New GLA:D® Program for hip and/or knee osteoarthritis coming soon!

Juhi, Matt and Sandra recently undertook the GLA:D® – “Good Life with osteoArthritis: Denmark” course and are now certified GLA:D® physiotherapists. We will soon be launching our in-house GLA:D® Program – a 6 week program of education and exercise designed to help reduce the symptoms of hip and/or knee osteoarthritis. Over the 6 weeks patients will attend 2 education sessions and 12 supervised exercise sessions, each of about 60 minutes.

GLA:D® is an evidence-based approach shown to help people of all ages with mild, moderate and severe osteoarthritis by reducing pain, increasing mobility and enhancing quality of life. Often surgery such as joint replacement can be avoided and, if having a total knee joint or hip replacement, completing the GLA:D® program prior can lead to a quicker recovery.

The GLA:D® exercises can be personalised to each individual participant, continued at home and repeated as and when you feel you may benefit from them.

 

Click here to read more about our upcoming GLA:D® Program.

 

Click here to express your interest in our GLA:D® Program and we will contact you once it has launched. You can also call us on 3857 5815.

 

 

7 EXERCISES TO HELP A STIFF BACK

Does your back feel stiff? Read on to find out how you can improve your thoracic mobility…

Our daily habits make us very prone to stiffness in the thoracic spine, which often makes it hard to stretch, bend or flex your spine, and can lead to back pain and tension. We spend a great deal of time through the day in thoracic flexion (forward bending) e.g. when showering, sitting at a desk, looking at our phone, preparing food, eating, doing housework, etc. 

Unfortunately, our usual daily routines rarely require us to extend our thoracic spine so, unless we go out of our way to do otherwise, we are often stuck in a forward position. Over time this leads to a fixed flexion posture and can be hard to reverse. It becomes especially hard to reverse as we age and, if not addressed, often leads to a great deal of debilitation in later life. 

Poor thoracic mobility can also have flow-on affects into the neck, shoulders and lower back. With our thoracic spine in a flexed position, we are more likely to overload the neck muscles, impinge the shoulder joints and place more pressure on our lower back, especially when sitting through the day. Natural movement, combined with joint mobilising exercises for the thoracic spine can help offset poor habits and help us to improve overall posture and prevent movement restriction later in life.

The following exercises can almost all be done with no equipment, with a couple of exercises only requiring a foam roller and a broomstick.

1. Cobra pose

Start lying face down with toes pointed and hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. Push up through your arms and extend spine as far as you can, ensuring you also lift your head and look straight ahead. You can lock out your elbows if able, otherwise if this feels too extreme you can rest on your forearms. Hold this position for 10 seconds before returning to the starting position. The aim here is to get as much extension through the spine as possible. Repeat 5 times and remember to keep breathing as you stretch.

 

2. Archer stretch 

Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees, keep your knees together as you arc your top arm up towards the ceiling and continue all the way around onto the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times. The aim here is to get as much rotation through the spine as possible. Do the same lying on the other side. 

 

3. Child’s pose 

Get on your hands and knees, drop your bottom back onto your heels while keeping your palms firmly planted on the floor. Let your head drop between your arms and push your chest to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. You can get a wider stretch by pushing your knees out to the sides so your legs form a V.

 

 

4. Cat cow stretch

Get on all-fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below your hips. Alternate between arching and curling the spine. The aim here is to move your spine through its full range of motion in each direction. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Roller Thoracic extension 

Lying down on a foam roller, with the roller sideways underneath your body, extend back over the roller as far as your feel comfortable. Roll up and down trying to extend the spinal segment above the roller as much as possible. If this feels too intense or uncomfortable you may want to work on the cobra stretch more until you gain more mobility. 

 

6. Thoracic rotation with stick 

Rest broomstick on shoulders and place hands on top of stick at each end. Rotate the spine to the side as far as possible, trying to point the stick to 12 o’clock if able, hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

 

 

7. Thoracic side bends with stick 

Rest broomstick on shoulders and place hands on top of stick at each end. Bent to the side through the spine, trying to point the stick down towards the floor as far as possible, hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

If you’re struggling with back pain, stiffness or just want to help your body grow stronger and healthier, call or book online to have an appointment with a member of our team today.

 

This post was written by Greg Holmes, Physiotherapist at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. 

