Physiotherapy is a health profession concerned with helping to restore wellness following injury, pain or disability. It is defined by the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) as “providing services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan”.
When one thinks of a physiotherapist, the sight of Rugby or GAA physio running onto to a pitch to aid a stricken player comes to mind. This does form a part of a physiotherapist’s work but the scope of our practice goes well past the confines of the sports field.
Physiotherapist’s play a key role in our health service in restoring patients back to good health. Cardiac rehabilitation through exercise helps patients with underlying heart conditions. Similarly those presenting with respiratory conditions like Asthma, Emphysema or Lung cancer can benefit form the same type of exercise rehabilitation.
Neurological physiotherapy will provide patients with conditions like Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease and Spinal cord injury with therapy to help improve their quality of life. Those with specialist training in women’s health and continence offer women of all ages with treatment for bladder, bowel and pelvic floor conditions.
I was fortunate enough to gain experience in various areas of physiotherapy in my time in college. Work placement certainly opened my eyes to the difficult and fast paced nature of working in the HSE but I definitely value my time spent in the hospital setting.
Sport has also been an integral part of my life so becoming involved with a team seemed a natural rite of passage. I spent my first year with my home club Ballinansloe RFC and the last three years with Bective Rangers RFC as their Head Physiotherapist. This has afforded me the opportunity to become proficient in assessing and treating a variety sports injuries. Although my playing days now look numbered, I get huge enjoyment from working in a team environment where everyone works towards a common goal. Seemingly I am rather animated on the sideline but I think that conveys the passion that I have for the game and for my work in general!
Entering sports physiotherapy coincided with the beginning of my work in private practice. I see an array of musculoskeletal issues on a daily basis which always makes everyday different. Two areas I really enjoy working on are shoulder rehabilitation and back pain. From attending courses, frequently treating sports injuries with the like rugby players and crossfitters, I have built up a solid background of knowledge for both areas. A persistent theme with lower back pain is time spent sitting at our work desks on a weekly basis. By providing ergonomic advice and getting to the root problem of a patients back pain, vast improvements can be made through structured rehabilitation.
Functional movement is central to what it means to be healthy so it is of upmost importance to address physical issues that are impacting on your life.
I am hugely grateful that my job gives me the opportunity to help people who struggle with physical function, movement and ultimately are in pain. To see my client’s progress and obtain their goals gives me a massive sense of achievement.