Covenant Health Therapy Center – West Knoxville Helps Mom on the Mend

Slowly moving forward as she leans on her walker, a woman watches children at play. She longs to join the chase and share  the joy, but her broken body won’t let her. The woman in this story is Selene McCuin, a young mother recovering from childbirth. While she was in labor with her fourth baby, McCuin’s uterus ruptured. The unforeseen circumstance set off a series of complications that put her life in peril. It took the team effort of expert physicians, nurses and other medical staff at Parkwest Medical Center to pull her through. Grateful for the rescue and the safe delivery of her baby, McCuin was eventually discharged when the danger was over, but she was far from recovered. Physical therapy has helped restore  her quality of life. “When they first did physical therapy [in the hospital] I didn’t realize that I even  needed it,” McCuin says. “I had tried to stand right out of the bed and they had to catch me.”

Selene with son.
Physical therapy sessions at Covenant Health Therapy
Center-West Knoxville have helped Selene McCuin get
her life as a working mom back on track.

Regaining Balance in Life

In the first months following the birth of her baby, McCuin lived a life that was drastically different from the youthful and exuberant person she had been before. McCuin was suffering the same challenges any mother would experience after a C-section delivery,  but combined with the effects of multiple traumas inflicted on her body. Her balance was off, she had a catheter and she was in pain. She slept in a recliner because lying down in her bed hurt. “It was very hard because I wasn’t able to lift my kids, and it took at least a month  before I started holding the baby by myself,” McCuin says. “But even then, if I were to  stand up and walk, I couldn’t go a long period of time without fearing that I was going to drop him.”

Joy Hendricks, PT, PRPC, began therapy sessions with McCuin at Covenant Health Therapy Center – West Knoxville. Hendricks is certified in treating women’s health and pelvic floor issues. “We began with gentle range of motion of her neck, shoulders and trunk with basic strengthening exercises,” Hendricks says. “There was a lot of core and lower body work.”

Head shot of Joy Hendricks
Joy Hendricks, PT

Hendricks guided McCuin through strength exercises beginning in a reclined position, then working up to seated exercise, standing and then resistance exercise to build strength. “We had to work toward increased independence with self-care and postural stability, plus post-partum care of her core,” Hendricks says.

Strong Will

McCuin and Hendricks worked together as a team, fighting for improved quality of life. “It’s been a very long road,” McCuin says. “I’m not gonna lie – there  are some days where I didn’t want to do anything, but she pushed me and I pushed myself.” Hendricks’ level of expertise was matched by McCuin’s level of commitment. “She is incredibly hard-working and determined,” Hendricks says about McCuin. “She dove back into work and  taking care of her family, then added in school on top of that.” McCuin began to look forward to her sessions because she could tell they were making a difference.

After eight months of physical therapy plus visits to an orthopedist, her recovery continues. She doesn’t need a walker anymore — she’s a mom on the move and feels more confident about her future. “I still have to know my limits but I don’ t have the issue of having to look down at my feet to make sure I don’t fall anymore,” McCuin says. “Now I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to get from point A to point B. I’m able to drive again; I’m able to play with my kids.” As McCuin continues to work towards full healing, she only has to look at her recent past to realize she has the strength to keep going.

Masters of Motion: Specialized Therapies Help Many Types of Patient Needs

Physical therapists (PTs) at Covenant Health Therapy Center – West Knoxville use their knowledge and skills to help patients with balance and gait retraining, pain management, burn care, muscle retraining and cardiovascular strengthening.  Covenant Health Therapy Center – West also offers specialized services such as:

  • Amputee Rehabilitation: helps patients prepare for surgery and regain strength, movement and function following the procedure.
  • Aquatic Therapy: performed in water, which creates buoyancy and decreases pain and stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Astym® Treatment: regenerates healthy soft tissue and eliminates or reduces scar tissue that may be causing pain or loss of motion. Frequently prescribed for athletes and post-surgical patients.
  • Cancer Rehab: supports cancer patients and cancer survivors, addressing post-operative limitations, energy conservation, home modification and ways to make daily activities easier
    while undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Certified Hand Therapy: provides the highest level of competency and skill in the treatment of hands and upper extremities to assure the best recovery possible.
  • Dizziness/Vertigo: an exercise-based approached aimed at eliminating or minimizing imbalance and dizziness associated with vestibular (inner ear) disorders.
  • Dry Needling: a technique physical therapists use for the treatment of pain and movement impairments. It uses a small, solid needle called a “dry” needle in conjunction with other PT
  • Headaches: treatment of cervicogenic headaches, or head- aches caused by tightness in the neck muscles
  • LSVT BIG and LOUD: therapy that helps minimize impairments caused by Parkinson’s disease.
  • Lymphedema Treatment: therapy to reduce swelling caused by lymphedema, with a focus on maintaining healthy skin and preventive measures to reduce the risk of lymphedema.
  • Manual Therapy: skilled hand movements of joints and soft tissue to improve flexibility and range of motion, to manage pain or to reduce swelling.
  • McKenzie Method: proven therapy for the back, neck, and extremities to decrease pain, restore normal function and minimize future need for pain medications and surgery.
  • Occupational Therapy: improves basic motor function and helps compensate for any permanent loss of function.
  • Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery: a higher intensity training program, individually tailored for each participant’s needs. Patients usually train three days a week
  • Pelvic Health (for both men and women): addresses gastrointestinal, urologic, gynecologic and musculoskeletal disorders surrounding the pelvis. This treatment helps improve function and limit pain.
  • Speech Therapy: programs that improve speech, language, swallowing and cognitive abilities.
  • TMJ Dysfunction: helps ease pain, restore normal jaw movement and lessen daily stress on the jaw caused by temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

To learn more about physical therapy through Parkwest, call (865) 531-5710 or visit

Physical Therapy for Mom

Pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on a woman’s body. While many moms recover well at home, some might find they need more help. A physical therapist can create a program to restore muscle function for better quality of life at work and at play. Bladder problems and pelvic pain are common effects of childbearing, but are treatable.

Symptoms may include:

  • Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or engage in activities that put stress on the bladder
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder, meaning frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Pain in the abdomen, including the pelvis, low back or tailbone
  • Sexual dysfunction or pain during intercourse
  • Bowel problems
  • The bladder or uterus dropping and pressing against the vagina If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, whether you’re a mom or not physical therapy might help.