Kim Robinson has lived with chronic pain for more than two decades. It was a pain that gradually worsened over time until it had spread to various joints and muscles throughout her body.

“Every day over the years my body hurt,” says Kim, who was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and musculoskeletal problems. “I was always in pain. I went to bed with pain and woke up with pain.”

She finally found relief with UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at the outpatient rehabilitation location in Penn Hills, just minutes from her home. “It’s made a world of difference,” says Kim, now 66. “My life has changed for the better.”

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A Life of Pain

Over the years, Kim saw multiple doctors and specialists but was unwilling to take what she described as “heavy-duty” drugs or injections. Instead, she relied on old-fashioned remedies like hot showers and rubdowns. She tried physical therapy many times, but nothing helped.

Kim finally began seeing a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who encouraged her to try physical therapy again. That led her to the outpatient rehabilitation location in Penn Hills, where she began working with physical therapist Emily Miskell, PT.

“Emily immediately understood the pain I was going through,” Kim says. “She and everyone else there were genuinely concerned. Their personal care and attitude were — and still are — remarkable.”

Finding Relief in Person and Via Video Visits

At UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, Kim’s treatment included stretching and strengthening exercises. It also included instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), a technique for easing pain and tightness. She began using weights, bands, and an exercise bike during her physical therapy sessions.

Kim also was able to use video visits when the weather was too cold or snowy for her to drive to the clinic for physical therapy.

With Emily’s, Kim set up a home gym with a medicine ball, bands, weights, and a bike pedal exerciser. “Emily would come on the video, and it was like a regular appointment — except that I was at home,” says Kim. “That helped a lot. It kept me on point.”

Having regular physical therapy sessions has kept her moving and eased her pain, says Kim. “The program they developed for me kept me off the operating table,” she says.

“But it’s not just therapy,” adds Kim. “They’re also great listeners who encourage me. They hear me and see me — and that makes a world of difference.”

A Better Life

Thanks to physical therapy, Kim says she can stand longer, walk farther, and sit longer without pain. “Before, I couldn’t sit 15 minutes without feeling pain,” she says.

Kim also noticed another benefit of her personal physical therapy journey — curves. “Because of the PT program, my body’s getting a shape,” she says with a laugh.

Early in 2022, Kim finally made a long-planned trip to Arizona.

“UPMC Rehabilitation Institute made it possible for me to make that trip,” Kim says. “They worked very hard for me to be able to get on that plane and sit so long.

“Emily and everyone else there at UPMC Rehabilitation Insitute have my best interests at heart. They’ve been my biggest cheerleaders. And I’m very grateful.”

About Outpatient Rehabilitation in Penn Hills

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute outpatient rehabilitation location in Penn Hills is conveniently located at 10 Corporate Center near the Penn Hills Shopping Center. The location offers free on-site parking and is handicap accessible. Outpatient rehabilitation services at the Penn Hills location include physical therapy and specialized rehabilitation programs for sports injuries.

For more information about UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, or to make an appointment, call 1-888-723-4277.

About UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers inpatient, outpatient, and transitional rehabilitation, as well as outpatient physician services so that care is available to meet the needs of our patients at each phase of the recovery process. Renowned physiatrists from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as highly trained physical, occupational, and speech therapists, provide individualized care in 12 inpatient units within acute care hospitals and over 80 outpatient locations close to home and work.