News | Published September 7, 2012

Surgery and rehab help Spring Mills farmer recover from shoulder injury

When Joel Myers, 69, had a bad fall a few winters ago, he didn't realize that the accident would have long-term consequences on his right shoulder. As a farmer and soil specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Myers was used to a busy and active life working a 75-acre farm and assisting local farmers. When his shoulder started to really bother him, he went to see his primary care physician, J Alfred Jones, MD, who did an exam and then referred Myers to Brian Spencer, DO, an orthopedic surgeon with Martin and Suhey Orthopedics in State College.

"After reviewing the results of an MRI and some other tests, Dr. Spencer said he would need to repair my right rotator cuff and bicep muscle using arthroscopic surgery," says Myers. "Dr. Spencer did a great job of explaining the surgery to me using a model. He said that it would be minimally invasive using small incisions to access the affected area. The surgery was done in late May at the Mount Nittany outpatient surgery center. My wife Kitty and I arrived at about 7 am and I was home by noon!"

Myers said the staff at the Mount Nittany Surgical Center was very efficient and friendly. He was also impressed that Dr. Spencer called him at home about 6:00 pm in the evening after the surgery just to see how he was doing. Myers said his pain was very well controlled and that he needed only minor pain medication after a few days.

Myers saw Dr. Spencer for a follow-up visit a few days after the surgery and then started rehab at Procare Physical Therapy in Centre Hall. After 10 weeks of physical therapy, Myers is progressing very well under the direction of Procare team members Brandy Yearrick-Brodzina, PTA, Matt Ballos, PT, and Jim Moslak, PT.

"While our family farm, operated by my brother Don and me, is fairly well mechanized, I still use my right arm frequently while operating our tractors and doing other things such as planting and harvesting crops," said Myers. "I am happy that my shoulder recovery is progressing ahead of schedule and should be close to normal by Christmas. Dr. Spencer was very upfront with me about the need for intensive physical therapy and I took his advice seriously. I integrated chores at home that were consistent with the therapy regimen."

"Had I not worked hard at therapy, I am sure my recovery process would have been more painful and much slower," concludes Myers.