Painphysiotherapist.com is a blog that offers discussion about science behind health, rehabilitation and pain. Currently, there is a lack of understanding about pain in Singapore. Unlike Australia, USA and UK, there are no local websites that offer dedicated information about pain management. This website can hopefully bridge this gap, to serve as a resource tool to help people learn about the experience of both acute and chronic pain and what can be done. I would like to provide evidence-based, practical information on how one can learn to overcome the burden of pain, thus increasing hope for the recovery. In order to do so, I need to correct common myths out there about health, pain, exercise and rehabilitation.
This blog was started by myself, Lian Guojie in 2015. I am a musculoskeletal physiotherapist who is passionate about using education and exercise to recover from pain. I am a registered physiotherapist under the Allied Health Professional Council (AHPC). I was also an instructor in the Advanced Certification in Physiotherapy (ACP) offered by Postgraduate Allied Health Institute in Singapore General Hospital.
Since young, I was excited about sports. When I was 15 years old, I developed an interest in exercise because I was overweight and I wanted to excel in basketball. The easiest way was to spend my school holidays reading in the library about exercise and nutrition. From the knowledge I gained, I managed to lose a significant amount of weight through a disciplined diet and exercise program. Ever since, I have a passion for the human body and I knew I wanted a career in the health sciences.
In 2008, I attained basic qualifications to work as a physiotherapist and started out in Singapore General Hospital, the largest teaching hospital in Singapore. Initially, my goal was to be a sports physiotherapist. With blessing from my employer, I spent 1 year volunteering as a sports physiotherapist in the evenings with the Singapore U-21 soccer team and also travelled with them overseas for a tournament. My passion for learning all things about movement and rehabilitation pushed me to pursue formal further studies.
In 2010, I was sponsored to undertake an Advanced Certificate in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy held by the Postgraduate Allied Health Institute, when I completed 5 gruelling workshops with theory and practical exams over 1 year. These were conducted by titled ‘Specialist Physiotherapists’ (Australia) in the areas of chronic low back pain (Prof Peter O’Sullivan), neck, cervicogenic headache, whiplash disorders (Prof Gwendolyn Jull), lower limb (A/Prof Helen Slater), musculoskeletal ultrasound (Dr Julie Hides) and the shoulder complex (Dr Mary Magarey). Training under these specialists in their specific fields inspired me to pursue my masters in musculoskeletal physiotherapy.
It was during this time that I developed an interest in treating people with complex pain conditions. From my observation in the clinic, there is a large number of people suffering from pain that disrupts their daily activities. I got very interested in the biology and psychology of pain and realize that pain can develop with and also without the presence of injury. This can be seen in the large amount of people whom still suffer from persistent pain despite more than 6 months after injury. The complexity of pain intrigues me.
In 2012, I obtained my Masters in Clinical Physiotherapy from Curtin University (Australia) under a scholarship from my hospital and trained under renowned clinician-researchers like Prof Peter O’Sullivan, A/Prof Helen Slater and Dr. Tim Mitchell.
After graduation, I was presented with the opportunity to work in the Autoimmune and Rheumatology Centre in SGH, the first multi-disciplinary rheumatology centre in this region, and also in a team of senior physiotherapists in the Accident and Emergency unit, providing early, priority coverage of patients admitted for severe acute pain like back and neck problems, acute joint pain and trauma. These experiences showed that early access to physiotherapy management accelerates recovery from their problems. Other than these, most of my days were spent in the SGH Musculoskeletal Centre and outpatients spine team. I was also actively involved in teaching musculoskeletal pain management and supervisory work of NYP students and junior physiotherapists.
In 2015, I left for private practice to join Physio & Sole Clinic to devote more time towards clinical practice. With my extensive training, I am able to incorporate the best diagnostic tools into my assessment to obtain the best information for training and rehabilitation. Of all the different areas of the human body, I have a specific interest in the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain and musculoskeletal chronic pain.
As a keen sportsperson, I regularly participate in running, calisthenics, resistance training and less frequently, high intensity exercise. I like to vary my exercise routine to keep it fun and interesting. I have done 2 half marathons so far with a best timing of 2hr 10min. With a regular exercise plan and goals, I was finally able to achieve my first Gold standards in IPPT at the age of 30, maintain that for 5 years. Health and fitness definitely does not go downhill once you hit 30.
- Diploma in Physiotherapy – Nanyang Polytechnic 2008
- Master in Clinical Physiotherapy (Manipulative Therapy) – Curtin University 2012
Advanced Certification in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (PGAHI) 2010:
- Prof Peter O’Sullivan – Classification and management of non-specific chronic low back pain
- Prof Helen Slater – Lower limb Physiotherapy Assessment and Management
- Dr Mary Margarey – Advanced assessment and management of the Shoulder
- Prof Gwen Jull – Assessment and Management of the Cervical Spine
- Dr Julie Hides – Musculoskeletal Ultrasound
- Dr Philip Cheong and Dr June Quek – Clinical Reasoning in Physiotherapy
Professional courses attended:
- Lester Jones (APA titled Pain Physiotherapist) – Stress, Pain and Recovery (5-6 April 2019)
- Prof Jeremy Lewis – Shoulder Rehabilitation: Frozen Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Related Shoulder Pain: Assessment and Management (Jan 2018)
- Jo Nijs, Kelly Ickmans, Margot De Kooning, Mira Meeus – Chronic Pain: Physical Therapy Targeting Mind, Body & Brain. Post-congress workshop at the WCPT World Congress in Singapore, 2015.
- International Association for the Study of Pain
- Pain Association of Singapore
- Singapore Physiotherapy Association