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Merri Health Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists learn about ME/CFS

As part of Emerge Australia’s ongoing specialised education sessions for Allied Health professionals our Nurse Educator, Kate Herbert, presented an education session on Monday March 4th, about the basics of ME/CFS.

The group of 11 physiotherapists and exercise physiologists at Merri Health, based in the northern suburbs of Melbourne were particularly interested to know about how they can manage their practice to best support people with ME/CFS and the latest research about management techniques.

In addition to covering the basics of prevalence and diagnostic criteria, the session explained what we know about post-exertional malaise (PEM) and its relationship to activity. This explanation included CPET testing, delayed onset of PEM in people with ME/CFS and the harmful nature of graded exercise therapy (GET).

The final section of the presentation covered practical measures for the physios and EPs to use in-clinic.

Prior to the presentation, Kate asked our ME/CFS forum community members for their experiences with physios and pain clinics. Kate drew on feedback from the community to present three anonymous case studies about what to do, and not to do, for people with ME/CFS.

The key message was about energy conservation and making sure any prescribed exercises were within the individual’s “energy envelope”. This included practical steps like checking in before and after a session about energy levels, grouping exercises to avoid unnecessary standing to sitting, or doing all exercises sitting or lying, and using a heart rate monitor during and after the session to monitor for and minimise PEM.

Feedback from the session was overwhelmingly positive. Participants praised the depth of information and practical tips provided.

If you are a healthcare provider who would like to know more about ME/CFS, please contact [email protected] to discuss how we can help.

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