San Antonio, TX – For Sandy Samuelson, the pain usually went away. The retired high school tennis coach compared it to a golf ball under her shoulder blade, a pain she partially ascribed to decades of play on the court.

This time was different. This time, the pain that radiated up her neck, down her back and into her legs didn’t go away. It got worse. She rarely slept. When she did get some fitful slumber, she woke to excruciating waves of agony.

“I was so fatigued. On the pain scale, it was like an 8 or a 10. At some points, I thought it was a 12,” said Sandy, who taught tennis at Warren, Lee and Seguin high schools before retiring in 2009.
“I’ve never been stabbed before, but I have to think that’s what it feels like. Every night, I would pray to God to please, let it subside.”

The pain was affecting not only her sleep but also left her with no grip strength, affecting her ability to work part-time and to continue her love of golf, pickle ball and woodworking in her garage. So Sandy called her friend Dr. Annette Zaharoff and came to the Non-Surgical Center of Texas.

Sandy Samuelson met Dr. Z playing tennis at McFarlin Tennis Center in the mid-1980s. Dr. Z is a former professional tennis player who competed on the WTA circuit. While Sandy admired Dr. Z’s skills on the tennis court, she was more impressed with her love of learning.

“She was studying for her board certification at that time, and when we weren’t playing, she always had her nose in a book,” Sandy recalled. “She has a real dedication to knowledge and always wants to learn.”

X-rays quickly confirmed what Dr. Z suspected: Sandy had cervical radiculopathy – compressed or “pinched” nerves. In Sandy’s case, it was caused by two shrinking discs in her neck.

Dr. Z prescribed a muscle relaxant to help alleviate the pain temporarily, and quickly got Sandy into a physical therapy program at the clinic. From using a pulley to help with overhead stretching, to resistance band rows, to something she calls the “turtle stretch” to help loosen the neck muscles, the team at the Non-Surgical Center of Texas worked with Sandy to get her on the road to recovery.

Halfway through that six-week PT regimen, the pain was gone. Sandy credited physical therapist Elaine Duet-Lee and physical therapy assistant Ashlee Perez for their hard work in getting her back to her best.

“Since I know Dr. Z so well, I know the treatment is to let the body heal itself. That’s really the bottom line,” Sandy said. “She and her group are going to give you ways that facilitate that healing. I am so grateful to Dr. Z and her staff.”

Dr. Annette “Dr. Z” Zaharoff heads the Non-Surgical Center of Texas, focusing on non-surgical treatments to relieve pain and repair injuries. A former professional tennis player who competed on the WTA circuit, Dr. Zaharoff has been utilizing regenerative injection treatments including Stem Cell Therapy, PRP Injection Therapy and Prolotherapy for more than a decade. Learn more about her at You can follow her on Facebook at