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Personal Stories

Perry’s Story

“Taking part in research has changed my life totally – I wish I’d done it 40 years ago.”

Perry Smythe, age 72 from Birmingham (pictured with his dog Rosie) recently took part in the BOOST study, comparing group class physiotherapy with one to one physiotherapy in people over 65, with lumbar spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication, a painful problem that limits people’s ability to walk long distances.

After many years of lower back pain, Perry was invited to join the study by Physiotherapist Jonathan Price at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

‘I was in lots of pain and had been for some time. As part of the research study I attended the hospital for 12 weeks, twice weekly for exercises and sessions on dealing with pain, which I found very informative. There was also a very useful booklet which I found helpful to remind me of the exercises.

A person holding a dog

‘In the past I would have lain in bed all day, and life was passing me by. Now I just do the exercises and it passes. And just as important, I know not to worry about it.

‘As a retired person, I didn’t find it inconvenient in any way to take part – in fact I looked forward to the social aspect, and learning about what others are going through puts things in perspective.

‘Initially I found the exercises difficult but they became easier once I was into the routine. The booklet helped me with the schedule as I sometimes have memory problems.

‘I would definitely be keen to take part in any other studies and I am always recommending my friends and neighbours to do it if they can. I show everyone the exercises too.

‘Taking part has brought me pain relief after all this time and I’d like to thank everyone involved. I thought I was going to have a miserable retirement but now I’m doing Nordic walking and Pilates, and I can push my wife’s wheelchair, which I never thought I’d do.

‘I knew nothing about research before I took part, but now I’d recommend it to anybody – and I’m looking forward to seeing the study’s results.’ Note: the study results are not yet published (at February 2019) and therefore this account cannot be deemed as representative of all participants who took part.

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