High school senior Jada Propst is a busy teenager. She has a variety of hobbies, which range from reading and writing to show choir and baking. She’s also an athlete and has been swimming competitively for seven years.
Like many other students, Jada’s high school journey was altered because of COVID-19. At the onset of the pandemic, swimming was shut down at Noblesville High School due to safety concerns. After it was deemed safe to return a couple months later, Jada was ready to jump back into swimming—but her body wasn’t.
“I previously had muscle weakness, which led to tightness that caused pain and restricted movement,” Jada said. “It had been an on-again, off-again occurrence, usually fading away after getting cupped by the school trainer a couple of times. When we jumped back into training, the pain and tightness came back. Even with basic stretches, icing and cupping, the pain did not subside.”
Jada managed to power through the pain for a couple of months. But just as she was on the cusp of starting the high school swim season, she decided enough was enough—she was ready for more help.
“We had heard great things about Riverview Health Rehab & Fitness, so I began physical therapy there,” Jada said.
For her treatment, Jada saw Riverview Health physical therapist of 20 years, Jennifer Butts.
“My first impression of Jada was that she was very motivated. She truly wanted to get better but didn’t know how to achieve it on her own” Jennifer said.
Jennifer found that Jada was suffering from chronic thoracic spine pain—an area of the back between the shoulder blades—as well as several muscle imbalances, which can lead to overuse of other muscles.
“Jada needed exercises for the whole body, not just the shoulder or scapula area,” Jennifer said. “Jada was compensating and using the wrong muscles for certain movements, so I had to watch her while she was doing exercises to make sure the right muscles were being used. We worked out the soft tissue tightness, and then restrengthened her and trained her on how to use her muscles properly.”
Jada was as excellent on following through with her treatment, and after just a few visits her progress was clearly visible to Jennifer. Thanks to her hard work, Jada was able to finish the swim season with her team.
“Riverview Health was very supportive, and my physical therapists pushed me with exercises that worked the small muscles in my shoulders,” Jada said. “And in the end, the difficult exercises paid off in strengthening my shoulders.”
Just because she is done with therapy, Jada hasn’t lost motivation and is still diligent with her treatment. She does two to three exercises a day to keep her muscles strong, and if she notices tightness, uses ice and cupping as treatment.
As for Jada’s success, Jennifer attributes it all to Jada’s work ethic.
“As therapists we are facilitators, not fixers,” Jennifer said. “After a thorough evaluation of her strength, flexibility and movement dysfunction, I was able to teach her how her body was moving versus how it should be moving. Jada listened and her hard work helped her achieve her goals. If you do what your therapists tell you—more often than not—you are going to get better. Jada followed through on her home exercise program and believed in herself. She had a great, positive attitude and that helped her succeed.”