The popularity of “physio near me” and is it a good thing?
So the old word of mouth isn’t quite what it used to be hey? Now, instead of going a great job, or in the case of physio helping someone to a great outcome, and knowing that that person will tell friends, family and work colleagues it seems it can be easier to be funny or interesting on social media instead to grab people’s attention.
I’m not so sure.
We use SEO help at Healthfix, I know not all local health clinics do. We grew massively through word of mouth in the early phases of Healthfix and as we opened more clinics and had team members progress from physio’s to leadership positions we started using SEO in order to get our message across to larger and larger audiences. At the moment, I have our main SEO man saying that you need to use more content talking about “physio near me”. I’m always happy to trust a fellow professional so I thought I’d at least make it educational.
I’ll do a 3 part series to talk about “physio near me” and when it could be good and when it might not work out for you.
In the first part I’ll talk about the conventional method of physio growth and how it used to be before Google and social media had their ways.
In the second section, I’ll talk about when a “physio near me” search is a good thing.
Finally, I’ll give my thoughts on when using a “physio near me” might not work and what you need to consider instead.
Strange to think that the same time last year we were enduring a fairly hard lock down. It affected everyone in different ways. As a team at Healthfix we committed to sticking to what we do best. We had rallied through the first lockdown well as a group and we knew that if we continued to look out for one another as a team and focused on helping our clients with their health needs that we would get through the second one too.
What it also did was give us the time and space to plan for the future; a 100 years and beyond to be exact. We did a lot of reading, workshops with the team and the leadership group, and we reaffirmed our vision, our values and our current mission.
It reaffirmed to us that Healthfix exists to empower lives.
With firm plans in place, we set up for –
Ash to evolve her directors’ role into managing all operations – to ensure consistency in our performance as a group
Bladen was promoted to Professional Services Manager – ensuring quality care through to discharging clients as what we call Empowered Health Experts.
Sarah was promoted to Club Manager – ensuring a quality experience for all and supporting our membership functions that helps people get a more cost effect result in a timely manner.
Me / Sean – to continue focusing on the future of Healthfix as an industry leader.
Sean joins the NSW Institute of Sport as their Head of Performance Health
What this meant for me became clearer over time and it was that we needed to be more set up like an institute of sport to truly serve our communities in a sustainable way. As the institute describes it, they turn World Class into World’s Best. The institute combines the best in research, coaching, high performance exercise and health care together to lead innovative ways in achieving elite performance. In a move that our new young gun strength and conditioning coach Brad Williams described as “you’re never too old (thanks mate) to keep learning and take on new challenges”, I have signed on as the new Head of Performance Health at the NSW Institute of Sport. Here I will lead the team of sports physios, sports doctors and soft tissue therapists and work collaboratively with our other department heads (high performance, coaches, athletes, sports managers and national and regional NSWIS partners) to turn NSW athletes into international medal winners.
The appointment has filled me with confidence that our systems and structures at Healthfix are of a high calibre and that our internal leadership and development programs as effective as well. The role is a credit to what Healthfix stands for, what we have been able to create as a team, and I am personally excited to joining the high achieving team at NSWIS. I’m sure it goes without saying to those who know me well that it also feels strange to be shifting such a large part of my focus to athletes winning medals as for so long if it hadn’t been a focus on winning for Healthfix I was either with my family, or surfing, or both!
Despite the mixed emotions, I look forward to offering all our members and clients an even better offering as we continue to grow and I look forward to either seeing you for a physio consult (hope not, as it’ll mean that you’re injured) or in one of our awesome group fitness classes as I’ll still be training daily at Healthfix.
If you caught our January internal newsletter I discussed how we adapted when severe COVID restrictions hit New South Wales. We knew there was going to be a continued need for good health care but we had to concern ourselves with the best way to deliver it. There was also a need to educate patients on how looking after their health was one thing that was in their control in a world that was seemingly changing by the day, sometimes by the hour (depending on the next press conference).
