A Turning Point
Vacaville resident Jeni Ivovic, 43, has focused on athletics and health throughout her life. The longtime Pilates teacher studied physical therapy in college and was an avid runner for years.
But when her own body began to rebel after years of physical exertion, she found the aches and pains increasingly impossible to overcome.
Then NorthBay Healthcare physician Sandra Skates, D.O., came to one of her Pilates classes. “She walked in one day and we were just fast friends,” explained Jeni. “With her energy and spirit we really clicked.”
Dr. Skates is a specialist in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) and acupuncture and after hearing about Jeni’s issues, suggested OMM and acupuncture might help.
“Basically my body was just breaking down,” Jeni said of the pain that started to interfere with her ability to function four years ago. “I had run track and field since the fifth-grade. In high school I did hurdles and high jump and later on I ran half and full marathons, so my body just ached— my spine, shoulders, both knees (to a lesser extent) and my hamstrings.”
The hamstring problem made it impossible for her to sit or stand for any length of time without pain.
Dr. Skates tried different approaches in her treatment of Jeni, including acupuncture and OMM and Jeni began to notice improvements.
Helping to care for Jeni was made easier because of her training and background, said Dr. Skates. “It’s wonderful to work with someone who is so motivated to take care of themself,” she said.
“With her background in Pilates and physical therapy and my background, we bring different perspectives to the same problems.”
It’s a healthy collaboration, she said. Jeni still regularly visits Dr. Skates for maintenance care. Four years later, her marathon days are over but she is able to continue to teach Pilates and help others with their own rehab efforts.
She credits Dr. Skates for that.
“She is responsible for me being able to run for as long as I did and continue with my Pilates,” she said.
“It is because we created such a strong connection and friendship, really. I feel like this world is so full of people who just want to push a button and never interact and (Dr. Skates) is not like that.… She is so easy and genuine. She knows what she does really works and believes in what she does. I do, too.”