How Physical Therapy and Courage Helped Shawn Jones Win His Life Back
At age 19, Shawn Jones was working as a truck driver, living the carefree life of a young man with no health problems to speak of until that morning he awoke and realized he couldn’t walk. He couldn’t even get out of bed because the pain in his hips and back was so bad.
His parents took him to the hospital and after several tests they learned that Shawn has what is called Ankylosing Spondylitis, a severe, progressive, inflammatory disease that can cause the vertebrae in the spine to fuse. It generally affects men in early adulthood and there is no cure.
Trying Medication For Ankylosing Spondylitis
After the diagnosis, Shawn was seen by some of the best physicians and prescribed many different medications to alleviate the pain and possibly slow further progression of the disease. The medications helped only a little and ultimately caused serious intestinal problems that became more painful than the disease itself.
Shawn moved from Clear Lake to Red Bluff, where (other than the support of his family) he had no friends, no social life, and no ability to connect with others experiencing the same disease. At some point the medications he was on were so debilitating that he had to surrender his driver license and rely on the bus or walking for transport. This period was the darkest time he’d ever experienced both mentally and physically. He was frustrated and sad and considered suicide to end the pain.
One day, his physician at Greenville Rancheria, Dr. Margaret Alspaugh, recognized that Shawn’s suffering was a result more of the medication than the disease, and suggested he begin physical therapy. She sent him to Physical Therapy & Wellness Center.
Seeking New Treatment For Ankylosing Spondylitis
Shawn grabbed his big bag of prescription medication, took the bus to the clinic and met with Dale to tell his story. He told Dale that this was his last attempt to find a way to feel better. He was ready to die. He remembers saying, “Dale, don’t lie to me. If you can help me I’ll give you 100%. If you can’t, let me know.” That was Shawn’s first step onto what would be a long road to achieving a better life.
Despite crippling pain, Shawn took the bus and showed up to every single appointment with Dale and Kyle for eight months. They met three times per week and after only a few sessions Shawn saw improvement. “They rehabilitated my mind and my soul. They gave me confidence and self-worth.”
By the ninth month, Shawn was able to join Tehama Family Fitness, right next door. Kyle walked Shawn over, took him into an empty room and asked, “Ok, what do you want out of life?” Shawnresponded, “I want a wife, a kid, and a house.” Kyle said, “Well, go get it!”
Today, Shawn is 47 years old with a beautiful wife, a six year old son and another one on the way. He lives with his family in a newly-built house and walks 30 miles a week. He is still on disability and will always have intestinal issues and pain from the disease but, as he said “I beat the odds. I beat it with exercise-not drugs. Dale and Kyle taught me how to have a different frame of mind. I will never find the words to thank them enough. They truly saved my life.”
Shawn’s story is extraordinary but not unique. If you are living with chronic pain, Contact Physical Therapy and Wellness Center today to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists.