Our Second GEM

Having the opportunity to train students at the clinic is a time consuming but thoroughly rewarding process. It’s a way to give back to the profession, and a chance to give student physios a chance to see what life in private practice is about and to observe our  physios in their element – diagnosing, assessing and treating patients, and all that goes with that. It’s a chance to put their learnings from Uni to practice, to get their hands on, and to start working through the mysteries of the human body.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the enforcement of social distancing, our clinic and physios experienced a sudden but expected drop in patients. This extra available time presented a unique opportunity to take on a student – we haven’t had one for 3 years now – and to be able to devote some time into training that next generation.

Yuhui is a final year student in the GEM Physio programme at Sydney Uni. She spent a few weeks at our clinic in April drilling our physios with many many questions, and found many ways to assist the clinic – helping with admin, and translating for our non-Chinese speaking physios – you’ll also see her pop up in some of the exercise videos which we’ve started doing! She was kind enough to share her reflections. 

How did you enjoy your time at the clinic?
The past few weeks at the clinic was definitely a paradigm shift for me and shed new light on my perspective of musculoskeletal physiotherapy apart from what the university has taught. I’ve had many opportunities to participate in in-service sessions and learn directly from the experienced physios. They were very passionate about what they were doing and were willing to share their wealth of knowledge with me and answer my questions even if that means taking time from their breaks to practice with me and teach me some new techniques! I enjoyed being able to interact with the patients as well and getting hands-on experience– it was truly rewarding. 

Most memorable experience/patient?

I remember one of Manfred’s patient complaining of neck pain did not seem to improve upon usual corrections in the ribs pelvis, or foot. I could tell he had cudgelled his brain to find the root problem, but he continued hunting. The situation was getting a little bit tense. Then towards the end of the session when Manfred corrected her elbow, she could rotate her head to the right (with an obvious increase in range of motion), and her whole face lit up and she exclaimed “AH! SO MUCH BETTER!”. That moment I was finally relieved but also bewildered at this sorcery..Who could’ve thought the neck pain came from her elbows?!

What are two things you learnt?

1.) The idea that the whole body is connected resonates profoundly with me after shadowing at the clinic. Rather than treating the body segment or region where the pain is arising from. it is important to consider the body as a whole and identify the primary driver to get a complete picture of the problem to most effectively treat the patient. As such, neck pain might stem from a pelvis problem or even a foot problem-which at times can be mind-boggling! 

2.) Palpation is a really useful that takes lots of practice and experience! It can provide so much information about the patient’s body and requires a lot of concentration and sensitivity at the finger tips (sometime you even have to close your eyes to concentrate on feeling!). Often times it doesn’t necessarily mean pushing hard to locate the structure but “sinking” in beneath the structure to search for the problematic area and you would pick up more information by palpating lightly. 

Anything that really surprised you? 

The thoracic ring approached seemed like a myth in the beginning, but eventually the physios were able to unravel this concept and help me understand how to use it effectively to treat patients. 

The accuracy of the physios in detecting minor deviations in body structures and treating it and making the patient feel much better after the session-especially when the patient responded with “Thats exactly where it is!” As well as Derek being able to precisely extrapolate what the patient did to injure themselves simply through palpating body structures and analysing their movements. 

Big thank you to the Lords of the Rings and for sharing your secrets! 

Haha Thanks Yuhui! First time I’ve ever been called that!

Well, we hope that we can share some more stories from our clinic and once again, thank you to all our patients that participated in letting Yuhui get some hands on experience.

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