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All Your Dry Needling Questions, Answered

dry needling in back
A beneficial treatment for patients presenting with acute or chronic pain, impaired mobility, or muscular tightness, dry needling is often performed alongside remedial massage or physiotherapy. But is it painful, is it hygienic, and isn’t it just the same as acupuncture? (No, yes, no.) We discuss these dry needling questions – and all the others we’re frequently asked – below. Read on to discover the important role of dry needling in fast-tracking your recovery, and to understand exactly what it is you’re in for.

How does dry needling work?

In dry needling, a (fine, sanitary) needle is inserted into a myofascial trigger point to stimulate an involuntary local twitch response, which causes the muscle to release and relax. In some cases, mechanical stimulus of the needle may also be used. The successful therapeutic outcome of dry needling is to stimulate neurological sensors in the body to disrupt the contracted nature of the muscle. This can result in relief from tension, freer movement, and a reduction in pain. The technique can also cause positive local biomedical changes and result in the increase of blood flow, which in turn promotes faster recovery from your injury.

When is dry needling used?

Dry needling is performed in conjunction with remedial massage or physiotherapy, and is suitable for treating most musculoskeletal conditions. These include: sprained ankles, back or neck pain, tendonitis, headache, joint pain, jaw pain, shoulder/ rotator cuff pain and impingement, bursitis, sciatica, over-use injuries, RSI, shin splits, sports injuries, ITB, tennis elbow, knee injuries, pelvic pain, plantar fasciitis, and general muscle tightness and cramping.

How does dry needling complement massage/ physiotherapy?

Dry needling is a treatment that goes deeper than manual trigger point therapy. It can also be used as an alternative to massaging an area if it is too painful. Adding dry needling to your remedial massage or physiotherapy treatment can provide faster relief from pain and muscle tightness, increase your range of motion, and speed up your recovery.

Will it hurt?

Dry needling may be slightly uncomfortable at first, but it should not be painful. You may experience a slight prick/tap when the ultra-fine needle is inserted, often followed by a twitch response. This is caused by a contraction of the muscle when the needle stimulates the myofascial trigger point/ knot in the muscle. Most patients will also experience a dull ache sensation in the area when the needle meets the trigger point.

Is dry needling hygienic?

Yes. Dry needling is performed with sterile single-use fine filament hypodermic needles (acupuncture needles).

How long are needles left in?

The needles may be placed deeply or superficially, depending which area of the body is being treated. They may be left in between 5 to 7 minutes, or up to 15 minutes with the occasional manipulation or winding of the needle.

Who is dry needling not suitable for?

Dry needling may not be suitable for you. It is contraindicated for:

• Patients with Lymphodema
• Those with compromised immune systems (for example due to cancer, hepatitis, HIV)
• Those with vascular disease
• Diabetes
• Pregnancy
• Those with a metal allergy
• Patients on Anticoagulants (blood thinners)

How is dry needling different from acupuncture?

The main difference between dry needling and acupuncture is that acupuncture treats to alter the flow of Qi energy based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM follows the theory that Qi circulates along 12 major pathways along the body called meridians linked to a specific organ system. Dry needling, on the other hand, is based on Western anatomical and neurophysical principles relating to the trigger points – tight bands of muscle found within a muscle or muscle group.

Call us on 9650 2220 to discuss whether dry needling may be an appropriate addition to your remedial massage or physiotherapy appointment. 

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What is Bursitis?

shoulder bursitis rehabilitation
Experiencing sudden or ongoing pain, heat or stiffness in the shoulder or hip? Bursitis could be to blame. Typically occurring in (but not limited to) these areas, this uncomfortable condition refers to inflammation of any of the body’s many bursa – small, fluid-filled sacks that provide cushioning and lubrication between a bone and joint, tendon, muscle, ligament or skin to allow smooth, pain-free motion.

When one of these sacks is inflamed, it hinders, rather than helps, movement. A swollen bursa takes up more space, resulting in increased friction and pressure, and painful, restricted movement.

What are the symptoms of bursitis?

If you are experiencing pain, swelling and/or heat in or around a joint, stiffness, reduced range of motion, sharp or shooting pain with movement, or pain at night that disrupts your sleep, you may have an inflamed bursa.

Why does bursitis arise?

A common overuse injury, bursitis is often seen in individuals whose job or exercise regime involves frequent, repetitive actions. For instance, shoulder bursitis (subacromial bursitis)
may be found in a house painter, and hip bursitis (trochanteric bursitis) in a dancer. Also at risk are those who attempt to achieve too much too soon at the gym or on the sports field, without possessing adequate strength, mobility and the correct technique, or allowing enough time off for recovery.

When not brought about by frequent repetitive actions, bursitis can instead result from direct trauma, such as a car accident or a jolting fall. It is also more prevalent in those with chronic health conditions including rheumatoid arthritis.

Where does it occur?

The most common types of bursitis are subacromial – occurring between the rotator cuff tendon and acromion (bone on the tip of the shoulder), and trochanteric – occurring on the lateral surface/ outside of the hip. Inflammation to the knee, elbow and Achilles/heel bursae are also common. However, bursitis can strike anywhere a bursa is present – and there are over 100 throughout the body!

How is bursitis diagnosed & treated?

Your physiotherapist will determine your condition by assessing the joint/ muscle and surrounding areas, while taking in your medical history to rule out other potential contributing factors. Further investigations such as an ultrasound or MRI may be required.

The first steps of a bursitis treatment plan will typically include anti-inflammatories, soft tissue massage, and ice for relief. If the condition is chronic, a cortisone injection may be beneficial.

Your physiotherapist will also determine and address the causes of your bursitis for long-term and preventative management. This may involve creating a treatment plan to overcome biomechanical/muscle weakness issues with strengthening exercises and stretches, education to improve sporting technique, and lifestyle changes to reduce repetitiveness of tasks.

If you feel like you may be suffering from bursitis, call Collins Place Physio today on 9650 2220 to get your rehabilitation under way.

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Ice Vs Heat – Which is Best for Your Injury?

Ice cubes
You probably know by now how to treat an ankle sprain with the RICE method. But when else should you treat an injury with ice? And what about heat? Is it the right thing to apply for sharp lower back pain, and what about that niggling neck ache? To make sure you’re getting your temperature therapy right, read on. We’ll guide you through the ice versus heat decision, and help you recover sooner.

When to ice

Ice should be used for all acute injuries and when there is inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response of the body to a trauma or injury. By constricting the blood vessels, ice helps to reduce inflammation and tissue damage. It also acts as a local anaesthetic, numbing the soft tissues and slowing down the pain messages being transmitted to the brain.

When to use heat

On the other hand, heat can be beneficial for general muscle aches, joint stiffness, chronic pain, and stress. Heat increases blood flow which relaxes tight muscles and relieves aching joints. A heat pack or hot water bottle is also lovely and warming on a chilly morning!

What happens if you get it wrong?

Using heat in the acute stages of an injury will increase the pain and inflammation, which can delay healing. Ice should not be used on muscle cramps/spasm as it will only cause the muscle to contract further and cause more pain. If in doubt, speak to your physio.

Can you alternate ice and heat?

In some instances, yes. Alternating ice and heat has been shown to have some benefit in reducing exercise-induced muscle soreness. The ice works as an analgesic then the heat promotes blood flow to the affected area for faster recovery. Elite athletes will often use contrast water therapy (CWT), immersing themselves alternately in both cold and hot water.

How to use ice

The general rule for icing is ’20 minutes on and 20 minutes off’. Ice should be applied for the first 72 hours after an acute injury or trauma. It is important to make sure the ice pack is wrapped in a damp cloth (if it does not have a cover) to protect the skin from unpleasant ice burns.

How to use heat packs

Heat packs should be applied for 20 minutes up to 3-4 times per day. Single-use patches and wraps can be used continuously for up to 8 hours. If the heat pack is very warm, take care to avoid burning the skin by placing a towel between the pack and your skin.

When to avoid both ice and heat

Always avoid applying a hot or cold pack over an open would. And, if there is impaired sensation in the injured area, steer clear of both ice and heat and book an appointment with your physio.

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Why a sit-stand desk could be the best health investment you make this year

man using sit-stand desk
Standing desks, also known as sit-stand desks, have received a lot of attention in recent years. But are they worth the investment? In a word, yes! All the team at Collins Place Physio alternate between sitting and standing, and we recommend our office workers do too. Not convinced? Read on for the many benefits of sit-stand desks, and you’ll soon be adding one to your new year wish list!

You’ll burn more calories

Standing burns more calories than sitting, so switching things up and standing for periods throughout the day can help reduce your risk of weight gain. According to leading manufacturer of ergonomic solutions BakkerElkhuizen, the heart pumps around 10 times as much blood around your body if you alternate between sitting and standing, as opposed to sitting only. And you can burn approximately 145 calories in a few hours standing at your desk!

It’s not just about aesthetics either – maintaining a healthy weight plays a crucial role in avoiding the onset of type 2 diabetes and its associated complications.

You’ll reduce your risk of disease

Being sedentary – i.e. spending eight hours a day, five days a week sitting at your desk (!) – is akin to smoking when it comes to negative health impacts. Time and again, prolonged sedentary time has been linked to not only higher blood sugar, obesity and type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease and even some types of cancer.

According to Alpa Patel, PhD, strategic director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study 3: “Sitting time research is still in its infancy. We are trying to understand whether it’s the total amount that you sit or how frequently you break up those bouts of sitting that are most relevant to disease risk. While we continue to learn what is driving this relationship, it’s already clear that cutting down on the time you spend sitting has good consequences for your health.”

This reduction in sitting time at work can easily be achieved with the introduction of an adjustable sit-stand desk, as well as ensuring you take plenty of active breaks. Even if that’s just walking to a colleague’s desk rather than emailing.

Alternating between sitting and standing can reduce back pain

Sitting for extended periods can cause muscle tightness and increased tension in the lower back and even other parts of the body like the neck and upper back. For those with back pain that is aggravated by sitting, the ability to stand while at work gives significant pain relief.

Standing all day is not recommended either. As you fatigue from standing, you often start to adopt unfavourable postures, such as slouching to prop yourself up on the desk, or leaning towards one side/leg/elbow, which can lead to an increase in load and tension on that particular side.

Being able to be mobile and move from sitting to standing throughout the day helps with force/load distribution, and also helps maintain muscle length.

You’ll perform better at work

Proponents say the benefits of sit-stand desks extend beyond the health gains, citing higher energy levels, focus and productivity, as well as enhanced creativity. No surprise then that sit-stand desks are the go-to for tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook.

A sit-stand desk could even help you live longer!

Perhaps the most compelling potential benefit of a sit-stand desk relates to your life span. Published last year, one Deakin University study of 231 desk-based workers concluded that sit-stand desks could help save 7,492 ‘health-adjusted life years’ through prevention of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Interested in purchasing a sit-stand desk or want to know more? Call our friendly team today on (03) 9650 2220.

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9 Signs You Need to See a Physio

woman with knee pain
Not sure if the pain or discomfort you’re experiencing is par for the course or something worth investigating? You’re not alone. To help, we’ve rounded up nine clear-cut signs you need to see a physio. And get your body back functioning at its full potential!

1. You have headaches

Headaches aren’t always a result of dehydration, eye strain, illness or stress – they are often caused by muscular tension in the neck or jaw, as well as poor posture. In many cases, your physiotherapist can assist with relieving your symptoms and assign exercises to prevent headaches from recurring. If your headaches are of a more severe nature, they will of course refer you to a medical professional.

2. You keep tripping over

If you’re struggling with your balance more than usual, it’s time to make an appointment with your friendly physio. There are a number of reasons your balance could be out of whack and your physiotherapist will be able to help by assessing the causes of your balance issues, then prescribing an exercise regime to restore your equilibrium.

3. You’re always tired

If you’re suffering from chronic back pain or a bung shoulder, it can be a struggle to manage the recommended eight hours of shut eye. Alleviating pain will help you to sleep better, and awaken bright and refreshed, rather than grumpy and achy. Your physio will also be able to advise on the right mattress/ pillow/ sleeping position to suit your individual needs.

4. You’ve rolled your ankle twice… this week

Recurring injury can be an indicator of inefficient movement patterns, restricted mobility, or underlying musculoskeletal issues. Your physiotherapist will be able to help correct any imbalances and provide strengthening and mobilising exercises. Ensuring those little accidents occur far less frequently!

5. Your ear aches

If you frequently experience ear ache, facial pain, a clicking noise when yawning or eating, headaches, tinnitus or neck pain, you could be suffering from TMJ or jaw dysfunction. A physiotherapist with experience in this area (such as CPP’s Pete Bond) will be able to assist you in managing pain and correcting dysfunction with techniques including muscle massage, mobilisation and dry needling.

6. You have shin splints

If shin splints are derailing your training plans, a trip to the physio can be very beneficial. Your physiotherapist will be able to run a full biomechanical screening, assess your technique and identify any muscle dysfunction, advise on shoe choice and orthotics, and tailor a program to improve lower limb strength, stability and mobility, and expediate your return to running.

7. You have a stabbing heel pain

Sharp pain in your heel, particularly during the morning, is a sign you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Older people, overweight individuals, pregnant women, those with high arches or arthritis, and active folk with tight calf or lower leg muscles, are more susceptible to this condition. A physiotherapist can help alleviate your symptoms with soft tissue massage and taping, equip you with beneficial stretches, and address any biomechanical issues that may be at play.

8. You have restricted mobility

Being able to move freely is important for your sense of vitality, and mobility – like strength or fitness – is something that needs consistent work to maintain. Aside from helping you feel youthful and agile, maintaining a good range of motion will substantially reduce your risk of injury. Regardless of whether you’re loading your joints at the gym, or simply bending down to pick up a toddler.

A physiotherapist will address any issues hindering your movement and provide stretches and strategies for home, such as self-myofascial release using a foam roller or spiky ball.

9. You’re in pain

This one’s a no brainer! If you are experiencing acute or ongoing bodily pain that feels muscular or joint-related, an appointment with a physiotherapist should be your first port of call.

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How to Keep Your Health on Track these Christmas Holidays

Fit family paddleboarding
The Christmas holidays are a special time of year – a chance to kick up your heels, relax, and spend quality time with family and friends. The champagne/beer/wine’s flowing, the cricket’s on the TV, and the leftovers are seemingly endless. But for many, so too is the temptation to totally forget about good habits, and start the new year with an inevitable hangover, aches and pains, and a bit of extra padding…

While it’s fine to loosen your belt a little and relax the rules, don’t let this holiday be a complete blow out! Here’s how to easily incorporate some healthy habits into your break, and start 2019 off on the right foot.

Look after your feet

Speaking of feet, if you live in flip flops all summer long, you might be doing yours less of a favour than you think. Regular thongs offer very little in the way of arch support, encourage pronation (inwards rolling) and put foot ligaments and joints under stress as you claw your toes to keep your thongs, well, on your feet. Regular wear can result in foot, ankle and calf pain, and conditions such as Achilles tendinopathy.

Thankfully, there is a better alternative – Archies Arch Support Thongs. Equally stylish, these physio-designed thongs are the comfiest footwear you’ll ever wear. In fact, if you bump into any of the Collins Place Physio team this break, chances are we’ll be sporting our Archies!

Book a massage

It might seem indulgent, but a massage can go a long way towards easing accumulating tension during the (often fraught) festive season. Christmas parties, last-minute shopping, cooking and hosting the extended family can really take their toll, and a massage can help you soldier on by boosting your immune system and easing stress.

Keep moving

Instead of just watching sport from your armchair, how about gathering the troops for that great Aussie tradition – a game of beach cricket? Walk off your Christmas lunch, make tennis dates with your friends, hit the gym, go for a surf or head to yoga. Now that you actually have some free time, why not use it to stay active? You’ll feel so much better for moving your body, and won’t need to start from scratch in the new year.

Take a tech detox

Taking a break from your devices is good news for both the body and mind, and allows you to be fully present when spending time with your loved ones. You don’t need to do a total blackout, but try setting limits and work to break the constant scrolling cycle. Turning off your tech two hours before bed will also ensure you sleep more soundly over the break, meaning you’ll return to work refreshed and recharged.

Stick with the 80:20 rule

While we’re no grinches and think everyone should have a no-limits cheat day on December 25th, try not to let that become a cheat fortnight! Stick with the 80:20 rule (80% clean and 20% indulgent) as much as possible and you’ll start the new year feeling healthy and energised. Instead of bloated, sluggish and in dire need of a detox!

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Are You Suffering from Tech Neck?

woman using mobile phone
Tech neck, text neck, one thing’s for sure – device-related neck pain is a modern epidemic. From smart phones to tablets, eReaders and laptops, the technology designed to enhance our lives and give us increased mobility can, ironically, hinder it. Resulting in chronic pain, reduced movement, and – if left unchecked – costly rehabilitation bills.

Caused by an over reliance on mobile devices, tech neck is certainly an increasingly common complaint in our Melbourne CBD physiotherapy clinic. Thankfully, however, it can largely be prevented, without the need to go cold turkey.

What’s the problem with our devices?

They’re lighter and more portable than ever before, so how exactly are our smart phones and laptop computers doing us damage? The answer lies in the posture we assume when reading, typing or texting.

Prolonged flexion of the neck (looking down) encourages a forward shoulder posture which puts the neck further forward, out of the base of support. This means the neck and shoulder muscles need to work harder to hold your head up against gravity. Over time, this overuse can lead to fatigue and chronic neck pain.

The warning signs of tech neck

If you are experiencing the following, take notice:

  • Gradual onset of a dull ache and stiffness in the neck and shoulders when using handheld devices/laptops for extended periods
  • Nagging or sharp pain at the end of day after prolonged laptop/ tablet/ phone use etc
  • Intermittent headaches when using devices
  • In extreme cases, you may start to feel numbness/tingling or pain in the arms (If you experience any symptoms in your extremities, you should consult your physio asap.)

How to avoid device-related neck pain

Nobody says you have to turn into a luddite, but limiting your mindless scrolling has numerous benefits for your physical, not to mention mental, wellbeing. Try using an app to track your screen time, and set yourself strict daily limits for social media.

Instead of sending dozens of text messages to the same person, save your neck (and your thumb from RSI!) and consider engaging in the declining art of phone conversation. Popping your phone on speaker or pairing with Bluetooth headphones when out and about will help prevent any crick in the neck caused by lengthy chats.

In the office, instead of emailing that colleague three seats away, drop by their desk and discuss the project in person. And, if you work from home, try to avoid falling into bad habits, like working from your couch or kitchen table. A good ergonomic home office setup is vital for productivity as well as your wellbeing. (If you are unsure where to start, contact us for an at-home ergonomic assessment.)

Regularly read from a tablet or Kindle in bed, or on the bus/train/tram? This could be the underlying cause of your tech neck. To avoid this, sit with your back slightly reclined and prop up your eReader with pillows so that it sits at eye level. This helps to reduce the workload on your neck and shoulder muscles.

Treatment of tech neck

If you are experiencing signs of tech neck, your first course of action (after reducing your screen time) is to book a physiotherapy assessment. Treatment will typically include a combination of soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation and, in some cases, taping. Consider booking a professional ergonomic assessment of your workstation, and seek postural advice.

Your physiotherapist may also prescribe a strengthening program for your back and postural muscles, and the smaller muscles that help stabilise the neck. Working on your posture will be very beneficial and, in the longer term, Pilates may help to prevent recurrence.

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How to prevent and treat rotator cuff injuries

man with shoulder injury
Providing strength and stability to the shoulder joint, the rotator cuff is surprisingly susceptible to injury. In fact, rotator cuff injuries are common among both the young and active, and older, more sedentary patients we see at Collins Place Physio. So, what exactly is the rotator cuff, what does it do, and how can you keep yours happy and healthy?

The rotator cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons that arise from the shoulder blade and attach to the head of the humerus (upper arm), forming a cuff. It centres the humeral head in the shallow socket, and provides strength and stability during motion of the shoulder joint. It helps you to abduct (raise your arm to the side), and internally and externally rotate the shoulder.

How rotator cuff injuries occur

Rotator cuff injuries are very common in people over the age of 40 due to normal age-related ‘wear and tear’ in the tendons. In younger patients, injuries are mainly due to a trauma to the shoulder, or overuse caused by repetitive overhead sports like tennis or volleyball. Rotator cuff injuries are also common in occupations that require working overhead or involve repetitive physical tasks, such as painting, carpentry etc.

Rotator cuff injuries usually start with a nagging ache in the shoulder when lifting/reaching overhead, dressing, or lying on the shoulder at night. This develops into pain and weakness with repetitive use, or when lifting the arm overhead.

Preventing Rotator cuff injuries

As the shoulder joint is so mobile, it depends on the strength of the rotator cuff muscles and tendons to stabilise the joint. To prevent injuries to the shoulder, it is important to strengthen the rotator cuff as well as the bigger muscles around the joint.

Rotator cuff exercises should therefore be incorporated into all gym programs that involve upper body strengthening. You also need to strengthen the muscles that stabilise the scapula, as this provides the base for all shoulder movements. If one of these muscles is weak, it places more stress on the rotator cuff tendons at the front of the shoulder.

Thoracic (upper back) mobility is also essential in preventing rotator cuff tears and shoulder injuries. Poor mobility in the thoracic spine will cause a person to have reduced thoracic extension and rounded shoulders. This places a lot more load on the rotator cuff tendons and can increase the risk of injury.

Treatment for rotator cuff tears

Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury, and the patient’s lifestyle. Partial thickness tears will usually heal themselves with rest and the appropriate rotator cuff strengthening program. Full thickness tears, however, may need to be surgically repaired if the person is returning to high level sport or activity.

Older individuals can typically return to normal function through conservative management that involves strengthening the remaining muscles of the rotator cuff. Rehabilitation involves strengthening the rotator cuff, the muscles that stabilise the scapula, and working on improving general mobility.

If you are experiencing any shoulder pain or weakness, please call Collins Place Physio on 9650 2220 to discuss an appropriate rehab or prevention program.

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5 Signs You Need to Strengthen Your Glutes

female doing glute exercises
While a taut, toned backside might be on your wish list, having strong gluteal muscles is important for functional as well as aesthetic reasons. Comprising of a group of muscles in the buttocks – gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus – the glutes control external and internal rotation of the hip joint, extension and abduction of the leg, and help maintain pelvic stability during activities.

Strong glutes can improve your posture, balance, and sporting prowess, while reducing your risk of injury and back pain. With such an important role, they shouldn’t be neglected. So, read on to discover five common signs your glutes could benefit from some strengthening!

1. Your glutes always feel tight

Unless you’re recovering from a squat-laden gym session, your glutes probably shouldn’t be feeling tight or sore. More often than not, chronic muscle tightness is a sign of weakness.

2. Poor posture

Posture isn’t only about a strong and stable core. Weak glutes can also cause an inability to maintain an upright posture through the trunk and pelvis.

3. Hip or knee pain

If you suffer from hip or knee pain, you might be searching in the wrong place for the cause, as it is often glute-related. Weak glutes can cause strain on the hip itself, as well as the lower down joints of the knees and even the ankles.

4. Lower back pain

If you’ve ever experienced lower back pain during bridging exercises at the gym or pilates, it’s highly likely you weren’t properly engaging your glute muscles. Weak glutes or glutes that aren’t ‘switched on’ can result in over-compensation from the lower back muscles. This can in turn cause pain and, potentially, injury.

5. Inability to maintain a level pelvis when standing on one leg

Part of the glute plays an important role in keeping a stable pelvis during single leg activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, hopping or running. Lack of pelvic stability can cause strain above or below in the kinematic chain, for instance in the lumbar spine, knee or lower leg.

If you are experiencing any of the above concerns, please call us on 9650 2220 to make an appointment to have your gluteal function assessed, and a strengthening program prescribed.

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The Benefits of Massage During Pregnancy

pregnant woman with back pain
Pregnancy is a time of joy and excitement, but it can also take its toll on a woman’s body. At the same time, anxiety levels are often elevated, making stress management important. Regular massage can be particularly useful to alleviate this stress, while also having a host of other benefits. Read on to discover the many and varied reasons to include massage in your pregnancy self-care plan.

It can ease lower back pain

Hormones produced during pregnancy cause the pelvic ligaments to loosen and joints to open, which in turn places stress on weight bearing joints and structures. As a result, lower back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy. By increasing blood flow to muscle groups and allowing them to work more efficiently, massage can help to alleviate pregnancy-related back pain.

And reduce fluid retention

You’ve no doubt had a pregnant friend complain about their swollen ankles, or experienced it yourself. This is due to the fact a woman’s blood volume can increase as much as 40-60% during pregnancy, placing an additional load on the lymphatic system and increasing fluid retention.

Stimulating the soft tissue during massage will help to reduce the collection of fluid and assist the lymphatic system to effectively remove fluid. Hence reducing any swelling.

Massage can relieve nerve pain & sciatica

As the baby grows, some women may experience sciatica – characterised by sharp pain from the lower back down the back of the thigh and lower limb to the foot. Releasing the surrounding muscles and massaging the glutes and lower limbs can alleviate the pressure caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve.

And alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome

Found on the palm-side of your wrist, the carpel tunnel houses several tendons and nerves that directly control your hands. Unfortunately, during pregnancy a large number of women will experience carpal tunnel syndrome due to excess fluid (oedema) in the wrists. As a result, they may experience pins and needles, numbness, and stiff, painful hands. Massage assists in moving the fluid and reducing muscular tenderness.

It can help with migraine & headache management

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can contribute to more frequent and intense migraines or headaches. By boosting circulation and reducing tension, massage can help relieve your pain.

It’s also very relaxing!

Not only is massage very relaxing, it is known to promote a good night’s sleep. Magic words for any mum-to-be!


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6 Reasons to Strengthen Your Core

women doing side planks

While washboard abs might be out of reach for many, core strength is something we can, and should, all strive for. And its importance goes far beyond vanity and a flat stomach! A corset-like group of muscles that includes your rectus and transverse abdominals, pelvic floor, and obliques, the core muscles provide support and stability to your spine, both when you are static and moving.

Your core helps support your posture, protect your organs and central nervous system, and help you to stand, bend, lift and twist without injury. And that’s just for starters! Read on to discover six major benefits of building a stronger core.

1. You’ll Experience Less Back Pain

Weak core muscles are a very common contributing factor to back pain. If you are not engaging your core, even while you are sitting at your desk all day, your lower back muscles will be recruited to keep your upright. The excess loading of these muscles will often lead to fatigue and unnecessary back pain.

2. You’ll Look & Feel More Confident

A strong core automatically improves your posture by allowing you to sit and stand more efficiently, creating a feeling of increased stability and power. Instead of slouching and shrinking, you’ll sit and stand taller, making you instantly appear – and feel – more confident.

3. And Look Slimmer

Good news for dieters – tightening this ‘corset’ of muscles and improving your posture will give you a slimmer silhouette and flatter stomach, regardless of the number on the scales.

4. You’re Less Likely to Injure Yourself

A strong, stable core provides a good foundation for all of your movements. When the core is weak, your body will move less efficiently. Other parts of your body will pick up the slack and experience overloading, which can result in pain and injury.

5. You’ll Improve Your Athletic Performance

With a stronger core, the body’s movement pattern is more controlled, requiring less energy to be spent compensating for poor movement patterns. A stronger core also allows your upper and lower limbs to work off a more solid base, allowing for increased force production. This enables the body to support/withstand greater loads in the gym, and produce more concise movement patterns on the sports field.

6. You’ll Have Better Bladder Control

If you are experiencing bladder leakage, speak to your physio. A program to strengthen the deep pelvic floor muscles, particularly after childbirth, may be required. Exercises that engage the pelvic floor, such as yoga and Pilates, may also be beneficial.

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6 Common Running Injuries & How to Prevent Them

man running
Running is one of the most popular ways to shape up and stay fit, and for obvious reasons. It’s free, no equipment (other than the right shoes!) is required, and you can do it virtually anywhere, any time. Even on holidays.

It is, however, a high impact activity, meaning runners run the risk (pardon the pun!) of injury due to putting excess stress on the joints. But that doesn’t mean you should quit before you begin!

To keep you in the running safety zone, we’ve rounded up six of the most common running injuries we see at Collins Place Physio, plus our top tips on how to prevent them.

Runners Knee (Patellofemoral pain syndrome)

The fittingly named runner’s knee is characterised by pain and tenderness/inflammation around and behind the kneecap (patella). It occurs due to poor tracking of the patella, and can flare up due to excessive hill running and poor running technique/weak glutes.

While taping the patella can help in the short term, to prevent runner’s knee from occurring or coming back, you’ll need to see your physiotherapist and work on your hip stability (gluteus medius) and patella alignment.

Achilles Tendinopathy

Another common running injury, achilles tendinopathy is characterised by pain, swelling and tenderness in the achilles where it attaches into the back of the heel. This can be caused by a rapid increase in training volume, poor footwear, instability or flat feet/poor biomechanics.

RICE will help in the short term, and you will need to decrease running. See your physiotherapist for a strengthening program – an isometric loading helps to promote tendon healing and repair.

Shin Splints

One of the most commonly cited running injuries, shin splints are characterised by sharp stabbing pain in the front of the legs where the muscles and tendons attach into the shinbone. They are caused by overuse, running sports, and excessive pounding beyond fitness levels – the muscles become inflamed at their attachment into the shin. Shin splints can also lead to stress fractures in the tibia (shin bone) and often seen in people with flat feet, where the muscles of the leg are overworking trying to stabilise the ankle/foot.

This running injury is best treated with rest, NSAIDS, low impact activities, and ankle stability exercises.

Hamstring strains/hamstring origin tendinopathy

Hamstring strains usually occur after explosive exercise, like sprints or hill sprints. Hamstring origin tendinopathy, on the other hand, is a gradual onset and is characterised by soreness in your sit bones at the end of a run or after exercise. Both are usually caused by a weakness/imbalance in the glutes where the upper hamstrings are overworked when extending the hip during the push off phase of running.

RICE, and rest from running is needed to settle the pain. See your physio for an assessment and rehabilitation program to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings.

Plantar fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick strong band of tissue that runs from the base of the heel to each toe. It is very important as it helps to maintain the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this fascia is over stretched or overloaded due to repetitive high impact sports or running, jumping etc. It causes a deep ache / burning pain in the sole of your foot first thing in the morning, after prolonged sitting, or after exercise.

Plantar fasciitis is also common in people with flat feet or high arches, middle-aged/older people, or among those wearing unsupportive footwear.

It is best treated with RICE, NSAIDS, specific taping of the foot and rest from running/exercise. Your physiotherapist will give you a stretching and strengthening program, and you may also benefit from an orthotic that may provide you with adequate arch support to return to running.

IT band syndrome

The ITB is a thick fibrous band that runs from your pelvis to the outside of your knee. ITB Syndrome occurs when the fibrous band becomes inflamed at your knee or hip and causes stabbing pain that comes on with running, especially downhill.

This running injury is usually caused by excessive hill running, running on the same side of the road, weakness in the hips where the femur rotates inwards, or weakness at the ankle joint.

Treatment consists of RICE, NSAIDS, and rest from running, especially hills. Soft tissue release in the hip, quads and hamstrings with help to alleviate symptoms, and your physio with tailor a rehabilitation program for you to correct the underlying muscle weakness.

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Is Your Heel Pain Plantar Fasciitis?

Most of us will experience foot or heel pain from time to time, due to unforgiving footwear, manual, retail or hospitality jobs, or incorrect exercise techniques. If your pain persists, however, you may be suffering from a common complaint called plantar fasciitis. Read on to discover all the warning signs and causes, and determine if a trip to the physio is in order.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia – a band of connective tissue that spans the sole of your foot, from the ball to your heel. As opposed to generalised foot pain, plantar fasciitis pain is mainly felt under the heel and can be quite sharp. However, you may also feel an ache throughout the sole of your foot. The condition is often worse during the first few steps after waking up, or after prolonged periods of sitting or standing. It can improve during activity or exercise, only to flare up afterwards.

Who does it affect?

People who are quite active but have tight calves or lower leg muscles, or a stiff ankle from previous ankle sprains are more prone to plantar fasciitis. It is also more common in the elderly, those who are overweight, during pregnancy, or in those with arthritis or flat or high arches. People who spend a lot of time on their feet in inappropriate footwear may experience chronic heel pain. Poor biomechanics and sporting techniques can also exacerbate plantar fasciitis.

What are the treatments for plantar fasciitis?

Prevention is always better than a cure, and you can definitely take steps to prevent plantar fasciitis from keeping you off your feet. This starts with by identifying your risk factors, such as tight muscles, poor biomechanics, or poor footwear, and taking active measures to address these.

