Our Argus reporter SOPHIE BROWNSON discovers how to fix all of your aches and pains when she tries her hand at being a physiotherapist with JEREMY WILLIAMS at Newport’s CHROME BLUE PHYSIOTHERAPY.
AS A keen runner and gym enthusiast often I am faced with ongoing problems such as knee-splints and pulled muscles – some of which take months to heal.
So it was a breath of fresh air to meet pro physiotherapist Jeremy Williams, 50, whose no-nonsense approach to treating his clients has earned him the reputation of being one of the best in the profession.
“It is a very rewarding profession,” Mr Williams tells me as I arrive at the smart clinic tucked away on Gold Tops in Newport.
“It’s nice to make a difference to people’s lives – I think that is what we’re doing – making a difference.”
Launching straight into a tour of the clinic, Mr Williams begins to show me the various equipment used by professional physiotherapists to treat their patients.
“This is a Donjoy Brace,” he said showing me a knee support used by skiers that takes pride of place in the clinic’s reception room.
“Basically it is a sports brace used by someone who has a deficient knee so they can carry on skiing.
“It gives them the support they need to continue with the sport they like.”
Showing me into the main treatment room Mr Williams shows me a model spine and explains how in training physiotherapists use a model like this to learn each individual bone in the spine.
“The spinal model is used by physiotherapists to identify palpitation (feeling) and pinpoint every bone in the spine,” Mr Williams told me
Laying the spine out on the treatment table I then cover it over with a towel and shut my eyes.
Mr Williams then guides my two thumbs down the spine explaining how each bone has a different name and physios should be able to identify it by touch as you would have to on an actual client.
Mr Williams then takes me over to a wall chart where the human body is mapped out and explains how each part of the body has a connecting part and explains how pain points can be identified.
Slightly overwhelmed and impressed by this load of scientific information (I wasn’t the best scientist at school) we move on to the Game Ready compression machine.
“It is a rapid cooling and compression machine that can be used on any part of the body,” Mr Williams explains.
“Patients love it.
“You can put it in after an operation and it helps the swelling to stay down.
“The wrap is also disposable if you use it on an open wound.
“It is basically an ice reservoir that fits a compressive cuff and reduces bruising and swelling rapidly.”
Feeling brave, I try it out on a willing patient. Wrapping the cuff around the ankle I switch the machine on and place my hand over the wrap to feel how it fills with water and works its magic on the patient’s injury.
While the machine treats the patient I chat to Mr Williams about a ‘typical day’ at the clinic.
“I see around 12 patients a day,” Mr Williams said.
“New patients have an hour-long session and a follow up lasts 30 minutes.
“But if a patient needs more treatment they get more treatment.
“I have a computer system so people can book appointments online or they can call to arrange an appointment.
“I get referrals from GPs and sports clubs.
“I start from 8.30am in the morning till around 6pm or 7pm it depends on the demand.”
Next I have a go at using the Curapulse – an anti-inflammatory machine.
“This machine speeds up an anti-inflammatory response on a bruised area or somewhere particular painful,” Mr Williams said.
“As a physio you have to be very hands on, but sometimes an area is too painful to use a hands on approach-such as dead legs in sport.
“This machine will clear it and allows movement in patients.”
This time I ask my poor model patient to lie on her stomach on the table while I place the machine over her leg before stepping back behind the control to ensure it is set correctly.
The machine then acts to increase blood circulation and change tissue temperature, which directly results in a decrease in pain and swelling and accelerates the inflammatory process by increasing nutrition and oxygen supply by removing metabolic and waste.
Coming away unscathed my patient lets me try one last treatment commonly used by physiotherapists on recovering athletes.
“This is kinetic tape,” Mr Williams said pulling it out of his physio bag and placing it on the treatment table.
“It is used to decompress an area by taking the pressure off a muscle.”
After a brief demonstration, Mr Williams hands me the tape and I cut off strips to support a ‘pulled muscle’ on my patient’s calf.
Sticking it on to the bottom of the leg, I start to slowly unwind the tape carefully ensuring it remains taut as it goes up the leg.
Repeating the process with the other strips, the tape acts to support the leg during the healing process.
Chatting to Mr Williams I learn that the tape can be bought for personal use and makes athletes who use it feel ‘invincible’ although it merely acts as a support.
Over a much-needed break I ask Mr Williams how he got into the profession.
Mr Williams began his career as a physiotherapist in the NHS gaining valuable experience in working with patients in Orthopaedic trauma and elective surgery and has worked with elite athletes – specifically with the Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC.
“I joined the Navy when I was 15 and half years old and went to the Falkland’s and Bosnia before leaving in 1994.
“I then went to Birmingham University where I gained a BC (Hons) in Science and then spent a year as a physiotherapy assistant in Merthyr Tydfil.
“I also worked for the MS Society on a voluntary basis so I could see it at its worst.
“When I came back from uni I joined the university hospital of Wales in Cardiff before I applied for a job at St Joseph’s Hospital near to my home at High Cross.
“I left St Joseph’s and was head-hunted for Bupa in Cardiff and then had hunted for a job in Dubai.
“I then came back for personal reasons and got a job at the Ministry of Defence in Chepstow for two years aiding in the rehabilitation of injured servicemen and women, before setting up Chrome Blue.
“I love my job.”
And after my experience, I can say the same.