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Physio and Rehab – Not What You Think! with Adam Meakins

Episode 55:

Physio and Rehab – Not What You Think!

This week on the Pilates Elephants podcast, we discuss the current friction within the physiotherapy and rehab profession and why the way forward for really helping our clients is working towards a data and evidence-based approach. Renowned physiotherapist, sports scientist, and strength & conditioning coach, Adam Meakins shares his recent experience with a back injury and why he decided to rehab it under the full public gaze on social media — he also describes the love (and hate) it has attracted online and how that made him feel. We also dive into a discussion on building rapport and therapeutic alliance, within the framework of an online consultation.

What You Will Learn:

  • How you can use evidence-based physio and rehab practice to support your clients more effectively
  • Why it takes so long for new information to be incorporated into practice
  • How to assess your client holistically to address the complex multifactorial nature of pain
  • Strategies for building a good therapeutic relationship with clients in online sessions
  • Adam’s experience of injuring his back and the process of rehabilitation and why he decided to share his journey online

Incorporating Updated Information in Practice

Let’s face it there are plenty of outdated beliefs in the fitness realm — in all of the allied health professions. These mistaken beliefs are usually a result of a failure to keep up with new research and data, but it’s important to understand the current evidence, even if those findings are not yet commonplace in rehab settings. Adam explains why it can take 17 to 20 years from new information appearing in best practice guidelines to those ideas being widely accepted across the rehab and fitness communities.

Viewing Your Client Holistically

Adam discusses why movement professionals should be looking at their clients holistically rather than focusing on one or two physical issues in isolation. He shares the SNAPS acronym that he encourages his physiotherapy students to use in client assessments and why he firmly believes that talking to people about how their lifestyle impacts their movement or pain levels is an integral part of the role.

Online Rehab Sessions

The current situation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to so many rehab appointments being held virtually, so we also explore how to build a good relationship with somebody who is in pain and distress in an online session. We also discuss the Better Clinician Project and why Adam is so passionate about helping other movement professionals to update their knowledge using a practical, no-nonsense evidence-based approach.


References and resources mentioned in this episode:

82% of physios still give advice on posture here

59% of personal trainers, 56% of exercise physiologists and 53% of people with a PhD in exercise science were unable to identify physical activity guidelines here

Over 70% of UK physios unable to quote the WHO physical activity guidelines here

Only 43% of physios follow guidelines for low back pain here

46% of physios don’t follow guidelines – clinical experience is worth more than evidence here

Eleven consistent recommendations from high-quality clinical practice guidelines here

Less experienced doctors are more guideline-compliant, and their patients are less likely to die here

The Better Clinician Project

About Adam Meakins:

Adam Meakins is a physiotherapist, sports scientist, and strength & conditioning coach working in the NHS and private practice in the UK. He has worked in many roles throughout his career, including professional sport, and has been fortunate enough to work with and learn from some of the world’s leading experts.

Adam has helped a wide and diverse range of people return to full function after an injury or episode of pain and understands the importance of robust, meaningful rehab for all. As a keen sportsman himself, Adam fully understands the passion, dedication, and desire all athletes of all abilities have for a speedy return back to performance

Adam has had extensive training and clinical experience in orthopedic and sports assessment and treatment and always looks for the most effective, efficient, and evidence-based approach to help all he sees. However, his main philosophy is to do the simple things really well and save the complex fancy stuff for later if needed.

Adam strongly believes in a practical and pragmatic approach. He is passionate about educating patients and clinicians on the evidence and effectiveness or lack of it for many treatments within the profession.

Adam has lectured for Brunel University on their undergraduate physiotherapy program and teaches his own highly acclaimed international workshops worldwide. Adam is also actively involved in several clinical research projects and has published papers in numerous peer-reviewed journals, as well as authored a chapter for the latest edition of the best-selling Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine.

Adam is also one of the most followed clinicians across all social media platforms, known for his strong views, opinions, and occasionally stronger language.

How to Connect with Adam Meakins:

About Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

Cloe Bunter, Trainer, Breathe Education

With 8+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.

She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast, with Raphael Bender, has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths whilst creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.

Cloe is fascinated by movement in general, and its ability to enhance our lives, at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. She has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

How to Connect with Raphael and Cloe:

3 Myths About Posture in Pilates eBook:

  • You can find the eBook here

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