Health program seeks to get people moving

November 20, 2023 BY

Stepping up: The MOVE program run by Bendigo Health is seeking to assist with the pain and mobility of people with osteoarthritis. Photo: FILE

PEOPLE with osteoarthritis are being invited to join a Bendigo Health program to help manage pain and improve strength and walking speed. 

Called MOVE, short for Management of Osteoarthritis via Exercise and Education, the program aims to lessen the load of musculoskeletal conditions on the local health system. 

According to the World Health Organisation, as of 2022, musculoskeletal diseases are the primary factor for disability globally, and the leading cause for rehabilitation needs worldwide. 

Stream leader orthopaedic teams at Bendigo Health, Jonathon Turton, said hip or knee osteoarthritis is common. 

“Science shows that exercise, education, and weight loss are first-line treatment for those with hip and knee osteoarthritis,” said Mr Turton. 

“Our program can alter osteoarthritis disease progress and may result in delay or long-term deferment of significant procedures like hip or knee replacement, given its effectiveness in decreasing pain and improving function. 

“We believe there are more people out there in the Bendigo region that would benefit from our program, they may just not know that it exists yet.” 

As part of the program, participants can access 16 one-hour exercise sessions and four half-hour sessions at Stewart Cowen Community Rehabilitation Centre in Eaglehawk. 

Each session costs $6 and Mr Turton said there has been positive feedback for the program so far. 

“We’re also getting some great comments back from our clients that they’ve increased their confidence with walking and daily life, and that they’re pleased to know that exercise doesn’t do further damage,” he said.  

“It actually helps restore strength and balance and decreases pain.” 

To access MOVE, a referral is needed from a GP, health consultant, or internally through a Bendigo Health clinician.