Therapy for a NDIS Participant with Chronic Back Pain

September 1, 2020
Shot of a senior woman and young nurse going for a walk in a garden

This article describes how one of our Physiotherapists has been helping a client who has suffered from back pain for over a decade.

The lady, a 62-year-old NDIS participant, lives independently in Chadstone.

She experienced a fall ten years ago and has been suffering from severe and debilitating back pain ever since.


Comprehensive initial assessment

Our Physiotherapist undertook a comprehensive initial assessment. This included a complete medical history, together with details of her fall and the injuries she sustained. It also included an Oswestry Low Back Questionnaire to evaluate her permanent functional disability.

The assessment revealed significant injuries and impacts including:

  • A fractured coccyx (tailbone)
  • Three bulging discs
  • Early-onset lumbar degeneration

When looking at the outcomes of these injuries, it was clear that:

  • Resulting lower back pain was chronic and debilitating
  • It had caused significant restriction and limitation to all areas of her life
  • Ongoing care would be required for her to continue to live independently

Considerations to maximise success

At Total Health Physio, we know that listening to and understanding the client is central to delivering excellent care. This is one of our core values; it informs how we approach our clients and enables us to really effectively tailor our sessions to meet the patient’s needs.

For example, in the lady’s situation, we needed to understand that she was very hesitant to engage a Physiotherapist. This was because of a negative experience she had in the past; she felt the care she received was rushed and impersonal.

With the encouragement of her NDIS Support Coordinator, she decided to try again with a new provider, and so contacted Total Health Physio.

After the initial assessment, she was relieved and hopeful because of the approach our Physiotherapist took. We made sure she understood that we would always:

  • Listen to her
  • Be respectful of her pain
  • Take our time with appointments so that she felt comfortable with us

A young black disabled woman with a wheelchair and a bright colored sweater and her Asian friend walk around the city.

Goals & planning

For each NDIS client, we discuss their overarching NDIS goals and then establish sub-goals which directly relate to their Physiotherapy care.

Her overarching goals related to living independently while increasing social participation. She also wanted to develop skills in cooking and hospitality to increase her access to employment.

Together, we identified the sub-goals that would contribute to her achieving these main goals. They were:

  • To reduce pain
  • To improve overall health and wellness.

These goals directly correlate with functionality, mobility and motivation. As Physiotherapists, we know that reducing someone’s pain means they are much more likely to get out into the community and engage in social activities.

Our role – therapy & education

Our role often includes referrals, recommendations and education. In this case, our focus was on providing a carefully developed exercise program while educating Elyssa on the importance of core strength and consistent exercise.

The Physiotherapy regime included:

  • Sitting and standing exercises tailored to suit her pain and capability
  • Core-strengthening exercises including stretching and mini squats
  • Glute-strengthening exercises (weak glutes increase the likelihood of lower back pain)
  • Manual therapy including hands-on treatment and soft tissue massage

Looking to the Future

After six weeks, the positive impacts of our Physiotherapy treatment plan are clear. The client has had six sessions and has stated that she looks forward to her consultations. Rather than being sceptical, as she was when we first started, she now sees a lot of value in what we’re achieving together. In fact, she says that seeing our Physiotherapist makes her day.

Her treating Physiotherapist has found the sessions equally rewarding. Providing a personalised service has brought a great sense of accomplishment.

She appreciates seeing the client’s shift in perception around Physiotherapy: instead of being something negative, she now sees her Physio sessions as something to be enjoyed.

Do you know someone that would benefit from our services?

We’d love to hear from you.

  • We are an Australian-owned company
  • We are NDIS registered
  • Our clinicians are home-visiting
  • Our values are trust, compassion & care

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