An introduction to physiotherapy

By Eliana Viali 15 November 2021, 6:27PM

Talofa everyone and welcome to the first of a series of weekly health columns. My name is Eliana Viali and I’m a physiotherapist. 

My father is Asiata Dr Satupaitea Viali and my mother is Sialei Viali. My family moved here from New Zealand when I was 2 years old in 1999 and I was raised here during my primary and secondary schooling. I attended Robert Louis Stevenson Secondary College for high school and was the top biology, chemistry and physics student, top science student as well as the proxime accessit in 2012. After attending UPY in 2013 I managed to secure an NZAID scholarship to Dunedin to study physiotherapy at the University of Otago. 

As part of my degree I studied health sciences, anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, rehabilitation sciences and clinical skills. I worked in private clinics, rehabilitation wards and acute care, the Dunedin Hospital and the Timaru Hospital. 

I graduated in 2019 and obtained my physiotherapy registration with the Physiotherapy Board in New Zealand and am currently licensed through my New Zealand Annual Practicing Certificate to practice there. When I returned, I started working in the Physiotherapy Department at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital last year. 

Through the Allied Health Council of Samoa, I obtained my physiotherapy registration and am licensed to practice here. While at TTM Moto’otua I worked on Acute 7 to treat post-surgical patients; Acute 8 to treat acutely-medically unwell patients (stroke, cellulitis, amputations); the OBGYN ward to treat ante-natal post-natal and post-surgical women; the paediatrics ward to treat children and out in the community to follow up on patients I had seen in the wards. 

During that time, I started working on my Masters in neurorehabilitation and took two papers by distance through the University of Otago. I am currently working on my thesis topic with the intent to start the research in mid-2022. 

After a year and a half at the hospital I resigned and started my own practice, Aligned Physiotherapy and am contracted to Alec’s Health Specialist Centre in Moto’otua to treat clients on Mondays and Thursdays. 

I have an ever-growing interest and passion to help people move more, move better and alleviate pain to promote function, hence why I started this column. 

From me, you can expect weekly columns on a broad range of topics concerning health including but not limited to movement, recovery from injury, understanding your body, basic nutrition advice and some healthy habits that can be easily incorporated into your busy day. 

To kick off the first of these columns, the first tip of this series will be for all you desk workers out there! Often when we sit for prolonged periods at our desks we can start to slouch and hunch forward. This can often lead to neck pain, back pain, sometimes even shoulder pain. 

A helpful cue that we learnt to teach others while I was studying was to imagine a thin piece of string starting from on top of your head down to the base of your spine. Throughout the day while you’re sitting at your desk, imagine pulling gently on the string and having it straighten up your spine. Sit as tall as possible in your chair and tug on your string; as you do this, without thinking, you should notice your shoulders naturally start to shift slightly backwards, your neck starts to elongate and your upper and lower back start to straighten out of that curved and slouched position. 

This should alleviate some of the pain associated with sitting for a couple of hours at a desk that I know a lot of people have. That’s all from me for this week’s column, see you next week for your next health tip!


By Eliana Viali 15 November 2021, 6:27PM
Samoa Observer

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