Once it occurs, plantar fasciitis can be relieved with ice, anti-inflammatories, taping, and sometimes cortisone injections. Your physio will be able to treat the condition with soft tissue massage, and educate you on beneficial stretches for any muscle tightness. He or she can provide you with tools to improve your biomechanics, and strengthen your foot, core and lower limb muscles. A physio or exercise physiologist can assist you to improve your sporting technique, as good form may reduce further flare ups.

For feet to function at their best, appropriate footwear is essential. And, if you require extra arch support or heel cushioning, you may need to see a physio or podiatrist to have orthotics made.

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6 Reasons You Need to Use a Foam Roller

man using foam roller
Not just the realm of professional athletes, foam rolling has hit the mainstream as an easy, affordable method of myofascial release. But do you really need ANOTHER piece of fitness equipment to potentially gather dust? When it comes to the foam roller, the answer is a resounding yes! Here are six reasons you should consider rolling it out after your next workout. Or even just a long day stuck at your computer.

1. Foam rolling relieves tension and tightness

While it would be nice to have a massage after every tough workout or deadline day, most of our budgets don’t allow such luxury. Thankfully, you can achieve many of the same benefits at home with your trusty foam roller. Using a foam roller and your bodyweight, you can break up knots, relax and release muscles, and boost circulation, blood and nutrient flow.

2. It helps you recover after a workout

There’s a reason athletes love to foam roll: it helps to speed up the recovery process. Rolling over the areas you have just used helps to relieve post-workout pains by increasing blood flow to the area, which improves circulation – pumping lactic acid out and getting fresh blood and oxygen into the area.

3. It helps improve your mobility

By reducing muscle tightness, you’ll enjoy greater flexibility and mobility. Not just for recovery, foam rolling as part of your warm up can improve your range of motion, allowing you to reap more benefits from your training session. So, give those glutes a good going over before your sumo squats.

4. You’ll reduce your risk of injury

Increase of temperature through the friction of foam rolling causes a ‘warming up’ effect on the muscles and gets blood flowing, loosening them up, increasing your range of motion and helping you move and perform better during exercise, thus reducing the chance of an injury.

5. It can help you become fitter and stronger

With faster recovery time, increased mobility and fewer injuries, you’ll be able to work out more often. Instead of wasting days sidelined due to unnecessary aches and pains.

6. It can give you a great stretch

Even if the most strenuous thing you did all day was send a firmly worded email, foam rolling is a great habit to embrace as you watch the evening news. Lying along the length of the roller, spread your arms out away from the body and let gravity do its work – lengthening and relaxing your tight, shortened pectoral muscles.

A word of caution…

Proper foam rolling technique is important, so ask your physio for directions before getting started. Don’t foam roll directly over an acute injury or where there is acute / intense pain. Avoid putting too much pressure over one particular area over a short period of time, which can result in acute pain. And, if ever unsure, ask your physio!

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Mobility Vs Flexibility: And Why They Matter

woman doing side bend
You’ve probably heard the words flexibility and mobility used interchangeably, but – while both are important to be limber and agile – they are actually quite different. Whether you want to touch your toes, do the splits, or leap out of bed without any aches and pains, here is everything you need to know about mobility versus flexibility. And how you can improve yours.

Mobility vs flexibility

While mobility refers to how a joint moves, flexibility is the ability of a muscle to lengthen through its full range of motion. Mobility is an umbrella term for the many elements that contribute to a joint’s movement with full range of motion, including restricted muscle tissue, joints, the joint capsules, motor control, AND your soft tissue. Therefore, flexibility is part of a joint’s mobility.

Why they matter

Flexibility will benefit your joints by helping you achieve good mobility. Keeping joints mobile helps to keep them healthy, decreases pain and reduces the risk of injury. Flexibility and mobility allow you to place your body in the safest, most advantageous position for utilising your strength. If you have strength but no mobility, you are working against the pull of your muscles and moving less efficiently through life.

Risks of poor mobility/ flexibility

If you have poor mobility, you are more susceptible to injury. Take a deadlift for example. If you struggle to comfortably reach down to the bar while maintaining good form, you will overload and injure your lower back when you are lifting through that range.

If you have poor flexibility, those muscles will fatigue faster and run the risk of tearing during sport or exercise.

Fitness benefits

Mobility plays a huge role in improving movement quality and strength. You will be stronger and safer lifting a weight through a range of motion if your body can comfortably achieve that position. You’ll enjoy better athletic performance as your body will be able to perform for longer periods as your muscles can function optimally and do not have to compensate for poor mechanics. Increased flexibility will also improve your sporting performance. You’ll experience increased joint movement, thus decreasing load and risk of injury. With your muscles functioning optimally, you’ll be less likely to fatigue.

How to build mobility & flexibility

Static stretching is good for flexibility as it isolates certain tight muscle groups. Yoga is great to work on general mobility as it will stretch, strengthen and mobilise your joints. Everyone should incorporate general mobility exercises into their warm up/down routine, eg through deep squats, hip hinging, thoracic extension and rotation.

Other easy ways to improve both include keeping active, foam rolling, massage etc. Foam rolling, spiky balls, and trigger pointing massage tools are all useful aides that will help with soft tissue tightness, but they need to be used in conjunction with general mobility exercises for easier, pain-free movement.

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12 Easy Ways to be Kind to Your Spine

woman doing bridge exercise
Do you regularly suffer from headaches, back or neck pain or injury? Sounds like it’s time you took better care of your spine! Made up of vertebra to provide structure to your body, spinal discs between the vertebrae for shock absorption, and ligaments and muscles connecting these vertebrae to form the spinal column (which houses the spinal cord), the spine helps keeps you upright, and moving, twisting and bending freely.

To keep you safe and pain-free, here are 12 ways to show your spine some TLC. Try them today.

1. Sit less

You’ve probably got the memo that sitting is akin to smoking when it comes to the negative impacts on your health. One of the many reasons a sedentary, desk-bound lifestyle is problematic is that sitting exerts far greater pressure on the spine than standing – 40% in fact! Over time, this can lead to back pain due to the increase in concentration of pressure through your intervertebral discs.

These discs are made out of an outer fibrous ring, surrounding a gel-like centre, the nucleus pulposus. The nucleus helps to distribute pressure evenly across the disc, preventing the concentration of stress onto one particular area. The discs are also meant to expand and contract as you move, which allows them to absorb blood and nutrients.

When you sit, the discs are compressed and can lose flexibility over time, which can also increase your risk of a disc herniation. Sitting for long periods also puts extra stress on muscles and ligaments, which can cause pain. Which leads into our next point…

2. Stretch more

Office worker, manual labourer, weight lifter… EVERYONE will benefit from a little more stretching in their day to day. Stretching increases flexibility of your muscles and improves the range of motion of your joints. This reduces the stress on your joints and enables your muscles to work most efficiently.

3. Strengthen your core

To support your spine, it’s very important to strengthen the core muscles of your abdomen and lower back. Yoga and pilates are two core-centric workouts that will do wonders for the stabilising muscles of your mid-section. They also promote better posture, which benefits the entire body.

4. Buy a decent mattress

To alleviate pressure from the spine as you sleep, you want a supportive and comfortable mattress that allows good spinal alignment. So, if your mattress is starting to sag, it might be time to cough up for a new one.

5. Drink more water

Without adequate hydration, the cushioning ability of the disks between your vertebrae is reduced. This can lead to back pain, reduced mobility and, in extreme case, spinal injury. So, drink up!

6. Ensure your workstation is ergonomically sound

Ideally, your workplace will have sit-stand desks, which support good spinal health. If not, a good ergonomic set up is important for all those hours spent sitting. For starters, ensure your feet are flat on the ground, at least half of your forearms are supported on the desk when your elbows are at 90 degrees, and you’re looking directly at the top half or third of your screen.

7. Lift weights in front of a mirror

It might seem vain, but positioning yourself near a mirror at the gym is an important safety measure. It will provide you a visual to ensure you have the correct, back-supporting form when lifting weights. And never sacrifice your form for the sake of more reps!

8. Try floating

If you suffer from chronic pain, want to speed up recovery after a training, or just want to deeply relax, free from the constraints of gravity, you need to try floating. Floatation therapy, bobbing around in an Epsom salt solution in a stimuli-free pod, has countless purported benefits. As well as relieving your back pain, you might enjoy better sleep or even ace that sodoku.

9. Limit high heel wear

We don’t like to be spoil sports, and we’ll never tell you to toss the heels. However, vertiginous footwear can overload the muscles of the lumbar spine, leading to muscle fatigue and back pain. So, try to limit your wear.

10. Lighten your load

If you lug your life around with you, consider a more minimalist approach. Swap that weighty tome for a kindle, empty all your coins into a jar, and consider a more spine-friendly back pack.

11. Stay active

As well as having countless benefits for your heart, waistline and mind, an active lifestyle is essential for a healthy, happy spine. For a balanced regime, combine cardio, stretching and resistance work.

12. Have a massage

Massage is not just an indulgence. It helps to improve circulation, reduce muscle tightness, relieve stress, speed up healing, and improve your range of motion. All of which is good news for your overworked spine!

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What Is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

upper crossed syndrome
Hunchback, high rounded shoulders, forward head posture – these are three of the key signs you might have a condition known as Upper Crossed Syndrome. Often a result of excessive time spent scrolling or typing, UCS strikes when the muscles behind the neck and shoulders become overactive and strained, while the chest muscles become short and tight.

Unfortunately, it’s an all too common condition we see at the clinic. However, with the right treatment and exercises, you can improve your posture and alleviate your symptoms. Read on for everything you need to know about tackling Upper Crossed Syndrome.

How does Upper Crossed Syndrome Present?

The muscular imbalance (shortening of chest muscles, weakening of upper back and neck muscles) affects the position of the head, shoulder girdle and spine, and can result in pain, headaches, and reduced range of motion. Presentation includes:

  • Forward head posture
  • Increased cervical lordosis (inward curvature)
  • Thoracic kyphosis (hunched / rounded top-mid back)
  • Elevated and protracted (forward) shoulders
  • Rotation or abduction and winging of the scapulae
  • Decreased shoulder stability and range

What are the common causes?

Activities that involve repetition of poor posture are largely to blame. UCS is most common in those who sit at a desk for prolonged periods, such as office workers and students. Excessive phone, tablet and laptop usage can trigger the condition, but it can also be caused by driving, reading, or cycling.

What are the symptoms?

Those with Upper Crossed Syndrome may experience the following:

  • Neck pain / tightness
  • Back pain / tightness
  • Chest pain / tightness
  • Headaches
  • Arm pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Fatigue
  • Pins & needles in neck / shoulders / arms / forearms / hands / fingers
  • Reduced range of motion of neck, back, shoulders

If left untreated, the above symptoms can become chronic which may lead to long term pain and discomfort.

How can you prevent UCS?

Since many of us do not have a choice when it comes to hours spent desk-bound, an ergonomic workstation is incredibly important. Schedule regular breaks – get up and move around or stretch every half an hour or so. Exercise to improve strength, flexibility and range of motion. And if it’s sports-related, work on improving your technique.

How is it treated?

Some treatments include:

  • Soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation
  • Education and addressing the causes of UCS
  • Education and tools on how to address it
  • Exercises – improve strength, stability, endurance, flexibility

Easy exercises to prevent Upper Crossed Syndrome

Upper trapezius stretch
Sitting onto right hand, roll right shoulder back. Place left hand on top of head and gently pull your left ear to your left shoulder until you feel a stretch from the top of your neck to the tip of your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds. Swap sides

Levator Scapulae Stretch
Sitting onto right hand. Roll right shoulder back. Look down 45deg / bring chin towards left underarm. Place left hand on top of head and gently add to the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Swap sides.

General sitting stretches
Hands behind head. Bring elbows as far back as you can until you feel a stretch in your chest. At the same time, arch over the back of your chair.

Interlace your fingers. Palms towards the ceiling. Stretch your arms as far towards the ceiling as you can then slowly bring your arms backwards until you feel a stretch down the sides of your arms and trunk.

To get on top of any postural issues you’re experiencing, call us on (03) 9650 2220 today.

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The Most Common Skiing Injuries & How to Avoid Them

man skiing
The slopes are open and ski season’s underway. Which, as physios, unfortunately means we’ll see an influx of patients hobbled by those all-too-common knee injuries. Because, while skiing and snowboarding are lots of fun, they’re also relatively risky sports.

To help you ski safely, our resident snow bunny Conor has put together this guide to the most common snow-related injuries, and some easy tips to avoid them…

The risks of skiing

Skiing has a reputation for being a risky sport with high incidence of injury. Studies have shown the skiing injury rate to be 3 injuries per 1000 skiing days. Of this, the bulk of injuries were to the lower extremity (42%), most of which were to the knee. Upper extremity injuries accounted for 34%, head 15% and spine 6%.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries account for 1/3 of all injuries in skiing. Most skiing injuries (about 75%) occur either by falling down or loss of control during a jump, with only between 3%-8% occurring by collision with other skiers. The medial collateral ligament (MCL), found on the inner side of the knee joint, is the most commonly injured due to the sudden twisting motion encountered during falls. Injuries to the meniscus (knee cartilage) and the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL) are also very common. This pair of ligaments connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone), and are integral in knee stability when twisting and turning.

A good lower limb stability program can minimise the stress placed on the knees during jumps and falls and reduce the risk of injury. It is also very important to regularly check your bindings so that they release during a fall. This is one of the main causes for knee injuries in skiing.

Most knee injuries can be treated conservatively, but in the case of a complete ACL rupture, surgical intervention is usually required to restore rotatory stability to the knee.

Head & Neck Injuries

Head and neck injuries are common during falls. This can result in concussion, whiplash and neck sprains. Any blow to the head needs to be carefully monitored and assessed by a doctor. Helmets should be worn at all times to protect the head from serious injury.

Thumb Injuries

Skiers thumb is an acute injury that often happens when falling with your hand in the ski pole strap. Your thumb can get caught and pulled away from the hand, which can cause a ligament tear. This can result in difficulty with grasping. Treatment is often with a cast, splint or taping, but surgery may be required.

Preventing Skiing Injuries

The best way to prevent injuries is by doing a proper strength and conditioning program before hitting the slopes. When there, a good warm up should be performed each day as cold muscles are more likely to sustain an injury. Beginners should also get lessons to help them learn good technique and learn how to fall properly. And, no matter how experienced, a helmet should be worn at all times.

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6 Simple Ways to Stay Well This Winter

Now that winter has officially arrived, we’re well in the midst of cold and flu season. From coughing colleagues to sneezing kids, it can be hard to escape its icy grip and stay in fighting form. But it is possible.

To make this cold season your healthiest ever, start by embracing these surprisingly simple winter wellness tips. Because, with 85 days until spring comes around, there’s still a long way to go!

Have a flu injection

Last year’s flu season was one of Australia’s worst in years, so experts are stressing the importance of protecting yourself with the flu jab this winter. Contrary to belief, the vaccination will not make you sick as it does not contain the live virus. You can have your flu injection at the pharmacy or your regular GP, and it is free for pregnant and older patients, and those considered more at risk.

Keep moving!

Winter is not the time to turn into a couch potato, as tempting as it can be. Regular exercise will not only keep the comfort eating kgs under control, it will help you from succumbing to the winter blues, and support healthy immune function. One study out of the University of Wisconsin found there were significantly less sick days due to acute respiratory infection in those who engaged in moderate intensity exercise over an 8-week period than in a non-exercise control group. So, don’t let cold weather put an end to your workouts!

Book a fortnightly massage

It might seem indulgent, but regular massage could save you splashing out on cold and flu tablets. Not only does massage relieve tension, knots and muscle aches, it is known to help boost your immune system. So, book a regular rub down to keep the sniffles at bay!

Get plenty of sleep

Those cosy mornings make it harder to leap out of bed, so, if you can avoid it, don’t! Various studies show insufficient sleep suppresses the immune system, not to mention the impacts on cognitive function. But exactly how much shut eye should you be getting?

According to recent recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation (US), 7 to 9 hours sleep is advised for adults aged 26 to 64. So, snuggle in, switch off that tech at least an hour before bed, and try your best to meet your daily requirement.

Wash your hands

While you should obviously wash your hands year-round – after using the bathroom, catching public transport, before eating – to avoid the spread of illness-causing bacteria during winter, you should be even more vigilant. And for convenience when you’re out and about or travelling, consider keeping a hand sanitiser in your bag.

Get souping!

Green juices may be a great way to meet your vitamin and nutrient requirements, but they’re not as appealing in the cooler months. Hearty vegetable soups, especially home-made, are a warming replacement to nourish the body in winter. Pack yours with a rainbow of vegetables and add cold-fighting ingredients like garlic, ginger and turmeric. Yum!

