Why you benefit from physiotherapy as you get older

Top 5 Reasons to do Physio

1) You’ll reduce any pain you may have.
2) You’ll improve your balance and so prevent falls or injuries.
3) You’ll be able to get around easier.
4) You’ll be less likely to need surgery.
5) You’ll be more flexible.

Why you benefit from physiotherapy as you get older

The benefits of physiotherapy are well-known but these benefits are even more noticeable as you get older. According to Clare Wells, the resident physiotherapist at Beauty Point Resort in Padstow Heights, you can actually reverse the ageing process with physiotherapy.

Wells, who’s trained for four years at the University of Sydney, practised for eight years as a physiotherapist in Sydney and northern NSW, and is a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association NSW Gerontology Committee, is passionate about helping older people maintain their independence for longer.

Wells says by using physiotherapy, it’s possible to reverse the ageing process “…in a really gently and effective way.”

“Physiotherapy works because it’s a structured rehabilitation approach to getting better rather than a more radical approach like surgery or just doing nothing,” she adds. “It’s structured and it’s gradual and it’s safe – and it’s effective.”

Without someone guiding you, Wells says it’s often hard to see the improvement and to know what to do next: “I’m able to tell people what’s their next step. My role is to be enthusiastic about any improvements and this often motivates people to keep going,” she adds.

Will physiotherapy relieve your pain?

As people get older, they often experience pain or discomfort in some part of their body, especially when they move or walk. Wells says as you get older, your body experiences “a real functional decline” and she adds: “Often, when people find they can’t do something, they just stop doing it.” But she says this doesn’t fix the problem.

So when she sees a patient, her entire focus is centred on working out a way to ease any pain they may have and how she can relieve this and make their life more comfortable. Many of her patients have experienced a reduction in pain and discomfort when working with her.

Physio – it’s a preventative health measure

Wells also points out that doing physiotherapy is a preventative health measure. As you get older, it’s becomes easier to take a fall or to sustain an injury but the evidence shows that when you do physiotherapy exercise routines, you’re able to make an event like this less likely.

Wells is available for appointments at the Beauty Point Resort each Wednesday in the Physiotherapy room on level four. Anyone can make an appointment simply by phoning (02) 8708 4700.

It costs $45 to see Clare for 30 minutes to 45 minutes and she says she likes to spend a decent amount of time “… so she can try a few things and see what’s going to work.”

If you have a referral from your doctor, you can receive up to five physiotherapy treatments per year free because they can be bulk-billed by Medicare. If you’re a DVA card holder you can receive free treatments on an ongoing basis.

Your private health fund card can be swiped on the spot so your rebate goes directly into your bank account. (Rebates are available for all major health funds).

Physiotherapy treatments

On your first appointment, Wells will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes taking a detailed history of any injuries you may have so she can tailor-make a treatment for you.

Her treatments usually include some comfortable stretching movements or massage. Both of these assist the relaxation of the muscles and improve your movement.

You’ll be given an exercise program and reminders on how to manage your injury. Your program will be written down for you in diagrams and words, so you can remember what you need to do.

Additional exercise classes will soon be available with Wells using new HUR equipment in the gym, providing individualised strengthening programs in small groups.

Does it work?

Gerry Steele, a Beauty Point resident for the past seven years, has been seeing Clare over the past six weeks for some severe damage he has in his vertebrae and he says: “I’m a fan of Clare’s, I can tell you!”

He says his injury was caused in earlier days when he worked as a diesel mechanic and had to do quite a bit of heavy lifting. “I’ve had doctors tell me I have a severe risk of a fracture in my spine and I’ve had severe pain for years. But since I’ve been working with Clare, the pain has reduced a lot. I’m very pleased,” he adds. “I’ve worked with Clare for six weeks and now she’s given me a program and says I can do it myself. I’m very impressed.”

June Kirsten, a Beauty Point Resort resident for the past seven years, is also very happy with Clare: “Yes, I’ve had arthritis in my knee so I’ve been seeing Clare every week and I’ve been doing all the exercises and it’s definitely been very helpful. A few months ago, I could hardly walk. Now, I’m walking around and I don’t have any sharp pain left,” she says.

“I’ve never had a physio before and I find Clare very helpful and everything runs smoothly with her. I only need to see her once a fortnight now. She’s even written a letter to my local doctor so she’s very thorough. You can’t ask for more than that,” she adds.

Wells is available for appointments at the Beauty Point Resort each Wednesday in the Physiotherapy room on level four. Anyone can book an appointment by phoning (02) 8708 4700.