Brad Beer on Physiotherapy and Performance

The performance-enhancing side of physiotherapy is one of the chief reasons why the best in the world have their own designated physio support.

Physiotherapy is one of the pieces of an athlete’s wellness puzzle that determines ability to perform at one’s peak not just through injury rehabilitation and prevention, but also towards improving performance. We sat down with our MaccaX expert Brad Beer, who founded POGO Physio physiotherapy and Pilates practice on the Gold Coast, Australia.

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Photo via Visualhunt

MaccaX: A lot of people only see physios when they’re injured, when prevention is better than the cure. How can we change that perception? 

Brad Beer: I agree that the bulk of physiotherapy is focused on the rehabilitation of injuries once they develop. I know from my combined personal experience as a junior triathlete in the 90’s and my professional experience as a physio that a lot of triathlete’s ‘lights go on’ when they develop an injury.
As they work to rehabilitate their injury they discover that many of the same factors that needed addressing in the injury rehabilitation process are also complementary to improved performance. For example: hip control and strength, running technique, thoracic spine mobility are common contributory factors for triathlete injuries. They can be focused on during injury rehabilitation, or they can be proactively worked on beyond injury rehabilitation to augment performance, and reduce the risk of future injury.
The performance-enhancing side of physiotherapy is one of the chief reasons why the best sporting teams and increasingly individuals in the world have their own designated physio support. I am often heard telling clients that injuries when treated right are a mixed blessing. Through comprehensive rehabilitation the athlete often comes out the other side stronger and with a body that is more injury-resilient.
MX: Your LinkedIn profile and a few interviews with you mention that you do physio differently than most physio practices in Australia. Can you go a little bit into detail about the difference in your approach?
BB: Yes, in short I had for a long time experienced some real frustrations with the delivery of physiotherapy in private practice in Australia. 
(a) The first being that clients so often must settle for the treatment that ‘they can afford’ as opposed to the treatment that would most benefit them. With physio being a professional service, it is not a cheap for consumers who will as a result often attend as regularly as their budget allows. However the problem with this is often a slower and far from optimal outcome from the treatment and rehabilitation process.
(b) The second frustration was that I would often hear people tel me that they had ‘tried physio’ and it either ‘didn’t work’, or ‘their physio wanted them to just keep going back’. Yet the reality is that many physios under-service their clients because of (a), resulting in often times incomplete and unremarkable outcomes.
So in July 2016 at POGO Physio we introduced our fixed-price unlimited access Finish Line™ Programs. The programs are the first of kind in the Australian market. We offer 2-, 6-, and 12-week Finish Line™ Programs. The programs allow for our clients to now get the treatment they will most benefit from, as opposed to the treatment that they can afford. The results are light years apart. If a client will benefit from daily hands-on treatment, that’s what they can now get. The 6- and 12- Week Program also include unlimited active rehabilitation services such as clinical pilates, whole body vibration therapy, and AlterG Anti-gravity treadmill running.
We still offer session-on-session appointments as these are necessary for some diagnosis that will not respond to just 6 or 12 weeks of rehabilitation, no matter how intensive. For example the treatment of chronic tendon problems, which can take 12-18 months in some instances to fully resolve. 
One of our other differentiators is that we also spend an hour with all initial appointments. We call these sessions our Discover Recover™ Sessions. We believe that all clients deserve an accurate diagnosis, and clear understanding of the causation of their injury. This is best achieved through spending the required time with the client.
MX: Among the triathletes you have seen (pro and amateur), what is the most common complaint you hear and what is one thing you think triathletes should do that will benefit their health and performance?
BB: Good question, one of the most common triathlete complaints is ‘tight calves’, and recurring calf strains. The majority of triathletes -pros and age groupers alike overlook the strength required in their calf muscles for effective and injury-free running. As a result their calf muscles get tight and often strained. the solution is typically to stretch less, roll less, and strengthen the calves. Here’s a detailed blog on the subject HERE>>
Brad Beer graduated from the Gold Coast’s Griffith University in 2005 with a double degree in Physiotherapy and Exercise Science. Throughout his career he has delivered in excess of 25,000 physiotherapy consultations and has helped athletes experience some remarkable physical achievements, including Olympic and national team selection, Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals, world championships, multiple Surf Ironman titles, and world records. http://www.bradbeer.com.au
Noelle De Guzman
Noelle De Guzman
Noelle De Guzman is a freelance writer with ten years of experience in the field of fitness and wellness. She blogs at KikayRunner.com about endurance sport in the Philippines and beyond.