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Zero to Hero – How to Prepare for the Melbourne Marathon in 5 Months

female runner warming up
It’s just five months out from the Melbourne Marathon. This may seem daunting, but regardless of whether you’re a first timer* or an out-of-shape seasoned pro, you CAN get there in time. Here are some helpful hints from our team to help you on your way.

Get fitted for the right shoes

We advise being fitted in a specialist store where expert gait analysis can help guide you on the best shoe for your foot type and running gait. This will show you how much your foot pronates (turns in) when you run and give you an idea of how much arch support you need in your running shoes.

Comfort is king for runners, so ensure there is no friction, rubbing or pressure points. In terms of length, there should be one thumb-space between the longest toe and end of the shoe. And remember, if they don’t feel 100% comfortable in the store, they’re not going to feel too flash on an 18k training run!

Pro-tip: It’s definitely worth investing in a second pair of runners and alternating if you’ll be training on consecutive days.

Buddy up or join a running group

Running can be a solitary sport, but pairing up with a buddy or joining a running group will trigger your competitive spirit. And motivate you to turn up to training, even on those chilly winter mornings. Having a running buddy, or crew, by your side also makes those post-marathon celebrations even sweeter!

Book in for a biomechanical screening

To optimise your race time and make sure you make it to the finish line in one piece, see your Physiotherapist for a thorough biomechanical screening. At Collins Place Physio, we use the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and Y Balance to identify any asymmetries or inefficient movement patterns that increase the likelihood of injury. This allows our physios to tailor a corrective exercise program that addresses your weakest areas.

Combine sprints, short and long runs

Training for a marathon, you’ll be running at least three to five times a week, gradually increasing your cumulative kms. One of these sessions should be your weekly long run. But that doesn’t mean you should only focus on distance. To avoid boredom and increase speed as well as endurance, it’s a good idea to incorporate sprint training into your schedule.

Look at your diet

Your energy requirements will change as you up your training sessions. Now is a good time to speak to a sports nutritionist to see how the right food can fuel your performance. In the lead up, and especially in the 24 hours before.

Schedule off-leg training days

It might seem like you should be spending every spare minute pounding the pavement, and give up all other workouts while training for a marathon. Not true. To run a marathon, you need a good level of fitness, strength, mobility, endurance and sheer grit, best obtained with a varied training plan.

Off-leg training days (bike/rower/Elliptical trainer) should be part of your marathon prep, as well as resistance/weight training, and working on good pelvic stability/gluteal and core strength.

Sign up for some practice races

It’s a good idea to book in a few shorter distance races – 10kms, half marathon etc – in the lead up to get you physically and mentally prepared. Especially if you’re a first timer!

Put on the brakes

We all know the saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’. This definitely applies to safely building up to a marathon. According to our Director, Pete: “I’m forever having to tell my patients that to get to the finish line they first have to get to the start line and if they over train/train incorrectly they won’t even get to start the race.” So, make sure to be patient and increase your training loads gradually.

Schedule plenty of recovery time

Each year, we see many people come into CPP a month or two before the Melbourne Marathon with overuse injuries, such as shin splints, lower limb stress fractures, and tendinoses. Too many people forget that recovery is an important part of training!

To ace your race, make sure you allow enough recovery time between training runs. As a rule of thumb, we recommend a less experienced runner should aim to have an off-legs day between each run. Yoga is a great recovery day workout as it helps improve flexibility and hones that mind-body connection.

Book regular massages

Running can be tough on the body, so try to book in regular remedial massage sessions to reduce any muscle tightness. Massage also boosts circulation which helps to improve your range of motion and can reduce your risk of injury.

Roll it out

During your marathon training, a foam roller will be your best bud. Rolling, ideally when muscles are still warm, will relieve tightness and enhance recovery. Recovery compression tights can also help alleviate soreness after your longer runs.

Happy running!

*CPP tip: If you’ve done very little running before, 5 months may be too ambitious to train safely for a full marathon. Discuss your plans with your health care team, and perhaps consider signing up for the 10k or half, and work up to next year’s event.

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Never Played Tennis? You Could Still Have Tennis Elbow

man with tennis elbow
If you think tennis elbow is just a sports injury, think again. Desk jockeys, chefs and painters are just as likely to suffer the painful condition! Here, our Physiotherapist Jane Lau reveals everything you need to know to give tennis elbow the heave-ho. And get back in the game.

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis to use its technical name, refers to pain in the outer aspect of the elbow caused by overuse. It occurs when the tendons of the forearm muscle that attach to the elbow are unable to handle the load they are bearing. The tendons become inflamed, leading to tears and degenerative changes.

What causes it?

Despite the name, any repetitive activity can cause tennis elbow: computer work, painting, cooking, gardening, excessive gripping, incorrect lifting technique in the gym etc. The problem itself usually stems from poor technique, reduced strength or endurance, or because the tendons are put under too much strain.

What are the signs of tennis elbow?

Tightness in the outer elbow, aches, pain, weakness, and sometimes pins and needles or numbness.

How can you prevent it?

If it’s tennis, or any other sport, that’s causing your elbow issues, it’s important to work on improving your technique, endurance and/or strength. Regardless of the cause, make sure you’re getting sufficient rest and having regular breaks from the repetitive activity. Regular massage is also useful.

How do you treat tennis elbow?

Rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and soft tissue massage will help ease discomfort. Exercises and stretches, provided by a physio, are also key, to increase strength and endurance. Not just of the local area but also the shoulder, neck, shoulder blades, thoracic etc. Dry needling is also beneficial, and you will also need to avoiding aggravating factors for a period of time.

In the worst-case scenario, your health professional may recommend cortisone injections. However, at Collins Place Physio we avoid recommending these invasive measures unless absolutely necessary. Even if you go down the path of anything invasive, you will still need to thoroughly rehabilitate the elbow by going through with the conservative measures above.

How long does It take to resolve?

Anywhere between 4 – 12 weeks, or longer if it has been left untreated and become chronic.

Will it reoccur?

Continuing your rehab exercises and focusing on correct technique and building strength will help prevent tennis elbow from reoccurring. Recognising early warning signs and seeking treatment early is also key.

If you suspect you may be suffering from tennis elbow, give us a call today on 03 9650 2220.

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How to Return to Training After an Injury

woman having rehab for injury
Whether you’re discovering exercise for the first time, a long-time weekend warrior, or a professional athlete, injuries are a pain, in more ways than one. A sure-fire way to derail your training plans, they often end up putting you out of the game for weeks or even months.

While it’s tempting to rush your recovery, going too hard too soon can turn a minor injury into something more serious. To get you back on your feet the right way, we chatted with Ben Bese, Personal Trainer at City Club, to get his top tips on returning to training after an injury.

Seek advice from allied health professionals

“During my time as a personal trainer working alongside physiotherapists as well as my time playing VFL football, I have not only helped rehabilitate clients but also rehabilitated myself through some crazy injuries.”

According to Ben, an allied health professional, typically a physiotherapist, should always be your first port of call. While he says an individual’s rehab approach may depend on the severity of the injury, he recommends sticking with the following protocols:
– Seek treatment from an allied health professional
– Construct the best treatment plan with your allied health professional
– Perform all exercises prescribed within your treatment plan
– Continually seek treatment until your allied health professional advises you not to

Treat, mobilise and strengthen

No matter the injury, the three guidelines Ben follows with his rehab plans are
– Treat
– Mobilise
– Strengthen

“From my experience and after many, many rehabilitation programs, receiving treatment from an allied health professional is always undoubtedly the first initial step you take. Then gaining an understanding of how to re-strengthen and mobilise to ensure you return to a normal joint range of motion is equally as important. Without mobilising and strengthening you will never return to how you were before the injury. This is critical and where personal trainers can help,” says Ben.

Be consistent

“From my experience, how quickly and effectively you return to normal bodily function after an injury depends on the work you put in. Being strict and dedicated to your prescribed rehab program is imperative. If your physio doesn’t prescribe you exercises that will not only successfully rehabilitate your injury but strengthen the surrounding musculature that has been affected and weakened due to the injury, then you need to find another physio.

“Injuries can cause compensation patterns. This is the body’s neuromuscular strategy where your body attempts to make up for the lack of movement in one area by adding a new movement pattern to another non-affected area within the body. This can result in negative implications to the body’s biomechanical integrity and movement quality.”

Keep moving

“It’s always best to keep moving,” says Ben. “No matter what the injury, you can always work around your injury in the gym. Having a personal trainer who has experience in rehabilitation but is also creative in how they train is great, whilst always ensuring your training remains fun and most of all constantly motivating you to keep pursuing your fitness goals.”

If you are looking at getting back into the gym after an injury, you can contact Ben on 0400 588 448 or at sustainedfitnesssolutions@gmail.com

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9 Easy Ways to Sneak More Exercise Into Your Day

Group of coworkers walking
The benefits of exercise extend far beyond a slimmer waistline. Slotting regular exercise into your weekly routine results in more energy, a sunnier mood, better sleep, reduced incidence of illness and chronic disease, and a sharper mind. And while a mix of resistance training and cardio is ideal, incidental exercise can also have a big impact.

To get you sitting less and moving more, here are 9 of our favourite easy ways to sneak more exercise into your day. It all adds up and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards – especially if you spend half your waking hours glued to your desk!

1. Schedule walking or standing meetings

Who says meetings have to be in the board room sitting on your backsides? Suggest al fresco walking meetings to your boss, and take your one-on-one reports for a whip around the block for the weekly WIP. Clever companies are also increasingly introducing large standing desks into their meeting rooms and running stand up meetings.

2. Stretch while you watch TV

Instead of Netflix and chill, think Netflix and hamstring stretch. TV-time is the perfect time to squeeze in those often-neglected stretches, or get to work with your trusty foam roller or spiky ball. Your tight and tired body will thank you.

3. Get a dog!

Human’s best friend is sure to get you out and about more, as dogs need to be walked twice daily – rain, hail or shine.

4. Work out while you socialise

Instead of scheduling all social activity around drinking and eating, try and mix things up with some active catch ups. Why not skip the Friday night cocktails in favour of Saturday morning yoga? Swap the arvo movie for a long coastal walk. Or trade trivia night for a game of tennis. Not only will you feel great, you’ll save money.

5. Petition HR for in-house yoga

Have a spare meeting room? Chat to HR about using it for corporate yoga or pilates classes once or twice a week. Exercise is a great bonding exercise and a workout will help reduce staff stress and boost productivity.

6. Take a lunchtime fitness class

If your business is too small for in-house wellbeing programs, try and pop out for the occasional, or frequent, lunchtime workout at the gym or pool. A MUCH healthier option than gobbling your lunch at your desk.

7. Take the stairs

If the last time you saw the office stairwell was during a fire drill, it’s time to get reacquainted. We’re not suggesting you walk up 15 flights of stairs every single time, but if you’re on the first or second floor, do you really need to take the lift?

8. Get off the bus one stop earlier

It’s an oldie, but jumping off the bus a stop or two earlier every morning really is one of the easiest ways to increase your daily steps.

9. Limit internal emails

Obviously, you need to respond to your boss’s request and email through that sales report. However, if your co-workers insist on incessantly sending emails back and forth that could be answered in a single conversation, get up and walk across that office. Limit internal emails to the bare minimum and use your legs – and voice – instead.

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8 Ways to Manage Headaches Without Painkillers

Woman with headache

Headaches sure can be a pain in the neck. And, while there are numerous other causes, such as hormones, sinus, or underlying medical issues, the neck/cervical spine can often be the source of your pounding head pain. If this sounds all too familiar, here are 8 Collins Place Physio-approved ways to manage your headaches, without drugs.

1. Massage

Massage can help prevent and reduce the frequency of tension headaches by relieving muscle spasms, releasing shorted muscles, and relaxing tension held in the muscles of the head, shoulders, and neck. When muscle tension eases there is less pressure on the nerves and blood vessels. Oxygen rich blood circulation improves, which also relieves pain.

One of the most useful methods of massage to relieve headaches is Trigger point therapy (TrP). TrP therapy is the application of pressure to a specific point in the muscles. An example would be the muscles extending from the base of the skull, and certain points in the neck and trapezius. When this pressure is applied, it interrupts the nerve signals that are causing the pain, resulting in the muscle releasing to a healthy position.

2. Stretching

Stretching the big muscles (upper traps) in the neck and shoulders can also help ease a headache when it comes on. These big muscles all attach to the back of the head and are one of the main causes of tension headaches. Using a spiky ball or your hands to try to release the main trigger points in your traps can also provide good relief when a headache comes on.

3. Strengthening Exercises

Long term, as a preventative measure, strengthening the postural muscles of the neck and back can help to decrease the tension in the neck and reduce the likelihood of recurrent headaches.

4. Dry Needling

Dry needling is another useful tool in the management of headaches. Dry needling involves inserting a needle into a trigger point / muscular knot in a painful or damaged muscle. The aim is to provoke a ‘twitch’ response which will enable the muscle fibres in that area to relax, improving circulation and decreasing inflammation. Dry needling can be very beneficial in the treatment of headaches as it quickly decreases muscle tension in the neck muscles that refer pain into the head.

5. Good Posture

Posture refers to the position in which the body holds itself most efficiently in sitting / standing / moving. Good posture reduces the stress on ligaments, muscles and joints which can cause headaches. An ergonomic work set up is very important for postural health, as are movement and exercise in general. Remember to take regular breaks from sitting, and incorporate some stretches into your day.

6. Heat

Heat is sometimes recommended for the treatment of headaches, as it can help decrease muscle spasms. A good rule of thumb is to think about whether you feel better or worse after a hot shower. If you feel better after having warm water on your neck, heat may be beneficial in managing your pain.

7. Address TMJ Dysfunction

Headaches can also stem from the jaw. If you are experiencing facial pain, clicking when yawning or chewing, tinnitus, regular headaches or neck pain, TMJ (or jaw) dysfunction may be to blame. Read more about jaw pain management here.

8. Manage Stress

The number one cause of tension headaches? Stress! Keep yours at bay with plenty of regular exercise, and relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and massage.

Suffering from headaches? Speak to our friendly team today!

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5 Steps to Healthy, Happy Knees

woman stretching knee
Knee pain is a common complaint, but thankfully, it’s one that can largely be avoided. Taking these five simple steps today will help you enjoy healthy, happy knees for many years to come.

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is not only important for your cardiovascular and all-round health, it has benefits for your joints, too. Being overweight increases the pressure on your knees when weightbearing and exercising. This puts more compressive load through the joint, causing the cartilage to wear away more quickly and increasing your chances of osteoarthritis.

Food for thought: Studies have shown that for every pound (0.45kg) of weight lost, the load on your knees is decreased by four pounds (1.8kg) when walking.

2. Choose the right sports shoes

There are big differences in the way different shoes support your feet for a given sport, and wearing the correct footwear is very important to help in preventing injuries. Running shoes should be light and flexible, allowing the foot to bend and flex through each step. Shoes for high impact sports/exercise that involve a lot of sideways movement with quick changes of direction (basketball, tennis etc) should be a bit heavier and more rigid with good arch support.

3. Build strength & Improve balance

The key to maintaining good knee health is keeping good strength and alignment between the hip, knee and ankle. A weakness in your hip stabilisers (gluteus medius) will cause your thigh to rotate inwards, putting increased load on the inside of your knee. Likewise, unstable ankles with cause your shin to rotate inwards and cause you knee to track poorly.

Doing balance exercises and lots of single leg exercises i.e lunges, step ups, single leg bridges, single leg deadlifts etc will help to keep your knees healthy and prevent injury.

4. Move more

The more sedentary you are, the higher the chance of knees concerns now or down the track. Excessive hours spent sitting can cause the muscles in your hips and knees to tighten up and place increased load on your joints. It is very important to do regular stretches before and after exercise to maintain good joint mobility.

Exercise doesn’t have to be fast and furious either – low impact exercise like swimming, walking, cycling, yoga or pilates has significant benefits for your mood and wellbeing, while being gentle on your joints. Move regularly to stay fit and injury free!

5. Rest up

It’s important to allow enough recovery time between workouts, as doing a lot of high intensity/high impact exercise can place a lot of extra load on your knees. Mix up your training schedule and do some upper body/yoga etc or have a rest day to allow your muscles to regenerate.

To learn more about how your lifestyle could be causing you knee pain, call Collins Place Physio on (03) 9650 2220 today.

