Interview by Dr Doug Cary with Dr Peter Selvaratnam on his professional work, medical research, books written and humanitarian work

The following is an interview with Dr Peter Selvaratnam on his professional work, medical research, books written and humanitarian work by Dr Doug Cary of AAP Education.

Today’s interview guest is with Physiotherapist Dr Peter Selvaratram (Platypus Award). In addition to telling us about his distinguished journey as a researcher, author, clinician and educator, Peter provides his personal insights into;

  • COVID and orofacial pain
  • working as an overseas volunteer and trauma counsellor
  • the importance of integrity in the Physiotherapy profession
  • and three things he wanted to know a an early stage Physiotherapist

Dr Peter Selvaratram’s Biography

Peter qualified in 1980 and soon after completed his postgraduate musculoskeletal physiotherapy course in Melbourne.

Peter was keen on the question of referred pain, especially referred pain to the upper limb and commenced a Masters in 1983 and then a PhD in 1985. His research was on the Brachial plexus tension test in patients and cadavers. The research involved assessment of patient’s following open heart surgery with shoulder and upper arm pain with a high probability of brachial plexus involvement during open heart surgery and sports people with a high probability of a shoulder component and controls from both groups. In conjunction with discussions with the late Bob Elvey and Prof Lance Twomey,  Peter evaluated the Brachial Plexus Tension Test (which is now referred to as the upper limb neurodynamic test) to assess the discriminatory validity of the upper limb neurodynamic test.

Peter lectures at The University of Melbourne to the Doctor of Physiotherapy students, and previously in the Masters of Musculoskeletal physiotherapy programme, and the Doctor of Physiotherapy programme in dry needling.

Peter completed his specialisation in musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 2007. He has since mentored colleagues and been an examiner in the specialist programme.

Peter has a strong interest in the orofacial region and has published book chapters in Sports Physiotherapy in 1995 and in 2009 co-edited and authored Headaches orofacial pain and bruxism: Diagnosis and multidisciplinary approaches to management with 39 other medical practitioners from different specialities and health professionals.

Peter has been performing voluntary community work at Jesuran Wellness Centre conducting trauma counselling to Australians, refugees, and asylum seekers. He also travels overseas to empower people. Peter published a book in 2019 with Hilda Samuel and Helelena Kauppinnen on Healing of the Hurting and helping the wound. This book is being translated into three other languages.

Peter’s sporting interests led him to be a physiotherapist to the Australian men and women’s basketball teams in 1982 and in the same year he was involved with the Australian National hockey competition and the workup hockey competition. He assisted the Sri Lankan cricket team when they initially came to Australia, and later prior to their win in The World cup one day win  in 1996. Peter has also been involved with the Melbourne Football Club (1989 – 1998) and the Commonwealth Games in 2006.