Forgot Password

Sign In


  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

  • From injury to breathing: the far-reaching impact of physiotherapy

    Author: Charlotte Mitchell

For Curtley Nelson, a physiotherapist and Associate Lecturer at the University of Queensland, his wish is for more people to understand what physiotherapy is and just how much it can benefit different facets of their lives.

“It’s not just about helping with a musculoskeletal injury, but thinking of abstract areas, like helping with your breathing or your cardio-respiratory system. Helping with development as children growing up and helping their development.”

Subscribe for FREE to the HealthTimes magazine

Mr Nelson told HealthTimes that the most rewarding element of his work is being able to facilitate growth – from the growth of his patients to the growth of his students and colleagues.

“Most of all, I love facilitating my community, where I am helping my community grow. Being able to provide that advice and education for my community, and to allow them to get better health outcomes is something that I really, really enjoy. It makes me want to be a physio.”

Mr Nelson said there are many memories of working with patients that stay with him, but one in particular stands out.

“There was an elder in our community who had a neurological condition that really affected his walking.”

“He wasn't able to walk around home and be able to get around, which is really challenging for himself, being an elder in the community.

“It wasn't until we started to have the interaction that we started to work out and talk about strategies to be able to help him move around in his home.”

“We were able to identify a particular mobility device that actually assisted him to be able to move freely. Not only that, we found out through his treatment that when he was younger, he loved boxing.”

“We started doing a boxing treatment, and from the way that neurological condition presented itself, it showed him that while doing these boxing strategies, his mobility improved significantly and he would be able to maintain that.”

“It really opened up his eyes and you can see that light in his eye where it's like, ‘I can actually get something that I really enjoy back into my life’”.

“Seeing that moment and feeling that moment, and being together for it was something that I will hold onto and reminds me of why I became a physio.”

Mr Nelson didn’t always want to be a physiotherapist – in fact, his pathway to qualifying took a number of turns.

“The start of my career was a bit of a different one to most people. When I look back on growing up, I didn't know what physiotherapy was.”

“It wasn't until my time in the military where I was exposed to physiotherapy. From there, I got some little insights through my own rehabilitation that was like, ‘oh, physiotherapy could be a really cool aspect in life’”.

“But that was not where it had cemented me. It was actually when I was discharged from the army and I was looking to join the police force, when I had my partner come to me and said, ‘why don't you think about something that is challenging? Not just physically, but mentally as well, and really push yourself?’”

“That's when I started to think a little bit more broadly in some other aspects of life and what I find enjoyable.”

Mr Nelson said that since becoming a physiotherapist, he’s found the most difficult part of his work to be managing expectations versus reality.

“Understanding what’s really going to happen in the real world, which affects positive patient outcomes, is probably the most challenging.”

“That can be to do with the health system that we have at the moment, where we don't have enough funding for all our patients who may not be able to afford to come into physiotherapy to see us at multiple times.”

“Or it's adapting to how we actually work with our patients. It's something that I really find challenging.”

“We're trying to give that expectation to our new physios too”, Mr Nelson said.

“I just came out of a teaching class just now, where we’re prepping some of our fourth year physiotherapy students to go out into the clinic.”

“Some of the big things that we just were talking about is that you have this beautiful plan which you learn over in that physiotherapy degree, and it looks great on paper, but you have to think – how is this relating to reality, and adapting and changing for your patient?”


Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend

  • Remaining Characters: 500

Charlotte Mitchell

Charlotte is a published journalist and editor, with 10 years of experience in developing high-quality content for national and international publications.

With an academic background in both science and communications, she specialises in medical and science writing. Charlotte is passionate about creating engaging, evidence-based content that equips the community with important information on issues around healthcare, medicine and research.

Over the years, she has partnered with organisations including the Medical Journal of Australia, Cancer Council NSW, Bupa, the Australasian Medical Publishing Company, Dementia Australia, MDA National, pharmaceutical companies, and state and federal government agencies, to produce high-impact news and clinical content  for different audiences.