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The Healing Power of Water: Effingham massage therapist happy to be aided by hydrotherapy.

May 30, 2023 3:15 p.m.

  • Deb Powers, SBL Physical Therapy, Water Therapy, Bonutti Clinic

Massage therapist Debora Power knows the human body. Having also worked as a physical therapy assistant, she was sure she had a significant back injury after falling at work in mid-November. Her expertise and tenacity paid off when it came to the diagnosis and treatment of her injury.

While Debora’s initial X-ray interpretation indicated there were no fractures, she sought a second opinion. After all, standing for just 15 minutes sent jolts of pain straight down her legs.

Three weeks after the initial diagnosis, Debora’s hypothesis was confirmed; her T12 and L4 vertebrae were fractured.

The fall had exacerbated a previously diagnosed bulging disc. Combined, the injuries cause her tremendous pain. Debora was referred to Sarah Bush Lincoln Bonutti Clinic Orthopedics, where she was fitted with a back brace. “Essentially, I did nothing due to a five-pound lifting restriction. All I could do was lie down and heal,” she said.

“Depression starts to set in [when you’re immobile],” Debora explained. “It was the dead of winter and during the holidays, which can be a hard time for people anyway.” She wanted treatment options, so she sought more opinions. Two doctors recommended kyphoplasty, a procedure to treat spine fractures, and a third recommended against it. Debora wanted to do physical therapy because her body was stiff while she recovered at home. She knew SBL Bonutti Clinic Physical Therapy had a therapy pool, and she thought that might be a good option.

Once Debora was approved for therapy, she started treatment with Physical Therapy Assistant Grace Schuler. In February, Debora began hydrotherapy two times each week. Her workout consisted of walking on an underwater treadmill, along with doing strengthening exercises. Debora loved her therapy sessions not only because they helped her to heal, but because they allowed her to be active for longer periods of time than traditional therapy would have allowed.

Both her physical injury and her mental state improved in a matter of weeks. “When I’m in the water,” she said, “I can walk for 20 minutes, and the pain doesn’t bother me.”

Though therapy provided a respite for Debora, she still wasn’t able to return to work. She owns Power Therapeutic Massage in Effingham, and she couldn’t practice while her fractures healed. “Not being able to work has probably been the hardest part of all this,” she explained. “I’ve got a large clientele list, and I’ve had to refer them to my co-workers.”

As a person who provided physical therapy to others for more than 25 years, Debora relied on the SBL Bonutti Clinic physical therapy team to help her recover from spinal fractures. In the end, Debora’s commitment to therapy paid off with a strong outcome.

Debora said she is grateful that the SBL Bonutti Clinic offers a local option for hydrotherapy, and she recommends hydrotherapy to others who could benefit from it. “I also want to thank Grace for all her expertise and care during my healing process.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with SBL Bonutti Clinic Physical Therapy in Effingham, call 217 342-3444. SBL also has physical therapy offices in Altamont, Arthur, Casey, Mattoon and Sullivan, which can be contacted at 217 258-2530.  The Mattoon Clinic also has a therapy pool.



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