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How to Prevent Back Pain While You Sleep

Couple sleeping in bed

Whether you’re a back, front or side sleeper, sleep with one pillow or two, there are a few easy steps you can take to wake up pain free. Here’s how to prevent back pain while you are sleeping, and ensure you’ll always wake up on the right side of bed.

Choose the right mattress

While your preference for a softer or firmer mattress is entirely personal, it’s important to be supported in the heavier parts of your body – ie around the hips and shoulders – so they don’t sink down as you sleep. Your body should remain in a relatively neutral position whether lying on your side or back. You should feel comfortable in bed, and be free of aches and pains when you get up in the morning.

Most beds will feel comfortable in the short time you lie on them in the showroom, so going to a reputable mattress seller like Regal Sleep Solutions can help prevent buyer’s remorse.

As for replacing your mattress? There are no hard and fast rules as to its lifespan, but if you’re waking up with sleep-related pain that only occurs in the morning, it could be a sign your bed needs an overhaul.

Adjust your pillow height

Again, pillow choice depends on personal preference, but your neck and shoulder should be in a neutral position whether you’re sleeping on your back or side. If the pillow(s) is too high it will tilt your head forward; if it is too low it will tilt your head upwards. Aim for the neutral middle ground. If you’re experiencing neck pain and headaches every morning, try rejigging your pillow set up.

A pillow or two under the knees can help back sleepers too, while those who sleep on their side can sometimes benefits from a pillow between their legs.

Maintain a healthy, active lifestyle

Dehydration can cause cramping and muscle spasms overnight, so don’t forget to keep up your fluids (wine doesn’t count). Exercise – including strengthening and stretching, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress levels and practising good sleep hygiene will all help you sleep more soundly, and wake up with fewer pains.

Regularly waking up with back pain? Make an appointment with one of our Physios today.

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Could You Be At Risk of Frozen Shoulder?

man with shoulder pain
If you suffer from shoulder pain, you’re not alone. Rotator cuff tears and tendonitis are common culprits, but there could be a more complex issue at play. When shoulder movement is greatly restricted and simple actions like getting dressed become a daily challenge, it could be a sign you’re suffering from a condition known as Frozen Shoulder.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) is characterised by pain and a loss of movement in the shoulder joint, and is often accompanied by night-time pain that can impair your sleep. The condition occurs when the capsule surrounding the joint becomes inflamed and tightens up, causing pain and limiting your movement.

The initial presentation can mimic other conditions such as rotator tears, calcifying tendonitis and glenohumeral arthritis, but the one defining feature is a marked loss of passive range of motion, especially in rotation.

Three Phases of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder typically has three stages:
The Freezing stage – here pain starts to build up in the shoulder. It can be present at rest and worse with any movement. The range of movement starts to become reduced.
The Frozen stage – the shoulder becomes stiffer on all movements, especially rotating the joint, eg. putting your hand behind your back. The pain starts to reduce but is painful at the end of available motion.
The Thawing stage – there is no pain in the joint and range of movement gradually starts to improve.

Who does it affect?

Frozen shoulder is estimated to affect up to 5% of the population. Most common in those aged 40 to 60 years, it’s more prevalent in women. Those with diabetes are five times more likely to be affected than the general population.

Although the exact causes of Frozen Shoulder are unknown, people who have had a prolonged period of immobilisation can develop the condition, i.e after a broken arm, rotator cuff injury, post-surgery or stroke. It has also been found that people with certain systemic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and Parkinson’s disease are at greater risk of developing frozen shoulder.

How to Prevent Frozen Shoulder

If you are facing the prospect of a prolonged period of immobilisation, you should consult your physiotherapist. Range of motion exercises can help maintain good passive range and prevent any capsular tightness and minimise the risk or a Frozen Shoulder.

How is it Treated?

Treatment in the early stages of the injury is aimed at pain relief. In order to increase the range of motion, massage of the musculature around the shoulder along with gentle range of motion exercises under guidance from your Physio can be effective. If pushed too hard this can be quite painful early on.

The best course of action to speed up recovery if conservative treatment is not working is to have a shoulder hydrodilatation. This procedure, performed by a radiologist, involves saline and some local anaesthetic being injected into the joint. This helps to break up the adhesions and distend the capsule, resulting in increased mobility. Depending on the severity of the frozen shoulder a second or third hydrodilatation may be required to restore full function.

If that does not work, another option is a MUA (Manipulation Under Anaesthetic) where the joint is forcefully extended to its end range motion, stretching the capsule and breaking up the adhesions.

The Outlook

It depends on the individual, but it can take from anywhere from 12 to 24 months to resolve fully. In no treatment is undertaken, full motion may not be recovered. It is quite uncommon, but Frozen Shoulder can recur, especially if the patient has diabetes. In up to 10% of cases it can go on to affect the other shoulder (the condition is typically unilateral).

If you suspect you may have the beginnings of Frozen Shoulder, call Collins Place Physio on (03) 9650 2220 today!

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Should you try Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Lymphatic drainage massage

You’ve no doubt heard of remedial, sports and deep tissue massage. But there’s a lesser-known type of massage therapy that has equally as many benefits – lymphatic drainage massage. Technically known as Manual Lymphatic Draining (MLD), this gentle rhythmic massage is used to activate a sluggish lymphatic system, and is beneficial for the management of many health conditions and injuries.

A healthy lymphatic system has numerous benefits, including more effective removal of waste and toxins from the body, stronger immunity, and regulation of fluid and pressure within the body (eg. reduced swelling).

Who is Lymphatic Drainage Massage Good for?

MLD is beneficial for a wide range of people. In fact, over 60 different ailments and conditions can be treated using MLD. These include:

  • Pre-surgery
  • Post-surgery
  • Fluid retention
  • After lymph node removal (eg. post-cancer treatment)
  • Oedema
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Low immunity
  • Migraine and Headaches
  • PCOS and other women’s health issues
  • Constipation/ digestive issues
  • Cleansing of major organs
  • Can improve scar tissue and reduce bruising

What does lymphatic drainage massage feel like?

MLD is a very gentle, relaxing treatment. Light, slow rhythmic circular movements using the finger tips are applied to the part of the body being treated, to gently push and stimulate lymph flow. The treatment can be performed with the patient wearing loose-fitting clothes, or via direct contact with skin draped with towels.

What are its major benefits?

Aside from reducing swelling and assisting in detoxification, MLD can boost immunity, reduce headaches, and assist in the management of PMS. And due to its slow, gentle movements, it is incredibly relaxing!

Are there any contraindications?

If you suffer from any of the following, please advise your therapist as MLD might not be suitable for you.

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Congestive heart problems
  • Active blood clots, DVT
  • Acute Phlebitis (inflammation of the veins)
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Acute inflammation

After-care advice

Manual Lymphatic Drainage may cause blood pressure to drop, which may result in some light headedness and lethargy. Ensure you drink plenty of water to assist in flushing out toxins and to aid urination. Avoid hot baths and saunas for at least a few hours, and avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol for 24 hours.

Both of Collins Place Physio’s massage therapists have a special interest in lymphatic draining massage. Call now on 03 9650 2220 to make an appointment with Mariana or Sana today.

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5 Things You Should Do Before Starting Your New Year Fitness Regime

man and woman running
New year, new you! It’s a common refrain come January 1, with many determined to turn over a new leaf and finally get into shape. However, going full throttle when you haven’t exercised in weeks, months or even years, is a sure-fire recipe for pain, injury and throwing in the towel by March.

While we’re all for you crushing your wellness goals this year (!), we want you to do it safely. To help, here are five things you should do before diving into that new year fitness regime, head first.

1. Chat to your GP

If you’re fit and healthy, you are probably a-ok to up the frequency and intensity of your workouts. But if you have a pre-existing condition or haven’t shed a drop of workout-related sweat for a while, talk to your doctor before embarking on anything strenuous. Same goes for any major diet changes – it’s always safer to seek advice first.

2. Get professionally fitted for running shoes

Whether you’re planning on power walking, getting back into goal attack, or doing Couch to 5K, it really is important to have supportive, well-fitting sports shoes. So, bin anything that you last wore when Tony Abbott was PM, resist the urge to shop online, and head to a specialist sports store.

A proper fitting will help address any issues with your arch and pronation, to prevent your ankle from rolling, and ensure sufficient cushioning and support for the intended activity. Spending a little more on quality shoes now will save you buckets of money on rehab in the long run. And more importantly, save you from pain.

3. Shop around for fitness classes

Have you ever signed up for a 12-month gym membership and used it, oh, approximately twice? While busyness or laziness might be to blame, maybe you just aren’t much of a gym bunny. Before committing to a year of yoga or 30-day F45 challenge, maybe try a variety of different class styles and workouts before signing on the dotted line. Apps like Class Pass let you book and try a bunch of different classes at different studios for a monthly fee. Go explore your options.

4. Book a biomechanical assessment

Want to take your sporting prowess to the next level this year? Make an appointment for a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and Y Balance test at Collins Place Physio. This thorough biomechanical assessment will identify areas of weakness, asymmetries and inefficient movement patterns. Your physio will then assign you a corrective exercise program to reduce the chance of pain and injury, while helping to enhance your performance. Read more about the FMS & Y Balance here.

5. Do a kitchen audit

Look, there’s really not much point working out like a maniac if you’re filling your tank with total junk. Food is – first and foremost – fuel, so make sure you have plenty of muscle-building protein, complex carbs and fresh veg and fruit on hand. Especially pre- and post-workout.

Other than that, cut back on the white carbs, processed packaged foods, sweets and fizzy drinks and you’ll be doing just fine.

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7 Health Resolutions to Make for 2018

Happy woman laughing
Only managed to make it to the gym three times last year? No matter, 2018 has arrived, which means it’s time for a fresh new set of health resolutions! Don’t worry, though – we’re not talking ultra-marathons or the keto diet! Here are seven healthy resolutions that are easy to make, and really not too hard to stick to. Leading to a better, healthier and happy you, in 2018 and beyond!

1. Try strength training

If you think cardio is enough to keep you in tip top condition, think again. Not only will strength training help you fit into your jeans by promoting lean muscle mass and a faster metabolism, it has real benefits for your posture and mobility. Read all about strength training here.

2. Move more at work

If you’re one of those people who chains themselves to their desk for a solid eight-odd-hours, you’re not doing yourself ANY favours. You’ve probably heard that “sitting is the new smoking”. It might sound extreme, but it’s not far off. Sitting for extended periods puts a huge amount of strain on the lower back and spine, and it doesn’t burn off that breakfast bagel, either.

So, make a conscious effort to MOVE. Get up from your desk regularly, use your legs rather than email Larry in accounts, go outside for lunch, and suggest a walking meeting every once in a while. As for your desk set up, now’s the time to make sure good ergonomics are at work.

3. Remove 3 things from your bag

Slinging a heavy bag over your shoulder causes a downward tilt which you’ll usually compensate for by enlisting your neck and shoulder muscles. Leading to strain and pain in the neck, back or shoulders, and sometimes headaches as well.

Avoid overloading the area by carrying the bare necessities. If your handbag’s the size of a small country, resist the temptation to fill it. Swap your hardback for a Kindle, leave your brolly at home on sunny days, and cut back to a single lipstick. Your body will thank you.

4. Clean out your pantry

Extreme diets are destined to fail, and make you a misery guts, but some simple common sense works a treat. For your overall health, even if not for your waistline, try to eat more whole, unprocessed foods, and cut back on anything refined or pre-packaged. And steer clear of foods whose colour is never seen in nature.

5. Practice better posture

Most of us start off with naturally good posture, evidenced by the ‘S’ curved spine, ease of movement and lack of aches and pains in young kids. However, as we grow up, many of us develop poor postural habits like slouching and jutting our chin forward, which can lead to muscle fatigue and tension, pain and weakness.

Practice makes perfect when it comes to correct posture, but what if you’re not even sure what you’re doing wrong? A thorough postural analysis at Collins Place Physio will give you the tools to see you walking – and sitting – tall in 2018.

6. Make self-care a priority

Think about how often you say no to others, then think about how often you say no to yourself. No, you don’t have time to go to yoga, you have to finish that report. No, you can’t cook yourself a healthy meal, you have to drive the kids to basketball. No, you can’t read that novel, you have to call your mum back…

Constantly ignoring your own needs is the fast track to ending up in a heap come July. So, make this year the first where you schedule in plenty of self-care activities to keep your motor running. Regular exercise, however gentle, has countless health benefits, as does massage. Not convinced? Here are seven reasons to lay on that treatment table.

7. Build your core

A strong core helps improve your balance and stability, and helps prevent injuries and back pain. Try this easy at-home exercise to improve your core stability.

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Everything You Need to Know About Shin Splints

If there’s one complaint runners often share, it’s shin splints. Painful and inconvenient, this common condition can create a serious hurdle in any training schedule. But what exactly are shin splints, and how can they be prevented? Here, Collins Place Physio’s sports enthusiast Conor Brennan shares his insights and expert advice so you can get back in your runners sooner.

What are shin splints?

Shin Splints (or Medial Tibial Traction Periostitis to give it its medical name) is a colloquial term used to describe pain along the inside edges of the shin bone. A patient with shin splints will complain of diffuse pain along the medial (inside) border of the shin, which usually decreases when warming up. The pain gradually recurs after exercise and is worse the following morning. If left untreated the pain can be unremitting even after warning up, and at its worst can potentially lead to stress fractures of the tibia.

What causes shin splints?

A number of factors may contribute to the increased stress and traction on the muscles on the inside of the tibia. These include:
– poor biomechanics, i.e. over pronation (flat feet), or over supination (raised arches)
– training errors, i.e. when increasing intensity, distance, duration of training too quickly
– poor shoe design or shoes which are not correct for your foot type
– old shoes which no longer offer good support
– training on hard or uneven surfaces
– muscle dysfunction and fatigue
– decreased ankle and foot mobility

Are they only a problem for runners?

Shin Splints do occur more commonly in runners, but they can happen to anyone involved in sports that require a lot of running and jumping. They are also quite prevalent in dancers and the military. At Collins Place Physio, we often sees patients who have recently started a pre-season program which involves an large increase in their running volume.

How can you prevent shin splints?

There are a few ways you can reduce your chances of developing shin splints. These include:
– always wearing good trainers which fit your feet when running/exercising/playing sports
– easing into any running/training program by building up your running/training program by 15-20% each week
– not running on consecutive days when commencing a running program
– consulting your physiotherapist for a running/musculoskeletal assessment and advice on preventative strengthening exercises for running or your specific sport

And how do you treat them?

The first step in the treatment of shin splints is simple: stop running! It is very important to stop running in the short term (2-6 weeks) to stop the main aggravating activity and allow the condition to settle. RICE and anti-inflammatory medications with help ease the inflammation and pain and allow the body a chance to heal.

Can’t live without your workout? Off-leg training such as swimming, cycling, rowing can be done alternatively for cardio training that will not cause the condition to flare up.

A musculoskeletal assessment/running assessment will also help to assess your biomechanics and determine the potential causes of the injury. Changing your running shoes/trainers may be necessary if they don’t provide you with adequate support. Your physio may also recommend orthotics for your shoes.

Your physio will be able to guide you through a lower limb stability program and gait/running re-training to strengthen the area and reduce the risk of recurrence. The pain and symptoms will ease relatively quickly with rest from running/sports. It will take up to 4-6 weeks to build up ankle strength and stability and work on proprioception and the biomechanics. After this a gradual return to running and sports needs to be carefully monitored to build up your strength and endurance.

Keen to get in shape this summer with running? Book a biomechanical assessment with Conor today!

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Why You Might Be Experiencing Jaw Pain

If you regularly suffer from facial pain, noisy clicking when yawning or eating, headaches, tinnitus or neck pain, you could be suffering from TMJ or jaw dysfunction. And, while accidents can be to blame for your jaw pain, TMJ issues are often caused by your lifestyle (we’re looking at you, slouchy). But don’t fret, dental and physiotherapy intervention can get things moving smoothly again!

What is the TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is just a wordy way of saying jaw joint. According to Collins Place Physio’s Peter Bond, “our TMJs allow the jaw to be suspended under the skull. Each joint is the junction of two bones, a hollow in the under-surface of the side skull bone and a rounded prominence at the top of the jaw bone or mandible. Like all joints, these two bones move on each other and have cartilage bonded onto their joint surfaces and are held together and encapsulated by fibrous tissue. In the case of each TMJ, a cartilage disc between these joint surfaces allows a better fit and a range and variety of movement.”

What is TMJ or Jaw dysfunction?

