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Brad — Physical Therapy Patient Story

Brad’s arthritic shoulder had bothered him for years. The pain became so severe the United Methodist minister couldn’t hold his Bible during services and spent nights sleeping in a recliner. It even hurt when he walked. He finally opted to have a total shoulder replacement, performed by Dean G. Sotereanos, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at UPMC Passavant, in Fall 2016.

Brad’s physical therapy sessions began four weeks after surgery, at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services’ Peters Township location in McMurray.


At first, the pain was almost unbearable, but he faithfully followed instructions from his physical therapist, Dan Rehak, who started with a full evaluation and simple pendulum exercises. Over the next six weeks, Brad steadily regained strength and range of motion as the therapist methodically added more exercises, resistance bands, light weights, and gentle mobilization

“Initially, it was extremely painful. But everyone there was supportive, thoughtful, kind, and helpful,” says Brad. “They got to know me. They didn’t just care for my shoulder, they cared for me — the whole person.”

Throughout his six weeks of physical therapy, Brad’s regimen was carefully monitored and his progress tracked. Dan and his staff continually pushed him and encouraged him to follow through on his prescribed exercises at home.

“As a patient and as a pastor, I have been in and out of a lot of care centers,” Brad says. “I know what good care looks like. These people were exceptional.”

Four months after surgery, Brad was on the floor wrestling with his two young grandsons — forgetting all about his surgery and new shoulder. He can now hold his Bible again and has even used the snow blower and shoveled snow.

“I feel great. In fact, I feel so good I’m afraid I’m going to do something stupid,” he says with a laugh.

If he needs physical therapy in the future, Brad says he knows where to turn. “Dan and his team did incredible work. If I ever need therapy again, I know where to go to get the best care possible.”