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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Ciaran Coyle - BSc, MSc, MISCP

Meet your physiotherapist!

Hi! My name is Ciaran and I specialise in multiple areas of Physiotherapy, but in particular I like to treat those with long term pain, and sporting injuries. I started working in Essex in the United Kingdom working with High Level Sports Athletes and the General Public in 2009. I returned home to work in Dublin in 2010 and gradually worked my way back to Galway where I opened Galway Bay Physio in 2012. I have worked with numerous Professional and Amateur Sporting Organisations in the UK and Ireland.

Why did you choose to be a physiotherapist?

My sister was born severely Autistic and I am very close to her. I always had a desire to work within the healthcare industry and work with kids with special needs. That coupled with my love of all things sport resulted in me choosing a career as a physiotherapist.

What is your favourite thing about being a physiotherapist?

I really enjoy figuring out what it is that affects peoples lives, in terms of pain. To see people regain control of their live, painfree, is an extremely rewarding scenario. I also like the pressure of trying to get athletes back onto the pitch or being ready for an event.

The brain body connection is one of life’s mysteries. It is an extremely powerful connection that allows us to live our daily lives and perform our desired activities. However, when the connection is influenced in a negative way, i.e. when you are injured, it can be very limiting. Personally, I feel that understanding this connection is vital to any successful rehabilitation pathway. Often people can move, breathe and function abnormally after an injury, even though they may not know they are doing anything different. Therefore, I spend a lot of the time on education and empowering the ability of all patients to have a positive influence on the brain-body connection.

Tell us of some treatment options used to treat conditions.

Dry needling is a powerful treatment tool we use in the clinic. It has significant benefits and can help alleviate pain. It is a relatively quick and painfree process which can aid recovering from most, if not all ailments. However, it is only a “tool”, and there are many more tools which we use to allow for optimum recovery of our clients. This coupled with a comprehensive education and home exercise programme is an essential part of our provision of care.

Words of wisdom!

We are built to move, so we should keep going. I would recommend that you keep exercising if it doesn’t hurt. However, it must be guided by your therapist in order to achive the desired benefits. I would generally avoid stretching if it is painful as there is more benefit to regular, painfree movements.

Why should a potential client choose Galway Bay Physio?

At Galway Bay Physio, we try to provide a very relaxed friendly environment. Nothing formal, or no element of scaremongering. We offer a comprehensive service to educate, treat and solve whatever issues you may have. We are not in the game of getting people back in for multiple treatments unneccessarily. I have always had the ethos of “treat people the way you would like to treated”!!

About Ciaran!

Ciaran is our lead physiotherapist and founder of Galway Bay Physio, who qualified as a chartered physiotherapist following completion of a Masters in Physiotherapy in Robert Gordon Physiotherapy of Aberdeen. Prior to this he completed a four year Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Anatomy at NUI Galway. Since qualifying he has obtained a wealth of experience from working in a number of private practices and medical centres in the UK and Ireland.

Ciaran strives to deliver high quality individually tailored treatment programmes and rehabilitation, and also ensures that patients understand exactly what their specific problems are and most importantly how to cure them.

A keen rugby man Ciaran has worked extensively with leading athletes and sports participants having been involved with numerous sporting clubs in Ireland and the UK.

Emmett Hartigan - MISCP

Meet your physiotherapist!

Hi I am Emmett Hartigan and I specialise in treating both neck/back pain and sports injuries. I have been treating neck/back pain since working under McKenzie specialists in King’s Cross Hospital in Dundee in 2009. I have been actively involved in treating high level sports athletes since working in Wanaka Physiotherapy, New Zealand in 2012.I also specialised in treating Cystic Fibrosis patients with exercise programmes and airway clearance techniques since 2010.

Why did you choose to be a physiotherapist?

I always had a love of all things science and engineering. I chose to study science in University and my fascination of musculoskeletal anatomy and how the human body moved and worked led me to choose physiotherapy as a career.
What is your favourite thing about being a physiotherapist?
Working with people and helping people overcome pain and achieve their goals is a huge aspect of the job which I love. I do also hugely enjoy the challenge of figuring out the less common/more complex conditions and how to help them.

Tell us some conditions you have been able to treat.

