Interview with a Guru: Trish Wisbey-Roth
I first met Trish Wisbey-Roth in 2013 at her Sydney clinic. I was not in a good place. I had just returned from 3 months on the Aerial Skiing World Cup circuit in a world of pain and on the brink of quitting my 2014 Olympic campaign. I had a couple of prolapsed discs in my back which I jumped with and endured all season. I had lost all confidence, the pain had withered away the supporting muscles in my back and core not to mention my spirit. Living with pain (in any part of your body) destroys the soul….or at least it did mine. I felt helpless. I felt small. It was totally depressing. Our team physio had heard of Trish and suggested if anyone could help me, it would be her.
As Trish and her staff examined me, they knew what I must have been experiencing. The stabilizing muscles supporting my spine were non existent. My pelvis and gluteal muscles were also abysmal. In short, I was messed up and to be honest, I didn’t think there would ever be a full recovery in sight. I underestimated how much of a guru Trish was. She told me I was going to need to work hard. That was fine with me….as long as I never had to go through a season like that again.
Within 6 months of her prescribed exercises mixed with a lot of HARD work, I found myself in the best shape of my life with not a trace of back pain. I had to be diligent with keeping up my exercises (and still do) to cope with the load of my sport, but managed to keep it under control. I owe my recovery to Trish (and a few other gurus). It’s rare to find someone so good at what they do minus the ego. She is humble and she is passionate about sharing her knowledge which has now led to the creation of her Bounce Back program – an online program for healthcare professionals where they can prescribe Trish’s exercises to their patients through the Physitrak platform. I have been road testing the Physitrak program to help me keep on top of my back post baby. It’s pretty awesome – with video and written explanations of each exercise as well as prescribed reps and sets.
This program will change lives and Trish is certainly a gift that just keeps giving.
- What is Bounce back and how does it work in the new age of Apps and interactive programs?
Bounce back is a progressed exercise program, run by 65 healthcare professionals in Australia and NZ and now in Europe. The exercise programs are based on research and have evolved over the past 10 years to treat both elite athletes, to optimize performance, and the wider population that experience low back, hip and neck pain which impacts on their day-to-day lives. Understanding exercise and compliance is a big issue combined with our strategic plan to reach a wider, global audience with the program, were main drivers in our search for a digital platform. At the Sports Medicine conference in 2014 I met Mariyn Kortekaas who was just launching Physitrack Australia (we were the first in a global rollout to over 15 nations).
We embarked on an intensive process of filming a large proportion of the catalogue of Bounce back exercises (over 200) at the BBC studio in London which have now been categorized into specific Bounce back progressed exercise programs and accessible for Bounce back Agents and their clients via the Physitrack digital platform.
The exciting and unique features of Physitrack include the ability to monitor compliance to the exercise program and the individual client is able to communicate pain levels and any comments directly back to the treating therapist. This means that the exercise programs can be fine-tuned and monitored between face-to-face sessions, and this can all be done on your PC or App on your smart phone!
- Who will be able to use this digital version of the Bounce back program via Physitrack?
Our Bounce back agents (approved healthcare professionals) are given exclusive access to the Bounce Back program via the Physitrack digital platform with the simple provision of an email and access code. The healthcare professional, after setting up the Bounce Back exercise program with a client in a face-to-face consultation, will send an email with a unique link which allows download of the video exercise program to the client’s desktop or mobile device.
- What was your motivation for creating the Bounce Back online program? How long have you been working on it?
While there are thousands of exercises on the internet, worldwide there was a lack of structured, progressed exercise programs that were based on research and that were consistently updated with the latest findings.
As there is an increased awareness of the health benefits of exercise and a desire to be proactive with preventative measures we thought it was the best time to bring our program to a larger audience. This dovetailed well with the advancements in online learning which supports our innovation which we have always prided ourselves on. The Bounce back program was launched in 2007 as a paper based program but the digital platform has been created over the last 12 months and is just rolling out now.
- What is your advice for people suffering from chronic back pain? What do they need to be prepared to do to get better and stay ‘better’?
I think what people need to understand if they are suffering from chronic back, neck or hip pain, the issue is not only that muscles and joints need to be addressed but the brain also needs to be reprogrammed to use both efficient movement patterns automatically and desensitised to learned behavior. Undoing a habit takes attention to detail plus repetition and people need to know that the journey may require a 12 month commitment to reverse both the brain and body changes which have developed for some people over a lifetime.
