Authors

Phyllis Berger

Phyllis Berger

I started my career in physiotherapy (49 years ago) by being interested in acute orthopaedic trauma, which brought me into contact with patients with complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS). I then developed an interest in chronic pain conditions both spinal and peripheral and found myself in the realm of pain management. From my earliest experiences of treating patients, I realised that the addition of specific electrical currents and acupuncture expedited treatment and was more effective than physiotherapy alone. I then investigated and studied various types of electrical currents, specifically transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, functional electrical stimulation and more recently developed currents that produced positive changes in inflammation, mobility and oedema and those currents that had a consistently positive impact on hyperaesthesias.

I joined Prof E A Shipton’s Rand Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic in 1997 and gained more experience in treating many types of pain conditions often not normally encountered in general practice. On Prof Shipton’s advice, I joined the International Association for the Study of Pain to increase my knowledge of pain management and then commenced a period of self-study from 1996 to the present day, attending many international courses and congresses. I was invited in 1996 to join the Council of the South African Pain Society as it was then known and published many articles and studies (one full research in the SA Journal of Anaesthetics and Analgesia (including other SA journals) and in international journals (Pain Reviews 1999, Pain 2007, Acupuncture and Related Therapies 2013, 2014).

I attended a meeting in Bad Aibling, Germany with Professor Christian Barnard, among others to present my research on modified direct current (APS therapy) and in Freibourg, Germany at a pre-congress course of the International Association for the Study of Pain, Vienna 1999.

I have represented South Africa and presented lectures as the sole physiotherapist among clinicians at the First Pain in Africa Congress in Alexandria, Egypt 2000 and in Tripoli, Libya 2006 at the Second Pain in Africa Congress. I have also presented a workshop for the International Association of Acupuncture for Physical Therapists (IAAPT) in Hong Kong 2005 on Pain Management and then continued into China with a group of physiotherapists from different countries to visit hospitals and universities from Guangzhou to Shanghai to increase my experience in this field.

I have presented courses on pain management at the Pretoria, Durban and in Johannesburg for physiotherapists.

I was selected in 2007 to be on an international task force for the International Association for the Study of Pain for the Global Year against Pain in Women until October 2008 and have subsequently published a Fact sheet and co-authored a review article on Pain in Women with HIV/AIDS and had an article published on this subject on the World Confederation of Physical Therapists website, among other activities to publicise this project. I was selected to join the scientifc programme committee of the 2010 International Association for the Study of Pain’s 13th World Pain Congress in Montreal August 2010.

I have published four books, the first, Action Potential Currents 1999. The second, the Journey to Pain Relief was first published in South Africa 2003 and then revised and republished in the USA 2007. This book was written to help both patients and physiotherapists as pain management is a team approach and I intended the book to replace courses on pain management techniques such as TENS, other electrical currents and provide physiotherapists with a useful tool that assists them in managing many types of pain conditions. I hoped that the book would also become a great source of comfort to pain sufferers and enable them to learn to help themselves and assist their care givers/therapists in providing the best treatment options.

In 2012 I wrote a manual for a newly developed pulsed radio frequency device that can be used by physiotherapists and physicians treating both neuropathic and nociceptive pain conditions – Intro to Stimpod/NMS 460.

I have also presented lectures and workshops in Australia, USA, Israel and New Zealand from 1999. I present a lecture three times a year for Hospice, South Africa to educate Palliative Care Nurses with non-pharmacological pain management and between 3-4 times a year for patients in a Pain Support Group (Donald Gordon Patient Pain Support Group). I have also given pain management lectures to patients for the Arthritis Foundation. 

My current focus is to educate and present a pain management programme to each patient with chronic pain to assist them to understand their pain and use different self management coping skills to help them to manage their pain. Each patient will receive a booklet with the requisite information. This information can be used both by physiotherapists and medical insurance schemes to help them educate their patients and also financially support this education as recent research demonstrates that it is imperative that patients assist themselves in their own treatment programme.  

Books by Phyllis Berger

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Journey to Pain Relief

JPR is a book born out of both the author’s own experience of severe, intolerable pain...

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