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Patty Houston Reaches Her Goals With Help from Beebe HealthyBack
“When I started out, my goal was to be able to run a 5K,” said Patty Houston, RN, MPH, M.Ed., CBN, a nurse at Beebe Healthcare.
Patty started walking on a treadmill after she began her weight loss journey in 2012. As Beebe’s Bariatric Program Coordinator, Patty knew how important exercise would be to her continued health. After gradually increasing her stamina by walking, Patty wondered if she could run.
“Running was not something I ever did because of my weight,” Patty recalls. “But as the pounds were coming off, I thought that it would be great if I could run a 5K. I always admired runners and wished I could be out there with them. To me, they epitomized a healthy lifestyle.”
When she was more comfortable walking, Patty decided to see how long she could run. She barely made it one minute.
Determined, she started running for one minute and walking for four minutes. She slowly started increasing the amount of time she spent running, until she was running half of the time and walking the rest. Then, she took her running outside and fell in love with running around her neighborhood.
She distinctly remembers the day she ran one mile straight without stopping. “It was incredible,” she recalls. “I felt stronger.”
Reaching Her Goals
On Mother’s Day 2013, she reached her goal by running the 3.1 miles that equal a 5K in her neighborhood. She ran the whole way.
She decided to try a race and completed her first 5K race in Dewey Beach on Memorial Day weekend. “And, I didn’t come in last,” she said.
“I felt great when I finished. I was so proud of myself and amazed at how far I had come,” Patty said. She signed up for several 5Ks in 2013 and 2014.
However, in 2014, nagging back pain drove Patty to stop running. “I would have back spasms as I was driving and walking. The pain was excruciating, so I had to stop running,” she said.
Patty met with Beebe HealthyBack and was approved to start the program. For the first 10 weeks, Patty worked with Physical Therapist Assistant Andrew Clements on an individualized treatment plan.
“I like to work closely with my clients because we really create a specialized plan. With Patty, we focused on when and where the pain happened and tried to understand why it happened,” Andrew said. “We slowly progressed on the machines to increase her strength and flexibility.”
Patty said the treatment was holistic and looked at her overall life.
“We talked about my work and my home life. We even looked at my car and adjusted how I was sitting to take the strain off my back,” Patty said. “We found the vibration of the car paired with how I was sitting was making the back spasms worse.”
Getting Back to the Life You Love
Beebe HealthyBack Manager Lauren Walsh said the specialized machines used by the program are able to be adjusted for each patient. The three physical therapists, two physical therapist assistants, two wellness coaches, and one health coach, address the physical and emotional needs of each patient.
“We look at the patient’s goals, strength, range of motion, and we can specialize each session to their needs and how they are feeling,” Lauren said.
Beebe HealthyBack is a comprehensive treatment solution for patients who suffer from chronic back and neck pain. Unlike other treatment programs, Beebe HealthyBack does not use needles, drugs, or surgery, and those who complete treatment report significant increases in function and quality of life and decreases in pain.
For 10 weeks of the Initial Program, Patty worked out at Beebe Healthyback twice each week and continued to improve. She noticed her back spasms were happening less and less. The chronic daily pain that she had been feeling was greatly diminished and she was able to come off all of her pain medication.
“In treatment, Patty was incredibly positive. I saw her personality really start to shine as she started to get stronger,” Andrew said.
While in the program, Patty completed her first 10K with Andrew as her unofficial coach. However, the next month , Patty tore cartilage in her knee, setting her back on her running goals, which now included completing a half marathon. She was in the Wellness portion of the HealthyBack program, which meant she still worked out at the Georgetown location at least once each week.
“I continued going to Beebe HealthyBack throughout my knee recovery,” Patty recalled. “I kept telling myself that I needed to keep moving forward. When I had to stop running because of my back, it was devastating, but I trusted the team and myself. I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”
In 2015, Patty was stronger and completed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge 10K for the second time.
In 2016, Patty reached more of her goals by competing in the Disneyland Star Wars Rebel Challenge. It is a 10K followed by a half marathon, for a total of 19.3 miles.
“Andrew truly motivated me and made me believe that I could complete these races,” Patty said. “If Andrew hadn’t been so positive and excited when I told him I was considering a half marathon, I don’t know that I would have really followed through with completing it. After crossing the finish line of the half marathon, I was so proud of myself. I knew I could do anything.”
For more information about Beebe HealthyBack, call (302) 217-3000 or go to /healthyback. For more information about Beebe Healthcare, go to www.beebehealthcare.org.
Top: Patty Houston and BHB team: Patty Houston shows off the three medals she received during the Star Wars Rebel Challenge in California. Patty is standing with Andrew Clements, PTA, front, and Lauren Walsh, Beebe HealthyBack Manager, back, left.
Above: Patty Houston with Jake Murray: As she was training for a 10K, Patty continued working out at Beebe HealthyBack in Georgetown. Here she is doing arm strengthening exercises with Jake Murray, Beebe HealthyBack Wellness Coach.