From sporting legend to sports physio – we chat to top Australian sports physiotherapist Jason Trinh. The co-founder of FXNL Rehab gives the lowdown on his diet and lifestyle, injury prevention and recovery tips, and the benefits of holistic pain management.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A PHYSIO?
I saw the benefits of therapy from an early age when I used to get sporting injuries and physiotherapy helped me get back to doing what I love. There is no better feeling than to help people recover from their injuries and educate and empower people to live a life aimed at longevity.
WHICH SPORTS DO YOU PLAY?
I grew up playing rugby league, union, touch football throughout high school. Currently I just play basketball at a social level and oztag at rep level.
WHAT TYPE OF INJURIES ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN TREATING?
No two injuries are the same as everybody is unique and people respond to injuries differently so each person presents a different challenge. I have to say that going through an ACL reconstruction myself in 2015, I definitely have a greater appreciation for knee injuries in sports and helping and guiding them return to sport safely and confidently. Their own personal motivation and confidence are huge factors for success.
YOUR TOP TIPS FOR RECOVERING FROM INJURY?
Getting treated early is paramount. Too many times have I seen people wait it out “to see if it gets better” or “play through injury” without treatment. Often the injury manifests or becomes more difficult to treat, and they develop secondary issues. This all contributes to a longer recovery & rehab process.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
A typical day starts at 6:30AM. I’ll get up and get ready to head into work for an 8:00AM start. I would treat patients for a majority of the day with a break at some stage for lunch and business tasks/emails/social media/accounting. I would wrap up treating patients at 7:00PM and then head to either oztag, touch football or basketball games after work. This would finish generally anywhere between 9-10:00PM and then I would head home, shower and have dinner. I would get into bed between 11:00PM and midnight, catch up on some Youtube/NBA highlights and sleep around 1:00AM.
YOU TAKE A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO PAIN MANAGEMENT. HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM A CONVENTIONAL APPROACH?
I feel like the way the university programs are currently taught only set you up to “get by” once you graduate and step out and practise in the real world. [Although], it is one of those professions that you continually learn and get better with more experience, the way a lot of the programs are currently set out [place] a lot of emphasis on teaching one or two body parts at a time without enough attention on assessing and treating the body holistically as a unit.
[Treating the body as a unit] is important because nothing in our body typically acts or is affected on its own. An example would be that a patient who is a distance runner presents with hip/knee pain – conventionally you are taught to examine the hip/knee in isolation and try to find the problem there. The patient may come back the next session and say they temporarily felt better for a few hours or a day but the next time they went for a run, the same pain is there.
[This] is where a great therapist separates themselves from a good therapist. They will assess the body as a whole, and find that the arch of their foot collapses when they load that foot when running, which causes their lower leg to internally rotate, and their thigh internally rotates, which is causing a twisting motion on the knee that is aggravating a particular structure in their hip/knee. So the fix is in the foot rather than the hip/knee. This is what we do well at FXNL Rehab; dissecting their body from a holistic point of view and finding the root cause of their problem.
YOU RECENTLY HAD A KNEE RECONSTRUCTION. WHAT WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU DID TO RECOVER FROM THIS?
Yes, I had a R[ight] Knee ACL Reconstruction in 2015.
First and foremost I began my prehab right away in preparation for surgery. People don’t realise the importance of building up muscle tone/strength and addressing their deficiencies prior to surgery. It makes post-surgery rehab that much easier not only from the standpoint of regaining VMO quad muscle tone/function but also your body will find it easier to re-learn the motor-patterns required for some of the exercises you were doing during your prehab.
Secondly, finding a great surgeon matters. I’ve rehabbed my fair share of ACL’s and I can’t speak highly enough of Prof. Leo Pinczewski. He performed my surgery and the results I get from his surgeries makes my job that much easier when it comes to rehab and a much less painful process. I recommend all my new ACL’s injuries that are unstable and require surgery to see him.
Thirdly, sticking out the rehab process from beginning to end in collaboration with your physio matters. This is probably the most important part and the most challenging. It can be physically frustrating, mentally exhausting, you can lose motivation easily but it is so important because your therapist guides you along your rehab journey and advises you on what you need to specifically work on and when you are safe to progress to the next phase of your rehab. You will be able to return to sport without any issues. Trust the process.
HOW DOES MACROS FIT INTO YOUR LIFESTYLE?
MACROS meals [are] so easy to incorporate into my lifestyle. Due to the busy nature of my schedule I find it hard to find time to consistently meal-prep. Having meals delivered to my doorstep and [knowing] all I have to do is take [them] out of the freezer and microwave them saves me a lot of time. Knowing that I already have lunch/dinner prepared and knowing what I am consuming makes it easy to track my macros and my daily caloric intake to achieve my health and fitness goals.
YOUR FAVOURITE MACROS MEALS?
I have yet to try all of them some of my favourites are the Seared Steak with Cauliflower Rice & Smoky BBQ Sauce, Spice-Rubbed Chicken & Sweet Potato with Beetroot Mash, and the Sirloin Steak with Cauliflower Rice & Dairy Free Bearnaise Dip.
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