“Dysfunction of the TMJ is the perception that there is some inability to perform in its normal way,” says Peter. “The TMJ works in conjunction with many other body parts, including the TMJ of the opposite side. It is important to recognise this fact, as involvement of a team of health professionals is often required to address the various issues concerning a patient’s jaw dysfunction.”

How to know when something’s wrong with your jaw?

Not all ear aches are due to infection, and discomfort in this region can often be jaw related, due to the TMJ’s positioning. “Each TMJ is located immediately in front of the ear which explains symptoms often mentioned such as a blocked ear, ear ache or pain and noises when moving the jaw which are not heard by others,” says Peter.

“Other symptoms which are often described are headache, tinnitus or ringing in the ears, pain which occurs in the region of the TMJ, altered sensation in the teeth, neck pain and joint noises such as popping, clicking and grating.”

What can cause TMJ dysfunction and jaw pain?

According to Peter, causes of problems of the TMJ and associated structures include:

  • Various arthritic and soft tissue conditions.
  • The long-term performance of various bad TMJ habits, which might include such things as clenching and grinding of teeth, nail biting, chewing gum, forced opening occurring, for example when yawning.
  • Poor/abnormal posture – this is often unknown to the patient, thus education is important.
  • Poor coping mechanisms when stressed as this can cause tensing or tightening of facial and jaw muscles.
  • Trauma such a direct blow or indirect such as whiplash in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Poor occlusion, such as absent or poorly positioned teeth.
  • Having the jaw open for prolonged periods of time, such as during lengthy dental procedures.

Physiotherapy Management of TMJ Dysfunction

A physiotherapist who has undergone extra study in TMJ dysfunction, such as Peter Bond, can give advice on usage of the jaw, and improve joint movement and muscle function via techniques such as mobilisation, muscle massage, gentle stretching if found to be shortened, strengthening if found to be weak, the application of heat and or ice, dry needling, and attending to a patient’s posture. “It is important to realise that with these conditions the physiotherapist is part of a team and that the skill of each team member needs to be utilised for maximum patient outcome,” adds Peter.

Make an appointment with Peter and address your jaw pain today!

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Our Tips for Surviving the Spring Racing Carnival

It’s that time of year again, when we frock and suit up and head to the track to check out the competition, and maybe even back a winner or two! The Spring Racing Carnival is one of the highlights of the Melbourne calendar, but it can leave you feeling rather sore and sorry for yourself after the last horse has passed the post.

So, to help you survive a long day – or days – at the track, our team have put together some handy tips to make it across the finish line intact. Let’s make this year’s carnival all gain, no pain!

Choose your footwear wisely

You’ll be doing a lot of standing, so give the stilettos a miss, says CPP Physio, Jane Lau. “High stilettos increase pressure on knee joints and also the lower back. They also shorten the calf muscles which could lead to cramps and strain.”

Wedges are a much better option, she adds. “Not only will these keep you from sinking into the grass, but they offer more support and your feet will thank you the next day. Make sure you choose a wedge with a back strap to hold the foot in place so you are not clawing with your toes to keep your shoes on.”

And pack a pair of thongs!

While thongs might not be the best look for race day, they’re a heck of a lot better for your feet – and your pride – than kicking off your heels altogether once the pain sets in!

But not just any thongs will do, says Collins Place Physio Director, Pete Hunt. He recommends you throw a pair of Archies Thongs in your oversized clutch. These physio-developed thongs have built in arch support and supportive straps to keep your feet comfy and pain-free.

Don’t slouch!

It’s a long day at the races, but try to maintain good posture throughout. According to Jane, “Good posture is important because it is the position in which your muscles are working most efficiently and the least amount of strain is placed on muscles, ligaments and joints.” Meaning you’ll be in much better working order the days following the Cup.

If that’s not compelling enough, consider this. The other benefit of correct posture is that it gives you an appearance of confidence, and evens shaves inches off the waist. Meaning your expensive new dress or suit will look even better!

To stand/ sit tall Jane recommends the following: “Imagine a string pulling the top of your head towards the ceiling. Tuck your chin in and draw your shoulder blades towards the opposite hip like the letter ‘X’.”

Prep with some stretches & strengthening

Physio Conor Brennan recommends preparing for race days by doing the following stretch. “This is a stretch for your calf and achilles. These muscles start to shorten when wearing heels on a regular basis. This leads to reduced ankle mobility which will place increased load on the joints and muscles around it and can lead to injury.”

He also recommends this core activation exercise, which will help with standing tall for hours. “This exercise will help you to isolate and activate your core muscles to stabilise your spine while you move your extremities.”

Conor adds, “Some people can experience some low back ache when standing all day. A good tip, especially for the ladies in heels, is to tilt your pelvis backwards, as if you are tucking your tailbone underneath you. This helps to activate your core muscles and take the pressure off your lumbar spine.”

Recover with a massage!

“A day of frivolity at the track eating, drinking and, for the fine fillies, standing in heels, can leave your lymphatic system sluggish, causing dehydration and muscle tightness, most noticeably in your legs. A massage will assist in slowing down an overtaxed nervous system, supporting the lymphatic system to flush toxins and move fluid back to sore, dehydrated muscles. I do advise drinking water before and after treatment to assist the process,” says CPP Remedial Massage Therapist, Mariana Stamatopoulos.

A final word…

Remember to slip, slop, slap, don’t bet more than you can afford, and keep up the water intake. And most importantly, enjoy your day (or week) at the races!


Image Credit: By Chris Phutully from Australia [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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We Chat Foot Health with Anna from Bared Footwear

The feet are a commonly neglected area of the body, and as a result we see a wide range of foot concerns at Collins Place Physio. Healthy feet are crucial to keep us mobile, which is why we’re such big fans of the work of podiatrist turned shoe designer Anna Baird and the team at Bared Footwear! Bared shoes pair fashion with function (seriously! Check them out here) and ALL designs are orthotics-friendly. We sat down with Anna to find out what makes happy feet. So, put your feet up and read on!

What are the most common foot concerns in women?

The most common foot concerns for women that we see at Bared are: Plantas Fasciitis which usually presents as heel or arch pain, Bunions and the pain associated in the big toe joint, Neuromas which are the thickening of a nerve in the foot which can be very painful, and also lots of corns and calluses that are caused from excess pressure on areas of the feet.

And in men?

For men, we also see a lot of Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain, but also a lot of flat feet, and also arthritis in certain joints in the foot that is giving them grief.

How important is foot health to overall health and wellbeing?

Foot health and hygiene is extremely important. People often neglect their feet until there is a problem and we often forget that our feet are what make us mobile. The average person will walk more that 128,000 km in their life time, so your feet need a bit of TLC.

What should you look for in a shoe?

People tend to choose their shoes by look first, and there is nothing wrong with that! Just keep in mind the best shoes for you are ones that offer support and protection. Look for shoes that are made from natural materials such as leather, as they are more breathable and your feet will love you for it.

Also shoes that have a stable sole, and some sort of fastening to the foot by laces or straps – your feet shouldn’t have to work hard just to keep a shoe on. Correct fit is also vitally important with a shoe, as we shouldn’t be squeezing our feet into unnatural shapes or positions.

Other than wearing the correct footwear, how can you keep your feet healthy and pain- and injury-free?

Be aware that your feet are very complex structures that go through a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. If you notice something doesn’t feel or look right, then see a health professional sooner rather than later.

I like wearing high heels. How can I minimise the damage?

Wearing high heels puts a lot more pressure on the front of our feet. To reduce this pressure, look for heels that have a wide and stable heel unit (stay away from those stilettos!), and the more structure and fastenings to the foot, the more supportive they will be.

How are Bared shoes different?

Bared shoes are designed to have all the aspects that we as podiatrists recommend in shoes. All our footbeds/insoles (whether built in in our sandals and heels, or removable in all our other styles) have arch support, heel cushioning and support, a metatarsal dome to offload the forefoot, and a cuboid notch to improve foot function.

Our shoes themselves all have a steel shank from the heel to the ball of the foot for structure, ridged heel counters for support, are made of quality leather uppers, and have some sort of fastening to the foot. They also have enough depth to accommodate most orthotic devices. Our most important difference is that all of these features are hidden in a cool pair of shoes!

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6 Reasons You Should Try Strength Training

Not just about building bulk, strength training’s popularity is at an all-time high, for both sexes. Not convinced? We picked the brains (and brawn) of City Club PT Jackson Rae to find out 6 compelling reasons you should try strength training today. What have you got to lose?

First up, what exactly is strength training?

“Strength training is a type of physical exercise that specialises in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds strength, anaerobic endurance and increases the size of skeletal muscle,” says Jackson.

And what kind of exercises does it involve?

Jackson nominates push ups, chin ups, squats, leg press and deadlifts as some of the more common strength training moves. Exercise equipment can include free weights, weight machines and resistance bands, but a lot of work can be done just using your own body weight, too.

Why should I try strength training?

Jackson says there is an extensive list of benefits that comes with these kinds of workouts. Here are 6 reasons you should try strength training for yourself.

  1. It helps with weight management, and results in an increased muscle-to-fat ratio. The greater lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism, meaning your body becomes more effective at burning calories.
  2. You’ll experience improved mobility and balance (something we are passionate about at Collins Place Physio!).
  3. You’ll improve your posture (CPP note: this results in fewer injuries).
  4.  It helps Increase bone density and strength, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  5. You’ll enjoy an Improved sense of wellbeing. “Resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood,” says Jackson.
  6. You’ll perform better at even everyday tasks.

Can anybody strength train?

“Anybody that suffers from diagnosed muscle, bone or joint problems who has been told that participating in resistance training could make them feel worse should not participate in this method of training until further medical advice has been sought,” Jackson advises. “People without these conditions should include resistance training in their lifestyle as it adds many benefits to a person’s wellbeing.”

Should it be combined with cardio?

“For your everyday person I would highly recommend having a cardiovascular routine in conjunction with your resistance program if you are looking to really maximise your training success and overall fitness levels,” says Jackson. However, the amount of cardio he recommends depends on an individual’s goal, whether that might be gaining muscle or losing body fat.

“Too much cardio can inhibit muscle growth,” he says, “so if your goal is to increase your lean muscle mass, then you would do more resistance training than cardio. However, if your goal is to lose body fat, then upping your cardio training in conjunction with your resistance training can accelerate your results and put you in that calorie deficit which can reduce your body fat.”

But isn’t lifting weights going to make me bulky?

In a word, no. “Body Builders use specific training techniques to increase their size and their training program is backed up with a very specific nutrition program which can consist of an extremely high amount of calories. Day to day women participating in moderate resistance training 2-3 times a week will experience more strength gains than an actual noticeable size increase in muscle mass,” says Jackson.

What do I need to know before starting strength training?

It’s important to establish your goals first, says Jackson. “Once you have established this, consult with a fitness professional at your local fitness centre and arrange a pre-exercise screening. Identify any issues that may put you at risk when exercising before attempting to hit the gym floor and start lifting weights.

“If your fitness professional can carry out a basic posture analysis on you then that will be great – this way they can identify any muscular imbalances and start to implement some corrective exercises. It’s very important to pay attention to safety and good form to reduce the risk of injury. Utilise a registered fitness professional to help coach you through your training program until you are confident your technique is as good as it can be.”

A final word from Jackson…

“It’s good to be strong and have strength in the muscle, but equally as important is to have length and stay on top of your flexibility training. Stretching after your sessions will reduce the intensity of your delayed onset muscle soreness (also known as DOMS). A well-rounded training program should include the following components: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility training.”

Jackson Rae is a Personal Trainer at City Club (Grand Hyatt)
Please contact him on 0413 551 085 or email to make an appointment.

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How to Prevent Ankle & Foot Injuries with the Ankle Foot maXimizer (AFX)

Ankle injuries are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries and, without rehabilitation and treatment, have a very high recurrence rate. At Collins Place Physio, we use a number of techniques to prevent ankle and foot injuries, but one of our favourite tools is the Ankle Foot maXimizer (AFX).

Here, our Physiotherapist Conor Brennan outlines the many benefits of the AFX.

The problem with ankle and foot injuries

Recurring ankle injuries can cause a lot of long-term problems, such as chronic ankle instability, damage to the internal cartilage and joint surfaces, and a loss of mobility. A loss of ankle mobility will then place increased load on the knees and hips, causing long-term disability and poor movement patterns throughout the lower limb. After sustaining an ankle/foot injury, it is very important to complete a rehabilitation program and correct any residual instability or mobility issues.

Where the Ankle Foot maXimiser comes in

The Ankle Foot maXimizer is a revolutionary new strengthening system that enables you to strengthen all the muscles/tendons of the entire foot and ankle complex. Instead of using resistance bands that constantly slip off your foot or performing monotonous calf raises/balance exercises/using wobbleboards, the AFX anchors around your foot and bungee cords supply constant resistance throughout your entire range of movement. The bungee cords vary in resistance, allowing you to strengthen your ankle from acute stages of injury right through to sport-specific training.

One of the great advantages of using the AFX is that it helps to activate all the intrinsic muscles in your foot, i.e. the small inner muscles that help to maintain your arch and provide stability to your foot and ankle. Another benefit of the AFX is that it enables safe, controlled stretching of the ankle and foot in all directions.

Whether you have sustained an ankle sprain, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, fracture or are recovering from surgery, the AFX is the ideal strengthening system to return you to full pain-free function. It will ensure you return to the sport you love, decrease your risk of re-injury, and help increase your athletic performance by improving your jumping ability, speed, agility and balance.

Click here to watch a quick demonstration of the AFX system.

If you are interested in the AFX and think that you would benefit from it, please ask one of the Collins Place Physio team about it today.

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8 Expert Tips for Women’s Health

From diet to hormones to mindfulness and fertility, we’ve rounded up 8 excellent women’s health tips from some of the very best doctors, trainers, psychologists and experts in the country. Read now, bookmark, and enjoy your best health ever!

1. Beat the bloat the Chinese medicine way

In Chinese medicine, bloating is often a sign that your digestive system is unhappy. It is so common these days to look at food in terms of nutrition content (think superfoods, the raw food revolution etc) but have you thought about how your body will go digesting that food?

Your body has a certain “digestive fire” (known as Spleen Qi and Yang) that fires up to digest your food and extract the nutrients that it can. If your digestion is weak, and this “fire” is diminished, then eating raw and cold foods will only make it harder on your body, causing bloat. Try eating warm and cooked, nourishing foods to support and encourage your digestion to get back on track.

Dr Vivian Tam, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Founder of Cosmetic Acupuncture Melbourne

2. Take note of your feelings, without judgement

To be mindful of emotions, we need to stand back and notice our feelings without condemning ourselves or struggling. We can learn to observe, without judgement, emotions, thoughts and physical reactions driving our state of mind and behaviours.

If we ignore painful emotions, struggle against these or punish ourselves, we detach and ultimately lose ourselves. We might seek to numb ourselves through drugs, alcohol, shopping eating or busyness. This results in life being harder than necessary and we lose the opportunity to heal through awareness and choose a wise and compassionate way to respond that helps us grow in the longer-term.

Checking in with yourself, practicing meditation, taking time to slow down, talking through a problem, asking for help, practicing kindness and nurturing of ourselves during a hard time and learning some mindfulness skills can help with this.

Carolyn Toon, Psychologist & Director of Axis Clinic

3. Rethink your workout goals

My top tip for women’s health would be that strong is better than skinny. Strength training, through Reformer or any form of resistance training, will improve your core, arms, legs and spine. It will tone and tighten all those little areas we find a little difficult to love about ourselves and it improves our health, wellbeing and fitness overall. Strong is sexy!

Alexandra Grounds, Head Pilates Teacher at Reformation Pilates

4. Don’t leave the fertility discussion to the last minute

Don’t get complacent about your fertility window. Remember that there are lots of options, even if you’re not ready to have a baby immediately. The best time to start thinking and having the conversation is now, and with the right people! It’s important to get a realistic and accurate idea of your options.

Dr Devini Ameratunga, Fertility Specialist and Gynaecologist at Brisbane Gynaecology & IVF

5. Regulate hormones with massage

Women can suffer from various hormonal imbalances in their life time such as PMS, PCOS, perimenopause and menopause. Some physical signs associated with these imbalances are fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain. Massage can help to regulate neurohormones, such as the dopamine and serotonin produced by the nervous system, which works together with the endocrine system and hypothalamus, which are responsible for the production and release of hormones to the reproductive system.