We connected with the mantra of Reconnecting to Purpose both for our patients and for our clinical and exercise teams. Why did patients value their health and the time spent working on caring for their health? If they could connect with what their long-term goals were then it made more sense to keep working in that space and enjoy all the mental clarity that comes from being in a good state of health. Most who connected with this found that they had more time considering that commutes and the access to “bad health choice options” were removed. For our Healthfix team, reconnecting to why they became a health professional allowed us to focus on the actionable solutions that were in place to deliver effective health care – outdoor sessions, telehealth, better communication, more teamwork and integrating.
We’ve always had a strong focus on the person and not just the presentation as per our biopsychosocial approach teaching but this is so much more at the forefront of people’s minds now. The vernacular around coaches and mentors, thriving instead of surviving, looking after oneself holistically and making enough time down time is so much more of a prominent discussion. Patients are wanting meaningful engagement and to be on a path that works for them with a clinician who can be flexible and adaptable to their changing needs. I think our patients like to know that they have a team behind them for support but they want care that is simple and makes sense. I can see more of our patients ready to get to work on health care issues that have been around for a while and happy to chip away at getting a long-term, sustainable result.
Who knows? Do we go back to a fast-paced life and take our health for granted OR does that freeze in time that the global pandemic offered to reflect and check where our lives and our health was going lead to happier and healthier humans? With consideration to how some areas of health care strengthened whilst others were used less, perhaps due to being seen more as a discretional spend or ineffective, I can see good health care operators will continue to thrive within a more discerning crowd of patients. Ones who can embrace the holistic nature of good health and how it impacts mental, physical and emotional wellbeing as well as our work productivity and social relationships may be in a better position. But then again Nassim Nicholas Taleb has won a lot of praise from teaching us not to be fooled by randomness and a “black swan robust” so effectively who really knows what the future holds but there’s a good chance that we can get through it! Either way we’re looking forward to helping even more people in 2021 than in 2020 with what we’ve learned and with collaborating with awesome GP’s.
Our dietitian Mel and I sat down to have a conversation about the early influx of GP and non GP referred patients that we tend to see in the months of January and February. Here’s some key take away points.
You say that a lot of people come into your consults after having visited their GP’s for blood work in the earlier months of the year, what do you think is behind this trend?
People seem to have that “New Year, new me” feeling. They’re wanting to start the new year fresh and kick start their health with an understanding of where they currently sit.
Why do they come to see a dietitian and what conditions are you seeing mostly?
Weight loss is a big one. Many have tried and failed at multiple diet fads or they’re after a long term solution and not a fad. They want to do it the right way.
For some they can feel it’s their last resort coming to see a diet professional. There’s a lot of confusing information out there online and they’re, well, confused. Others have regrettably tried the fad diets and failed to stick to it which has wound up resulting in weight gain as we now know research shows can often happen.
What else do you see at this time of year?
People with diabetes and cholesterol issues. Ultimately at this time of year there are just a lot of people wanting to focus on their health and they have the time to act as they haven’t got too busy at work just yet. They are in a better position to make time for their health.
How have dietetic patients presented post COIVD?
During COVID there seemed to be a lot of people just surviving, not necessarily thriving. Now there seems to be a different attitude. The people that I am seeing now are wanting to work on their health and get great, long term outcomes from learning good habit and diet behaviours.
What would one expect when seeing you?
What most might find surprising is that we only spend 10-15 minutes talking about what you’re eating. 40 minutes or more are spent on truly understanding the person and their dietary choices. We look to understand their upbringing around food, their family history and a lot about their work and life now. Once knowing their history and all the factors that will impact on their diet and food choices we begin to forge a plan around what is realistic for the person and where is the best place to start.
GP’s wanting to know more about how our dietetics department, with Mel and Ash, are helping with general and more speciality based diet clientele please get in contact. We are always happy to arrange a visit to our clinics, come and visit you or set up a time to get on the phone (as we know how busy you are!).
With the chronic disease management and team care arrangements offering such a wide scope of practice for a wide variety of people, no two patients are really the same. But, of course, there are some key similarities.
Patients who see multiple allied health professionals on one referral
When the five sessions are spread across 2-3 practitioners we find that the first practitioners’ initial assessment is really important. The GP referral is so valuable at providing the history of the presenting illness or ailment and the goal setting section is instrumental. Where the patient decides to start the allied health care approach, ie which practitioner they see first, normally dictates the approach that they want to take.
