Aileen Flynn is a clinical specialist chartered physiotherapist and sees a lot of people with neck and back pain.
As I am training for an Ironman I’m in the pool most mornings, squeezing in a three-four km swim before work.
I only learnt to swim properly in my late 30s after being bitten by the triathlon bug and now I feel that a morning swim wakes me up and gets me ready for the day ahead.
If I don’t go for a swim, I start at 8am, otherwise, it’s a little later. I work in two departments in the Beacon — the orthopaedic clinic alongside consultants, and the physiotherapy department with a team of physios. Most of my work involves treating a mixture of sports injuries and orthopaedic problems.
My areas of expertise are in spinal rehab and shoulder rehab. I work with a great team of physios each specialising in areas, including hand therapy, women’s health, manual lymphatic therapy, vestibular rehab, and sports rehab.
I spend one-and-a-half days per week in the orthopaedic clinic where I see patients whose consultants feel may benefit from physio either pre- or post-surgery or indeed instead of surgery.
For instance, a patient with an arthritic knee who is scheduled for surgery may benefit from exercise beforehand. We call it ‘prehab’ and it can contribute to a more favourable outcome. I also design postoperative rehab programmes for patients to maximise their recovery.
If I’m organised, I will try to squeeze in a short run at lunchtime.
In the physiotherapy clinic, I see a lot of people with neck and back pain — often as result of sitting incorrectly at a desk.
Quite regularly a person can present with back pain but the cause can be due to incorrect footwear or poor foot position. Physios are good at assessing the interplay between different joints, analysing biomechanics and pinpointing the problem.
I have a specialist role at the hospital as a spinal triage physio, so I do consults on inpatients with back/neck pain. It’s great working directly with the doctors and nurses and being part of a multidisciplinary team.
I’m late finishing this evening because I taught a pilates class. We have a studio at the hospital where we run a couple of classes a week.
After work, I may do some more triathlon training or put my feet up.
* Aileen Flynn is a clinical specialist chartered physiotherapist at the Beacon Hospital, Dublin.
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