DAVID Renfrew had a clear goal when he enrolled in physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle.
“I wanted to be the Socceroos’ physiotherapist,” the 32-year-old says with a smile.
Quick to quip that the closest he got to his dream was being within reach of those in the top job, Mr Renfrew’s career nonetheless includes four years’ work with the Western Suburbs Rugby League Club and presenting to corporates on workplace injury prevention.
Now he’s fulfilled a fresh ambition: opening his clinic, Newcastle Performance Physiotherapy, in Newcastle West.
“I’ve wanted to do it for a while, it’s just been finding the right timing,” says the 32-year-old father of three.
“And I’ve wanted to have a practice that is more science and evidence based physio, there are a lot of treatments that happen in Newcastle that is at best antiquated.”
Mr Renfrew’s clinic bases all its treatments on scientifically proven diagnostic techniques and methodologies, using different equipment to test a client’s strength, movement and fitness.
“There are scientific ways to measure, explain and treat you so that you get free and painless movement, or peak performance, back,” he says.
“We use this science and modern technology to deliver our pain management and sports injury service – plain and simple.”
After university, Mr Renfrew worked at the old Royal Newcastle hospital before heading overseas to London, where he worked in the public health system and gained a solid knowledge in pain treatment.
Traditional pain treatment still exists, he says, but research has shown new and better ways of doing things. In addition, more weight is given to the neurological and psychological impact of injury, with communication with clients playing a key role.
“Everyone has heard of a slipped disc and can picture it, so when you have a severe back episode your brain will link that to the idea of it, and it can automatically make things worse,” he says of the “threat” factor in pain.
“I certainly am trying to make people feel better as a physiotherapist but a big part of it is expanding the process to them so when they moving more freely again it’s also because they are more aware of their bodies and I have stopped the part where they are afraid.”
His philosophy is that every client – elite athlete or not – should receive the same level of attention.
Mr Renfrew runs a paperless office, with online exercise programs and video technique assessments emailed to clients.
Located in Hunter Street beside Spotlight, Mr Renfrew’s business is, he says, growing organically through word of mouth.