Sandi Gregware, 52, of West Hartford, has been active her whole life, participating in gymnastics, aerobics, interval training, ziplining and many other outdoor adventures. In 2018, shoulder pain started slowing her down. As the months went on, the pain got worse, even keeping her up at night.
“Once I couldn’t sleep anymore, I thought I should do something about it,” says Gregware. “It’s been quite a journey.”
Just two weeks before Christmas, she underwent surgery to repair a torn bicep and a partial rotator cuff tear with Chris Betz, DO, sports medicine surgeon at Bristol Health. The surgery helped repair the muscles, but physical therapy was the next step to a full recovery.
To help her regain strength and movement in her shoulder, Gregware trusted Kevin Berghorn, DPT, OCS, MTC, a physical therapist at Bristol Health.
“Kevin was absolutely amazing,” Gregware says. “He is an engaging individual who is really good at what he does. During the course of my treatment, he introduced me to new techniques and research that always got me one step closer to feeling better.
Under Berghorn’s guidance, her recovery started slowly.
“I could not do anything in the beginning,” says Gregware. “I did pendulum swings and thought that was great.”
Over time, her exercise routine ramped up with heavier weights, arm bike exercise, pulleys and resistance bands. She attended physical therapy three times per week for six months, each time moving a little closer to her former strength. Then, just a week before she was scheduled to complete her physical therapy, she was rear-ended in her car. The accident set her back, inflaming her shoulder once again.
Nine months after her surgery, Gregware says she is starting to feel normal again. She is lifting the same amount of weight she lifted before, golfs, and powers through high-intensity interval training videos on YouTube. She credits her motivation to move as a big reason for her recovery and encourages other shoulder surgery patients to do the same.
“You have to do the physical therapy,” says Gregware. “You have to be diligent about it and do what they tell you to do.”
Despite the long road, Gregware has no regrets about her treatment.
“I 110% would have the surgery all over again,” says Gregware. “I really wasn’t sleeping. I couldn’t put a shirt over my head without pain. The whole experience from Dr. Betz to his physician assistant Ally Vitale to Kevin and their knowledge and professionalism was second to none.”