Lower back pain can be debilitating, painful and negatively affect all aspects of a person’s life. It is really important to get to the root cause of ‘why’ the person has developed pain in their lower back and to distinguish between the myths around lower back pain. There can be huge fear avoidance strategies which people subscribe to. Fear of the pain will cause them to move less which in turn make their pain worse etc. I often will show people who exhibit these types of behaviours good scientific research with MRI images of how even lumbar disc bulges heal and regress. This can put many people’s fear at bay. It’s also vital that they experience objective change during the session so they can see the changes they can make when doing their exercise programme. I will use some treatments such as dry needling or massage which can be uncomfortable but this needs to be followed by an objective performance on re-testing movement or strength. Once a patient experiences that, they understand the mechanism of their pain better and are better motivated to actively engage in the treatment programme.

Words of Wisdom!

Being a qualified Pilates instructor has greatly helped in my ability to prescribe exercise in the most detailed fashion. Often it is only minor adjustments that are required to make an average exercise into a very effective one and my experience has shown me that often this is what has been holding patients back with their progress. I would always recommend that a person keep moving even if they experience lower levels of pain. Generally, if movement is good for an injury it will not hurt in any way. Let your body and pain levels guide you. If it feels good to do a movement and there are no negative effects after that movement, then your body is telling you that it is the correct movement to make for you at that time. Gentle mobility is often better that active static stretching and pain levels should always guide the intensity of this.

Why should a potential client choose Galway Bay Physio?

Our goal at Galway Bay Physio is quality of treatment. We will always endeavour to do our best for our patients. thanks to the vast experience of our group of physios who colaboratively work together it is possible for inter-therapist referral within Galway Bay Physio so you can benefit of the combined knowledge and expertise of all of our therapists. Our multi-site locations also offer great convenience for patient’s home and work lives.

About Emmett!

Emmett is a Galway native who qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland after completing an MSc (Pre-Reg) in Physiotherapy in 2008. This was following the completion of an honours degree in Anatomy in N.U.I. Galway in 2005.

Emmett began his career in Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland as a rotational physiotherapist, working in a variety of areas including musculoskeletal, respiratory, post-surgical rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation, amputee rehabilitation and Cystic Fibrosis.

Emmett has extensive musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy experience working with high performance athletes. He worked as the Team Physiotherapist for Galway United FC from 2014 to 2017 and has since then acted in a consultancy role to the club. He has also worked with the Connacht Rugby Academy, Liam Mellows hurling, the Connacht High Performance Swimming Centre and various teams and athletes in the Galway area.

Barbara Trant - MISCP

Meet your physiotherapist!

Hi! I’m Barbara and I specialise in Neck Pain for over 11 years and Postpartum Corrective Exercise for 2 years. I started to specialise in treating Neck Pain after doing my Masters in Clinical Physiotherapy in Perth, Australia (2011) where I focused on management of complex spinal pain and whiplash associated injuries.
I subsequently set up my first specialist neckcare service in 2016 to cater for those particularly with more complex neck pain problems. This service is available in Galway Bay Physio – see ‘Neckcare Pro’. I decided to become a postpartum core exercise specialist (PCES) after becoming a Mum and racing back to exercise too quickly – causing myself a range of injuries from worsening back pain and hiatus hernia as well as a severe right calf tear.

Why did you choose to be a physiotherapist?

I initially chose to become a physiotherapist after treatment of ankle and hand injuries I got playing sports…I was sports crazy growing up, and was especially into basketball, which I played at top level!

What is your favourite thing about being a physiotherapist? 

My favourite thing now about being a physiotherapist is helping clients ‘who’ve already tried everything’ to resolve complex neck and back problems. I love providing solutions for pain relief and empowering clients, especially Mums, to be healthy, strong and confident in their bodies!

Tell us a story of a patient that you were able to help?

Marie (not her real name) – came to GBP after 6 months of progressively worsening neck pain following a diagnosis of a disc bulge. Due to severe neck and arm pain, she had to stop work and all of her favourite activities – including yoga & running. She wasn’t quite ready to go the surgical route and already had a lumbar disc bulge discectomy. Despite being fit, the combination of having three kids and a spinal disc bulges led to her having quite a few compensatory patterns and muscle imbalance.

The challenge when treating complex and persistent problems like Marie’s, is to look at them ‘like a puzzle’ with lots of physical and non-physical pieces! My greatest pleasure as a physiotherapist is to deconstruct all of the issues at play and address them systematically… With this approach I was able to facilitate Marie back to pain-free function and return to doing the things she loves, which honestly was immensely rewarding all round!

Words of Wisdom!

