Transcend Health: Duncan’s Story

“You must find it really satisfying helping people”.

Clients of Transcend Health say this to me all the time. Typically, I would answer in my cheerful way “oh, you know, most days”. Honestly, 85% of the time, I love it, but, this hasn’t always been the case.

After a few years practicing, most physio’s start to really doubt their practice, their impact, and their patients. A great many don’t get through this, they pivot or they leave. Trust me, I have been there.

While I was at this point in my career, I sustained a major back injury. An L5/S1 disc herniation (bulge) which damaged the nerve on my left side as it exited the spine. This is as bad as sciatica gets. Constant +8-10 pain from my buttock to my big toe. The nerve was so damaged I could not lift my foot off the ground as I walked, I lost feeling in top part of my big toe, I couldn’t bend forward, I was waking up four times each night due to the pain, and I had to lie on the ground every 30 minutes just to get comfortable (I did this in the middle of a family lunch at the pub, and got some very strange looks). A patient presenting with these symptoms usually goes for surgery.

I did, however, have a few things on my side. For me, there was less fear, as I knew what was going on. I didn’t wait weeks playing on the horrible medical merry-go-round like many of the people I end up helping. Three months in, I was a lot better, back at work and no longer needing to lay down on pub floors.

Things had plateaued. My physio tools had stopped moving me forward. I could control my pain with treatment, but it would always come back. This is where a lot of people with pain get stuck. Traditional physio, chiro, osteo gets improvement up to a point, then you get stuck in a recurrent cycle. At the tender age of 25, this is not what I wanted.

I broadened my scope. I started dancing salsa to rehab my foot coordination, I did gymnastics training for flexibility and strength, I spent time researching pain science to better understand what the pain might (or might not) mean, plus I engaged in weight-lifting, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and more. I wanted to find out which disciplines had something to offer for certain issues. There is good stuff in everything, but not everything is good.  At 11 months I was functioning beyond any capacity that I had ever experienced in my life. This post on my personal Instagram highlights that experience.

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A post shared by Duncan White (@move_live) on

My passion was back. I started implementing these new tools with my patients and achieving great results. Here is an old Instagram post from one of those early clients. There are also heaps of other stories on our Transcend Health blogs.

Exercise Physiologists and physiotherapists team at Transcend Health newcastle

That is how Transcend began. This is how Transcend continues to give hope that we can make possible what was once thought impossible.

Pain sucks! Not to take away from the how horrible that was (or is for you), there is often a way out.

To see how Duncan can help you, please contact Transcend Health on 02 4961 3399 or book an appointment online at

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