Suzanne Willacy - Physiotherapist at the Lakeland and Lunesdale physiotherapy and sports injury clinic, Milnthorpe, Kendal, Cumbria

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Physiotherapists for private treatment in Kendal, Cumbria and Lancashire

Suzanne Wells

After completing my Physiotherapy degree at the West Yorkshire College of Health Studies in 1995 I took a rotational junior physiotherapist post at St James’ University Teaching Hospital in Leeds. For two and a half years I gained experience in a wide range of physiotherapy specialities before moving on to a senior II post at Seacroft Hospital, Leeds. This post was split between musculoskeletal outpatients (3.5 days) and respiratory physiotherapy on the regional cystic fibrosis unit (1.5 days). The outpatient department was extremely busy with a huge NHS waiting list. Many of the clients had injuries that were chronic either by the time they were referred for physiotherapy, or by the time they got their first appointment.

In 2001 I was offered a post at a private clinic in York and a post at the Nuffield Hospital, Harrogate, I chose the latter but as it was only part-time I also worked as a locum physiotherapist at the Purey Cust Nuffield Hospital in York for a few months until my hours were increased at Harrogate. The caseload involved a mixture of acute and chronic injuries and postural problems. The communication between the physiotherapists and consultants was excellent, I felt I learnt a lot and gave a lot.

During my time at the Harrogate Nuffield I trained, over a period of months to be a Body Control Pilates® teacher, qualifying in June 2004. I had done a Pilates workshop weekend and felt it would be something that could be very helpful in managing acute and chronic problems and preventing re-injury. I chose to do Body Control Pilates® rather than one of the shorter Pilates courses as the training is very thorough. It provided me with much more awareness of muscle imbalance and made me realise the importance of exercises being taught accurately, the body is an expert at compensating for weaknesses –an important factor in many of the injuries I treat. I began working at the Harrogate Pilates Centre where class sizes were small and the teaching was of a high standard.

In 2005 I returned to Lancashire and began working at the Lancaster and Lakeland Nuffield Hospital. Initially a large percentage of the caseload was ward based, post-operative. Gradually the out-patient department workload increased. The caseload was similar to the Harrogate Nuffield. I also taught Pilates 5 hours a week and saw clients for Pilates 1 to 1 sessions to supplement my income providing me with money to do courses.

In May 2007 I gave birth to Joshua, followed closely by Jonathan in August 2008. Towards the end of my second maternity leave I was contacted by Cath, she wanted to know if I was interested in coming to work here, the timing was perfect! I was definitely ready for a change, a new challenge. I began working here in August 2009. I continue to teach Pilates at Warton, Yealand Conyers and here at the clinic. As I mentioned previously Pilates has taught me more about the body’s ability to compensate for weakness and the importance of accuracy in remedial exercises.

The body is amazingly complex, the anatomy books only tell half the story. I have a very strong interest in the myofascial system, a soft tissue network throughout the entire body. Injuries, poor posture and emotional stress leave their imprint on the myofascial tissue, but by gentle manual therapy techniques the myofascial system can be encouraged to unwind and release the restrictions. Myofascial release can help to release restriction from an acute or chronic injury or from multiple aches and pains throughout the body. Symptoms in one area of the body may be linked through the fascial system to elsewhere in the body, a previous injury, scar tissue from surgery or an emotional trauma. The more I learn about the myofascial system the more I want to learn. In addition to the myofascial courses I have done so far, I am very excited, (and very grateful to my understanding husband) to be going to Arizona in February 2011 for 2 weeks to further my training.

I find a combination of manual therapy techniques, myofascial release, exercises and education work well together, providing a holistic approach to treatment, addressing the body and mind. They are both connected after all!

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