How Queensland’s first specialist ache physio helps sufferers deal with their power ache

Peta Weeks is likely one of the 3.6 million Australians dwelling with power ache. 

She was severely injured when she crashed her bike in 2019 and about 18 months later, her arm was amputated.

“I ended up with 5 nerves avulsed from the backbone, fractured pelvis, coccyx, rib,” Ms Weeks stated. 

She stated because the amputation, the ache has overtaken her life. 

“Typically it is overbearing; I can not deal with it,” Ms Weeks stated. 

“It will begin in my hand that is not there, my phantom hand, and go as much as the elbow.

“It is actually onerous after I’m round pals, they see me cringe and I will put my head down and simply attempt to cover it. I strive to not present it.”

man and woman in physio office
Ms Weeks has appointments with physio Darren Doherty to assist her deal with power ache.(ABC Information: Heidi Sheehan)

Ms Weeks has frequent appointments at a specialised ache administration clinic on the Gold Coast, the place she now practices mindfulness and thoughts mapping to assist deal with the ache.  

“I’ve tried quite a lot of drugs; no drugs work, they simply make your thoughts foggy,” she stated.  

“However doing the mindfulness, thoughts mapping, all of the pure issues, does truly assist. It is like attempting to calm the thoughts down.” 

Specialist ache physio 

woman in hospital chair
Ms Weeks’s arm was amputated about 18 months after her bike accident.(Provided: Peta Weeks)

Darren Doherty is specialist ache physio on the Gold Coast Interdisciplinary Persistent Ache Centre, the place a workforce of ache specialists, psychiatrists, allied well being staff and nurses assist Ms Weeks and different power ache victims.  

Mr Doherty is Queensland’s first specialist ache physio and certainly one of 5 in Australia. 

He stated their goal is to enhance the standard of life for folks dwelling with power ache, regardless of the ache. 

“Very often our sufferers have been on that journey to try to discover the repair and that hasn’t occurred,” Mr Doherty stated. 

“By persevering with to go on that journey of that ‘repair’ for his or her ache, generally it may well truly hinder greater than assist.

“So, we refocus — how can we handle ache higher, how can we obtain objectives to allow them to have interaction dwelling once more?” 

He stated an enormous a part of his position was serving to sufferers perceive their ache. 

“From a physio perspective, we have a look at serving to to teach sufferers about their ache and giving them a motive behind the signs which might be occurring for them,” he stated. 

“We all know from the analysis, whenever you’re extra educated about ache, it may well assist with the ache.” 

man smiling at camera
Mr Doherty is a specialist ache physiotherapist on the Gold Coast. (ABC Information: Heidi Sheehan)

Eradicating stigma and enhancing accessibility

Mr Doherty highlighted the significance of the Australian School of Physiotherapists including a ache specialisation.   

Power Ache Australia vice chairman Nicolette Ellis stated the not-for-profit organisation has welcomed specialty and stated she would prefer to see the identical in different well being professions.  

“We see a robust stigmatisation from not solely well being professionals but in addition the group,” Ms Ellis stated.

“I believe that is simply actually a lack of knowledge and understanding of what the situation is.” 

Ms Ellis stated data and training have been key for folks dwelling with power ache. 

“Many individuals who reside with power ache generally are led to imagine it comes from their head,” she stated. 

“It’s a power illness and is a situation of the nervous system and immune system.”

She stated therapy might be completely different for all sufferers and will embody remedy, topical cream, complementary therapies and dietary supplements. 


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