It’s been a full week since I’ve been in Australia and I absolutely love it. It’s nice being in a foreign country that still feels somewhat like home. Monday we had our first full day of class of the COMT program. There are people from all over the world in the program, so that’s been the most fun part of the trip.
****Warning—probably only physios will find this part interesting
The first day of class felt like a lot of the “common beliefs” I had about physiotherapy were thrown out the window. We spent a lot of time debunking the “strong core” topic. As practitioners we tend to prescribe specific motor control exercises aimed at targeting your core to increase its strength. One of these muscles is the transverse abdominus (TVA). According to current research, targeting motor control exercises for TVA were no more effective than standard stabilization exercises for low back pain. In fact, individuals with low back pain were found to have more trunk muscle activation than individuals who reported no back pain.
We then had Peter O’Sullivan, who is a very well known low back pain researcher come in and give lectures on pain and current research. A lot of what I believed to be true for physiotherapy was in contrast to the new research coming out. This was really surprising to me, as I’m a relatively new grad, and I would’ve said I stay fairly up to date on research. In addition to the pain science and review of the current literature, we went into hands-on practical assessment and treatment. The way the assessment phase is broken down is really clear and super helpful. When a patient comes in to see me, I feel like they rarely fit into a clear clinical picture. There are always multiple things going on, but this course has a nice way of putting that all together but still making it simple to assess and treat.
****Normal people might be interested again
I had to travel to about 4 different cafes to find a “plunger” otherwise known as an aeropress so that I could make coffee at home. My caffeine fix was finally under control as of about Tuesday. As some as you may have seen from my insta-story, I was eating like an absolute monster for 3 days straight. I already have a fairly ridiculous appetite, but I was literally eating enough for 4 humans at every meal. I felt better about myself when I went to google “jet lag- hunger” and it was one of the top searches. I would’ve said I was adjusting to the time change and sleeping fairly well, but on Wednesday I got an undisturbed 7 hours and finally my appetite went down to my normal baby dinosaur levels. Take this story as undeniable fact that jet lag can impact your hunger levels.
Our evenings and weekends are taken up with going to the beach or the city. As most of you know, I love craft beer, so hitting up the breweries here have been really fun. I still really want to go surfing, but the shark sightings/reports are super intimidating. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to relax enough to go in the water and attempt surfing. Sometimes I think everything is Australia is designed to kill you.
On Friday evening I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do, go sailing! We had a lovely local girl from our program, Sophie; offer to take us out on her dad’s sailboat on the river. The views of Perth were amazing and the weather was perfect. On Saturday myself and Isabela and Silvia headed into Fremantle, which is a small beach town that has a hippy vibe. And then on Sunday, another beach! Needless to say, I’m having the best time in Perth!
Fun Australian phrases I’ve learned:
-ranga (someone with red hair)
-double parked (otherwise known as double fisting in Canada)
-bottle store (liquor store)
-shorten any word and add an “o” to the end of it