Dicy McCullough column: Dr. Fowler takes the pain out of physical therapy

  • Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013 11:36 p.m.
    UPDATED: Saturday, August 31, 2013 1:43 a.m.
Submitted photo
The staff at Fowler Physical Theraphy.
Submitted photo The staff at Fowler Physical Theraphy.

Have you ever noticed when things seem to be going along great, and then out of nowhere comes a little bump in the road? Well, I encountered one of those bumps almost two years ago when I broke my shoulder. The day the injury occurred, my husband took me to Pro-Med on West Innes Street. As I was writhing in pain, he said, “You wouldn’t be in that much pain if it wasn’t broken.”

I did not want to believe him, but once the diagnosis was made, there was no denying it — he was right.

Even though the pain was intense, the hardest part was not being able to perform the simplest tasks such as putting on deodorant, combing my hair and brushing my teeth.

It was my left shoulder that was fractured, and since I’m left-handed, doing things right-handed was not easy. Holding a fork or spoon with my right hand became disastrous because most of the time the food fell back onto my plate. Soon people began telling me I looked like I had lost weight. Let me say right now ... breaking your shoulder is not a fun way to diet.

After spending a couple of weeks in a sling, I began therapy at Fowler Physical Therapy on West Innes Street. With a two-month program designed specifically for me, I was able to lift my arm, play the piano and type on the computer using both hands by the time I reached recovery. It was a relief getting those skills back again.

Thanks to therapy and Dr. Delaine Fowler, I have no lasting effects from the injury. In truth, my left arm has more range of motion now than my right. Delaine likes to remind me a little physical therapy can change that, and I know she’s right.

Delaine’s decision to become a physical therapist happened as a result of developing problems with one of her shoulders when on the swim team at UNC-Wilmington. Spending hours in the training room without the results she hoped for, Delaine finally decided she needed physical therapy. Because of the large improvement in her shoulder after only a couple of weeks, she was able to finish out the season.

From that experience, Delaine learned she wanted to help others the same way the physical therapist had helped her. Since graduating with a doctor of physical therapy degree from Elon University, Delaine has been treating patients in Salisbury for eight years. She also became owner of Fowler Physical Therapy in the Catawba Center five years ago.

To celebrate the five-year milestone, Dr. Fowler is having a celebration at her office Sept. 3-6. Included in the celebration is a welcome back to all former patients, and a warm welcome to anyone who may be visiting for the first time.

With the office newly remodeled, Delaine believes former patients will be pleasantly surprised to see the changes.

Delaine is proud of her practice and staff; they often volunteer in the community through organizations such as the YMCA and health fairs, encouraging children and youth to be more physically active. The Fowler Physical Therapy practice also benefits the community by helping employers find ways to make the workplace a safer environment for employees. Sometimes a solution to a problem is as simple as moving a lever or button to a different position.

While it’s true that Delaine is visible in the community through the obligations of her practice, she is also visible in other ways. A citizen of the neighboring town of Spencer from 2004-2012, Delaine was elected and served on the Spencer town board from Jan. 2010 to Dec. 2011. One of her proudest moments during that tenure was helping the LandTrust save Spencer Woods.

Patients have been delighted by Delaine’s personality and diverse range of interests. Many come to the office with the perception that a physical therapist has the demeanor of a “stone cold drill sergeant,” but are relieved that Delaine and her staff can enjoy a good laugh.

To prove it, Delaine has a chart on her wall of tongue-in-cheek rules for patients, pointing them out to help a patient relax or break the ice. Two rules on the list she might point out are, “never lose count because you’ll have to start over again,” and “never say you want to go home because you’ll stay longer.”

It’s great to hear a local business owner in this day and age not only say they care about their community, but show they care by their actions and efforts. The success of the Fowler Physical Therapy practice during the last five years, even in the face of an economic downturn, may be a result of that caring, encouraging atmosphere — both inside and outside the office.

To learn more about Fowler Therapy and what they have to offer, stop by for a visit at 1508 W. Innes St. during celebration week. You’ll be glad you did.

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