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December 2018

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Portland District Health physio patient Bonnie Taylor.

Portland physio helps ease the pain

Twenty years ago, Bonnie Taylor was turning her love of horses into a career as an aspiring jockey.

A fall during a trial race left Ms Taylor a partial quadriplegic with a broken neck.

Her injury was comparable with that suffered by Superman actor Christopher Reeve.

‘It was the same level of the spine.

‘I was just lucky I suffered an impact of the spinal cord, not a sever,’ Ms Taylor said.

The toughest part of recovery came after leaving hospital but still needing 24-hour care.

Her first physio treatment out of home or hospital was a big achievement.

It was two years before she could live independently and today she still battles against the after-effects of her injuries.

A new approach – with Portland District Health physiotherapist team leader David Gryn – has revolutionised how Ms Taylor deals with pain.

Now a mother of two, Ms Taylor continues medical treatment and monitoring at St Vincent’s Hospital for an acquired brain injury – as well as nerve and muscle problems – and has always had regular physio treatment.

A year ago, Ms Taylor met Mr Gryn after injuring her ankle herding cows.

It turned out to be a life-changing connection.

‘The physio approach to my injury evolved over the 20 years,’ Ms Taylor said.

‘It was more conservative in the beginning – now it’s more focused on exercise and movement.

‘I’ve found an approach with more exercise is far better for me than just resting.’

Ms Taylor is active on the farm, stretches every day, does weight training, cardio and lots of walking.

This approach has allowed Ms Taylor to reduce the use of anti-inflammatories and medication.

PDH’s physiotherapists also work with other health professionals such as psychologists, counsellors, exercise physiologists, OTs and nurses.