SANDRA’S 8 FAVOURITE KNEE EXERCISES

To help knee osteoarthritis + other knee conditions

Did you catch our recent blog post on knee osteoarthritis? It can be a real pain in the backside, preventing you from moving as much as you’d like or doing the things you love. Surgery is very much avoidable if we commit to strengthening exercises. So, to get you started, Sandra has shared her favourite knee exercises.

The important muscles to strengthen for a healthy knee are:

  • Quadriceps at the front of the thigh
  • Gluteus medius in the buttock that help control hip rotation and knee alignment.
  • Hamstrings (back of the thigh),
  • Gluteus maximus (buttocks)
  • Calf muscles
  • Foot muscles in the arch

SANDRA’S 8 FAVOURITE KNEE EXERCISES

  1. Wall squat (for quadriceps) OR
  2. Mini squat with band OR
  3. Knee extensions over a towel
  4. Wall stand (standing clam) for gluteus medius
  5. Sit to stand with slow lowering back to sit
  6. Step up and step down
  7. Single leg calf raises
  8. Foot doming

 

< Wall squat

Can be done against the wall or with a ball behind your back. Feet should be about 30cm out from the wall and about 10 cm apart. Slide down to 60 degrees with your knees going over the second toe (you don’t have to go down to 90 degrees). Hold for 6-10 seconds and slide back up. If there is pain in the knee joint, you are too low. If you can’t do this one, try the knee extensions over a towel.

Mini squat with band >

Put an exercise band around your instep on both feet and take your feet slightly wide so that there is tension. Perform a small mini squat short of pain, keeping the knees in good alignment over the second toe.

< Knee extensions over a towel

Place a towel or foam roller under the knee. Keep the knee on the towel and raise your foot until your knee is straight. Hold for 6-10 seconds and slowly lower.

Wall stand >

Face side on to the wall and push your knee to the wall, while taking your weight on the other leg. Hold 6 seconds. To progress, push into the wall with your knee, then lift your foot. You can place a small, soft ball between your knee and the wall. For an advanced exercise, add a bend in the supporting knee. Keep your shoulders and hips facing forward and don’t lean on the wall.

Sit to stand

Choose a higher chair for beginners. Sit and then slowly stand, making sure your knee goes over the second toe and doesn’t sway inward. Lower slowly and you can pause just before your bottom goes onto the seat. To progress, try doing it one legged, but your knee must remain in good alignment over the second toe. You can also try it on a lower chair for an additional challenge.

^ Step up and step down

Choose a small step to begin and slowly step up and lower (knee over second toe)

Calf raises >

Beginners start with 2 legs – go up for 3 seconds, hold, then lower for 3 seconds. Progress to single leg and increase the number gradually. You should aim for 25-30 single leg calf raises. Avoid very hard surfaces like the tiles in the bathroom. Don’t rock forward as you raise up.

< Foot doming

This can be done standing or sitting. Put your foot flat on the ground and then lift your arch, keeping your toes down straight.

 

Things to note:

All exercises should be done in a slow, controlled manner; don’t build up momentum, rock forward, turn your body.

Keep the knee in good alignment – if the knee swings inwards, the exercise needs to be modified.

Keep the head and neck in good alignment too!

During the wall stand and wall squat, make sure the arch of your foot does not collapse inwards – lift your arch.

 

If you’d like one of our physiotherapists to help you with some personalised knee exercises, please call or book online.

 

All about knee osteoarthritis + how we can help (part one)

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic joint disease that causes pain, stops you doing certain activities and can cause you a lot of stress and distress. The symptoms can be pain, stiffness (especially after rest), swelling and tenderness. Often people find it harder to squat, kneel, walk up stairs, get up from a low chair and some have pain that stops them from sleeping.

Research shows that strengthening exercises improve pain and function. Surgery is not inevitable if we look after our knees by supervised exercise that progresses within limits.

Physiotherapists are the best heath and exercise professional to advise you about your knee exercises, where to start, how to adjust the exercises if your pain flares and how to progress your exercises safely to prevent further damage. We have studied the anatomy, the pathology (disease), the latest effective evidence based exercise regimes and we know how to treat the symptoms.

