Friday, 15 July 2011

What is Biokinetics?

Biokinetics is the use of exercise and movement as a form of rehabilitation or therapy. A biokineticist, therefore, uses exercise and movement to enhance the wellness and functionality of an individual’s physical state to improve the individual’s quality of life.

Where does Biokinetics fit in?

Biokinetics is involved in three main areas – orthopaedic rehabilitation, chronic disease management and corporate wellness.

Orthopaedic rehabilitation: generally, if a person suffers an injury or has surgery (ligament reconstruction, joint replacement, spinal fusion, etc.), the person will see a physiotherapist who will treat the acute injury by reducing pain and inflammation at the site of injury and regaining mobility of the joint. The person then goes to a biokineticist to strengthen the affected muscles, so that the person can return to their daily activities or sporting activities with reduced risk of recurrence. Often, biokinetics is also recommended prior to surgery (prehab), to strengthen appropriate muscles to support the affected area, thus speeding up the post-surgery rehabilitation.

Chronic disease management: exercise is used as a form of medicine to assist in the management of numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, arthritis and many more. Certain conditions respond to certain types of exercise, so the biokineticist will provide appropriate exercises for certain conditions.

Corporate wellness: in the corporate sector, biokineticists assess individuals who are generally office-bound. Measurements, such as height, weight and blood pressure are taken. A postural analysis, as well as an ergological evaluation, are done to assess weaknesses that may cause back and neck pain, for example, when an individual sits at a desk. Appropriate exercises are then prescribed to strengthen these weak areas and thus reduce pain and discomfort. Risk questionnaires may also be given to assess an individual’s risk for heart disease.

We work very closely with other medical professionals and allied health care professionals, such as orthopaedic and neurosurgeons, neurologists, specialist physicians, chiropractors and physiotherapists.

What does an appointment with a Biokineticist involve?

First, a thorough case history is taken to determine what prior injuries or illnesses existed that may have an effect on the current condition. A comprehensive assessment of the individual is done to determine where the weaknesses are that may be causing pain or injury. Appropriate exercises are then prescribed and carefully executed with the correct technique to improve symptoms and eliminate causing factors where possible.

What qualification does a Biokineticist have?

A biokinetics qualification is a paramedical degree that consists of a three-year undergraduate degree in Human Movement Science, together with one other major, followed by a one-year honours degree in biokinetics, and finally, one year of internship, where one works at a practice under the supervision of a registered biokineticist.

A biokineticist must be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in order to practice. The Biokinetics Association of South Africa is the profession’s representative.

In order to remain registered while practicing, a biokineticist must also obtain 60 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points per 24-month period. This ensures that the profession grows continuously and that all those in the profession remain up to date with new and developing concepts.

Biokinetics is recognised by medical aids and is, therefore, covered by most medical aids.

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