For example, seeing a physio before the AEP may mean that there could be a level of fear avoidance behaviours that are present due to the length or severity (or both) of the patient’s condition. Seeing the AEP before the physio may mean that they’re more keen to get started with exercise and wanting to top up on education around their previous injury or refresh their self management strategies.
Seeing the dietitian before an AEP or the physio may mean that they know that their food choices are impacting their ability or willingness to move. It can also mean that this is what they’ve identified as the best place to start forming better habits or routines around a healthy living – considering that we can eat 3-5 times per day whereas we might only exercise once.
5 sessions or more?
The premise of the CDM program being about setting goals and then setting a plan to achieve these goals means that we need to have an early conversation around how much they’re expecting to achieve in the 12 months that the sessions are valid. Some like to use their sessions and move straight onto the private healthfunds but for others they can only afford the 5 or only want the 5 sessions.
When the person is requesting to continue beyond the 5 sessions, these initial sessions serve really well to get a thorough assessment of where the patient’s condition is at, how they have been managing, educate them on updates to evidenced based practice that are applicable to their condition and then getting started with a meaningful intervention.
When the person is only wanting the 5 sessions from Medicare it is much more about educating on self management strategies and tools for reassessment from day 1. Patient’s can feel they didn’t get value out of the sessions if they’ve started on a plan of intervention that there wasn’t adequate follow up to reassess whether this was effective for them or not.
The value in a health spend
Working in CBD areas in North Sydney and Broadway, sometimes the reliance on a Medicare subsidy isn’t so great which can bring into question one’s value on the contribution. I think it stills gives the opportunity to set the person up for success and moving towards a happier and healthier existence. The premise of the management plan, to have the GP integrating with allied health professionals, mandating that we communicate, including the use of objective measures, health care plan and goal setting with time frames is no doubt the structure that is required to deliver long term outcomes and reduce the “burden of disease”. If this gives a person the first taste of this approach, it can surely do no harm.
Whichever is the patient preferred approach to their healthcare, the program is awesome and can be so effective. We’re truly lucky to live in Australia. As long as expectations are clearly communicated and smart planning is discussed from the initial appointment then we can truly chip away year on year, helping the patient adopt good management strategies to manage their chronic conditions.
What is a Foam Roller?Foam rollers essential look like large noodles but they can quickly become your best friend. There are many types nowadays of all shapes and sizes. They get used to loosen up before a match or training session as well as serving as a great homework tool to do some physio or trainer prescribed home exercises around mobility and flexibility. When making your selection about which one to use I always recommend that you get one that is practical to fit in your home/ room / home gym (they can be quite large and bigger isn’t always better) and get one that feels comfortable and inviting to use – it shouldn’t be used as a tool of torture. You’ll see these commonly now in Pilates and physio studios as well as commercial gyms and sporting environment including institutes of sport.
What are Foam Rollers used for? They work on releasing soft tissue, relieving muscle tightness and soreness and they can also be valuable in helping to break down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue after injury. They can stimulate blood flow and are really valuable in promoting neural down regulation (this is often why they can be sore to first get on but then this soreness eases with a lasting effect of relief of the symptoms that made you get on the roller). Effectively, any intervention that we put the body through be it a strong sports massage, Chiro or Osteo manipulation, hot / cold pack, dry needling, etc needs to be analysed and accepted by the body. Jumping on foam roller puts a lot of pressure to the area where the brain may be holding some tense muscles or trying to protect it with a pain response. So as you consciously lie on the foam roller, the brain can start to accept that you don’t want those muscles so tense or so much protection of the area and it relaxes; and then you can feel relaxed.
Things to be aware of:– Make sure you understand and are confident with how you intend to use the foam roller. Our Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists and Personal Trainers can help a lot here. – Don’t push through pain for too long. The whole point is to feel relief so if you’re still experiencing strong pain after say 1 minute, take it easy on yourself and ease up.
– Be aware of any “no pain no gain” or “go hard” on the foam roller commentary. Use your common sense and you’ll be fine. At the end of the day it’s a foam roller so it should never pose as a threat or tool of torture unless you’re trying to use it incorrectly or your body need a lighter intervention to start with.
