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Our Team

David Cowley

Dave has a unique ability to put people around him at ease. He is know for his down-to-earth, warm and reassuring approach. His sharp focus is unwaveringly on the needs of his patients and making sure they feel heard and understood and have the expert clinical advice they need to achieve optimal outcomes.   

As a senior Men’s Health physiotherapist, Dave helps men rediscover confidence by assisting them to overcome a variety of bladder, bowel or sexual health issues and to recover after prostate surgery. He believes in ‘patient-guided’ care: the patient is the one who understands their body and their body’s needs best, so it is the job of the physiotherapist to work with the patient to ensure the body is working optimally – be it movement without pain, exercise without incontinence or confidence with sex.’  

Dave is also Active’s Men’s Health Clinical Stream Leader, who has overseen the expansion of the Men’s Health service, delivering high-quality care. Dave and the team work closely with leading Urologists and other specialists, and he has been a speaker at various professional education events. 

Dave has undertaken PhD research, alongside Professor Paul Hodges, a world-leading clinical researcher, investigating the male pelvic floor muscles and recovery after prostatectomy. This research was funded by a significant grant from the NHMRC. His curiosity and love of learning, his research is contributing to the growth of our professional understanding of anatomy, biomechanics and pathophysiology, in managing incontinence, overactive bladder, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and rectal prolapse in men. His unique offering is his ability to directly translate his research findings into clinical care delivery through his work at Active Rehabilitation. 

Dave loves a diagnostic challenge and is a natural problem-solver. His optimistic and reassuring nature supports his patients during challenging times in their lives such as receiving a cancer diagnosis or experiencing debilitating pelvic pain. Dave cites a career highlight as: ‘getting to work closely with men experiencing pelvic health issues, getting to know them, hearing their stories and joining them on their journey as they return to continence, erectile function, reduced pain and feeling completely like themselves again’. He describes helping patients to solve problems in novel and patient-specific ways as ‘incredibly sustaining’. 

Dave is interested in Indigenous Health & Equal Opportunities, having volunteered with SOS Health in North-East Arnhem Land, where he travelled daily to remote Indigenous Homelands and provided physiotherapy services to the people in these areas. 

Dave likes to work on renovation and landscape projects at home, attend live music, play with his nephew and stay fit and healthy. Dave is a talented bass and lead guitarist and enjoys playing gigs with his covers band.  

 Dave’s favourite quote: 

‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – Dalai Lama  

‘I am so proud of Active’s ability to deliver a premier pelvic health service to men who need it.’ – David Cowley 

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Physiotherapy Association, since 2013 

Areas of Research

  • Urology 
  • Urodynamics 
  • Pelvic Floor Function/Dysfunction in Males  
  • Post-prostatectomy incontinence 
  • Posture 
  • Electrical Stimulation 
  • Breathing 
  • Pelvic floor overactivity 

Publications

Journal Articles 

  • Cowley D, Stafford RE, Hodges PW. The influence of prostatectomy and body position on location and displacement of pelvic landmarks with pelvic floor muscle contraction. Neurourol Urodyn. 2022 Jan; 41(1):203-210. doi: 10.1002/nau.24794. Epub 2021 Sep 16. PMID: 34529870. 
  • Cowley D, Stafford RE, Hodges PW. The repeatability of measurements of male pelvic floor anatomy and function made from transperineal ultrasound images of healthy men and those before and after prostatectomy. Neurourol Urodyn. 2021 Aug; 40(6):1539-1549. doi: 10.1002/nau.24701. Epub 2021 Jun 15. PMID: 34130355. 
  • Cowley D, Stafford RE, Hodges PW. The influence of prostatectomy and body position on location and displacement of pelvic landmarks with pelvic floor muscle contraction. Neurourol Urodyn. 2022 Jan; 41(1):203-210. doi: 10.1002/nau.24794. Epub 2021 Sep 16. PMID: 34529870. 

Conference Papers 

  • Cowley D, Stafford RE, Hodges PW. The influence of body position on pelvic floor muscle anatomy and function in men who have undergone prostatectomy. International Continence Society 2021, Melbourne, Australia. 
  • Worman RW, Cowley D, Baldini Prudencio C, Stafford RE, Hodges PW. What is the evidence for increased tone/overactivity of the pelvic floor muscles in pelvic health conditions? A systematic review. International Continence Society 2021, Melbourne, Australia. 
  • Cowley D, Stafford RE, Hodges PW. Assessment of pelvic floor muscle anatomy and function in standing before and after prostatectomy. Australasian Prostate Cancer Conference 2021, Melbourne, Australia. 

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