I would like to share my story on how the OrthoHealth Program at IBJI has changed my life. My story begins early December 2016. I was having pains in both of my hips. The popping and cracking was getting more frequent and while sitting just to stand up and walk up stairs was a challenge. My initial appointment was with Dr. Rhutav Parikh, MD. After a series of X-rays I was diagnosed with bilateral hip osteoarthritis with trochanteric bursitis. Dr. Parikh suggested physical therapy 2X a week for 4-6 weeks. I began physical therapy with Justin Bond, PT, DPT. I felt great after leaving PT, however, by the time I got home it was so painful just getting out of my car. After several weeks I began having pain in the front of my hips in both legs. One or both of my legs would “lock up” and I could not move.

This happened several times while driving and walking. The pain was getting worse so I went back to see Dr. Parikh in late February. I had some blood work done to see what might be causing all the pain. The results from the blood work indicated my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) count was elevated. Dr. Parikh referred me to Dr. Mark Hamming, MD who specializes in the hip area. Had more X-rays and the same diagnosis was given as per Dr. Parikh. Dr. Hamming suggested cortisone injections in both of my hips. PT was still recommended for another 4-6 weeks. After a few weeks passed the cortisone injections never really "kicked in". The pain in both hips was still there. At times the pain was worse in one hip than the other. I continued with physical therapy.

I went back see Dr. Hamming in mid-April and he recommended the ultrasound guided steroid injection to the hips. After reviewing my blood work Dr. Hamming referred me to Dr. Lori Siegel, MD who specializes in rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed with early stages of Psoriatic Arthritis. For now, this autoimmune disease can be managed by anti-inflammatory meds which I started on immediately. I was informed that my diet would need to change completely by eating only anti-inflammatory foods and no gluten. I was feeling very overwhelmed.

During one of my PT sessions in April Justin spoke to me about the OrthoHealth Program that is offered by IBJI. Justin handed me a brochure and asked I look it over and think about it. That day and the conversation I had with Justin was so inspiring. This could not have come at a better time in my life!

The OrthoHealth Program is a 12 week program that addresses physical therapy and a metabolic exercise program along with support from a Health Coach, Registered Dietitian and a Physical Therapist. In early May I was assigned to Donna Taylor, Integrated Health Coach, Arleen Temer-Wittcoff, RD, CDE, Registered Dietitian and Justin Bond, PT, DPT who continued to be my Physical Therapist.

My first Method Test was in early May with Justin to determine at what range my heart rate should be in order to burn fat and not muscle while exercising. This would be my “Prime Zone”. With the OrthoHealth Program my physical therapy sessions with Justin turned into mini circuit training sessions consisting of cardio and strength training all of which I was able to do without any pain to my hips or other joints.

Meeting with Donna Taylor was an eye opening experience. I didn’t realize how much stress I was under until I started talking to Donna. She listened to everything that was on my mind. We created goals together on what I wanted to achieve while in the Ortho Health Program and beyond. It felt wonderful to let go of all my thoughts and fears about my health and what the road ahead would entail. I could not have made it through this period in my life without her words of encouragement, support and advice.

I then met with Arleen Temer-Wittcoff. I informed her of my diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis and having to now eat gluten free and only anti-inflammatory foods. Arleen was a wealth of information. I had no idea where to even start with the food issues. One step at a time and with many conversations Arleen directed me to many websites that were helpful to me. I was on my way to healthier eating! Arleen also shared the difference between “naturally occurring sugar” and “added sugar”. Eye opening experience for sure! We covered every spectrum of the food groups and how to incorporate what I now had to focus my diet on. The knowledge and support Arleen provided to me was exceptional.

While continuing with my workout sessions with Justin I began to feel better – not pain free, but able to manage the pain and still be able to participate in the work out sessions. I couldn’t believe I was actually able to this – I had never worked out like this before! Amazing! Every session with Justin was full of encouragement and support as I was going through my roller coaster of health issues.

As the weeks progressed my arthritis had now settled into my right hip only. I began to have shooting pains down my leg passed my knee down to my shin, calf to my ankle. My left hip had NO pain at all.

In mid-June I saw Dr. Hamming and he suggested an MRI arthrogram on my right hip. The MRI showed I now have a torn labrum. When I saw Justin for my physical therapy session and told him about my torn labrum he said we will modify the workouts still being able to keep my heart rate in my prime zone as to not put more pressure or strain on my right hip and joints. At times my right hip was in so much pain Justin suggested we do only upper body strength training. I took his advice and was still able to still keep my heart rate in my prime zone!

Towards the end of June I began to have pain in my lower back. I had an MRI and found that I have a small disc bulge on the left side of my back. This was due to overcompensating on my left side due to the pain in my right hip. Went back to see Dr. Parikh and I received another cortisone injection in my right hip into the bursa.

I had my last Method Test with Justin at the end of July and what wonderful results...inches lost, weight loss and I had built up endurance and strength. What a wonderful feeling - I am on my way!!

Special thanks to Justin - he had the insight that I could benefit from the OrthoHealth Program and took the initiative to speak to me about it back in April.

Donna, Arleen and Justin provided me with the tools, knowledge, support, coaching, guidance and encouragement. It is now up to me to implement what I have learned through the 3 month program and beyond.

To Dr. Parikh, Dr. Hamming and Dr. Siegel, my thanks to all of you for your support and for never giving up on me during these past several months!

I am on my way to this complete lifestyle change for the rest of my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have taken part in the OrthoHealth Program. I have gained self-confidence, discipline and inner strength. I am continuing with optimal workouts at home with no pain to my hips, eating healthier and am managing my stress in a much healthier way!

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