My advice for people suffering with chronic back pain is to work with a health professional who will both guide them through the physical exercises and manual therapy they may need but can also address brain reprogramming utilizing things such as a pacing program which gradually increases your function over time within an individual’s limits and a ‘flare up’ strategy for when the inevitable happens and either life or situations flare’s an individual’s pain.
The individual’s attitude and commitment to be involved in their own recovery is paramount for optimal results. I also think that people need to realise that optimal health is not a one-time end goal but a commitment to adding simple steps to your life to maintain improvements and minimize relapse or future injuries. Under the guidance of the right healthcare professional an individual can work towards short, medium and long-term goals that helps them to stay on track to achieve life and health goals.
- When it comes to back pain (or any pain), a lot of people want a quick fix but can you explain why that will never work long term?
While many forms of therapy aim to give short term relief of symptoms, in reality this simply gives you a window of opportunity to retrain both your brain and body to work more efficiently and develop functional strength for what you want to do in life. No matter how great a massage, manipulator or acupuncturist is they can’t make you get stronger, fitter, healthier and change your habits to a more efficient way of moving. That can only come from taking the time to retrain both your body and your brain.
I feel so passionately about the connection between mind and body that I worked with UK-based Physio, Nick Sinfield in 2014 to develop a self-help book outlining the specific steps required to achieve the mind and body changes in a structured and easy-to-follow format.
- What made you specialise on the back/hip/pelvis? How important is this region for total body control and preventing injuries to other areas of the body?
My journey to specialise in low back pelvic pain was three-fold and some of it was life’s experience. The first was when I opened my practice at the age of 25, I offered to take on all those clients who had failed with other forms of therapy. Approximately 80% of these patients suffered with low back and pelvic pain so I knew this was an area where a new approach was needed and started my research journey to understand Low back pain in a new and different way.
The second circumstance was that I worked with elite sporting teams from a state to an Olympic level with a variety of sports including hockey, gymnastics and cycling where the major over-use injuries were related to low back pelvis and hip regions. These injuries continued to occur despite very good treatment in the past, so I felt further committed to finding a new exercise program that would have long-lasting effects on recovery and performance.
Finally, I had a very severe car accident and fractured my own spine which did not respond to traditional physiotherapy, medication or other current forms of treatment. I decided this was a great opportunity to learn about back pain from the inside out and develop my own rehabilitation program, combining time in the gym and reading all of the research available on low back pain. This is where Bounce back began and has continued to evolve with the latest research and now incorporates hip issues and neck issues.
The lumbo pelvic and hip region is pivotal to all movements and postures that we do through daily life, from sitting at work to picking up children or doing a recreational sport. Low back and pelvic pain makes these essential activities difficult at best and impossible for some. As a therapist my main aim was to change people’s function to optimize their lives and certainly specializing in the treatment of low back pain, I see the positive effects that can be had each day.
- What’s your view on hot/cold therapy and is there a place for it within injury recovery, management and prevention?
Hot/cold therapy can be a very efficient self-help strategy that, when used regularly, can decrease muscle tension and also help dampen down inflammatory responses. With the right instruction and the right equipment, it is an ideal technique to use in conjunction with a progressed exercise program, gradually moving towards more efficient movement patterns and a stronger you.
- Your top 3 tips for maintaining a healthy spine?
- If you sit a lot during your day try to go for a walk at lunch time or use the stairs instead of the lift. Consider a sit-to-stand desk as this uses significantly more muscle activity in your back and hip region.
- Develop a regular cardio vascular program that suits you. Commit in your diary to doing this 3 times a week, aiming towards 45 minutes, at a pace that works for you. Combine this with a strategy for calming the brain and relieving stress such as controlled breathing or meditation techniques can significantly settle pain experiences.
- Utilise the skills of a health professional to develop a postural control and specific strengthening program to build your body’s ability to perform your day-to-day and leisure activities.
+++To manage your back and hip pain look no further than our BodyICE Back & Hip
by Lydia Lassila, Olympic Champion. Mum. Entrepreneur.
Bounce Back free resources https://www.bounceback.physio/resources/
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Bounce Back Blog https://www.bounceback.physio/blog/
Link to Back pain personal health care plan e book: https://www.exislepublishing.com.au/The-Back-Pain-Personal-Health-Plan-Bounce-Back-Edition-eBook.html
More general information about the Back pain personal health care plan BOOK hardcopy https://www.bounceback.physio/general/back-pain-buy-the-ebook-today-and-plan-your-recovery/