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Sharon Hennessey is the founder and principal of Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services which became a business specifically targeted to those with issues associated with connective tissue disorders in 2020. Sharon has developed Notjustbendy.com and Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services to improve the dissemination of practical education strategies to professionals treating hypermobility and the people who struggle with this condition on a daily basis. Sharon leads a team of eight physiotherapists and practices out of a custom-built practice in Eight Mile Plains on the Southside of Brisbane. She brings her 25 years of experience as a physiotherapist and diverse experience and education as well as lived experience as a client and a mother of hypermobility.
Sharon completed her Physiotherapy degree, a Bachelor of Physiotherapy with concurrent research-based honors, at the University of Queensland in 1997. In the first five years of her career, Sharon worked in a diverse range of physiotherapy special interest areas including general hospital medical/surgical, intensive care, burns, paediatrics, women’s health, neurology, rheumatology, amputees, orthopaedics, hydrotherapy, inpatient/outpatient neuro-rehabilitation, gerontology, palliative care and musculoskeletal outpatients.
Sharon has worked in major teaching hospitals in Brisbane, Australia and London, England as well as smaller rural based clinics and urban practices. As well as working in various hospital facilities, Sharon worked concurrently in musculo-skeletal outpatients/private practice for the first eight years of her career. Being exposed to a wide range of physiotherapy expertise areas in her early career has given Sharon a very extensive understanding of physiotherapy management of disease and medical conditions that often occur concurrently with complex hypermobility including cardiac, lung, neurological, psychological, digestive, post-surgical and the need for paced rehabilitation.
In the more recent 19 years of her career she has worked solely in Brisbane in private physiotherapy practices. Having delivered approximately 15,000 sessions of physiotherapy she has a wealth of knowledge regarding joint and muscle issues.
Sharon has always had special passion for treating those with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS). Being hypermobile herself, she has experimented with a variety of management approaches throughout her life using herself as “guinea pig” for multiple different treatments & physiotherapy styles. She aims to achieve improvements for patients with individualized and paced exercise programs. Sharon uses a problem-solving approach to achieve goals and improve function in this often-complicated group of individuals. It is due to this passion that Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services opened in June 2020. Initially operating out the Physiotec building in Tarragindi, before moving to its own custom built location in Eight Mile Plains in mid 2022.
Sharon has a special interest treating those with hip/pelvic issues, foot issues and shoulder issues (including recurrent dislocation/subluxation). She has extensive experience in developing targeted rehabilitation programs and teaching pilates, use of real time ultrasound for muscle recruitment training, integrated dry needling approaches. Muscle Energy techniques for the ribs/chest and the use of Electrical muscle stimulation.
Sharon is also passionate about educating other health professional in assessment and management of hypermobility and its associated co-morbidities and has presented talks for the Australian Physiotherapy Association, EDS ECHO group and at a recent Rheumatology conference. Sharon is a member of the International Committee of physiotherapists tasked with developing a pathway for the diagnosis and management of upper neck instability (also known as CCI) with a publication on this topic published in the Frontiers of Medicine Journal.
Hypermobility Related Courses and Conferences attended:
- 2014 Perth – Hypermobility Syndrome – Recognition & Management (Dr Jane Simmonds and Robyn Hickmott)
- 2014 Sydney – Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Conference (Connected Foundation)
- 2016 New York – International Professional Symposium on EDS when members of the International Consortium discussed their findings and recommendations prior to the planned publication in 2017 in the American Journal of Genetics (Ehlers-Danlos Society)
- 2018 Sydney – Ehlers-Danlos Society Learning Conference Patient and Professional days (Ehlers-Danlos Society)
- 2019 Brisbane – Marfan & Aortopathy Conference
- 2020 Online – EDS Echo Allied Health Program (Ehlers-Danlos Society) – ongoing attendance and presentation of clinical case studies
- 2020 Virtual EDS Echo Summit. A virtual scientific meeting on EDS, HSD, and co-morbidities
- 2021/22 Online -EDS Echo Allied Health Program
- 2023 Integral Movement Method taught by Jeannie Di Bon https://jeanniedibon.com/
- Poster presented at the 2020 Virtual EDS Echo Summit Poster-007-Hennessey-S-FINAL-EDS-ECHO-SUMMIT-Oct-2020(7)
Sharon Hennessey – co-author Journal Article published Frontiers in Medicine (2023): Presentation and physical therapy management of upper cervical instability in patients with symptomatic generalized joint hypermobility: International expert consensus recommendations: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2022.1072764/full
- Sharon Hennessey is interviewed about connective tissue disorders and working with hypermobile patients (recorded by Insight Osteopathy).
- Sharon Hennessey has also presented to the greater physiotherapy community on this topic at Australian Physiotherapy Association lecture evenings (2020 and 2021) and provides and training to other physiotherapy practices on request.
- In June 2022, she presented an online lecture to 500 Australian Physiotherapists (and other health professionals) on “Hypermobility: Its Types and its Management”. This is part of a lecture series that has been developed a team of allied health clinicians passionate about increasing knowledge of complex hypermobility in the allied health and medical sphere. You can read more about this Hypermobility Advocacy Team here.
- Presentation to EDS ECHO Allied Health Group – two presentations in September 2022 – one on hypermobility of the back and pelvis and the other on hypermobility of the hip and knee
- October 2022, Sharon presented at the Sandoz Rheumatology conference to around 50 Australian Rheumatologists (medical specialists) and she has been invited back to speak to trainee Rheumatologists in 2023.
- April 2023 – Mast Cell Activation Syndrome conference – health professionals and general public days. Presentation called – Hypermobility & MCAS – physiotherapist’s perspective; including identification and management strategies
- Since 2014, Sharon has mentored other physiotherapists regarding evidence-informed care for this group of people and meets regularly with her team of physios for mentoring and training. Sharon presents regularly to other physiotherapy and allied health practices on the classification and management of complex hypermobility.
- Sharon meets with her team of physiotherapists regularly for group and one-on-one mentoring. Sharon and her team are very proactive with their approach to regular professional education, reviewing clinical research and adapting their treatment approach appropriately as new evidence emerges.
- Guest speakers from other disciplines (with an interest in hypermobility or one its co-occurring conditions) will often present to her team to encourage multi-disciplinary understanding. Prior speakers include: dietetics, occupational therapy (hand therapist), exercise physiology (fatigue interest), and podiatry.
- She is always interested in fostering relationships with other professionals who have a special interest in this field of connective tissue disorders. Sharon believes that a broad knowledge base is paramount in understanding her clients who present with a multi-faceted issues.
- Sharon is a member of the International Committee tasked with developing a pathway for the diagnosis and management of upper neck instability (also known as CCI).
- Sharon is a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association, and one of the founding directors (now retired) of the Hip Pain Help website.
Sharon and her team of physiotherapists – Marlisa Kwan, Belinda Breust, April Meggs, Maria Yee, Elissa Mak and Laurel Hoppis can be consulted in person in Brisbane or over telehealth for those living in Australia.
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