From unbearable pain to arabesques and axel jumps
Like a lot of teens, Alice O’Connor grew up practicing a sport that has become one of the driving forces in her life. A figure skater since she was five years old, Alice’s home club is at the Pittsfield Boys’ and Girls’ Club, where she skates as often as possible. She also skates in several major competitions a year. “It’s my thing,” she said. “I just love it.”
But a back injury threatened to derail her skating career. “I think I must have twisted the wrong way,” she said. “I also have scoliosis, and that might have been a factor. I’m not sure what happened, but I overworked my back and I was in a lot of pain.”
On a scale of 1 to 10, Alice said her pain was about 20. “It was really bad – almost unbearable,” she said.
Referred to the Center for Rehabilitation at Berkshire Medical Center, Alice and her Mom consulted with therapists trained in sports injuries. The highly-trained staff at BMC understands how sports injuries can interfere with performance and take the joy out of a very important activity. Sports rehabilitation is designed to help people return to their active lives.
The team at BMC created a rehab program for Alice that was grounded in specific exercises, daily stretching and incorporating correct posture in her everyday life.
“The exercises helped develop and better control my abdominal muscles,” Alice said. “Stronger muscles make it easier to distribute the stress in my back. Stretching makes my back feel a lot less tight, and the right posture makes it not hurt! I’ve learned how to tighten my core muscles and better engage them so my back doesn’t work so hard.”
After five weeks of therapy, Alice said her pain level is down to a very manageable 2. “I love going to physical therapy – I don’t dread it at all,” she said, referring to the “good karma” atmosphere at the BMC rehab facility. “I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a sports injury, young or old. I think going to therapy is fun. Most people might not say that, but improving my health and getting my back as close to normal as possible is very important to me, even if it’s a lot of work and dedication. It’s definitely worth it to me.”