A lifetime with muscular dystrophy has made Eileen Pierce intimately familiar with pain.
"I was born with MD and, on top of that, eight years ago they told me I had MS (multiple sclerosis) "… I'm 42, and the doctors said I wouldn't live to 13," says Pierce, a Talent resident.
Muscular dystrophy includes a group of genetic diseases characterized by degeneration and progressive weakness of muscles controlling movement. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord and leads to a variety of neurological disorders.
Pierce has struggled with back pain her entire life, a common symptom among MD patients. She often experiences back spasms, at times so severe she collapses. She has twice collapsed getting on and off city buses, resulting in torn knee ligaments. Knee pain still plagues her. Dealing with all this pain gives her debilitating migraine headaches.
Last January Pierce's shoulder and arm were shattered in a car accident that also took the lives of her mother and boyfriend and broke her aunt's back. In her ensuing rehabilitation, she began working with Michael Pennington at Turning Point Physical Therapy in Talent. Pennington introduced her to a new and little-known pain reduction therapy called Primal Reflex Release Technique — PRRT.
When Pennington first told Pierce about the method, she was skeptical.
"I thought Mike was nuts," says Pierce of the system that uses a variety of manual pressure techniques to give quick pain relief without the use of drugs.
Pierce was won over by the immediate results, and by the extended periods of pain-free living.
"I've had it last up to a week," she says.