During her first appointment at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, physical, occupational and speech language therapists did a complete assessment of her functional issues and mapped out a 12-month treatment plan to overcome her impairments. In addition to her treatment goals, Margo let the team know she was determined to meet her one overarching objective, being center stage at her wedding. It helped fuel her adherence to therapy.
Therapy began with soft tissue work, an advanced form of massage targeting muscles, tendons, ligaments or other connective tissue. Margo’s soft tissue massage tackled her jaw pain, neck swelling and the spasms that radiated through her shoulder, chest, neck, jaw and head. In addition to the soft tissue massage regimen, occupational therapists applied tape during therapy sessions – a tool that Margo used at home as well. Affixed to Margo’s neck, the tape would tug each time she moved her head and shoulders, providing constant massage relief. “My therapists are the most caring people,” said Margo.
Margo’s treatment progressed to include other exercises – stretching, peddling a hand bike, walking her fingers up a wall – which she vigorously pursued at home, in the car, during lunch or while watching TV.
“Lots of people don’t take therapy seriously, I did the opposite,” said Margo. “I did everything my therapy team told me to do and also researched at home to see what else I could do. Because I stuck with the program, I saw progress and was motivated to keep going. I’d see it by my increased flexibility. I could see it in my shoulder – the stiffness was getting better. Plus I regained the flexibility in my neck – turning my head left to right.”
Margo’s head and neck spasms have relented as well, and her skin has softened thanks to massage treatments using aloe vera. Additionally, at 5’11” she can once again tilt her head back in the shower to wash her hair, something she couldn’t do after surgery as it sparked breathing problems.
Margo’s formal therapy ended just before her wedding in August 2017. “I had a Catholic wedding in a church and the whole shebang and I wanted to look pretty.” Margo knocked that goal out of the park and many members of her therapy team were there to celebrate alongside the new couple.