In 2015, Dario Cook was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that affects the spine and can lead to severe, chronic pain.
That was nearly eight years after he first experienced symptoms, collapsing in pain while walking to work. He initially was diagnosed with a hip strain, but the pain never really went away. Instead, it steadily got worse.
Years later, he was diagnosed with arthritis … then osteoarthritis … and finally AS. By then, the disease had advanced, causing some of the vertebrae in Dario’s spine to fuse together, forcing him to hunch forward. He was in debilitating pain.
Dario’s doctor referred him to Mary Free Bed, where he spent six weeks as an inpatient and has continued therapy as an outpatient ever since.
“The first time I met him, I couldn’t touch his legs without (him being in) extreme pain,” said Dr. Michael Wheaton. “The last time I saw him, he danced a jig for me in the exam room.”
In this video, Dario and his wife, Esther, share his story and his Mary Free Bed team explains how they helped him on the path to recovery.