So if you are experiencing persistent neck or back pain – particularly Mums with other postpartum issues (ab separation, bladder leaks etc) – my advice is to stop looking for one off treatments, trying random ad-hoc approaches maybe online off you-tube, or worse ignoring your symptoms… The reality is stretches, massages or indefinitely taking pain medication won’t solve the underlying factors that are keeping you stuck living your life in pain!
I know motherhood can be an incredibly challenging time, especially for new Mums and time itself can be hard to come by.  But if you are experiencing persistent spinal pain or postpartum issues I strongly recommend that you put yourself FIRST and make wise decisions about your health that will stand to you in the future.

About Barbara!

Barbara is a highly qualified Chartered Physiotherapist and has vast experience in the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, sports and foot injuries through the use of techniques such as manual therapy, therapeutic and functional exercise, acupuncture and orthotic/insole prescription where appropriate.

Barbara qualified as a physiotherapist from Royal College of Surgeons in 2005 and subsequently completed her Masters degree in Clinical Physiotherapy (2011) from Curtin University, Perth, Australia, where she graduated with a first class honours. Prior to this she obtained an honours degree in Sports Rehabilitation from St. Mary’s University, London in 2000. Barbara also has additional qualifications in western acupuncture, dry needling and orthotic prescription. She has extensive experience working in large private practices in both Ireland and Australia over the last 16 years.

Barbara has particular interest and expertise in the management of complex musculoskeletal and spinal disorder and provides a specialist service for managing chronic neck pain and traumatic neck injuries – including whiplash associated disorder.

She has more recently qualified as a Pregnancy & Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist since becoming a Mother herself!…and offers a comprehensive assessment and management approach to deal with a variety of issues from pregnancy related Back Pain (or sciatica), Abdominal Separation and Pelvic Floor dysfunction for all you new or not so new Moms.

In summary Barbara is dedicated to providing the highest standard of care. She will go that extra step to ensure that you fully understand the cause of your problem and will provide treatment that targets your individual functional needs.

Barbara works from our Galway City Clinic

Theresa Slattery

Meet your physiotherapist!

Hi! I’m Theresa and I specialise in movement dysfunctions, improving mobility and building up postural and core stability using a combination of Pilates, Yoga and Physiotherapy exercises. I use hands-on techniques such as manual therapy, massage therapy, cupping, shockwave therapy and dry needling to help improve the dysfunctional movement pattern and then prescribe a graded exercise programme that the patient can continue to work on at
home. My aim is for the patient to understand their injury, what may have caused it and how they can self manage and prevent a recurrence in the future.

I qualified from RCSI as a Physiotherapist nearly 9 years ago and have been working to help people since then. After completing my Physiotherapy degree in RCSI I moved overseas to New Zealand/Australia where I spent over 4 years working as a Physiotherapist primarily in musculoskeletal private practice. I completed my Pilates and Yoga instructor teacher training as well as gaining experience and completing further training in manual therapy, dry needling, pain management and exercise prescription. Since moving home I have been working with Galway Bay Physio treating a range of acute and chronic conditions. I started up the ‘Physiotherapy Led Pilates’ for the clinic in 2019 which I continue to teach today.

Why did you choose to be a physiotherapist? 

I chose Physiotherapy as a career as it allowed me to combine helping people with my passion for exercise, movement and science.

What is your favorite thing about being a physiotherapist?

I enjoy being able to help people return from injury and back to doing the things they love. I also enjoy helping people to remain injury free using exercise based approaches such as Pilates.

Tell us some conditions you have treated.

I treat a range of acute and chronic conditions including chronic and recurrent lower back pain and movement dysfunctions. Firstly, I will do a thorough history of the patients’ condition and then a full physical assessment. I then explain what I think is causing the condition and make a plan with the patient for going forward. This often involves some hands on Physiotherapy (including massage therapy, manual therapy, cupping, shockwave therapy or dry needling) to improve the dysfunctional area and then I prescribe a graded exercise programme the patient can complete at home. The number of sessions needed vary depending on the condition and its severity.

Tell us some treatment oprtions or services you use.

I run the ‘Physiotherapy led Pilates’ at Galway Bay Physio. I teach small group classes in blocks of 6 weeks. The classes are a combination of strength, stability and mobility exercises using breathing and core activation techniques to ensure all movements are supported. I give modifications and different level options with exercises to allow for
different abilities and injuries. The three classes that I currently run are beginner classes which are aimed at those starting Pilates for the first time, those who want to get a good grounding in the basic principles and ensure they are doing the exercises correctly and those returning from or managing injuries.

Words of Wisdom!

Generally, after an acute injury we recommend the PRICE protocol. Protect the area from further damage (for example if crutches or a brace is needed for the initial period). (Relative) Rest – Avoid stressing the injured area to the point of pain as this may slow the healing. Gentle, painfree range of movement is generally beneficial. Ice – using cold treatments to help reduce pain and swelling. Compression – gently compress the area using a wrap or bandage to gently support the area and reduce swelling. Elevation – elevate the injured area to help reduce swelling.

