The Allied Health outpatient gym is back up and running for physiotherapy group exercise classes!

Physiotherapist and patient
Physiotherapist with patient doing movement exercises in gym

For the first time since COVID-19 lockdowns, the allied health gym at RMH Parkville is now taking physiotherapy in-person group exercise classes for patients living with osteoarthritis.

Groups come together 1-2 times per week for 8-12 weeks of exercise to improve mobility and reduce pain. Patients also have the option of attending education sessions with a senior physiotherapist to ask questions about their pain and optimise management of their condition.

Patients in the program were referred to the RMH for joint replacement surgery, but this evidence-based approach to treating people with osteoarthritis has seen great results helping patients to improve their pain and function without surgery, as well as freeing up waitlist times for those patients most in need.

This evidence is so strong that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has “strongly recommended” muscle-strengthening exercises for osteoarthritis.

“One study demonstrated that 8 weeks of supervised exercise with a physiotherapist demonstrated improvements in pain, physical function and health-related quality of life,” RMH senior physiotherapist Emily Cross said.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in Australia. Around 2.2 million Australians live with the condition, which causes degeneration of synovial joints. It is among one of the top burden of diseases in the country.

While a select number of urgently deteriorating patients could book in for a one-on-one physiotherapy session during the various COVID-19-related restrictions, Emily said that patients also benefit from the group format.

“Due to their pain, most people living with osteoarthritis can withdraw from social activities and even work,” Emily said.

“Patients attending our group exercise sessions tell us they enjoy the format, coming together and they have really noticed the benefits.” The group exercise classes for patients with osteoarthritis are by referral only.

For more information, please see the Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology service page.

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