I am home from the whirlwind that was my month in Australia! I wasn’t able to blog as consistently for the last couple weeks because the program (and fun) intensified.

The program went more in depth into the neck and manipulations. This can be a tough part of any course because the practical portion requires you to practice on each other. My body doesn’t do well with a ton of manual treatment, so I actually woke up one morning unable to turn my head to the right. I recovered relatively quickly, but I was unable to bike to school for the last week.

The program for the most part was very practical, but there was a decent focus on pain science. I thought I would hate this part, and I do in some ways wish that there were more clinical applications of the research, but overall I enjoyed it more than I expected. The course presented a lot of the most recent research and gave helpful tools to assess and diagnose the different types of pain.

When a patient comes in with pain, it’s of course important to assess where the pain is coming from, but also what type of pain it is. Sometimes a patient comes in and I know that they are going to have a longer recovery than someone else because of how they verbalize their pain. The ones that take longer are really tricky, because no matter what, I feel like I am not doing enough for them. In addition, it’s very common for these patients to have health professionals and those close to them start to become frustrated with them or think their pain is in their head. Lorrimer Mosely is a physiotherapist who has researched pain quite extensively, and he gives a wonderful TED talk on the topic. I think the most important thing to remember is that pain is subjective, but it is real. To every patient, it is real. As physiotherapists it is our responsibility to educate, give tools to manage that patients pain, and help restore function. Reading back over that sentence I just typed makes me feel so lucky that this gets to be my career.

On the after school festivities front, we played beach volleyball, danced, ate, drank and were merry most days after class and on the weekends. I got to see the worlds cutest and most noble Kangaroos, and Isabela and Silvia and myself also made it to Rottnest Island where quokkas live! Quokkas are rodent creatures that are about the size of cats and have the souls of angels. I cuddled at least 12 and I would’ve stolen some if I thought I could’ve gotten away with it.

My only real complaint about Australia is the birds. The crows are bigger and louder than Canadian crows and they sound exactly like cats being murdered. If you think I am exaggerating, it’s important to know I am not the only foreigner who has described Australian crows this way. The magpies also attack people. Isabela lived in fear for the last few weeks after she was pecked on the head on the way to school. I thought I would have more horror stories about snakes or spiders in Australia, but luckily I didn’t see either! My preferred Australian critters can be viewed below 🙂

Overall, it was the best trip I could’ve asked for. I loved the program and education, and made some pretty special friends. It will be easy to miss Australia, especially when I’m currently living in an ice storm in Canada.

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