Why should a potential client choose Galway Bay Physio?

At Galway Bay Physio we have a great team with a wealth of knowledge and experience. We aim to get to the root of the patients’ issue and get the patient back to achieving their goals safely and efficiently using a patient centered approach.

About Theresa!

Theresa qualified with a BSc Hons degree in Physiotherapy from RCSI in 2013. Since qualifying she has gained a wide variety of skills and knowledge from working in both private and public settings both in Ireland and abroad.

Theresa spent over three years in New Zealand working in Private Practice. Here she qualified as a Pilates Instructor, completed her Dry Needling course and completed a course in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy as well as gaining a wealth of knowledge regarding treating people with acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries. During this time she also worked with a number of clients under the New Zealand Chronic pain management programme completing Gym or Hydrotherapy based programmes. Before moving to Australia Theresa also completed her Yoga teacher training. She then spent time working in Australia with Queensland Health seeing a busy caseload of pre and post operative and musculoskeletal conditions.

Theresa has a keen interest in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, biomechanics and getting each individual to reach their full ability. Using a combination of manual therapy, dry needling and exercise prescription she enjoys helping people to prevent, manage and rehabilitate a range of injuries.

David Kelly - MISCP

Meet your physiotherapist!

Hi! My name is David Kelly and I specialise in Musculoskeletal(MSK) and Vestibular Physiotherapy. I have been practising as a physio for 7 years. I started as a Band 5 physio on rotations in St James Hospital, Leeds. I gathered a broad range of experience working on Major trauma, Intensive care, elderly and general medicine and outpatients. After two and a half years, I left the hospital to pursue my career in Muscoloskeletal Physiotherapy and stayed in Leeds working as junior and senior in private practice. In 2019, I moved back to Ireland and have continued to work in private practice. Over this time, I have been able to work with players from various teams including Galway united, Connacht rugby, Galway hurling underage players, and NUIG scholarship athletes.

Why did you choose to be a physiotherapist?

Initially I wanted to work with sports teams so that’s what got me into physio. Once I started working I realised I preferred working in clinic dealing with all sorts of injures with people from all walks of life.

What is your favourite thing about being a physiotherapist?

I enjoy helping someone who’s been suffering with chronic pain for a long time and being able to help them get back to their normal pain free self. I also enjoy the sports side, getting players fit to play and train as quickly as possible.

Tell us some conditions you have been able to treat.

Vestibular Physio primarily involves helping people who are suffering with vertigo and balance disorders. When patients present with true vertigo and are unable to move their head in a certain way because the room starts spinning, generally with 1-2 sessions we are able to resolve these issue and get these patient lives back to normal. The reoccurrence rate is about 50% over the next year but is easly managed with the right treatment.

I treat all MSK injures. I particularly enjoy treating knee pain. This comes from my time working on the lower limb outpatient’s team. I developed a really good understanding on the knee anatomy and pathophysiology. I have been able to help people avoid needing knee surgery by education and effective loading programs for the knee.

About David!

David is a Roscommon native who qualified as a chartered Physiotherapist in 2015 from The Manchester Metropolitan University. This was following the completion of a degree in Health Science and Physiology from Sligo I.T

David began his career in The Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust as a rotational Physiotherapist working on various areas including Major trauma, medicals, elderly and outpatients. David has been working a senior physiotherapy in private practice since 2017 gaining a wealth of experience in musculoskeletal and sports Physiotherapy. He is the physiotherapist for Roscommon Gaels senior and underage teams. David has also worked with players from the men’s and women’s Connacht academy teams and professional cycling teams.

David has takien a keen interest in Pilates and strength and conditioning. He has completed his Pilates mat work level one and unravelling strength conditioning course. David uses these skills with his one on one patients and teaches beginners Pilates.

Keith Griffin

Meet you physiotherapist!

Hi, my name is Keith! I specialise in Sports Injuries and have been treating sport injuries for 7 years. I have experience working with many sport teams; the Galway Minor and Galway u20s since 2017;  the Irish Students Rugby team, covering the world cup in Australia and two 4 Nations tournaments; and working with Nuig, Liam Mellows and Mountbellew.

Why did you choose to be a physiotherapist?

After working with the Red cross for a number of years and training as a ambulance driver and paramedic, I became very interested in the after care for people that had suffered injuries and their recovery. This lead me down the road to starting my training to become a therapist.

