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Neuromoves Lismore helping northern NSW

Spinal Cord Injuries

Monday, 24 September, 2018.

Since opening, NeuroMoves has made a monumental difference to the people living in this region. The centre has given residents in the region access to a high-quality facility that is close to home. 

Many people choose to live in the NSW Northern Rivers for the enviable lifestyle this iconic region has to offer. However, living in a regional area also means that access to some specialist healthcare services can be compromised by the tyranny of distance, with many needing to travel to Sydney or Brisbane to access services. 

This is no longer the case for people in the Northern Rivers region who are living with spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders including stroke and cerebral palsy. The opening of NeuroMoves, a specialised exercise centre run by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, in early 2017 was made possible by an $88,000 grant from the Charitable Foundation. 

Since opening, NeuroMoves has made a monumental difference to the people living in this region. The centre has given residents in the region access to a high-quality facility that is close to home.

James Murphy, NeuroMoves program participant.
James Murphy, NeuroMoves program participant.

“Prior to the opening of NeuroMoves most of our clients had nowhere to go. Or, if they did access specialised exercise services, it was in Sydney or Brisbane and this access was sporadic and provided minimal benefits to client recovery,” exercise therapist Sam Mitchell said. 

NeuroMoves Lismore is the first regional NSW site and is accessed by 30 active clients each week. 

“The opening of this site means our clients can access and participate in an ongoing intensive program; we’re really seeing the significant difference a regular program can make to our clients and, beyond the individual, it’s reducing the stigma around people with disability in the community,” Sam said. 

Clients participate in supervised gym visits or intensive one-on-one sessions with exercise therapists—which may include Functional Electrical Stimulation in conjunction with using equipment. 

“Reducing travel time and distance-related expenses has enabled us to develop individualised and regular programs with our clients,” Sam said. 

“We have actually had clients who haven’t participated in a formal exercise or therapy program since being discharged from hospital, simply due to the distance of travel to a service. They’re now participating in a regular program and the benefits they’re seeing are incredible.” 

James Murphy who is in his early 20s is a current client who uses the services. James sustained a C5 complete quadriplegia following a 2016 mountain bike accident on his parent’s farm at Eureka, in the NSW Northern Rivers. 

Following a long recovery at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, James returned home just before his 22nd birthday in late 2016. 

Since coming home, James has been a regular client of NeuroMoves for exercise therapy and credits the access to regular exercise within a specialist centre that’s close to home with his significant progress. 

“One of my goals when I came home was to change from a power chair to a manual chair,” James said. 

“A year ago I wasn’t able to get my hand over my head, but after the regular exercise at NeuroMoves, I’m now in a manual chair and it’s made such a big difference. It’s easier for me in a public setting and I find I’m more comfortable around people than I was in the power chair.”