Mariana Stamatopoulos, Remedial Massage Therapist at Collins Place Physio

6. Balance your feminine energy

I recommend that women balance their feminine energy by keeping their hormones in check. Hormone balance incorporates optimal health of mind, body and spirit. With the three in balance, it means that women metabolise food better, do not retain fluid, think clearer, have more physical energy to exercise and generally enjoy their everyday life. A great product available in Australian pharmacies is Oriental Botanicals Women’s Qi.

Ingrid Issa, Nutrition Specialist

7. Look after your feet

Women are four times more likely to develop foot related problems during their lifetime than men. The most prevalent of these problems, such as bunions and neuromas, are often directly linked to incorrectly fitting, non-supportive footwear. When buying shoes, always make sure you consider the materials used (leather is generally preferred), the shape of the shoes (don’t squash those toes!), and security (some sort of fastening to the foot by laces or straps).

Caitlin Topham, Podiatrist, Bared Footwear

8. Clean out your handbag

Wearing a strap over the same shoulder while carrying a handbag will cause the muscles on that side of your neck to overwork and may cause you to lean to that side which will place extra stress on your spine. Over time this can cause imbalances in your body, cause your muscles to fatigue and contribute to your risk of injury.

In order to minimise the effect of carrying a bag every day, try to clean out your bag every few weeks and change shoulders every 10 minutes or so to spread the load evenly.

Conor Brennan, Physiotherapist at Collins Place Physio

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Are You at Risk of RSI?

RSI is a common injury we see at Collins Place Physio, particularly among office workers. RSI often involves the thumb, wrist, elbow and forearm, and is usually due to poor posture, poor workstation setup, and increased hours of working at the desk. In other words, repetitive movements in a non-ergonomic environment.

What is the definition of RSI?

RSI refers to Repetitive Strain Injury – pain or injury from the overuse of muscles and tendons caused by repetitive tasks and movements, usually over a cumulative period of time. RSI can often be associated with performing these tasks in non-ergonomic environments.

We recently chatted with Smith’s Lawyers about all things RSI: cause, prevention and cure. Read all about it here!

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2 Minutes with Sana Kurban

Collins Place Physio’s Clinical Remedial Massage Therapist, Sana Kurban, has been an integral part of the team for almost 13 years. Sana works closely alongside our physiotherapists to treat postural conditions, headaches, sports injuries and more.

How long have you been in the massage industry?

Including from completing my Certificate IV, 15 years. I started with Collins Place Physio straight after finishing my diploma. It’s all in the timing!

Why did you decided to pursue a career in remedial massage?

I’ve always had people-focused jobs, and have always enjoyed the benefits myself of receiving remedial massage treatments. It seemed a natural choice.

What techniques do you include in your treatments?

I use deep tissue massage, trigger point, myofascial release, muscle energy techniques, soft tissue release techniques, cupping, dry needling, stretching. I also prescribe exercises to counteract the stresses clients put on their bodies.

What’s your area of specialty? Your favourite technique?

I enjoy the variety, and work with what I feel is the best technique for each particular client. I get good results dealing with the postural issues that are commonly presenting in the clinic. In a clinical setting like Collins Place Physio, our massage therapists work in conjunction with the other practitioners, as a team to provide the best overall result for our clients.

Who is your typical client?

Busy, corporate, active, stressed, overworked.

Why is regular massage important?

Regular massage can prevent chronic conditions from setting in – the client becomes more aware of what they are doing to add to their discomfort, and learns what they can do to prevent it chronically reoccurring. Massage keeps the body in optimal condition and prevents injury.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Clients come in feeling pain and leave feeling good.

What is the one piece of advice you’d most like your clients to listen to?

I enjoy it when clients take postural and exercise advice and are able to manage their condition without always relying on a quick fix from me. I like to empower them to take control of their situation.

What do you do in your spare time?

Eating, cooking, wine, keeping fit, art, reading, family, friends, gardening and enjoying our new house in Northcote!

Book you next remedial massage appointment with Sana here.

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Can Remedial Massage Make Up for Our Sedentary Ways?

As a remedial massage therapist, I am a firm believer in the importance of regular massage to counterbalance today’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle. The best way to explain this is to compare your body to your car. Regular servicing and tune ups are the easiest way to ensure your vehicle doesn’t conk out altogether. Causing you more expense, and a massive headache, in the long run.

Why Remedial Massage?

I understand first-hand that sedentary lifestyles are often unavoidable. In my previous job, I’d often find my ears hiked up around my shoulders at the end of a long, desk-bound day. So, even before I changed careers, I was an advocate of regular tune ups. They’re something I still enjoy, and my body definitely sees the benefits of regular remedial massage.

Today, there is a real temptation to spend more time glued to a screen than getting outside and moving our bodies. Obviously, a healthy diet and exercise are both vital to feel great. However, to get the most out of a new exercise or strengthening program, it’s essential to first release any tension or tightness.

Having an understanding of how different parts of the body work in tandem is key to overcoming painful movement patterns. Think about sitting. When you spend long periods of time sitting, at a desk or driving, the hip flexors become short and tight, while the glute muscles ‘switch off’ and become long and weak. When you stand up, your brain finds other muscles to enlist to compensate for the lack of glute activation. When one structure is over working, this automatically affects other structures above and below.

Think now of your upper body. When you’re lugging around a bag or have a phone tucked under your ear your upper traps become overworked and tight, and your lower traps become weak. All of which leads to tightness and discomfort in the shoulders and neck. Over time, these become learned positions, contributing to pain, dysfunction and a reduced range of movement.

Who Is Remedial Massage Suited To?

Whether you’re in training, suffering from headaches, recovering from surgery or just looking to switch off and pamper yourself, massage is a great way to relieve tension and discomfort. At Collins Place Physio, I take a holistic approach to treating clients and use treatment methods tailored to individual needs.

I encourage you to book a remedial massage in our Melbourne CBD physio clinic today, and start experiencing the many benefits of a regular tune up! I look forward to welcoming you in the clinic.

Mariana Stamatopoulos,
Remedial Massage Therapist, Collins Place Physio

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8 Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain

Whether you’re desk bound or a manual worker, lower back pain is a serious hassle. It’s an extremely common complaint we see here at Collins Place Physio, but the truth is it’s often avoidable. So, rather than waiting until it sets in and reaching for the painkillers, try these eight easy ways to prevent lower back pain.

1. Strengthen your core with pilates

Core strength is incredibly important when it comes to avoiding lower back pain. “Think of your core like a corset that surrounds your body. It refers to the deepest layer of muscles underneath your visible abs that attaches to your spine. It provides stability and support to your spine when you are static and when you are moving,” says Collins Place Physio’s Jane Lau.

“A strong and stable core (imagine a tight corset) provides a good foundation for every movement we make. If your core is weak, your movement becomes less efficient, causing overloading on other parts of your body, which may lead to pain and injury.”

Pilates, with its focus on controlled movements and core stability, is an excellent practice to reduce the likelihood of lower back pain. And improve your flexibility, balance and so much more! (Make sure you check out our core strengthening video at the end of this post!)

2. Don’t neglect your posture

When it comes to back pain, poor posture is a major culprit. “Poor posture means that our muscles are working harder to keep us upright and balanced,” says Jane. “Over time, this can cause tightness in muscles, and wear and tear on muscles, ligaments and joints, causing pain and injury.”

Not sure where you’re going wrong? A postural analysis appointment at Collins Place Physio will pinpoint your problem areas. Book an appointment with Jane today.

3. Stand up!

Sitting all day puts a huge amount of strain on the lower back, with many experts likening its negative effects to that of smoking! In fact, sitting places 40% more strain on the spine than standing. So, get up, stretch, and move around as much as possible throughout the day!

Lobby HR for a sit-stand desk, which allows you to regularly change your position. You’ll enjoy a healthier back, and your boss will benefit from a more productive workforce with fewer sick days.

4. Sit properly

Some sitting is unavoidable, so a good ergonomic chair is a must. According to Jane, this should have lumbar support, adjustable height, seat slide and seat tilt. If your chair is not supportive, she suggests rolling a towel and placing at the base of your spine to reduce lower back strain.

And how exactly should you sit? “Your lower back should be in contact with the lumbar support, your back straight, shoulders back and feet flat on the ground, with hips at 90 degrees or more. There should be two-three fingers’ width between the back of the knees and edge of your seat,” advises Jane.

5. Bend your knees

Learning how to lift things correctly is essential to avoid unnecessary back pain and injury. “Engage your core, squat, bend from the hips – not lower back – and push through the hips and knees, keeping your back straight and the object close to your body,” says Jane. If you can’t maintain good lifting technique, it’s a sign the object is too heavy for you!

6. Buy a new bed

Bed sagging in the middle? It’s time to fork out for a new mattress. According to Jane, a bed that’s too soft means the body sags into a poor posture. A good mattress should take the pressure off your shoulders and hips, while allowing you to keep good spinal alignment. (Talk to a member of the CPP team about sourcing a suitable bed at a discount.)

To keep your lower back happy, Jane suggests a side sleeper should try sleeping with a pillow between the knees, and a back sleeper might benefit from a pillow under the knees.

7. Watch your waistline

Sorry to nag, but carrying around a spare tire puts extra strain on your lower back. It’s probably time to up your exercise and clean up your diet if your weight is creeping into the danger zone.

8. Try dry needling

Dry needling uses ultra-fine needles to painlessly stimulate trigger points, and muscular and connective tissues within the body. It can help increase bloody flow and improve mobility, promote healing, and release muscle tension. It is a useful treatment to nip any lower back issues in the bud before they escalate, and also useful to manage chronic musculoskeletal conditions.


Back pain not an issue? Check out our blog on 8 Ways to Prevent Neck Pain.

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8 Ways to Prevent Neck Pain

With many of our clients CBD-based office workers, we see and treat A LOT of neck pain and headaches at Collins Place Physio. And while computers might be a curse, we’re here to tell you there ARE some ways to prevent neck pain.

Why Does Neck Pain Occur?

People with sedentary jobs who sit in front of a computer screen all day are at risk of developing neck pain. This is usually due to poor posture where their spine becomes rounded, and the head starts to protrude forwards. “For every inch that the head comes forward, an additional 10lbs of load is placed on the supporting muscles and joints,” says Collins Place Physio’s Conor Brennan.

What’s more “Repetitive turning to one side (if working off two screens) or looking down/to the side when reading documents places extra load on the discs and facet joints in your neck. The muscles in the neck compensate for these poor positions and become overactive, eventually causing pain and muscle spasm.”

Read on for Conor’s top tactics for preventing neck pain!

1. MOVE!!

Moving regularly is crucial to prevent neck pain. Get up from your desk at least every 30 minutes. Set an alarm on your phone, walk to the water fountain or printer. This helps to reset your posture.
Use standing desks if your office has them. You’re able to maintain much better spinal alignment when standing, and this puts much less stress on your neck and back muscles.

2. Improve your desk set up

Having your computer set up correctly for your body type is very important. The top of the screen should be two inches above eye level and roughly at arms-length away from you. Your lower back should have good support from the backrest, your knees should be just below the level of your hips and your feet firmly on the ground.

If possible, ask for an ergonomic assessment at work*. This will ensure you minimise any stress on your spine when sitting at your workstation.

3. Have your eyes tested

If you’re struggling to read the text on the screen and find yourself leaning forwards and straining your neck, consult your optometrist.

4. Do strengthening exercises

To prevent neck pain, it’s important to strengthen the muscles that help support your head. This will help improve your posture and prevent extra strain on your neck muscles. Simple activation exercises like the below can help the bigger muscles relax.

Chin tucks: Sitting up straight, with shoulders back pull your chin in towards your throat (as if making a double chin) and then return to your resting position. Repeat this 10 times every hour you are sitting down.

Shoulder blade squeeze: Sitting up tall with chin tucked in and hands resting on thighs, stick chest out and squeeze shoulder blades together. Hold for 3 seconds and relax to resting position, repeat 20 times.

5. Get a Document holder

If you spend a lot of time using paper documents, you need a document holder. Preferably an in-line document holder that can be placed in between the keyboard and screen. This will help you to maintain a better spine angle and stop you from repetitively looking down and rotating.

6. Lay on a foam roller

Each evening lay on a foam roller (lengthways down your spine) or a rolled-up bath towel. Spread your arms out to the side and let your shoulder blades relax back onto the ground. Lay there for up to 5 mins. This is a great exercise to open up your shoulders and stop you becoming rounded in your upper back and shoulders.

7. Rethink the way you sleep

Sleeping on your back with a small pillow is the best position for your neck. However it’s always possible as you’ll move around in your sleep and revert back to the position you find most comfortable. If you prefer sleeping on your side, use one medium-sized pillow. Get your partner to check that your neck has adequate support so that it’s in a neutral position. Play around with the height of the pillow until you find one that works for you.

8. Nail your driving position

It is very important to set up your seat and mirrors properly to avoid neck pain. Have the seat upright with a slight incline and close enough to the steering wheel so that you’re not reaching forwards. Sit up tall with your shoulders back and your chin tucked in. In this position, fix your mirrors exactly to that position. Every time you start to slouch, it’s a great cue to correct your posture!

*Collins Place Physio provides ergonomic assessments. Ask to speak to our work station guru, Jane Lau!

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2 Minutes With Jane Lau

University of Melbourne grad, Jane Lau is Collins Place Physio’s tri-lingual ergonomics enthusiast. A member of the team since 2013, she is skilled in postural analysis and highly adept at resolving desk job injuries. Yes, there’s such a thing!

Why did you get into physiotherapy?

I wanted to work in the health industry and specifically wanted to have more involvement with people holistically, educationally and more long term. I believe Physiotherapy gives me a good opportunity to do that.

What’s your area of Specialty?

I enjoy working through all injuries, but as of late, I’ve developed more interest in postural related/desk job injuries. So, that’s lots of necks, backs, forearms, shoulders.

What have been some of the highlights of your physio career?

Every day I get to help someone function better, feel better and reach their functional goals – that’s a highlight in itself.

What do you love about the profession?

I love being able to meet different people and being a part of their journey as a whole person, not just their injury.

Why is good posture so important?

When you’re not putting unnecessary stress on your body, you function more efficiently and that makes you feel good about yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.

And your number one tip for improving posture?

Keep moving.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a physio?

Running a business/working in corporate leadership roles and investing my resources into social issues I’m passionate about. Or I’d probably be doing something food/travel related on the side.

What Is The One Piece Of Advice You Wish Patients Would Listen To?

You gotta help yourself too. Do your exercises, listen to your body and be patient!

What do you do in your spare time?

Volunteer at church, eat, drink, cook, exercise, explore, travel.

What’s your secret talent?

I speak three languages + one dialect, and I can probably still hit a decent drive on the golf course.

Who’s your footy team?

Roger Federer?

Are you escaping the cold this winter with a holiday?

Nope. I’m staying put, cooking more, eating more junk, exercising less, but thoroughly enjoying the cold.
Book your next appointment with Jane here.

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Which Mouse Should You Use?

Here at Collins Place Physio, we see a lot of office workers unnecessarily suffering from hand, wrist or shoulder pain. The culprit? Often, it’s a poorly designed or over-used mouse. An ergonomic mouse is the answer, and an essential purchase for anyone who regularly works with computers!

To help make your purchase decision easier, CPP Physiotherapist and ergonomics guru Jane Lau has shared her insights into seven great alternative mouse options. Say hello ergonomic mouse, goodbye RSI!

EZ Vertical Mouse

Eliminating forearm twisting, this vertical mouse is worth a try if you suffer from wrist / neck / shoulder / forearm issues.

Why use it? The placement of the thumb scoop allows the user to achieve a relaxed handshake position grip as there is no predetermined thumb position. It’s easy to adapt to, and available in both right and left hand options. However, it is generally a better fit for smaller hands.

Evoluent Mouse

Anyone with wrist / neck / shoulder / forearm issues could benefit from trying the Evoluent upright mouse.

Why use it? The hand maintains a comfortable upright neutral position. An extra wide lip along the bottom edge prevents the last finger from rubbing on the desk. It is also easy to adapt to, with left and right hand versions. This ergonomic mouse is bigger than a standard mouse, so it tends to be a good fit for larger hands.


Penguin Mouse

The Penguin is an ergonomic mouse that resembles – you guessed it – a penguin, and is a vertical option that may ease and prevent wrist, shoulder and forearm troubles.

Why use it? As a vertical, ambidextrous mouse, the Penguin allows you to regularly switch hands throughout the day and share the workload. This helps prevent muscle strain and pain.

Oyster Mouse

This adjustable mouse has different settings that can help address wrist and forearm issues.

