options fail surgery usually is the last resort, one toby didn't want to take.
"We decided to try the Graston Technique and that seems to have done the trick." Said Dr. Kampmann.
The Graston Technique is a relatively new type of therapy that uses focused pressure to relieve pain.
"It's manual therapy with a stimulate the tissues and they actually use tools to stimulate the tissue to stimulate a healing response basically it breaks down scar tissue and allows this to start the healing process." said Dr. Kampmann.
"With the different tools you can break up that scar tissue up and then it's reabsorbed by the body and replaced with normal healthy tissue." Said physical therapist Abe Weins.
The Graston Technique can be more painful than other therapies, but Toby says the short periods of discomfort have totally been worth it.
"At like my third treatment I started noticing a decrease in the pain and discomfort that I was having and the duration of that pain and discomfort and by the time we finished up the cycle of treatment I was pretty much back to normal." Said Russell.
Physical therapist Abe Weins was trained and certified on the Graston Technique in the fall of 2012, Toby was one of his first patients. The success of Toby's therapy has helped him promote the technique to others.
"It convinced me of its efficacy and I've developed my confidence in using it as a technique and just trying it with lots of different people on lots of different things to see what we can do." Said Weins.
The Graston Technique is not for everyone, but for Toby, it was a way to fix his elbows without having to put his life on hold.
"It's nice having a physical therapist that understood what I wanted to get out of it and rather than simply tell me that I needed to quit doing certain things he helped me figure out a way to continue my activities without having to change and made things work." Said Russell.
An accident may have taken his legs 12 years ago, but thanks to his physical therapists and Avera Queen of Peace, that accident won't be taking his arms.
Studies have shown the Graston Technique helps speed up rehab and recovery and reduces the need for rehab medications. But again, it's not for everyone and should be discussed with your therapist.
For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.