Physical therapy helps College Station woman regain use of arms By RACHEL LEVINE
Eagle Staff Writer

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Shonnie Moore (center) of College Station tries to move her leg under the watchful eye of physical therapist Greg Burtin and student volunteer Alix Barkman.
Shonnie Moore of College Station, paralyzed in a July 2005 traffic accident, has had to learn how to eat, bathe and live all over again through physical therapy. "They call it [becoming a quadriplegic] a new birth," she said.
Julie Cernel of St. Joseph Rehabilitation Center in Bryan, who served as Moore's physical therapist for 13 months, has improved her functional mobility and strength through exercises and aquatic therapy.
One major achievement is Moore's ability to transfer herself from her wheelchair to her bed. Physicians weren't sure Moore could master that skill after sustaining a C-6, C-7 spinal cord injury when the 15-passenger van she was driving for Still Creek Ranch hydroplaned and rolled twice into a ditch off F.M. 2038.
Cernel addressed needs and goals, promoted independence and spent time educating Moore, 30, and her family. A special focus was helping Moore regain use of her arms.
Depending on a patient's diagnosis, physical therapists perform an array of treatment methods and determine which suits their patient best. "There are not any cookbook methods to treatment," Cernel said. "It was a combination of everything" for Moore.
Moore was unable to sit up straight for several months after her car accident because her blood pressure would fluctuate. Cernel worked at increasing her tolerance for sitting by using a tilt table.
"We did a lot of the same exercises over and over again," Cernel said, because "repetition plays such a major role in a patient's recovery." From pushups on her stomach to trunk- and arm-strengthening exercises, Moore can now lift her arms slightly above her shoulders. While an occupational therapist focused on helping Moore with daily activities, Cernel focused more on wheelchair mobility.