A couple of common and popular Foam Roller exercises:
The ITB (great for runners, field sports players and gym goers)
Iliotibial band (ITB) is a band of fascia on the outside of your upper leg, when it is tight it can cause knee and hip pain. – Lie side on with the affected side on the foam roller, rest your upper body through your forearm. With your unaffected leg, place over affected side and place the full surface of your foot on the ground. Start with the foam roller just above your knee and roll back and forth slowly for 30 seconds to just below your hip bone. For further pressure, place unaffected leg on top of affected side.
The Quadricep (similar to above demographic plus people who kick in their sport like martial arts, kick boxing, football and AFL):
Tight quadriceps can pull on your patella and cause some compressive pain at the front of your knee (most commonly).– lie on your stomach with the roller placed under your thighs. Hold your body straight and rest your upper body through your forearms. Roll yourself back and forth slowly from just above your knee to just below your hip bone. For further pressure bend your knees.
If you like these exercises and want some more or you want to get some advice on which foam roller would be best for you please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, we offer them in our clinics and the team are always happy to help!
An industry vet, Joel has been practicing physiotherapy since 2006 in Sydney and most recently Singapore. Over the years he has built extensive knowledge in treating acute and chronic injuries, helping people navigate often challenging times with honest, constructive and successful treatment solutions. He has had the pleasure of treating and learning from some amazing people along the way, from weekend athletes, ultra marathon runners, professional golfers, global CEO’s to high level lifters. Joel takes pride in delivering the highest quality physiotherapy care to each and every patient. Joel knows that pain and injury can be both complex and confronting, therefore cutting through the technical medical jargon and helping people understand their injury with effective and applicable information is critical. Joel applies his commitment to professional and personal development, allowing him to constantly evolve as a physiotherapist and as a person. This enables him to understand the person as well as the injury, ultimately leading to a fast and effective fix.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in physiotherapy?
Joel Bates chose physiotherapy as it combined what he loved at school – human movement and helping people to be active and solve problems. He spent way to much time at physiotherapists as a teenager with stress fractures from cricket and shoulder problems from swimming, so he got to know what it was all about and love it. He has a deep passion for helping people and solving problems. No two injuries are ever the same so there is always a rewarding challenge each day and meeting great people along the way makes it good fun.
So what does Joel like to get up to outside of the clinic?
Joel is an avid sports fan and has mastered the art of watching an entire game of footy while chasing his young family around the house, backyard & beer garden. He has run a couple of half marathons whilst living in Singapore (which he tells himself are like full marathons in normal climates!). He makes sure he practices what he preaches with a mix of running, weights & golf keeping fitness fun for him. Book in to see Joel Bates today!
Many of you will have seen over the past few weeks that we’ve moved into a new facility in North Sydney. To find out more about the move and the reasons behind it take a little look at this video.
A membership with the Healthfix Lifestyle Club offers a novel way of approaching your healthcare. It can be that you’re starting out and you don’t know what to do, or it could be that you’ve tried and failed many of the other approaches on offer in the current healthcare space. It also could be that you’re just looking for an awesome place to get your exercise fix, surrounded by a bunch of really cool members and integrated team
The membership gives you access to the entire integrated team in a supportive manner, so that you can chip away at improving your health and fitness, or maintaining your current levels, all with support of a knowledgeable health team and interacting with like-minded individuals.
Here’s how it works…
Our group training is set up to meet you where you most need it most, be it:
Movement correction and activation work with our Pilates classes.
Muscle and Strength Essentials – to work on your baseline of strength and beyond. Build your capacity to handle all of life’s demands!
Foundations of Fitness – to get you to optimal fitness levels to either use HIIT style sessions for weight or get that additional conditioning to complement your strength.
Athletic Performer – work on your agility, speed acquisition and power. All those high level attributes to have you performing at your best on the sporting field or in life.
Take a look at the current timetable and know that it evolves as our team evolves so that you’re always getting what you need. Class sizes are capped to 10 currently to ensure that you get what you need whilst also keeping everyone COVID safe.
If you are wanting some more information – please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 8065 0446 so we can arrange one of our Health Mentors – Mark, Bladen, JP or Sean to a
Unlimited FREE Group Fitness 7 Day Trial
A Dream Without A Plan Is Called A Wish.
There has never been a better time to start exercising and establishing your sustainable, healthy habits.