Why use it? The Oyster is an adjustable, ambidextrous ergonomic mouse that tailors to individual requirements thanks to five different angled settings. It can be used wired or wireless and comes in standard and large sizing for a perfect fit.

Handshake Mouse

A little like a computer game control in appearance, the Handshake Mouse can help ease and prevent neck / shoulder / forearm / wrist issues, particularly carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury (RSI).

Why use it? This mouse places your hand and forearm in a more ergonomic Handshake / neutral position. One big benefit is that it comes in two sizes so is suitable for everyone. However, the position is quite foreign for many and may take some getting used to.

Contour Roller Mouse

This two-handed mouse eliminates strain from gripping and unnecessary movements, and is suitable for those with neck/ shoulder / forearm / wrist / hand issues.

Why use it? Everything is close to the body, so you don’t need to reach for your mouse. It’s quite unique, so allow some time to adapt to this ergonomic mouse.


HandShoe Mouse

This sleek mouse is contoured to fit the hand like a glove, and can help with neck / shoulder / wrist / hand issues.

Why use it? The HandShoe reduces gripping, pinching and hovering of the fingers above the buttons, which are potential causes of RSI and carpal tunnel. However, the hand is not entirely neutral in position.

Adds Jane, “anyone with any hand / wrist / forearm / shoulder issues should be trialling some form of ergonomic mouse. There really isn’t a one size fits all approach, and it still comes down to personal preference and trialling the product. But the above options are a good place to start your ergonomic mouse hunt.”

Collins Place Physio stocks a selection of ergonomic equipment. Please have a chat with our team about which mouse would best suit you, or to organise a trial!

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2 Minutes with Our Director, Pete Hunt

Collins Place Physio Director Pete Hunt travelled the world as a sports physiotherapist before settling down in our Melbourne CBD clinic. Here he chats posture, patience and his latest Netflix binge.

Why did you get into Physiotherapy?

I’d always been interested in health and sport and believed Physiotherapy gave me a great opportunity to combine both.

What’s your area of specialty?

Diagnosis and treatment of Musculoskeletal injury is the area that I am most passionate about.

Why do you love Physiotherapy as a profession?

It’s afforded me a great lifestyle, both working in clinics and traveling with sporting teams.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d most like your patients to listen to?

Do your exercises and understand that sometimes the human body takes time to heal.

And the most vital thing office workers can do for their musculoskeletal health?

Being a CBD-based clinic we see a great deal of postural syndromes caused by prolonged computer use, typically at poorly designed or fitted workstations. Alternating sitting and standing is crucial, hence why we stock sit-stand desks. I’ve always said that even a person with the best sitting posture will fatigue after a certain time.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done in your job?

I was team Physiotherapist for the Australian judo team. I was lucky enough to work with some amazing athletes and travel the world on training camps. Attending the Judo World Championships in Rio was a definite highlight!

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend as much time as I can with my gorgeous daughter Jazz, and try to experience all this amazing city has to offer. We’re very lucky to work where we do with the incredible array of restaurants, cafes and bars at our doorstep.

What’s the last book you read?

On the back of watching Narcos on Netflix, I’ve been reading Escobar.

Any favourite apps?

PhysiApp which is a fantastic exercise prescription app we utilise for our patients. And I wouldn’t be a Melbourne boy if I didn’t have a look at the AFL Live app each week!

Book your next appointment with Pete here.

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7 Everyday Items That Can Cause You Pain

Suffer from a crook neck, headaches or a bad back? The trigger could be lurking in your home! These seven everyday items look innocent enough, but they might just be responsible for your pain. So, how many do you use each day?

1. Handbag, Man Bag or Laptop Bag

There’s a reason physios are mad about backpacks. Slinging a heavy bag over one shoulder isn’t really doing you or your posture any favours. In fact, it could be the cause of your neck and back pain, as well as those pesky headaches.

How so? Lugging a heavy shoulder bag causes a downwards tilt of the shoulder. To prevent the bag from falling, we then lift that shoulder, causing overuse of the neck and shoulder muscles. This can put stress on the neck and upper back, leading to pain and, oftentimes, headaches.

If a cross-body bag’s your go-to, make sure the straps are adjusted so the bag sits close to the body and not too low past the hips. This allows the weight to be distributed evenly across the chest and back. And as for those backpacks? Keep the straps short so the bag sits snugly against the lower back. If it’s too low, you’ll hunch forward to compensate the backwards force.

2. Grocery Bags

Grocery bags aren’t entirely innocent either, and carrying too much weight can overwork the tendons of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.  To shop smart, always try and carry similar sized and weighted loads in both hands. And DO make use of a shopping centre trolley, rather than struggling to the car with your load.

No car? No problem. A pull trolley is an excellent way to transport your weekly shop!

3. Smartphone

Our increasing reliance on our smartphones is great news for Apple and Samsung, but terrible news for our bodies. To hold our phones, we raise our shoulder, lower our ear and tilt our head at an unnatural angle. Which causes – you guessed it – neck pain. (Hint: use ear phones whenever possible to prevent strain).

Physios are also seeing an increase in phone-related injuries to the tendons and joints in the hand and arm. These are caused by repetitive fine motor movements, such as texting. It’s not just an adult problem, either. These types of injuries are a growing problem for kids and teens, who often spend hours playing games or on social media.

4. Book, iPad or eReader

It might seem a stretch to blame a book for your neck pain. But it’s not. Many people read in bed – whether that be a good old fashioned book, or from their iPad or eReader – which encourages a forward head posture and downward head tilt. With gravity acting to drag your head down, you’ll have to work harder through the neck and shoulder muscles to hold your head high enough to continue reading. This causes overloading through the muscles, and neck pain and headaches.

5. High Heels

You’ve probably heard this one before! Wearing high heels regularly (3+ times per week) is one of the biggest causes of foot and ankle pain in women. High heels are problematic for numerous reasons: they put an increased load on the knee joint and can lead to osteoarthritis; they can overload the lumbar spine and cause back injury; and they can even give you bunions. But that doesn’t mean you have to give them up! Check out some handy tips on reducing foot pain from high heels.

6. Rubber Thongs

On the flip side, flip flops aren’t that great either. Regular rubber thongs are flat with zero arch support, which is particularly problematic for those with increased pronation (inwards foot roll). We typically claw our toes to keep our thongs in place, which can result in damage to the ligaments and joints of the feet, and the flat heel can also play havoc with the Achilles.

(Thankfully, an answer is at hand.)

7. Spray-on Jeans

They may be part of your daily uniform, but you should probably rethink any jeans that require a coat hanger to shoe-horn yourself into. Ultra-skinny jeans can squeeze the nerves in your groin and legs, and alter the sensation in the legs. Be on the lookout for pins and needles or numbness.

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2 Minutes with Conor Brennan

To help you get to know us, we’re turning the spotlight on the Collins Place Physio team. First up, Irishman and sports enthusiast, Conor Brennan. Conor joined the team in August 2013, following a five-year stint in NZ, and is our go-to guy for acute sporting injuries.

Why did you choose to study physio?

I always had a huge interest in sports and played everything and anything growing up. After having a few injuries myself and spending time on different physios’ tables, I was intrigued to learn more about how the body works.

What part of the job in particular makes you tick?

Sports has always been an area of keen interest for me, so I love all that side of it. Also, I have had a lot of shoulder problems myself and had a reconstruction in 2012, so this is an area I know lots about and enjoy treating. Above all else, I love variety and enjoy treating all types of injuries from the young, fit and sporty, to the weekend warriors or older more sedentary individuals.

What is the one piece of advice you wish patients would listen to?

LOL. Do your exercises. Most patients will get to the pain-free stage and then stop the rehabilitation program. You need to strengthen the area to help correct the underlying imbalance/mobility issue, otherwise the symptoms will slowly come back or you are in danger of doing more damage.

What do you do for kicks?

In my spare time I play a lot of sport. I have just started back playing Hurling (it’s a traditional Irish game, played with wooden sticks and a ball. It’s a mixture of Hockey and Lacrosse and it’s the best sport in the world!) I also play touch rugby and AFL 9’s during the week, and try to get to the gym regularly. I also love snowboarding, rugby, soccer and golf, this list goes on…

At the weekends, you’ll find me catching up with friends, socialising with a few cold beers, exploring Melbourne… there are so many greats bars and restaurants to try. I love live music and music festivals and regularly go to different gigs around the city. I love travelling and need to see more of Victoria. I try and go camping regularly and get out of the city to clear the head.

Speaking of travel, you recently returned from South America. How was that?

It was amazing! I was in Brazil and Argentina seven years ago and loved it. In October a good friend of mine was getting married in Brazil so that was a no-brainer. I had two weeks in Brazil ­– one week in Rio and then a week in Florianopolis for the wedding. Florianopolis is where all the Brazilians go for holidays and to party and it is just simply paradise.

After Brazil, I went to Colombia for two weeks. I went to Bogota, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Medillin and I also spent two days in the mountains two hours outside Medellin.

What was the weirdest thing you saw on your travels?

Probably some of the street food in Colombia. I had fried ants which were surprisingly not too bad, but I didn’t try the Cuy (guinea-pig), even though all the locals recommended it.

Book your next appointment with Conor here.

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How the FMS Can Prevent Your Next Injury

Whether you’re an elite athlete or a desk jockey, the Functional Movement Screen at our Melbourne CBD physio clinic can help prevent your next injury. Developed in 1995 for US college athletes, the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is now used with much success by physiotherapists in Melbourne and across the globe. Highly regarded in the professional sporting world, the FMS is also used by the likes of the NFL and US gymnastics team.


At Collins Place Physio, we use the FMS in conjunction with the Y Balance test to give active patients a thorough biomechanical assessment – identifying any asymmetries and inefficient movement patterns that may contribute to injury. This then allows our physiotherapists to develop a corrective exercise program to address your problem areas before pain and injury occur.

The most popular Musculoskeletal screening tool, the FMS assesses seven core movement patterns. Each joint in the body is assessed for mobility and stability during the quick and easy screening. At the end of your assessment, a total score is given out of 21 (each test is scored 0 – 3, where 0 indicates pain, 1 means the movement cannot be completed, 2 means the movement is performed with some compensation, and 3 equals efficient movement). 14 or less indicates increased injury risk.

Y Balance Test

The Y Balance is used in conjunction with the FMS as part of the full musculoskeletal screen at Collins Place Physio. The Y Balance is an easy way to test how the upper and lower extremity function with the core under bodyweight loads. It’s been shown to be highly effective in measuring function pre- and post-injury rehabilitation, dynamic balance for fitness programs, and when an athlete is ready to return to sport.

What A Low Score Means

According to research, those who achieve low scores on either (or both) the FMS and Y Balance are four times more likely to suffer from a sporting injury.

FMS & Y Balance at Collins Place Physio

Collins Place Physio’s Jane Lau and Conor Brennan are highly skilled in biomechanical assessment. They use the Functional Movement Screen and Y Balance tests in conjunction on active patients of all ages. Says Conor, “The screening is perfect for anyone who has had repetitive injuries on one side of their body, someone who has had recurrent muscle strains, before/after surgery, pre- and post-season, or for anyone who is thinking about getting back into exercise after a sedentary period.

“The screening itself takes 30 minutes where I put you through all the different tests and take notes and pictures. I will give the person a few mobility exercises to work on and then a week later will have the follow up session. In this I will have a handout with pictures explaining the results of the screen and the plan of action to restore normal movement patterns and minimise injury risk.”

Book in for the Functional Movement Screen at Collins Place Physio today. And check out our post on some of the more unexpected benefits of massage!

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7 Benefits Of Massage You Might Not Expect

Regular massage might seem like a luxury, but here at Collins Place Physio, we believe it’s an important tool for functioning at your very best. We offer remedial massage to reduce pain and muscular tension, and support the body’s repair process. But that’s not all massage does! Here are seven benefits of massage that you might not know about.

1. You’ll Sleep Better

The health benefits of sufficient sleep are well documented – think enhanced energy, concentration and mood – while sleep deprivation is considered risky business. Thankfully, massage has been shown to help manage insomnia and other sleep disorders by increasing those all-important serotonin levels.

2. And Catch Fewer Colds

Catch every bug that’s going round? Remedial Massage Therapist Mariana Stamatopoulos recommends hitting the massage table, especially as we approach a change in seasons. Why? “Massage stimulates your lymphatic system, which can help boost your immunity,” she says.

3. You’ll Ace That Crossword

If you want to sharpen up, massage can help beat the brain fog! As well as relaxing the mind and body, massage has been shown to improve mental alertness and concentration.

4. And Better Manage Anxiety Or Depression

Massage is also beneficial for those struggling with anxiety or depression. It can offer some sweet relief by reducing the stress hormone, cortisol, while increasing serotonin and dopamine. A Prevention article reveals, “A review of more than a dozen massage studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concludes that massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. In a series of studies including about 500 men, women, and children with depression or stress problems, researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53%.”

5. You’ll Be More Flexible

By improving circulation and reducing muscle tightness, massage increases your range of motion. Not only will you feel great as you’re able to move more freely, you’ll also significantly reduce your chances of injury.

6. With Fewer Headaches

A poorly designed work station plus endless hours of screen time can send you reaching for the Nurofen! Massage is a natural way to relieve the neck, back and shoulder tightness that frequently causes headaches.

7. And Healthier Blood Pressure

We’re busier than ever, so it’s important we take some time to manage stress. Various studies have shown relaxation massage to be useful in reducing stress-related hypertension (high blood pressure).

Collins Place Physio is your one-stop shop for physiotherapy and remedial massage in Melbourne CBD. BOOK YOUR NEXT MASSAGE APPOINTMENT with us now!

NB: Always tell your massage therapist about any pre-existing health conditions, as some techniques may be more suitable than others.

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5 Healthy Desk Habits To Embrace This New Year

The new year is the perfect time to ditch bad habits and start afresh. And that includes in the workplace. If you spent most of 2016 suffering from a stiff neck, back pain or headaches, it’s time to reassess the way you work. Here are five healthy desk habits we recommend at Collins Place Physio for a pain-free and productive 2017.

1. Take regular breaks

Need to speak to Joe in accounts? Don’t just be lazy and send an email. The fact is we’re not built for sitting for hours on end staring at a screen. Our bodies (and eyes) need regular breaks, so get up and stretch your legs at least once every 30 minutes. Go for a quick walk at lunchtime, even if it’s only around the block. And take the stairs instead of the lift every now and then.

2. Stretch more

If you want to be even kinder to your body, add a few easy stretches into your work day. Here are three to try, best repeated every half hour. 1) Sit on your left hand with the palm facing the ceiling. Using your right hand, pull your right ear to your right shoulder. You should feel a nice stretch from the top of your neck down to the top of your shoulder on the left hand side. Repeat on the right. 2) Remain seated on your left hand as per first exercise. Turn 45 degrees to the right and look at your right armpit. Using your right hand, pull your head down closer to your armpit. 3) Supporting your head with your palms, arch over the back of your chair.

3. Love your lower back

Suffer from lower back pain? Try this simple and effective tip. Roll up a towel and place it in the small of your back. This will give you more support through your lower back, and reduce discomfort caused by sitting.

4. Make simple ergonomic improvements

At our Physio clinic in Melbourne CBD, we work with a lot of desk jockeys, many of whom work long hours. Therefore, one of our main areas of expertise is ergonomics. Try the following simple changes to improve your work station set up:

    • When looking straight ahead, you should be looking at the top half or third of your screen.
    • When you bend your elbows at 90 degrees, no matter whether you’re standing or sitting, your elbows should be at desk height. Meaning you can have your keyboard pushed far enough in that you can have at least half of your forearm on the desk, rather than hanging off the edge.
    • Keep feet flat on the ground. You should maintain a 90-degree angle at the hips, or knees can be slightly lower than the hips. Avoid having knees higher as this will put pressure on the hips.
    • If using a laptop, either use an external screen, or an external keyboard and a laptop stand. Either way, ensure your screen is at eye level and your forearms are supported on the desk.

Collins Place Physio provides comprehensive ergonomics assessments and stocks a wide variety of equipment. Talk to our friendly team about your workplace or home office.

5. Ask for a raise!

We are huge proponents of sit-stand desks at Collins Place Physio! These clever desks allow the user to move from a seated to standing position frequently throughout the day. At around $1000, they are a lot cheaper than they have been in the past, and the long-time benefits pay off, and not just for workers. Employers will benefit from a happier, healthier and more productive staff, with fewer sick days.

Collins Place Physio stocks electric Sit2stand desks. Talk to us about how a sit-stand desk can help you today!

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