 

Physiotherapy can help in a number of ways:
  • We can conduct a thorough assessment of your knees and provide you with an accurate diagnosis as well as education to help explain why you are experiencing your pain and stiffness
  • We can mobilise (move) the joints of the knee. This can be for pain relief, to increase circulation to the area or to stretch tight structures.
  • We can teach specific strengthening exercises for the hips, knees, ankles and feet; especially the quadriceps and gluteals. This can improve joint alignment and correct muscle imbalances
  • We can strap the knee to improve movement, reduce pain and decrease swelling
  • We can use dry needling and western acupuncture to help release tight muscles around the area and relieve pain
  • We can use cupping to help release the ITB (iliotibial band) and other tight muscles
  • We can advise you on what activities that you can do that you enjoy (even if it is modified)
  • We can give you strategies to cope with the pain (like relaxation and distraction, local heat or ice).
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: SANDRA’S FAVOURITE KNEE EXERCISES, TO HELP KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS + OTHER KNEE CONDITIONS
Definitions:

Osteo = Bone Arthro = joint Itis = inflammation
Chronic = pain that persists for over 12 weeks
Femur = thigh bone
Hamstrings = Thigh muscle at the back that bends the knee
ITB (iliotibial band) = fascia at the side of the thigh that goes from the top of the thigh to below the knee.
Muscle imbalance = Often the inner (medial) thigh quadriceps weakens and the outer (lateral) quad pulls the knee cap towards it. This can happen for people who don’t exercise and for people who do a lot of fast exercises and no slow weight bearing exercise
Patella = knee cap
Quads (quadriceps muscle) = front thigh muscle that straightens the knee
Tibia = shin bone
Total Knee Replacement = a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability Parts the tibia and femur are replaced to create an artificial joint.
Knee Reconstruction = surgical procedure to replace the torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). This is not done for Knee OA.
VMO (vastus medialis obliquus) = the inner part of the quadriceps (front thigh muscle) that helps stabilise the knee cap

How to safely return to the gym post COVID

Now restrictions are easing and the gyms are back open, it’s really important that we transition our home workouts back into our gym routines safely, without overloading and injuring ourselves. It’s important that we restrain our excitement, for the moment, take an honest account of our loading in the past few months and plan before we return to lifting with heavier and regular weight again. Our strength will be reduced, so reduce your weight!

Warm up and cool down

Make sure you reintroduce a good 5-10 minute warm up before you commence your sessions. Try to target the area you will be training, if you are training an upper body resistance session for example, you should include some light weight or body weighted exercises targeting that area before loading up! It’s a good idea to have a dynamic stretch or use a foam roller if you have been static and sitting at work all day!

Cool downs are often neglected, however also very important now you are training again. Be sure to stretch after your sessions and grab the foam roller for a few minutes for your legs or upper back to reduce the extra tone that will build up in your muscles, just remember to wipe down after! #COVIDsafe.

Loading

If you haven’t been lifting during the past two months, your body loses strength far faster than you want to believe! Start conservative, reduce your weight to start and aim for higher reps.

Prioritise good movement patterns again first. It’s important to allow some time over the first few weeks for your stabilising muscles to remember how to lift again. If you load up too quickly these muscles can become tight leading to breakdown in movement patterns which can result in injury.

Contain your excitement; you can’t get back two months of minimal training in two weeks, so be patient! Aim for around 10-15% increase in load each week.

If you are unsure of your technique, book in a few sessions with one of our physiotherapists, or an exercise physiologist at the gym, for guidance around movement patterns. This can be much more cost effective than future dealings with an orthopaedic surgeon.

Rest

Rest is very important for any training, particularly if you are changing the loading (weight, frequency or type of training). Your body needs time to adapt and change. You most likely will experience some serious DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) during the first few weeks returning to gym. Listen to your body, it’s ok to experience these DOMS however, if you are feeling pain greater than 2 days post exercise, you should reign it in!

Space out your sessions, make sure you give the worked muscle group a solid 1-2 days recovery before loading up again. If you are training whole body workouts, have rest days between sessions, take time on these days to focus on cardio, stretching, trigger pointing and foam rolling.

It’s important to allow this rest for your muscles to recover and continue to build strength without being overloaded. It might be worthwhile booking in a few regular remedial massages in the next few months.

The biggest risk to injury is this period of load change and building up again. Listen to your body and make sure you follow up with your physio early if you are experiencing altered movement patterns and developing niggles greater than just DOMS. If you can extinguish these niggles early, it’s likely you can continue training and avoid any further time out of the gym.

