Annette Pickett, 67, from Kirklees, West Yorkshire tells us about how physio from Connect Health gave her life back.
You don’t appreciate walking until you can’t do it – I now feel in control of my pain.
In early February 2020, I just got up one morning to go for a walk and I just stopped dead as I felt severe pain in my left thigh. I spoke to my doctor who gave me some pain killers and told me to see how I go. She suggested I might need some physio. Unfortunately, the pain got significantly worse and I couldn’t get out of bed. It got so bad, the doctor came out to see me and prescribed morphine.
Gradually after a few days the medicine kicked in and I wasn’t in any pain so I thought, now’s the time to get moving as it will only get worse. So, I got a stick and used that to get about.
I was referred to the North Kirklees MSK physiotherapy clinic. To be quite honest, I didn’t have a very good perception of physio as friends had warned me that it wouldn’t work and not to go. However I wanted to find out for myself.
I met Laura the physio and it was like a breath of fresh air.
She was so positive and said “I will get you better” – it was those words that stuck with me and I felt inspired to give it a go.
I was diagnosed with GTPS (Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome) which is a common hip condition that causes pain over the outside of your thigh/buttock muscle. We had a long chat and she showed me how to do some exercises to do at home. Although they hurt, I found the more I did them, the better I got. I didn’t think I’d be walking again without a stick.
After my first face to face appointment, we were then in lockdown
Laura was delighted when she phoned me to hear that I’d carried on with the exercises and just got on with it the best I could.
From start to finish it was 3 months. I kept on taking the tablets and it was taking the pain away. I rang the doctor and asked if I could come off the morphine, so I did and the pain never came back.
I’m still doing the exercises and I’m happy to say I’m walking normally now. My only issue is when I bend down, I can’t get back up again. Laura is sending me some different exercise through the post and I can’t wait to get going with them.
It stopped me doing everything. I laid in bed and just didn’t know what to do
I’ve never had a bad leg before and I was in bed for a number of weeks. I wasn’t confident about the physio making any difference. I didn’t think there was anything she could do for me, but she was so lovely and gave me confidence – I came out buzzing. I already suffer from depression so it had really got me down. As soon as I could walk again, I was elated.
My advice is definitely try physiotherapy
If it wasn’t for Laura being as she was, I might have turned around and never come back. But she made me feel that we could do something to get better. I’m looking forward to being able to see Laura again as I don’t use a computer and therefore can’t do a video call.
Laura Smith, MSK Physiotherapist clinician from North Kirklees gives us her view
Annette originally came to clinic with a walking stick and was feeling really down
Annette lacked independence and confidence and her GP had escalated to morphine for pain relief. She tried physio exercise and took on board the education and information I provided. Today she reports not walking with a cane, she is independent and is exploring her own exercises. She approached the GP
herself to ask if she could reduce the morphine and is now off it completely and with no pain.
She said it has given her life back and now she feels more confident, setting her own goals to achieve especially during this COVID time. She knows she still has weakness and improvements to make but she used words like ‘I can’t YET’ and ‘I am going to do’ rather than ‘I feel helpless’.
She said she feels in-control of her pain and condition.
I feel this is mainly down to education and giving her control over her rehab. We focused on what was important to her and this was to walk without a walking aid. I explained how the Home Exercise Plan would help her achieve this. Also using pictures, I showed her what might be causing the pain which helped visualise GTPS and not just to be told a diagnosis.
This is why I became a physio to help people, not to be a number and discharge people, but to empower and reinstall belief in themselves. If they don’t believe it’s going to work, why would it – I’m so proud of her.
Download Annette’s story here.