APA Connect 2015!

APA Connect 2015!

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Rachael, Errol, Belinda and Hans ready for the Keynote Speech! Rachael, Errol, Belinda and Hans ready for the Keynote Speech!

Let’s all agree on one thing – it’s been a long time between blog posts.

Much has changed since and BJC Health is well on its way to becoming the arthritis centre we have dreamed of. However, I’m writing, not to give you an update about BJC or myself but to tell you how inspired some of our physios and I were at the recent Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) Conference on the Gold Coast (those interested in content from the conference can search #apaconnect2015 on twitter).

Physiotherapists from around the country gather every other year for a week or so to learn, discuss and collaborate all in one place. Health, like every other industry is shifting so quickly and the art of physiotherapy is no different.

A significant portion of the conference was dedicated to pain, with the main discussion points being:

  • Whether pain is really coming from the site of injury or coming from our brain?
  • That the way you feel about pain controls the way that you perceive pain
  • Further emphasis on pain not being a sign of damage and the need for chronic pain sufferers to understand their danger signals that lead to pain perception

Pain like many of the other feelings we perceive is very much regulated by our brain. The ability to control these feelings are very much in our grasp if we can harness the power of our brains, a fact to which the keynote speaker for the conference, Todd Sampson, attests to.

Todd, most noted for his wit on ‘The Gruen Transfer’, spoke inspiringly of many of his achievements – from climbing a cliff face blind folded to tight rope walking 22 stories above the ground. All these achievements were possible, Todd said, due to intense months of brain training. He attributed his feats to 4 main factors with the last being the most important:

  1. Placing oneself in uncomfortable situations time and time again forcing the brain to make new connections
  2. Visualisation, visualisation, visualisation
  3. Keeping focus and giving attention to every single task – Multi-tasking is a misnomer
  4. Emotional regulation especially when it comes to the emotion of fear. His solution was breathing, mindfulness and meditation.

Those interested in learning more can watch the series he created for the ABC called “Redesign My Brain”.

With Todd Sampson having kicked the conference off in style, there was much opportunity for us to learn about new developments in the management of hips, lower backs, necks, hamstring and tendon injuries, all of which are areas of the body we treat regularly.

It was great to see an abundance of research being produced, advocating the use of varied physiotherapy modalities with an emphasis on targeted exercise in each particular area.

For the four physios from BJC who attended, the conference ended with another brilliant speaker, Dr Helena Popovic. She too spoke about the enhancement of brain function from the perspective of reducing the risks of developing dementia, but really it applies to all of us. She gave some 30 tips but the ones that really resonated were:

  • Having a “can do” attitude
  • Sleep, sleep, sleep and of course eat well
  • Be mindful of being grateful everyday

What a conference APA Connect 2015 turned out to be! Would love to hear if any of what was written resonated with you too.


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