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Exercise physiology yields positive results

We have been working closely with the Exercise and Sports Science Association to develop a new and more effective way for Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) to support people with a work injury, with encouraging results.

An accredited exercise physiology fee schedule was introduced on 1 July 2014 which recognised this profession's skills in assessing and prescribing functional exercise to patients with work injuries. The AEP's approach is to restore function, and assist patients in transitioning to independent and self-directed management.

A recent case study involving a 57 year old male paramedic with a history of lower back problems demonstrates how the profession is incorporating Clinical Framework principles by empowering the injured person to manage their injury. The paramedic presented to an AEP one week after sustaining a lumbar strain. He was cleared for restricted duties with a lifting restriction of 15 kilograms but could not return to full duties until he passed a physical examination in which he could lift 40 kilograms.

After conducting a movement assessment, the AEP identified that forward reaching under load aggravated the injury. The assessment also identified weakness through the gluteals, tightness through the hip flexors, and excessive lumbar flexion in the squat position. Further assessment showed that the worker excessively braced while lifting and did not fully utilise his core musculature.

Working in accordance with the Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services, the AEP delivered treatment specific to the physical demands of the worker's occupation and focused on optimising function, participation and return to work.

Over six sessions, the worker was taught how to use his core appropriate to his lifting activities. He was also given a home-based exercise program to practice this, and to strengthen his gluteals. Within eight weeks he passed the physical assessment and was cleared to lift 40 kilograms and returned to full duties. This case is a great example of how patients can be empowered to independently manage their recovery resulting in a timely return to work. For more information, contact us via email or by calling 13 18 55.