Two Years

It’s two years now. Two years on Gilles St, in the caffeine district of Fawn coffee, within a minute’s walk of the Himeji Gardens.  Our north facing light box has survived its inception, and has grown into a thriving practice with a global reach.

Form Physiotherapy Adelaide
Form Physiotherapy Adelaide

Treatment Innovation for Chronic Pain

FORM is two things. It is a genuinely world-class local physiotherapy practice. And it is a conduit for leading science making the journey to common knowledge.

1. Collaboration with Research

In the last year, in collaboration with Body In Mind and our friend Prof. Lorimer Moseley, we have brought to life an education tool to help people better understand chronic pain. You can find it here, at Tame the Beast. We are all set to launch this video in the next few weeks to an audience that is hungry for innovation, to an industry that is at tipping point for deep conceptual change. Artistic direction and concept development for this project by Sam Chisholm.

Tame The Beast

2. Pain Revolution

Two years ago we posted about our approach to treating chronic pain. Our approach helps people to better understand their pain, and through knowledge, re-gain confidence in their body’s ability to move. These ideas represent current best practice in the field of pain management, but they deeply challenge the common assumptions about pain and its causes. With a massive effort we are seeing a shift toward acceptance and integration of these ideas, and the outcomes are remarkable!

Pain Revolution was an outreach event to spread the word. As a group we rode from Melbourne to Adelaide, made the news, raised just over $80k for new projects, and have just about completed a film on the journey in partnership with Tyrone Ormsby. Stay tuned! 

Dave Moen Form Physiotherapy Adelaide

3. A Patient Story

To hear a patient’s perspective on implementing this approach follow the link to the ABC’s Health Report. This interview follows Kane’s journey while at Form Physiotherapy, treating his longstanding low back pain. Stories like these challenge assumptions about what is possible for long-term pain, and mark a path toward recovery.

4. Thank you!

If you found this interesting then we would love to hear from you. We are always looking for new people who would benefit from our knowledge and approach. If you can think of anyone who would thrive using our practice ethos, we would love it if you make an introduction.

We will be posting regularly through this channel. The general purpose of this communication is to provide insights, news and educational tools as we develop them. You can find the link on our home page.

Are running shoes like mattresses?

In the climate of complicated options and strong opinions, the answer may lie in simplicity. Find footwear that fits and is comfortable. Then be confident in your decision. Spend your energy on strategies that are more likely to yield the result you want. More on this later.

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Pain Revolution

I am thrilled to announce that I will be participating in Pain Revolution, a ride from Melbourne to Adelaide this April where a group of researchers and clinicians are journeying through country towns by bike, promoting better outcomes for people with long-term pain. 

To participate, the 25 of us put forward a grand and a bit each to the cause and pledged to raise $3000. This money will be used for research and for projects looking to spread the word and to make pain services better.

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Science, and the responsibility of administering it.

While studying physiotherapy I made some money selling coffee. Coffee offered a unique opportunity to explore the world through others’ world-views and experiences. I really enjoyed how coffee could accelerate the transfer of information, and make big ideas seem simple.

Life as a barista is curiously similar to that of a physiotherapist. Similar, at least, to the life of a neuro-immune informed biopsychosocial physiotherapist.

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Forearm flexibility for climbers

Climbing builds exceptional strength through the arms and fingers.

If you increase your climbing load (actual climbing or training) your finger muscles will adapt. They will become stronger and more suited to climbing. You will find yourself moving more easily. As you become stronger your climbing muscles may become tighter. 

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Dis-inhibited

There’s a little trick we sometimes play that is quite weak. We introduce it by saying that your brain cannot possibly pay attention to all of the sensory information coming at it, and we may use the metaphor of a cocktail party. At a cocktail party there are lots of voices, but hopefully you are focused on the one voice of the person you are speaking to. You inhibit (i.e. don’t listen to) the many voices, and clearly hear the one. 

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Lifting as treatment for back pain.

There is really strong evidence that perceived threat can turn-up the pain system.

People with long-term pain have all sorts of threat associated with their injury. Pain itself can be threatening – it can interfere with work, sport, family life, and hobbies. Movement can be threatening because it sometimes makes pain worse. Of course movement can make pain better too.  

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(Almost) one year old!

Form Physiotherapy is almost one year old.

To celebrate this we decided to survey all of our clients and 1) measure the impact we had in our first year, and 2) seek ideas to make our practice even better. 

We are thrilled to announce that almost 70% of our patients answered this survey. A big thanks to all those who participated! This is a snap shot of our first year.

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Running physiotherapy in the heart of Adelaide.

Running is freedom. I can run anywhere. I feel light and loose when I run. Time slows down and my mind feels clear. Running on a frosty night under a full moon with steaming warm skin makes a fond memory of New Zealand. It is rhythmic, almost hypnotic. Running is something just for me. Or shared with a friend. With a smart approach, it can be perpetual, non-stop for horizon after horizon.

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The standing desk.

The standing desk was a particularly smart idea. Better health, and better productivity. Win-win.

Sitting is a public health concern. Research clearly shows that regular sitting increases your risk of chronic disease with a similar magnitude to cigarette smoking. Daily exercise is likely to offset this, but many people fall short of daily exercise quotas.

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Part 3: Thoughts to consider when treating pain.

If you have read the previous posts in this series you will have an appreciation for the complexity of pain. It is not a simple cause and effect, 'stub-your-toe-and-it-hurts' phenomenon. Instead, pain is an intricate protective mechanism. It is generated by your brain to look after you, and will protect you from real or perceived danger. And because of this, pain can exist with or without tissue injury. This is really significant. Just because it hurts, doesn't mean there is injury. Injury is not required or sufficient to cause pain.

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Part 2: What is pain, and why does it hurt?

Pain is an elaborate protective mechanism. It captures attention, and changes behaviour. And of course, it hurts. 

Here is the current, accepted definition of pain. 'An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage (IASP 1994)'. It's a mouthful. But it makes clear that pain can occur with or without tissue damage, i.e. actual or perceived tissue damage.

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Part 1: Opening a discussion on pain.

Pain is the most common reason for people to visit us. And although pain can influence movement and function, people are generally most interested in resolving their pain. The common thought is, 'when my pain goes away I will move better'.

An alternative view is, 'when I move better my pain will go away'.

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