Patricia Critchlow has struggled with the effects of rheumatoid arthritis for more than 10 years. When her symptoms flare up, she is familiar with the pain it brings and how limited she is in her daily activities.
Late last year, her pain even kept this Denton resident from enjoying the holidays with her family, a time of year she looks forward to sharing with her husband and daughter.
“I was in pain the whole time. Even though I tried to do things with my family, I found myself saying, I have got to go home,” Critchlow said. “I was at my daughter’s house, and I just couldn’t take it. I said, ‘I’m hurting and can’t stay here.’”
Disappointed, she asked the physician she had been seeing for several years for help but was only recommended her usual prescription, no further tests. Her daughter, a nurse, urged her mother to look into another option to help manage the effects of her arthritis. Doing all she could to manage her pain by herself, Critchlow remembers sitting in her recliner just wishing for relief in any part of her body, which hurt from her fingertips all the way through her toes.
“I was sitting in a chair, trying to figure out what to do to make something feel better — anything — because everything was hurting,” she said. “I just happened to be looking at my phone, and this pain and wellness center in Plano pops up. I thought, ‘Well, I like Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, so let’s see how this plays out.’”
Critchlow made an appointment and saw Norin Ukani, a board-certified family nurse practitioner at Texas Health Pain Relief & Wellness Center. Ukani listened to Critchlow recount her symptoms, did an examination and recommended physical therapy and visits to a chiropractor to help relieve the pain. Though skeptical at first, she followed Ukani’s advice.
“I agreed to see a chiropractor twice that first week, even though I didn’t think I needed one. I knew after the first 30 minutes that I was in the right place,” Critchlow said. “By the second appointment, I was already thinking, gosh, I want to come back here.”
Ukani recommended a variety of treatments.
“Her pain was constant and exacerbated with daily physical activities,” she remembers. “Patricia rated her pain as seven or eight out of ten at her first visit. Based on her symptoms, I started her on physical and aqua therapy, chiropractic therapy, some muscle relaxers and dietary modifications.”
The relief Critchlow began experiencing allowed her to focus on prescribed aquatic physical therapy. After a month of therapy through the Pain Relief & Wellness Center, she felt motivated to continue on her own and began doing the recommended exercises in her swimming pool three times a week.
Ukani also suspected that in addition to her rheumatoid arthritis, Critchlow might have a pinched nerve. A recommended MRI of her neck confirmed a pinched nerve, which greatly contributed to her pain. A steroid shot in her spine helped quickly alleviate additional pain and numbness.
“While I was getting those steroids in my spine, the pain in my left hand went away,” Critchlow recalled. “I said, ‘Is it possible that the pain went away? Or am I crazy?’” The physician on the medical staff of Texas Health Plano and nurses assured her that was normal. Two days later, she had feeling return in both hands, both of which were pain-free.
“My back muscles were so knotted up, I could not even tell that I had a pinched nerve,” Critchlow explained. “I remember telling my former arthritis doctor that this pain felt different from the other pain.”
Astounded that her pain had been missed for so long before she sought help at the Pain Relief & Wellness Center, she asked Ukani to refer her to a physician who could actively manage her rheumatoid arthritis in conjunction with her continued care at the Center.
“I’m not someone who likes to take medicine,” Critchlow said. She continues to do her aquatic therapy at home and visits the Pain Relief & Wellness Center for chiropractic check-ups and is grateful that her pain was not written off as just another symptom of her rheumatoid arthritis.
“Overall, her pain has improved a lot. Her sleep and overall energy have improved,” Ukani said. “She has also started losing weight and has made a lot of dietary modifications. She is experiencing less flare-ups than before, and her neck and radiating arm pain/numbness has improved tremendously.”
“I’m really happy with the Texas Health Pain Relief & Wellness Center. They have done wonders for me. It felt like everyone there worked together with the No. 1 priority to get me feeling better.”
“I’m really happy with the Texas Health Pain Relief & Wellness Center. They have done wonders for me. It felt like everyone there worked together, with the No. 1 priority to get me feeling better,” Critchlow said. “That’s how they treat you. I would recommend the Pain Center to anyone with chronic pain.”
Today, Critchlow stays committed to taking care of herself, doing her exercises and managing her rheumatoid arthritis. She is also looking forward to visiting her sister in Little Rock — something she couldn’t even consider before — and taking care of local children who need an “adopted grandma.” She is back to doing the things she enjoys and is thankful that the Texas Health Pain Relief & Wellness Center looked into all aspects of her pain and care.
Do you struggle with pain? Call the Pain Relief & Wellness Center at Texas Health Plano at 972-981-4090 to make an appointment.