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

Following completion of my Physiotherapy degree at the West Yorkshire College of Health Studies in 1995 I took a junior physiotherapist post at St James' University Teaching Hospital, Leeds. During 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 and respiratory physiotherapy on the regional cystic fibrosis unit. The musculoskeletal outpatient department was extremely busy with a long waiting list. Many of the patients had injuries that were chronic either by the time they were referred for physiotherapy, or by the time they got their first appointment!

During 2001 I moved away from the NHS to take up two part time posts, one at the Duchy Nuffield Hospital, Harrogate, the other as a locum physiotherapist at the Purey Cust Nuffield Hospital, York. The caseload included a mixture of acute and chronic injuries postural issues and post-operative patients. The communication between the physiotherapists and consultants was excellent, I felt I learnt a lot and gave a lot.

It was whilst I was at the Duchy Nuffield Hospital that I decided to train as a Pilates teacher. I had a little experience of Pilates after doing a Body Control Pilates introductory course which introduced the concept to Physiotherapists, and from then on attending classes. Pilates was becoming very popular and wasn't well regulated, patients I advised to find a Pilates class to help with their recovery were finding varying standards of teaching. I felt that if I trained to become a Pilates teacher I would be able to teach my patients myself. It was important to me to that I should train with a Pilates teacher training company that had high standards in the delivery of their training rather than the very short weekend- or shorter classes that were available at the time. I trained, over a period of 18 months, with the Body Control Pilates® association, qualifying as a teacher in June 2004. The Body Control Pilates® training is very thorough, it provided me with much more awareness of muscle imbalance and made me realise the importance of exercises been taught accurately, the body is an expert at compensating for weaknesses- a key 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 my home county of 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. I also taught 5 Pilates classes per week and saw clients for 1 to 1 Pilates sessions.

In May 2007 my eldest son Joshua was born, shortly followed by Jonathan in 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 ready for a change, a new challenge. I began working here in August 2009.

Besides teaching Pilates, which I do here at the clinic and in Warton and Yealand Conyers, whilst working here I have had the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills in the treatment of the myofascial system. Over the years I have come to appreciate how amazingly complex and fascinating the body is, the anatomy books only tell half of the story! The myofascial system is a soft tissue network connecting throughout the entire body. Injuries, poor posture and emotional stress leave their imprint on the myofascial tissue causing restriction which over time can become tighter causing pain and restricting function in the body. With gentle hands on techniques the myofascial system can be encouraged to unwind and release these 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. I have done several myofascial release courses both here in the UK and in the USA and continue to expand my expertise in this area.

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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