 

If you’d like one of our physiotherapists to help your injury-free return to the gym, please call or book online.

 

This post was written by Mitch Esdale, Physiotherapist at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. 

Baby and Me Exercises

No matter how much you’d like to exercise, it can be very difficult to squeeze into the day when you’re looking after a wee bub! Rather than using precious nap time (if there is such a thing!), or trying to keep bub occupied playing on their own, Lucy has put together some simple modified exercises that you can do at home with your baby!

Lunges (see pic above)

Baby can lie on the floor on tummy or back. You can dangle a toy over them to keep them entertained while you lunge up and down.

For extra resistance you can hold baby against your chest facing in or out, depending on age and head control. You could even use a baby sling or carrier. For an added arm challenge hold baby away from your chest.

 

Squats

Baby can lie on the floor on tummy or back. Tickle baby’s toes when you get to the bottom of the squat before you stand back up again.

For extra resistance hold baby against your chest facing in or out, depending on age and head control. You could even use a baby sling or carrier.

 

Chest press

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on ground. Hold baby around chest and use their body weight as resistance as you press your arms straight up towards the ceiling.

 

Tabletop Legs

Rest baby on their tummy on your shins. Hold this position and practice breathing or pelvic floor exercises.

 

Opposites/Horsekick

Position yourself on your hands and knees and then lift one arm and/or leg. Baby can lie on their back under you, or an older baby could sit facing you and be entertained by your moving arms.

Push Ups

Position yourself on your hands and knees and lay baby between your hands. When you lower your chest down kiss baby or blow a raspberry on them. If you’d like an extra challenge, lift your knees and hold your weight with your toes.

Everyday Exercise – Part One: Socks

With people spending much more time at home, social sports cancelled and gyms closed, we thought we would help you still get your exercise in, with a bunch of exercises you can do at home using simple items you’re almost guaranteed to have around the house! Introducing our Everyday Exercise series!

Part one: Socks

Gym closed? Can’t get hold of weights for a workout because everyone sold out weeks ago? Never fear, you can get a pretty solid workout with just a pair of socks on your polished wood floor or tiles. Check out these 12 exercises to get your body working! You can follow the video, and there are written descriptions below to assist.

1. Mountain Climbers

In a long plank position, slide your knees towards your chest, alternating legs.

2. Knee Tuck

In a long plank position, slide both knees together towards your chest and back out.

3. Cross Mountain Climber

From a long plank position, slide one knee in towards your opposite shoulder, alternating legs.

4. Plank Jack

In a long plank position slide your legs out and in again with straight legs.

5. Pike

From a long plank position, keep your legs straight and slide them in towards your hands, lifting your hips up towards the ceiling.

6. Arm Slides

On your hands and knees or plank position, alternately slide one arm forwards as far as you can. Let your chest drop but keep your support elbow straight. Lift your chest again pushing your support arm into the floor as you return.

7. Arm Circles

On your hands and knees or plank position, alternately slide one arm forwards as far as you can, letting your chest drop but keep your support elbow straight. Then circle the hand out to the side before returning to the middle as you lift your chest again pushing your support arm into the floor.

8. Thread the Needle

On your hands and knees or plank position, slide one arm underneath the other reaching through to the other side letting your upper body twist.

9.Hamstring Slideouts

On your back, knees bent up and feet on the floor. Lift your hips up into a bridge then slide both feet out as straight as you can get while keeping your hips lifted off the ground. Lower your hips to bring your meet back to start again.

10. Scooter

Standing with your weight on one leg in a mini squat, slide the other foot back keeping the stance knee pointing straight forward and your hips square.

11. Curtesy Lunge

Slide one leg across behind the other while lunging with the front leg. Alternate sides.

12. Side Lunge

Stand with your weight on one leg in a mini squat. Repetitively slide the other out to the side and back in again. Keep the stance knee pointing straight ahead.

 

If you’d like a personalised home exercise program, please call or book online to see one of our physiotherapists.

 

This post was written by Allyson Flanagan, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. 

Home exercise equipment + programs

Do you want to exercise at home and need some equipment? We have full (long) rollers, short rollers, exercise balls, chi balls, sliders, exercise resistance bands (plus handles if needed), hand stress balls and exercise DVDs. We sell these!

