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Physiotherapist and acting director of Dunedin Physiotherapy Clinics

Matt is the new acting director of our physiotherapy clinics in Dunedin.

He wants every patient to experience high-calibre physiotherapy care.

From Whangarei in New Zealand's Far North, Matt came to Otago in 1997 to study Health Science, with a keen emphasis on Anatomy and Physiology.

As a young graduate Matt enjoyed the active practical problem-solving aspects of physiotherapy but wanted to better understand the science of load and the kinetics of movement.

After graduating from Otago in 2003, he traveled and worked in private practice before joining our Clinics' staff in 2007. He also helped manage day to day physiotherapy at the Unipol gym where he took excellent care of those recovering from injuries.

physio_MattDick with patient 2019 418This phase of Matt's career allowed him to complete his post-graduate studies in shoulder mechanics and rehabilitation. He advanced his clinical practice and further enhanced his higher-level reasoning skills. Masters studies also proved ideal preparation for his current role at the physiotherapy clinics where evidence-based diagnostic techniques are pre-eminent.

A duty of care

Matt took up his acting director's role in 2019 and one of his first new patients was a tradesman who asked for treatment for occupation-related elbow pain.

"Problem finding comes before problem solving, so Matt first carried out a close preliminary observation. He then moved to a detailed functional analysis in advance of treatment."

Problem finding comes before problem solving, so Matt first carried out a close preliminary observation. He then moved to a detailed functional analysis in advance of treatment.

It is important to ask questions about what led up to the injury, how the injury happened, and what the patient might already be doing to manage the painful condition.

Matt offered the patient a wider perspective on the injury by explaining the forces at work behind the injury or condition by demonstrating with a 3D model of the joint. In this case, he could show possible management strategies by describing forces that interact with the mechanics of the joint and how these might be modified to ease the patient's symptoms.

Because the patient was now engaged in his own care, it became practical to suggest that some modifications to learned repetitive ranges of movement may be helpful while at work.

These practical steps could negate the immediate need for hands-on treatment while saving the patient costly 'downtime'. Any need for refining ongoing care would reference a patient-centred management plan, which could operate around a realistic and agreed timeline.

High-performance physiotherapy

Matt looks forward to seeing the collaborative and critical duty of care aspects of physiotherapy better accepted and recognised within medicine.

He believes that the profession needs to improve the way it informs and educates the public, decision-makers and peer groups.

Matt's person-centred approach has proven vital to his success as a physiotherapist with Otago's rowing fraternity.

The long-established Otago University Rowing Club is a popular and productive Dunedin institution and the club's High-Performance Rowing Programme can claim to have produced many top tier Otago rowing squads.

Matt covers rowing squads from local high schools and the University through to regional and international training in Otago.

By studying individual rowers' patterns of movement he has gained an in-depth specific understanding of their unique demands. Matt incorporates these insights into his successful management and treatment of each injured athlete in this dynamic sport.

He enjoys sharing his knowledge of physiology with rowers and appreciates their keen desire to go faster in a straight line.

Alternative text
School of Physiotherapy Professional Practice Fellows Matt Dick (right) and Chris Higgs prepare to tackle GODZone – perhaps the most technically challenging adventure race in the world – in March 2019. – Sharon Bennett

Given a rare unscheduled 45 minutes, Matt Dick is sweeping at speed through the hills surrounding the Dunedin campus on his bike.

Not one to stand still for long, he may be taking quality time out, or training hard for his next multi-sport event while, at the same time, putting the theories of effective physiotherapy into practice.

Matt Dick holds a Masters of Physiotherapy (Manipulative Physiotherapy)(Otago), a Bachelor of Physiotherapy(Otago), a Post Graduate Certificate (Occupational Health), a Post Graduate Diploma (Physiology) and a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy and Physiology

Useful links

Read about Matt's work with the remote provision of health services via mobile devices

Find out more about study for the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhty) at Otago here


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