Movement Improvement Director and physiotherapist Simon Poole.
Movement Improvement Director and physiotherapist Simon Poole. Steph Allen

CQ business started small, now they're expanding to Brisbane

MOVEMENT Improvement is not about catering to millions of clients, they're not interested in being a big shot in the physiotherapy world.

They simply want to help out as many Central Queenslanders as they can, and ensure that they don't get so big that they don't know every client's name.

The clinic is part of the Fitzroy Club initiative, where The Morning Bulletin is providing complete advertising, entertainment and network program over 12 months for local businesses.

The physiotherapy brand was originally created by physiotherapists, Rob Fitzgerald and Hudson Graham, who began catering to mines in Central Queensland for mining company, BMA.

Photo: Steph Allen

"Dirk Baxendell originally started Movement Improvement in Rockhampton,” Mr Poole, 31, said.

"He started it off and then Roger and myself came in and helped out and then it's kind of spawned from there to what it is now, which is a clinic with nine physios, and four exercise science-based staff and three admin staff.”

The Rockhampton clinic opened in July 2012, with Mr Baxendell working in a very small capacity by himself, but five years later, the business is now thriving.

"We're actually opening a clinic in Brisbane next week,” Mr Poole said.

HEALTH FOCUS: Rockhampton physio clinic Movement Improvement.
HEALTH FOCUS: Rockhampton physio clinic Movement Improvement. Steph Allen

Movement Improvement is not your typical physiotherapy clinic.

"We try to generate a friendly atmosphere and make it less clinical because the whole clinical thing intimidates people,” Mr Poole said.

"[Our] philosophy ('think locally, act globally') is born out of a few influences.

"We kind of mould a few treatment modalities together and we just call it physio because we're trained as physios. So, there's obviously physio influence, neurology is a big influence for us, there's little elements of osteopathy in there.

"But the biggest difference I suppose comes down to our exercise prescription.

"A lot of physios use osteopathic techniques to try and change things and try and position and align and that's the easy part, the hard part is being able to change someone and keep that change.”

Rockhampton physiotherapy clinic Movement Improvement.
Rockhampton physiotherapy clinic Movement Improvement. Steph Allen

The clinic also offers the public speed/agility camps, taping courses, and running/walking groups as part of their exercise science wing of the business which they started only this year.

"Speed/agility camps are there to give children's parents and families an idea about what we do provide as a clinical a or scientific based program for young athletes who are trying to unlock their potential so to speak,” Mr Poole said.

"My wife, Jacqui, heads that side of things up and she's been doing that for 10 or 11 years now... it's just really looking at the individual and thinking what do we need to do to help you out.”

The running/walking group meets up twice a week and is focused not just on socialising, but for addressing individual needs with a coach to improve technique or areas of concern or to get those who have returned from injuries back on their feet.

The camps are run every school holidays in two different groups for younger children and teenagers.

The taping courses are targeted at teachers and parents who are involved with sporting events and are run during sporting seasons to provide the skill set to tape different joints of the body, with the next course running in February to correlate with the beginning of the school year.

"All those little things all add up to trying to empower as many people as we can to try and look after themselves, because at the end of the day I don't want to see the same person all the time for the same thing,” Mr Poole said.

The clinic sees clients of all ages, and even takes care of athletes such as the Rockhampton Cyclones' basketball team and the Rockets players during the season and the pre-season.

Typically, Mr Poole sees many patients who come to him after trying many other methods.

Sometimes these particular clients require a little more care beyond physiotherapy, and Mr Poole makes it clear that he will not make any promises he can't keep.

"If we don't think we can help we'll definitely refer to somewhere else to get that help.”

In terms of the most common misconception that he encounters in his clients, Mr Poole says the 'old stand up tall, pull your shoulders back' is the biggest.

"When they do it, they do it way too much and that will give you a headache,” he said. "If I pull my shoulders back, my head is now a lot further forward than my shoulders and so these neck muscles have to work so much harder to try and hold my head up like that. But if I relax my shoulders and elongate the back of my neck that's where I get the nice posture.

"I often tell people to slouch more.”

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