Sharon Hennessey Hypermobility Physio

Sharon Hennessey

Founder and Principal Physiotherapist

Available for individual consultation (BOOKS CLOSED FOR NEW PATIENTS)

Eight Mile Plains, Brisbane, Australia

(07) 3123 4826

reception@notjustbendy.com

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CURRENTLY NOT SEEING ANY NEW PATIENTS

Sharon Hennessey – Professional Experience and Achievements

Founder and Principal, Not Just Bendy Hypermobility Services
2020 – Present

  • Founded a dedicated practice for hypermobility in Eight Mile Plains, Brisbane.
  • Developed Notjustbendy.com to disseminate educational strategies for professionals and patients.
  • Lead a team of ten clinicians in a custom-built facility.
  • Designed individualized and paced exercise programs for hypermobility patients.
  • Specialized in treating hip/pelvic issues, foot issues, and shoulder issues (including recurrent dislocation/subluxation).
  • Implemented advanced techniques: real-time ultrasound, dry needling, muscle energy techniques, and electrical muscle stimulation.

Education

  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honors, University of Queensland, 1997

Early Career Physiotherapy Experience

1997 – 2002

  • Worked in diverse physiotherapy areas: 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.
  • Worked in major teaching hospitals in Brisbane and London, as well as smaller rural clinics.
  • Specialized in neuro-rehabilitation for conditions: head injury, stroke, brain/spinal tumors, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and significant de-conditioning from extended ICU stays.
  • Applied principles of functional activity and movement dysfunction to rehabilitate patients from complete paralysis to full function.
  • Worked concurrently in musculoskeletal outpatients/private practice.
  • Gained extensive understanding of physiotherapy management for diseases and medical conditions often concurrent with complex hypermobility, including cardiac, lung, neurological, psychological, digestive, post-surgical needs, and paced rehabilitation.
  • Realized the applicability of neuro-rehabilitation principles to complex pain management.

Musculoskeletal Private Practice Work

PhysioTec, Brisbane
2010 – 2020

  • Worked under Practice Principal Alison Grimaldi.
  • Specialized in musculoskeletal physiotherapy with a focus on complex hypermobility cases.
  • Developed and implemented targeted rehabilitation programs.
  • Mentored junior physiotherapists and contributed to the professional development of the team.

Recent Career in Private Practice
2003 – Present

  • Delivered approximately 15,000 physiotherapy sessions.
  • Gained extensive knowledge regarding joint and muscle issues.
  • Specialized in treating Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS).
  • Used personal experience to experiment with various management approaches.
  • Developed individualized and paced exercise programs for patients.
  • Used a problem-solving approach to improve function in complex cases.

Professional Skills and Techniques

  • Developed and implemented targeted rehabilitation programs.
  • Expertise in teaching Pilates and using real-time ultrasound for muscle recruitment training.
  • Integrated dry needling approaches, muscle energy techniques for the ribs/chest, and electrical muscle stimulation for improved patient outcomes.

Education and Mentorship

  • Passionate about educating health professionals in the assessment and management of hypermobility and its comorbidities.
  • Delivered talks for the Australian Physiotherapy Association, EDS ECHO group, and recent Rheumatology conferences.
  • Presented an online lecture in 2022 to 500 Australian Physiotherapists on “Hypermobility: Its Types and its Management.”
  • Mentored physiotherapists since 2014, focusing on evidence-informed care for hypermobility.
  • Regularly meets with her team for group and one-on-one mentoring.
  • Invites guest speakers from various disciplines to foster multidisciplinary understanding.

Committees

Vision, Goals, and Passion

  • Vision: To advance the understanding and management of hypermobility and its associated disorders through education, innovation, and collaborative care.
  • Goals:
    • Improve diagnosis and treatment standards for hypermobility.
    • Foster a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.
    • Expand educational outreach to healthcare professionals and the community.
  • Passion: Driven by personal experience with hypermobility, Sharon is dedicated to finding effective management strategies for hypermobile individuals, enhancing their quality of life through personalized care, and empowering other health professionals with knowledge and tools to support this population effectively.

