man facing backwards with a physio's hand on his left shoulder

Partner Highlight, New England Physio

At SportUNE we’re really lucky to have collaborative partnerships with many incredible businesses in our community.

One business that has helped us through thick and thin, supported our staff, the community and our students – especially our elite athletes, the Sports Academy crew, University Games students and the UNE Lions Rugby team is New England Physio. We recently took the opportunity to talk shop with Rob Tindale (Ba App Sci Physiotherapy, PGD Manipulative Physiotherapy, APM, AMPM Titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist) and Nick Grob (Physiotherapist) who share some of their experience and expertise with us.

What inspired you to become a physio?

Rob; I’ve always been interested in health. I had a family friend who was a physio as I was growing up and he used to work for six months and travel for six, so if I’m honest it was that lifestyle that attracted me the most. Of course, it hasn’t worked out that way for me! Working in health and helping people recover from injury, surgery or illness is hugely rewarding. I studied at Cumberland College, which is now part of Sydney University, and did post-graduate studies at Sydney University. When I graduated (1989), it was the only Uni in NSW offering physio!

Nick; Like a lot of physio’s, and not dissimilar to Rob himself, I’ve always had a big interest in health and being involved in a bunch of sport from an early age was a big reason that I naturally gravitated towards studying physio. We are often known for our work in elite sport and the lifestyle physio offers in being able to work and travel simultaneously was something I always found enticing and have been lucky enough to undertake! As time has gone on and I have continued to work and study, I have become greatly satisfied in our profession’s ability to help a wide range of people, not just the elite athlete, and it is this variety that I enjoy most! I did my undergraduate study at the University of Newcastle where I graduated in 2016 and am currently completing a Masters of Sports Medicine through the University of Melbourne.

In a nutshell, what does a physiotherapist do?

Physios are experts in human movement and physical health. We assess and treat people of all ages, from premature babies to old age. Most people are aware of our role in sports and musculoskeletal medicine, but other specialised areas include neurological, cardiorespiratory, burns, paediatric, chronic pain to name a few.

Generally speaking, we aim to help you recover or develop to the best of your ability, achieve your goals, and enhance quality of life to its maximal potential.

New England Physio has been around for 22 years – this is amazing! How has the business changed over the years?

Over the years we have had a range of wonderful staff and the pleasure of helping over 19,000 people. What has changed the most is physiotherapy itself. How we used to treat 22 years ago compared to today is unrecognizable. Physio is constantly changing and evolving, which makes it a fascinating profession, but that is true of all health care.

Describe a regular day in the practice?

We have two full-time physios, Rob and Nick. We also have a visiting paediatric physio and a psychologist. We are supported by two great receptionists, one of whom is also the practice manager – see the whole team here.

Our days are generally pretty full-on, with clients from 8.30 to 6. We have a great team environment where we try to accommodate the needs of our clients in a timely way. No two days are ever the same, and no two clients are ever the same, so it’s always interesting.

When should someone visit the physio?

If you have pain or an injury that is prohibiting your normal functional ability and is not spontaneously improving in a few days, you should get it looked at sooner rather than later. Getting an idea of what is wrong and how to manage it, including correct and optimal loading as soon as possible will always result in a faster recovery.  It is still not uncommon to see people resting for too long or pushing themselves beyond their capacity, both of which will delay recovery. If in doubt, get it checked out!

What are the most common types of injuries that you treat?

Strains and sprains of the back/neck, knee, and shoulder are the most common acute injuries we see, and tendinopathy is also common.

A range of the other injuries we see include; Back and neck pain, sports injuries, and orthopaedic rehabilitation, injury prevention assessment, and training, acute and chronic knee and shoulders conditions, arthritis, lower limb biomechanics, custom orthotics (which Rob has made for 17 years) and persistent/chronic pain.

COVID 19 has meant a lot of change for society, how would you suggest people should stay healthy and mobile during isolation?

There are lots of simple ways of staying fit and active. Walking, running and cycling are great options, and there are heaps of great apps for home strengthening. Bodyweight and improvising with home objects are great ways of doing resistance training. There are also lots of online yoga and pilates options. If you’re someone who likes to exercise with others, try and rope in a family member, or friend – but maintain correct social distancing. If you’re working from home, try to go for a walk during a break and find ways of building in “incidental movement” such as having a printer, or your mobile set up in another room for example. Any movement is good!

What are some ways to help prevent injury after a long period of non-activity?

Start conservatively and progress slowly initially. Most overuse injuries occur when trying to push yourself too hard and too quickly. Remember, if you have become relatively deconditioned (due to COVID 19), you shouldn’t expect to start off where you may have been prior to the lockdown. If you haven’t been active during the lockdown, for many it will be like starting out again.

What recommendations can you give to aid recovery and keep mobile after participating in physical activity?

If you are experiencing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), using the sore muscles in a gentle way that is different from the initial event ASAP is the quickest way to relieve this. For example, if you are sore after a run, going for a light bike ride or walk will help. Also, gentle stretches, massage, and cold baths can help. Generally, rest is vital. The body needs a chance to adapt and this is often overlooked leading to overuse injuries.

You work closely with some of our high-performance sports teams and Sports Academy Athletes at UNE. Can you tell us a little about your partnership and how you help the students?

Our partnership with UNE exists in many capacities. Nick has been the physiotherapist for the UNE Lions Women’s Rugby 7’s team since it’s inception in 2017 and is also the physiotherapist for UNE at the National University Games. We have also been the physio’s for the UNE Sports Academy since it’s inauguration in 2018. Our role outside of traveling with these teams for competitions includes educating the students on injury prevention and management strategies, providing injury screening sessions, and enabling priority access for the students to see us at the clinic in the event injury strikes them down!

Nick; Through my work with the UNE Lions I have been fortunate enough to connect with other sporting teams on an international scale and work as a physio overseas. I have been a physiotherapist for the USA Star’s Rugby 7’s team which involved a trip to Alaska in 2018.

I must admit that it’s a pretty great experience!

If you’re looking for a Physio – we highly recommend New England Physio,
you can contact them on (02) 6771 2177 or by email
or follow them on Facebook and Instagram for advice and updates.