“For neck rehab, the MCU does what TheraBands and manual therapy can’t do...It was so obvious, what’s missing is neck strength. With the MCU we can finally address the underlying problem."
Natalie Perkins’ international career in physiotherapy hit a turning point that completely changed the way she treats neck pain. After decades of elite accomplishments, including leading the physio program for the Australian Winter Olympic Team, she discovered the “missing link” in neck rehabilitation.
Cervical Spine Rehabilitation
In her early practice with the cervical spine, she was able to provide some relief with manual therapy. But clients would return with persistent symptoms after months or even days. She knew there was something missing from the traditional treatment, something preventing her from providing lasting results.
Then she found the Multi-Cervical Unit (MCU).
“It was so obvious, what’s missing is neck strength. With the MCU we can finally address the underlying problem. No other system gives a graded strengthening in the functional position of sitting,” says Perkins.
Inspired by the MCU’s clinically proven outcomes in neck rehab, Perkins established a new practice, the Sydney Whiplash Centre. Founded on the principal of muscular strengthening to relieve neck pain, the Sydney Whiplash Centre’s treatment with the MCU was an instant success.
Sky-high ROI (Return on Investment)
For the first six months of operation, the MCU was fully booked with new and returning clients every 30 minutes from open to close. The system completely paid for itself with new revenue within four months. From there, it’s been generating a steady stream of revenue for the clinic while providing long-term relief for clients.
Perkins attributes that immediate jumpstart to a one-time local news feature. Local news stations are always looking for local healthcare stories, but she says even without it, the MCU’s reputation markets itself. No other equipment does what the MCU does, and clients are willing to travel for it.
“It earns money on its own,” Perkins says.
Reaching New Referrals With Objective Reporting
Fast forward to today, and Perkins’s practice attracts referrals from physicians, workers’ comp, and even insurance companies, a rare feat in Australian healthcare. The MCU has broadened the clinic’s referral base, reaching higher numbers and wider geographic area than before.
These referral sources rely on the graphs and data in the MCU’s progress reports. With the system’s objective measurement, there is no eyeballing and no guesswork. Insurance and workers’ comp referrers especially value clinical results in charts and numbers, not someone’s opinion.
It’s not just the referrers who value objective clinical data. Clients, too, appreciate seeing their neck strength and range of motion graphed in real numbers. Check out MCU example reports for range of motion and strength below:
Patient Feedback: Relief, Confidence, and Results
Many clients come to their first Sydney Whiplash Centre appointment after years of pain and dysfunction. Countless doctor visits, MRI scans, and other therapy techniques have failed to identify or solve the issue.
When they see the MCU assessment report, it is the first time a healthcare provider can actually pinpoint the issue. Perkins says they’ve seen tears of relief from clients and their families. Validating the problem with numbers and providing a clinically proven plan gives their clients hope.
A few assessments at the Sydney Whiplash Centre showed clients starting with as low as 10-20% of normal neck strength. Even for people with years of chronic neck issues, the typical treatment plan lasts three to six weeks with the MCU, and sometimes a few manual sessions. Having been a long-time manual practitioner, Perkins says she’ll never give up manual therapy, but the MCU excels where the hands fall short.
“For neck rehab, the MCU does what TheraBands and manual therapy can’t do. Those other techniques can’t provide a graded resistance with consistent weight all the way through the range of motion. And the MCU provides objective feedback with graphs and data all shown in the progress reports.”- Natalie Perkins, Owner of Sydney Whiplash Centre
Neck Evaluation and Treatment With MCU
In terms of an exercise breakdown, the MCU works by facilitating movement at any angle, including flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation. During an evaluation, it measures the neck’s strength and ROM and creates the baseline reports.
From there, the treatment system allows for exercise with consistent weight through the entire range. Depending on the client’s needs, you can add or reduce weight in small increments for a safe and effective exercise.
High-tech Solutions in the Clinic
Walking into the Sydney Whiplash Centre, you’ll immediately notice the MCU among other neck treatment tools. The advanced technology makes the clinic stand out and gives clients a high-value experience that they can’t get anywhere else.
Perkins says today’s clients expect a certain level of technology in the clinic, and the MCU provides it without feeling intimidating. Especially with today’s high healthcare costs, she understands the importance of services that provide a clear value and clinical results.
Her clients love getting detailed graphs of their progress that keep them coming back to complete the treatment plan. “They know we’re not eyeballing it,” so patients gain confidence in their results and develop trust in the clinic. She reports that several people happily travel 3-4 hours one way just to get MCU treatment.
Learn More About Objective Neck Strengthening
Many rehab professionals understand the principles behind objective neck strengthening for whiplash, concussions, and other neck-related issues. But if you’re wondering how you can practice that in your clinic, check out the webinar, Neck pain: Is strength the missing link? on demand. This webinar presents evidence-based treatment for providing long-term relief from neck pain.
New Neck Pain E-book
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More About Natalie Perkins
Perkins began her physiotherapy experience in Sydney, Australia with an emphasis on sports medicine. After a number of years in the field, she established her first practice, Bodyworks Physiotherapy. Here she developed the “Bodyworks Model” of addressing the biomechanical causes of chronic and complex pain.
Her many professional accolades include providing physiotherapy for the rugby union at Sydney University and Powerhouse (Melbourne), the Australian Gymnastics Titles, Red Bull sporting events, Nitro Circus Live international tour, and multiple musicians, including Fleetwood Mac. She has acted as a corporate consultant, advising businesses on injury prevention. Today, she continues her clinical practice at the Sydney Whiplash Centre, helping people live healthier lives.