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Worthing Physiotherapy Physical Revolution “spotlight interview” with success story Liz Greenhalgh

August 7, 2014 by physicalrevolution No Comments »

Here is a spotlight interview with one of our success stories Liz Greenhalgh.  Liz has smashed barriers and broken the cycle of longstanding back pain to the point where she is now about to enter her first half marathon ! Read on to discover how she tackled longstanding back pain with the Worthing Physiotherapy team

 

Hi Liz, you have had a history of back pain and you came to Physical Revolution. What did you expect from the very outset?

 

When I attended my first physio appointment I had no idea what to expect. I had had intermittent back pain for a number of years. This had become worse after a fall in the gym and an ensuing operation on my ankle. Following a referral from an osteopath I met with the Physical Revolution team. Initially nervous about this appointment, I found that the subsequent discussion focussed on my medical history and the problem I experienced with back pain. I assumed that the meeting would be followed with a series of manipulations/massages – but they were only the beginning. I had not realised that the way to improve my back lay in my own hands.

 

How important was “specific exercise and correct execution of exercise” a key to your recovery ?

 

At this early stage I had no idea that my own physical behaviours had contributed to the problem and that the solution would therefore lie in the amount of time and effort I put into working on the series of exercises taught by the team. The support and encouragement of the Physical Revolution team was a key factor in my understanding of how to effectively use these exercises to strengthen my back and my core muscles.

So, I began my journey towards better health and fitness – something I had failed to successfully achieve after years of swimming and working in the gym. I met the team on a weekly basis and they started by providing simple exercises to re-educate me in the use of different muscles to support my developing fitness. My posture, walking and gym habits were scrutinised and broken down into simple actions to help me improve my strength. This deconstruction of my muscle movements and rebuilding proved to be challenging as I had to relearn skills I had taken for granted over many years – how many of us really think about the way we walk and the affect our movements have on our body?

 

What part did “body awareness” play in your success?

 

The realisation that for many years my posture and walking had affected my back came as a surprise. Each exercise was broken down into small manageable actions but at times I found myself making mistakes and falling back into old habits. The patience and encouragement I received helped me to overcome these frustrations. I continued to persevere and found myself moving from a state of unawareness to one in which I became acutely aware of how I was moving and would consciously correct my movements throughout the day recalling the clear instructions I had been given during the physio sessions.

Over time these actions gradually became second nature and my posture and my walking habits changed – the pain I had experienced disappeared and I began to enjoy the various classes I took in the gym, becoming involved with renewed enthusiasm.

 

Was the “process” of learning new motor skills and increasing your body awareness and strength new to you?

 

The process I went through will be familiar to anyone involved in training adults who require new skills to successfully undertake workplace roles. It reflected my own knowledge of a learning theory model, the origins of which are unclear but were popularised by an American training company in the 1970’s. By applying this model to my own learning in an area within which I had no previous experience, I found myself understanding the gradual evolvement of my skills. Each new exercise was broken down into simple steps which I had to repeat many times until I could confidently use the new skill in my everyday movements. Learning these skills through simple steps, understanding the challenges I faced and repeating the steps consistently until they became ‘second nature’ has helped me to remain focussed on my own physical fitness.

The challenge I faced in re-learning skills and learning new skills has made me acutely aware of the  difficulties we all face when presented with new tasks or ideas. Working through this process in an area which was initially way out of my ‘comfort zone’ has helped me to achieve a deeper understanding of the problems we all face when confronted with something new and unfamiliar and I continue to use this knowledge in my own workplace.

Setting goals with the support of the Physical Revolution team has meant that my recovery has moved beyond the initial resolution of my back pain and I am now (with their support and encouragement) setting goals which I would never have attempted prior to attending these sessions.

 

 

This is superb – the principles of learning that Liz employs with her students as a teacher, very much underpin the principles of learning new motor skills which go toward gaining true body awareness and taking control of and resolving pain from injury.

Here is the four stage competency model to which Liz was referring:

download

 

 

 

 
Well done Liz. Your hard work and commitment is proof that longstanding injury can be resolved.

A true Revolutionary !

Liz Greenhalgh, Matt Shaw and Will King

 

 

 

 

 

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