What is your favourite thing about being a physiotherapist?

I like being able to listen to Patients and their issues and to work with them in a one-to-one situation and apply a hands-on therapy to aid in their recovery.

Tell us some of the worst conditions you have been able to treat.

Working mainly with Sports injuries, the worst condition I have treated is an ACL rupture. This injury has a long recovery time, the patient is unable to play their sport for anything up to 1 year, depending the type of surgery they have. The treatment for this injury starts before the surgery with reduction swelling and returning range of
motion to the leg. After the surgery the treatment involves a phased rehabilitation program to return range of motion to the leg and increase strength and stability to the knee joint and surrounding structures. The treatment overall is not painful but can be difficult and challenging. With my patient I felt the key to his recovery was to have a
connection and understanding of the impact and difficulty this injury had on his life from a social and personal level. Being able to understand the injury from his point of view helped be to overcome setbacks my patient had and to be able to advise him and help him to stay positive during his recovery and return to sport.

Tell us some treatments and services you provide.

Sport Injury and hands on therapy is the main service I provide in the Clinic. Within this service I offer a range of Deep Tissue Massages which can aid in the recovery time between sporting events, help prepare you for a sporting event, aid in flexibility and assist in reducing stress levels and helping circulation. For sports injuries, I take
a whole-body approach to examine not just the injury site but above and below this site. I also look at the sport you are playing and apply a specific rehabilitation program tailored to the sport to aid you in body mechanic and recovery.

Words of Wisdom!

If you currently have undiagnosed pain, I would recommend the pain is reviewed with a therapist or GP and the correct exercises are given to avoid further injury. I wouldn’t recommend that you stretch until the pain is reviewed as further issues could occur. Some tips I would give for soft tissue injuries are; RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) as this is best practise. I would then follow this up with your GP or Therapist for the next stage of recovery and advice.

A dead leg is something commonly seen in sport and the RICE principal is the best treatment in the first 48 hours of this injury but something you may not be aware of is that you should not stretch a dead leg within the first 24-48 hours of the injury as it could cause further damage.

Why should a potential client choose Galway Bay Physio?

At Galway Bay Physio we have a dedicate team of therapists all with a large amount of experience and knowledge within their fields. We can offer you one to one consultation with a therapist that will listen to you and understand the issue you are facing. They will help and assist you in returning to the activity that is the most important to you.

Mark Hughes

Meet you physiotherapist!

Hi! I am Mark and I specialise in Musculoskeletal and Sports Injuries. I have been practising as a physio for 2 years now and I have worked primarily in private practice. I also have spent time working in a hospital setting where I have experience with neurological rehabilitation, respiratory, orthopaedics and general medicine. Early in 2021, I joined the team at Galway Bay physio. I have worked with players from numerous teams including Connacht Rugby, Galway United, Galway Hurling U20 and minor teams and many more sporting teams around Galway.

Why did you choose to be a physiotherapist?

I always had the intention of becoming a physiotherapist when I was younger. I think this comes down to my keen interest in sport!

What is your favourite thing about being a physiotherapist?

My favourite thing about being a physio would have to be the satisfaction you get from helping people who have been suffering with pain for a long time resume normal pain free day to day activities.

Tell us some conditions you have been able to treat.

I particularly enjoy treating lower back pain. The majority of people will suffer from back pain at one stage or another. The majority of these cases will resolve pretty quickly but in some circumstances it can be a bit more difficult to shift the pain. In treating chronic back pain I utilise a multifaceted approach to look for improvements in peoples day to day pain levels. A big part of this is looking at breathing exercises and rib cage movement in order to get the body out of “fight or flight “ mode. Massage, desensitisation of overloaded tissues and dry needling are just some of the techniques used to help this stage. It is also important to address fear avoidance behaviours. Many people have beliefs that moving and lifting are detrimental to back pain where the opposite is often the case. It is also important to provide an effective explanation as to what to expect along the rehab journey. With low back pain the likelihood that people will experience flare ups from time to time is quite high, I think it’s very important to equip people with the tools and the knowledge to manage these flare ups as effectively as possible.

Do you recommend I exercise when in pain?

I think especially with back pain people tend to demonise movement. A little movement can often help. The level of exercise that is undertaken should be determined by the pain levels. Listen to your body!!

Why should a potential client choose Galway Bay Physio?

I think at Galway Bay Physio there is a huge focus on teamwork. The broad range of expertise that is present amongst our team of physios ensures that in complex cases, there is a team of physios there to help you and not just one individual.

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