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Lew — Physical Therapy Patient Story​

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A self-described “baby boomer”, Lewis “Lew” Davis is proud of his active lifestyle. In the spring of 2014, though, he found out his right rotator cuff was partially torn in two places and needed to be repaired.

Not wanting to miss out on a summer of golfing (his favorite pastime), Lew chose to delay surgery until the fall. Unfortunately, the ongoing use of his shoulder led to a complete tear.

Lew had no choice but to undergo surgery, and six weeks later, it was time to begin rehabilitation.

“I chose UPMC Centers for Rehab Services’ McCandless location because it opens at 7 a.m. and it was on my way to work,” Lew said. “Turns out, this was one of the most fortuitous decisions I’ve ever made.”

Lew was assigned to physical therapist, Amy Raco, PT.

“I told her my goal was complete recovery of my shoulder’s range of motion and strength,” Lew said. “I was nervous, though, because I could see other patients in the gym rehabbing from the same surgery. I realized that I was more severely impaired than most. Any significant movement was very painful.”

Lew was making progress in rehab but still experienced issues. An MRI of his shoulder was ordered, which showed he had a large amount of scar tissue that was impacting recovery.

“I underwent a second surgery to remove the scar tissue, and the very next day, was back rehabbing with Amy,” Lew said. “Given that unanticipated complication, Amy had to get creative with me. The normal exercises for rotator cuff repair weren’t going to cut it.”

Amy was up to the task. She improvised several exercises to suit Lew’s individual case.

“She was absolutely outstanding. Very supportive,” Lew said of Amy. “She encouraged me to be patient and she was correct!”

It took a total of eight months from the time of his first surgery for Lew to completely recover his range of motion and all his strength in his shoulder. But now he’s back on the golf course, proudly swinging his clubs.

“Amy, and everyone else who dealt with me at rehab on a regular basis, really made me feel like I was part of a family,” Lew said. “I hope I don’t need rehab again, but if I ever do, the decision on where to go is already made.”

Read more about the physical therapy program at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services.​​