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Unfrozen in Time: Nurse Regains Use of Her Shoulder

Oxford resident Renée Green suffered major injuries when she was hit by a tractor-trailer in a car accident in 2006. The damage to her shoulder caused severe pain and significant loss of motion, and she wasn’t able to return to her job as a nurse anesthetist. “I couldn’t dress myself or wash my own hair. Steve, my husband, had to do everything,” she says. “Imagine your husband styling your hair every day!”

Green had seen an orthopedic surgeon who told her there wasn’t much that could be done to help her frozen shoulder. Another physician who was treating Green referred her to Joseph Rubino, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Atrium, for a second opinion.

“When I met Dr. Rubino, he was Joseph Rubino, M.D. Orthopedic Surgeon at Atrium Medical Center focused on helping me with my symptoms,” Green says. “As a nurse, I recognized that Dr. Rubino was both bright and compassionate.”

Dr. Rubino performed shoulder surgery on Green to remove thickened scar tissue from the front and the back of the shoulder joint. Immediate and aggressive physical therapy was started after surgery. Following surgery and physical therapy, Green recovered a fair amount of her range of motion. “I could finally wash my own hair!” she exclaims.

According to Dr. Rubino, adhesive capsulitis, commonly referred to as “frozen shoulder,” is a problem that occurs frequently. The cause of the problem is unknown but is commonly associated with trauma, diabetes and thyroid disorders. Because of Green’s significant functional loss and the failure of over a year of non-surgical treatment, surgery was needed.

“Although many cases resolve without surgery, Ms. Green required it due to the severity of her condition,” explains Dr. Rubino. “The result was very good, due in large part to the determination of Ms. Green to regain her independence and faithful participation with her physical therapy.” Green adds, “I’ve had to go to scores of doctors’ appointments in the past couple of years, and it’s so nice to come to Atrium, where not only is the atmosphere beautiful and clean, but everyone from the information desk to the doctors are so very friendly. It reduces my frustration and makes it a more positive experience for me.”

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