Angel Frioux, 35, of Ocean Springs suffered from severe lower back pain that kept her from standing or walking for longer than ten minutes at a time. Frioux somehow managed the pain on her own for the majority of her life, it wasn’t until she became pregnant with her son that she finally had enough.
“My back had always given me trouble, but after I had a baby it got a lot worse, so it was time for me to do something about it.”
Frioux spoke about her discomfort with her OBGYN, Dr. Vice, who referred her to Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists where she met Dr. Robert Terrell who ultimately diagnosed her with Spondylolisthesis.
“When we x-rayed Angel we found that she has a little slip in the spine called Spondylolisthesis,” said Terrell. “And it takes good strength to reverse that.”
According to Dr. Terrell, Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one bone in your back slides forward over the bone below it, causing pain. Although Spondylolisthesis is not correctable without surgery, the pain can be managed by concentrating on body mechanics, stretching and core strengthening.
“I doubt that it would improve it but certainly reduce her pain by getting her stronger, that’s why I recommended the Back to Basics Back Boot Camp,” noted Terrell.
The Back to Basics “Back Boot Camp” is a physical therapy program devised by Dr. Terrell and physical therapist, Doug Bates of Encore Rehabilitation and Singing River Health System. The two combined practices from multiple programs from around the world into one, focusing heavily on strength rather than just flexibility.
At first, Frioux was intimated by the thought of Back Boot Camp, but was in so much pain she decided to give it a shot.
“I was in pain every day, I couldn’t walk hardly, and I was constantly sitting down. I have a baby I’ve got to pick up and it’s tough. It was just a very depressing time.”
Frioux began working in April 2015 with Doug Bates at Singing River Health System Rehabilitation Center in Ocean Springs.
“In the case with Angel, we first did a mechanical evaluation where we found we had to make some manual therapy corrections with several impingements (excessive friction between joint tissues) and a SI joint rotation,” added Bates.
The main focus was Frioux’s significant spondylolisthesis, Bates concentrated on stabilizing and strengthening her muscles through personalized exercises to keep her vertebra from continuing to slide.
“He started me on some exercises, they were a little painful at first, you know you always have your good days and bad days,” Frioux admits.
Frioux saw Bates and his team at Singing River Health System Rehabilitation Center in Ocean Springs three times a week, and eventually was presented with an ultimate goal.
“I said Mr. Doug I’m going on a vacation and I’m going to Gatlinburg, and we’re going to go hiking,” Frioux recalls. “What am I going do? I’m going to have to be able to hike this mountain.”
Bates assured Frioux she was making good progress and continued to push her for three months up until the trip, she even continued practicing her exercises at home and eventually her hard work paid off.
“I’ve slimmed down a lot because of the exercise, I couldn’t exercise before basically, but now I can exercise and I feel great and I can walk, go to the mall, I can hike up a mountain, so it worked out very well for me,” said Frioux.
Throughout the entire process, Dr. Terrell continued to see Frioux to assess her progress and levels of pain.
“We pushed strength and that is exactly what Angel needed to control her back pain and obviously she’s done great on it, but it’s not anything I’ve done, it’s what angel’s done,” explained Terrell. “She was willing to put in the time, the effort, the sweat and the pain to make herself better.”
“I have been to other places and I have to say Doug has helped me out the most, because if I was hurting he knew what to do, if I was in pain he would do something or have me try something else until we got it right,” remembered Frioux. “He really did help me establish a better life.”