Presentations Delivered

2020-2021

  • Australian Physiotherapy Association lecture evenings
  • Provided training to other physiotherapy practices on request

2022

  • Online lecture to 500 Australian Physiotherapists on “Hypermobility: Its Types and its Management”
  • EDS ECHO Ehlers-Danlos Society Allied Health Group presentations on hypermobility of the back/pelvis and hip/knee
  • Sandoz Rheumatology conference to around 50 Australian Rheumatologists, invited back to speak to trainee Rheumatologists in 2023

2023

  • Mast Cell Activation Syndrome conference on “Hypermobility & MCAS – A Physiotherapist’s Perspective”
  • Australian Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine Conference on “Physiotherapy for Clients with Complex Hypermobility”
  • Australian Physiotherapy Association conference on “Upper Cervical Instability in Symptomatic Hypermobility”
  • Queensland Rheumatology Association conference on “Hypermobility – Classification, Co-morbidities, and Management”
  • Small Group Presentations:
    • PA Hospital Chronic Pain Team
    • NSW and ACT Rheumatology Registrars Training Session

2024

  • POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) Conference: General Public & Health Professionals Day – Physiotherapy for Symptomatic Hypermobility
  • Australian Hand Therapy Association
  • Marfan & Connective Tissue Conference

Impact and Goals

  • Sharon estimates she has presented to approximately 1,500 medical and allied health professionals about EDS/HSD.
  • Goal: Educate 5,000 medical and allied health professionals about EDS/HSD to improve understanding and management of these conditions.

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 (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
  • 2023, Brisbane: Mast Cell Activation Conference with Dr. Larry Afrin
  • 2023, Gold Coast: Australian Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • 2023: Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference
  • 2024, Adelaide: POTS Conference
  • 2025, Brisbane: Marfan & Connective Tissue Conference

Other Educational Highlights

  • 1998: Level 1 APA Cardio-thoracic
  • 1999: Level 1 APA Neurological Rehabilitation
  • 2000: Mulligans Manual Therapy – NAGs, SNAGs, MWMs
  • 2001: Bobath Normal Movement, High Tone and Low Tone Introductory Courses
  • 2001-2009: Pilates Training – Matwork; Level 1-2 Reformer/Trap Table; Wunda Chair
  • 2012-2014: Integrated Dry Needling Level 1-2 (Andrew Hutton)
  • 2010-2020: Mastering Movement of the Hip & Pelvis, Lateral Hip & Buttock Pain, Anterior Hip & Groin Pain; Foot & Ankle; Shoulder (Dr. Alison Grimaldi)
  • 2022: Treatment of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine and Thoracic Cage (Barbara Hungerford)

Publications

Podcasts

Mentoring

  • Since 2014, Sharon has mentored other physiotherapists regarding evidence-informed care for hypermobility and related conditions.
  • Regularly meets with her team of physiotherapists for group and one-on-one mentoring.
  • Sharon and her team are proactive in professional education, reviewing clinical research and adapting treatment approaches as new evidence emerges.
  • Invites guest speakers from various disciplines to present to her team, fostering multidisciplinary understanding. Prior speakers have included experts in dietetics, occupational therapy (hand therapy), exercise physiology (fatigue interest), and podiatry.
  • Always interested in fostering relationships with other professionals who have a special interest in connective tissue disorders.
  • Believes that a broad knowledge base is paramount in understanding and effectively treating clients with multifaceted issues.

Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Approach

  • Sharon collaborates with a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive care for patients with hypermobility and related conditions.
  • The MDT includes specialists from various fields, ensuring a holistic approach to patient care.
  • Regular meetings and case discussions with the MDT to coordinate treatment plans and share insights.
  • Encourages open communication and collaboration among team members to improve patient outcomes.
  • Continuously seeks to expand the MDT network by building relationships with high-caliber professionals interested in hypermobility.

Sharon and her team of physiotherapists – Marlisa Kwan, Belinda Breust, Maria Yee, Elissa Mak, Laurel Hoppis, Avery Wu, Gloria Kang, Keyi Cheng and Ariel Lee can be consulted in person in Brisbane or over telehealth for those living in Australia.

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