Interview with Lisa Crowther, Clinic Director of Whitley Bay Clinic
1. By way of introduction, can you tell us a little about yourself, your clinical background and your private practice Whitley Bay Clinic?
I qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in 1998, and, having completed my junior rotations, quickly realised I wanted to specialise in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. I went on to complete many post grad courses in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, but most notably an MSc in manipulation in 2004, post grad MSk ultrasound, and a post grad diploma in injection therapy from Keele University in 2006. My NHS career spanned 16 years during which time I became a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in pain management and ultimately the first ESP Spinal Specialist Physiotherapist at Newcastle Hospitals Trust.
I have always been involved in work outside of the NHS, be it sport (Newcastle Eagles, Newcastle Vipers, Rugby & Tennis) or the celebrity world through my associations at the Vertu Arena. In 2014, I left the NHS to set up Whitley Bay Clinic in my hometown. It has been an absolute joy to have the opportunity to build a clinic and recruit the dream team of staff from various disciplines along the way! We share a common goal to provide our patients with the very best outpatient care and see it as a privilege that they chose to work with us in their rehabilitation. We serve a wide variety of patients from elite athletes to those with long term conditions.
2. How has adopting viscosupplementation / Ostenil Range injections enhanced patient treatment within your practice?
As a group of staff, we strive to continue our professional development through in-house learning, external courses, and teaching commitments at the local university. Viscosupplementation has afforded us another “tool in the box” with which to enable patients to achieve their full potential and desired goals. For some, these goals have included returning to exercise, deferring surgery, or even being able to dry their own feet after a bath!
3. In your experience, for which patients / indications do you find Ostenil to be of particular benefit?
Without doubt, we have enjoyed fantastic patient outcomes with viscosupplementation across a broad spectrum of patients. Perhaps on reflection, I would say we have had most success with those patients with early to moderate degenerative change in synovial joints such as knees and shoulders. We have a small cohort of self-employed individuals with very physical jobs who have been thrilled with their ability to work without pain following our input.
4. Considering the various options in MSk injection therapy (HA, corticosteroid, PRP, etc.), where do you feel viscosupplementation best aligns?
Having spent years in the NHS injecting steroid, I feel viscosupplementation offers a superior result which lasts much longer than steroid in my experience. I also feel that patients who received steroid reported better initial pain relief (albeit short-lived compared to Ostenil), but those receiving viscosupplementation report much better functional outcome. Whether that functional goal is returning to cycling, continuing to work in a physical job, or managing better with self-care, it is ultimately more rewarding as a therapist to see improved activity following intervention, not just pain relief. Of course, the biggest compliment has come from patients who contact us of their own volition 12 months after their injection to request a top up. This speaks volumes in itself.
5. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, do you think this has affected MSk treatment considerations moving forwards and if so, how?
The pandemic has put a tremendous strain on NHS services and as such has driven care into private practice. Outpatient NHS waiting lists are lengthened and this has added pressure onto patients to self-manage painful joints. Having a treatment such as Ostenil to compliment sound advice and a bespoke exercise programme has been a pleasure to offer.
6. And finally, any advice for clinicians who might be considering offering viscosupplementation within their own practice?
If any clinicians were considering offering viscosupplementation within their practice I would whole heartedly encourage them to do so.
The interview was conducted by Rachael Graham from TRB Chemedica UK.