The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is urging men to seek out evidence-based healthcare like physiotherapy to change the current poorer health status of males compared to females[1] during Men’s Health Week (16-24 June).

Currently the average life expectancy of an Australian man is 78 years, while a woman’s is 82 years. From birth, males suffer more illnesses, more accidents and die earlier than their female counterparts. [2]

APA President Marcus Dripps said it’s everyone responsibility to change the stigma around men and boys seeking support for pain or health conditions.

'It’s widely known fewer men seek support for their health than women. It starts with changing the perception of ‘just be a man and put up with it’ – as we know this is no good for short and long-term health,' Mr Dripps said.

'Everyone has a role to play in getting Aussie blokes to be proactive about managing and preventing health conditions through evidence-based treatments like physiotherapy.'

The APA is promoting the role of physiotherapy in preventing and managing men’s health, particularly in the following areas:

  • Increase referrals of males to physiotherapy – A study of general practice data in Australia over the past 15 years suggests that a man is less likely than a woman to be referred to a physiotherapist by a GP, and this is made worse because men are also less likely to visit a GP in the first place[3]. It is vital more men seek referrals for physiotherapy services to improve health and wellbeing, and GPs are proactive in identifying the broad range of services available for improving men’s health support.
  • Managing and preventing heart disease – Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in men. Physiotherapists play a vital role in managing cardiac rehabilitation programs[4]  and its vital increased funding and awareness is given to this evidence-based service to reduce this health impact.
  • Reducing high rates of obesity and overweight men – Currently two-thirds of adult males (aged 18 years or over) and one-quarter (aged 5-17 years) are overweight or obese, which is linked to serious long-term health issues. Physiotherapists are experts in leading intervention programs to reduce these rates and promote long-term health and wellbeing.[5]
  • Prostate cancer physiotherapy support – Encouraging men living with prostate cancer to seek physiotherapy support in pelvic floor and cancer rehabilitation is critical to prevent issues associated with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. It comes as up to 95% of men will experience incontinence after radical prostatectomy, yet with the assistance of a pelvic floor physiotherapist, most men will recover.
  • Promoting tradie health and safety – While we’ve seen improvements, Australia’s tradie industry has among the highest health and safety issues of any sector. The APA’s Tradies National Health Month awareness campaign in August aims to change this through motivating tradies to prevent injuries like back and neck, as well as long-term health issues such as chronic health conditions through physiotherapy-led programs.
  • Rehabilitation from transport accidents – Currently, the number of men who have transport injuries is significantly higher than women, at 9.6 compared to 3.2 in women. While it’s vital we prevent accidents happening in the first place, it’s also important men are proactive in seeking rehabilitation through physiotherapy after a transport accident to prevent short and long-term health impacts.

[1] ABS data viewed at Men's Health Week
[2] ABS data viewed at Men's Health Week
[3] Bettering the evaluation and care of health (Beach) 2010-2015 data
[4] APA, Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Health Care, 2015, accessed here
[5] Department of Health, October 2015, view here


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