MEET NOLAN WOO–

Accredited Exercise Physiologist

 

Who am I?

I’m a husband and father of two young children.  I started as a personal trainer in 2007, and I then joined the army in 2008 and served until 2013. I finished my degree and went back to uni to do postgraduate studies. I’ve been in private practice since 2015 and have always been involved with exercise and physical activity.

Who my clients generally are?

Usually I see musculoskeletal patients. We see a lot of patients with acute conditions of the shoulder, back and knee. When they come through to me, I complete their rehabilitation and work on injury prevention. We also see patients for chronic conditions (such as low back pain) and post-operative care (total knee replacement), again exercise physiology will compliment physiotherapy.

 

What I do on a daily basis?

I observe and then I teach good movement. I’m a big believer in Gray Cook’s philosophy of “First move well, then move often”. Together with a patient we’ll do a barrage of testing to see how they move in different planes of motion (testing is specific to the condition). For example, if they can balance well on the right foot but when it comes to the left foot they can’t seem to balance comfortably or for a long period of time, we’ll do further tests to find out why. I aim to improve people’s movement, then I aim to get them strong.

Getting strong is the last stage of my treatment. If a patient can become much more capable than what is generally required then they will have an easier time when doing their activities of daily living. If they now have strong legs, then those stairs they struggled with previously are easy now, this sets them up to lead a happier and more active life. I will see patients who need education, planning, motivation and accountability, it’s often not a case of seeing someone every week, it’s about giving someone the tools to succeed if they get that in one or two sessions then that’s a great outcome.

What improvements to my clients health do I see?

I have the best success with chronic low backs. These are patients that have suffered for many years with on/off spasm/flare ups which can keep them from work and hobbies. They might manage with ongoing massage/physio, rest and pain relief when they have an episode. They may also just suffer through the day if they experience pain on a daily basis. I will assess how they move and begin with their deficiencies, e.g. can they touch their toes? This tells us a lot about how the low back, hips and hamstrings move. They may have tight hamstrings and poor hip control. Do they have good range through their shoulders? This can tell us that their back is working harder because the shoulders have limited range. A lot of the time a sore low back is due to an overload/overuse and I’m trying to find how other structures in the body can assist/relieve a poor movement.

 

Patient example:

Currently I’m treating a 46yo female for chronic low back pain. She has an L4/L5 disc bulge with some stenosis. When she first presented she would not bend, she avoided it at all costs. Her squat was really good, but she refused to bend, any hip hinging was out of the question. She was considering surgery but really wanted to avoid it. She was like this for many years. We worked slowly working on increasing her low back stability and confidence. She was very proactive with her home exercises which progressed her very quickly. After 4-6 weeks of remedial exercises we began deadlifting. Shortly after that she was deadlifting 50kg from low blocks! Her current personal best is 70kg! Considering that less than 6mths ago she had not been bending for a number of years, I consider it one of the best successes I’ve ever treated. We continue to work on getting strong and have started moving into rotational exercises.