Dixie Irwin had been experiencing chronic pain for three years from a form of severe arthritis caused by disintegrating temporomandibular joints (TMJ). But in the beginning of 2012, the pain was so bad that Dixie, 32 at the time, was limited to the point where she had trouble eating and breathing and had developed vertigo.
An occupational therapist student at Texas Women’s University in downtown Dallas, Dixie was referred by one of her professors to try vestibular therapy at the rehab center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
“I was very curious about vestibular therapy, but really hopeful,” Dixie said. “I had gone to physical therapy for years but never saw much improvement.”
Dixie went to two sessions a week. She was taught how to strengthen the muscles around her joints and her neck. In just two months, she was able to overcome her vertigo and finish her semester at TWU.
“They really worked hard to make sure I got better. I will always be so grateful,” Dixie said. “They were just so supportive and encouraging. They motivated me and kept me going, even on my bad days.”
Dixie had a bilateral TMJ joint replacement in August 2012. But she says she still uses the exercises and lessons she learned in therapy and has started taking Pilates.
“Even if you’ve tried physical therapy before, you owe it to yourself to give the therapists at Texas Health Dallas a chance. They’re that good.” Dixie said.