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RehabilitationDec 20, 2022

Michael O'Reilly tells PhysioUpdate about his 'game-changing' Optineck Balance Wedge: A Q&A

Q Tell us a little about your physiotherapy career

A I graduated in physiotherapy at Wits [University of the Witwatersrand] in South Africa in 1997. Having developed an interest in the upper quadrant soon after this, I have been fortunate enough to have been specialising in this area since 2005. Optimised Physio Solutions is based in Weybridge, Surrey.

The Optineck Balance Wedge addresses the underlying causes of neck and shoulder pain

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We see you have developed a new approach and associated piece of equipment. Tell us more

Experience has taught me that the vast majority of upper quadrant problems are caused by a common (and rather simple) set of factors. From a lifestyle and behavioural point of view, due to automation and the proliferation of screens, we now have more static and posturally imbalanced lives. We are all tending towards stiffness and movement inefficiency every day.

Bio-mechanically, this is progressive imbalance of the forces acting on the trunk, leading to an ever-stronger tendency towards increased trunk flexion. This results in an increase in the compensatory demand on the neck and imbalance of the shoulder girdle. This in turn leads to strain, pain and progressive wear and tear, and, as a result, our lifestyles (screen and movement habits, activities, ergonomics and so on) are driving neck and shoulder pain, headaches and a number of other problems.

To address the underlying cause, we need a way of restoring and maintaining the mobility and alignment of the trunk in a way that is quick, easy, effective and tangibly rewarding. This creates the best chance of helpful habit creation.

The Optineck Balance Wedge ticks these boxes by giving users the tool they need to regain postural balance on a daily basis. It removes the barriers to effective exercise and in getting gravity working for you, rather than against you, it brings about real change in a matter of minutes.

Patient feedback from the overwhelming majority has been exceptional. When asked how they are getting on, they reply: ‘I love my Balance Wedge.’

What results have you seen?

We have seen fantastic results. After spending years trying a whole range of strategies to help patients improve their postural alignment and control but seeing little long-term change, we are now seeing dramatic improvements in both signs and symptoms.

Patient feedback from the overwhelming majority of users has been exceptional. When asked how they are getting on, they reply: ‘I love my Balance Wedge.’ A small feedback study we did earlier this year showed that almost all patients (97 per cent) felt that they benefited from using it. After three months after, most (85 per cent) said they were still using it many times a week. The reasonable assumption is that this is only happening because patients experience genuine benefits.

From a hands-on therapist's viewpoint, it is an exceptionally valuable tool for mobilisation, myofascial release, neural mobilisation, Muscle Energy Techniques and so on. Herein is another one of the wedge’s unique selling points: it bridges the gap between the treatment room and the patient’s living room. Indeed, some physios have described the Optineck Balance Wedge as a ‘game changer’.

How can physios see The Optineck Balance Wedge in action?

The applications are many and the therapeutic exercise possibilities vast. I am amazed by the new rehab ideas our Pilates advocate Irene Albertson has developed. Visit: https://www.optineck.com for a wealth of info, including the Explainer video, and we will be adding more resources in the near future. 

We are always looking for progressive physiotherapy practices to join the upper quadrant rehab revolution. We can be contacted via the website featured above.

You have been in the profession for some time – how has your approach evolved?

I am constantly evolving and refining my methodologies. What has not changed though is my fundamental belief that patients want (and need) hands-on, face-to-face treatment. As a profession, we give this up at our peril.

Give three tips on launching a new product

  • if you don’t absolutely and passionately believe in it, don’t bother
  • don’t launch a product for the sake of it, look for a problem to solve and if that leads to a product (see point one)
  • if the product is truly unique and innovative, be prepared for people not to understand it at first. Persevere, they will get it eventually

 Any new year resolutions?

None other than taking the message of the Balance Wedge to a world that desperately needs it!

For more information,  email: info@optineck.com


Author: Edited by Ian A McMillan
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