A biology major in college, physical therapist Linda Banos, PT, began exploring potential careers while volunteering at a rehabilitation center. Her path became clear the day she saw a severely impaired young girl lean forward to hug her parents.
“It was the first time she could bend far enough for a hug,” Banos says. “Physical therapy made that possible. I knew right there it was the career for me.”
Over the next three decades, Banos worked in a variety of settings, from pediatrics to geriatrics. Today she provides outpatient therapy at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Health Center at Mountain Top.
“Everyone has a unique story,” she says. “Physical therapists assess your overall health and specific goals. So if you come to me with a knee injury but also have back issues, I’ll create a treatment plan that makes sense for you.”
To Banos, personalized care also means learning her patients’ interests. “There are countless ways to improve strength and flexibility,” she says. “Do you enjoy technology? Do you hate gyms? If I can match your therapy to your interests, you’re more likely to stick with it.”
Two patients Banos recently treated, Leo Marconi and Florence Migliore, know firsthand the power of physical therapy when pain becomes nearly unbearable.
Leo Marconi, 70, of Mountain Top
My story: “I own Blue Ridge Pizza & Subs in Mountain Top and Mary’s Family Restaurant in Drums. I started to experience severe pain in my right arm and shoulder in December 2015. Months later, unable to get relief, I turned to my family medicine physician, Mark Radziewicz, DO, with LVPG Family Medicine–Mountain Top. He told me I had spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. He prescribed physical therapy and recommended Linda.”
My experience: “Before starting therapy, I was sleeping in a chair and in constant agony. I honestly didn’t believe Linda could help, but I told her I really wanted to return to work. We worked on strengthening and stretching using lots of different activities, from exercise bands to massage to electrical stimulation. Linda was great. If the pain got worse in one area, she backed off and worked elsewhere. She answered all my questions and never let me give up.”
My results: “When my pain level didn’t change after a couple of sessions, I became even more skeptical. But shortly thereafter I started to see tremendous improvement. After three weeks, Linda discharged me with some home exercises. I went back to work – and tossing pizza dough – a few weeks after that. I even started going on motorcycle rides with my wife again. I have to keep up with my exercises and will probably need surgery someday. But my pain is gone, so I’m absolutely a believer now. Physical therapy works.”
Florence Migliore, 58, of Mountain Top
My story: “I was a licensed practical nurse, but had to stop working in 2002 to take care of my health. I have fibromyalgia, had lower-back fusion surgery, knee replacement surgery, two foot surgeries, scoliosis and diabetes. In December 2015, my back pain got worse. I struggled to walk upright, even with braces. In March, I was referred to Linda.”
My experience: “I was completely hunched over and could barely walk an inch or two before the pain took my breath away. Linda listened and understood all I was facing. She varied my routine to keep it interesting, so I did yoga, Pilates, weights, exercise bands and recumbent cycling. If Linda saw I was tight, she massaged out the knots in my back so I could keep exercising. It was hard work, but we were constantly laughing and teasing one another.”
My results: “Linda discharged me in May with a home exercise regimen. I still take pain medication, but much less than before. Better yet, I’m walking upright again. I use a back brace and will eventually need more surgery to correct some disk issues, but I’m so grateful for the progress I’ve made. And I’m not done. When I found out Linda would be teaching a chair exercise class at the health center, I signed right up. She’s awesome.”