We also have home exercise packs available:

  1. Chi ball + exercise band + sliding disc – $30
  2. Short roller + Chi ball + exercise band + sliding disc – $50
  3. Long roller + Chi ball + exercise band + sliding disc – $75

The sliding disc is used to slide your foot along a carpeted or hard surface.

The chi ball adds an extra challenge or assistance to your exercise.

If you would like us to drop them off (and live near our practice at Stafford), we can do that for free.

We already have some information on great exercises on our facebook page (and our VIP facebook page for patients), the blog on our website and our instagram. There will be much more to come soon to help you keep exercising.

If you would like an exercise program to suit your personal requirements (particularly if you have a previous or current injury, chronic pain or a particular need), we will be starting online consultations (Telehealth) in the next few weeks. We can incorporate equipment you may already have at home, or help you choose which equipment to buy.

We are happy to have a short chat to you on the phone if you have any questions. Allyson Flanagan is also doing home visits for those well people who have to stay home.

INTERESTING FACT: In 1918 a terrible epidemic (Spanish Influenza) broke out worldwide, killing millions of people. Joseph Pilates (the founder of Pilates), who was German, was confined to an internment camp in England during the second world war. There were tens of thousands of deaths in England and the camps were particularly hard hit. Joseph Pilates had begun devising strengthening exercises with controlled breathing and mindful movement with equipment using springs to rehabilitate the incarcerated and bedridden with wartime diseases. None of the followers of Joseph Pilates’ exercises got the Spanish Flu!

Staying healthy and active despite the cold and coronavirus!

In the past couple of weeks, amidst the continued development of COVID-19 as well as a cooler change in weather as winter approaches, a lot of us have had our usual work, exercise and social routines disrupted. First and foremost, we must adhere to current health guidelines and take all personal hygiene measures possible. BUT, you can still stay healthy and active, whether from home or within your local community.

Check your workspace set up

If working from home (or still in the office) – make sure you maintain good postural habits. Assess your computer set up, if using a laptop make sure it is at an appropriate height for your eye level, use a lower keyboard or mouse if you are able to. Change your posture often, stand every 30-60 minutes, do some big shoulder rolls, chest and neck stretches and sit to stands. Take a look at this blog post for more tips on workspace ergonomics.

Look at ways to incorporating exercise at home

Even though it’s no longer possible to go to the gym, there are plenty of exercises you can do with minimal equipment at home. Try 3 sets of 10 – body weight mini squats, lunges, sit to stands and calf raises for your lower body. Try a 3 x 10-30 second plank or side planks (you can do these on your knees and forearms). If you have some TheraBand do some low rowing, shoulder rotation, and glute bridges with this around your thighs. Check out this blog post for some TheraBand-specific exercises. Some gentle stretching and/or foam rolling is a great addition as well. We sell a variety of exercise equipment, so feel free to contact us for advice on which equipment and exercises would be suitable for you.

Keep moving

If you are able to walk or jog and are feeling well, enjoy the vitamin D benefits of some sunshine, get some fresh air, raise your heart rate a little and keep your joints and muscles moving. If you’re confined to home, walking laps around the yard or hallway, gardening and stationary bike are other ideas.

Fuel your body

It can be tempting to raid the pantry a little too frequently when you’re home, but it’s best to keep your nutritional intake as healthy as you can – do the simple things – drink water often and eat a variety of fruit and vegetables.

Keep up your usual exercise levels and habits

If you are feeling well, come in and participate in your clinical exercise classes with us. At this stage we are running all of our usual class times so, if you’re working from home, it may be the perfect opportunity to squeeze in an extra class, or try one of our 30-minute reformer classes for something new. You can read here about the measures we’re taking to keep the practice safe for both our patients and our team.

Address any injuries or niggles

Although some upcoming fun runs, social sport and competitions have sadly been postponed, why not utilise this time to your advantage and come and see our physiotherapists to address any areas of concern. It may be the perfect time to get started with some treatment and a personal exercise program for home.

 

Please call or book online to see one of our physiotherapists.

 

This post was written by Megan Esdale, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates. 

Surf’s up! How to prep your body for a surf

Summer is definitely here and there is something magical about being in the ocean first thing in the morning, especially on our beautiful Queensland beaches. Surfing is an excellent form of exercise. It requires both upper body and lower body strength as well as core stability and balance.

So before you strap on your leggie, don’t forget to limber up. Try this quick routine to get your whole body moving well and ready to tackle the next epic set. Check out the video, with detailed instructions below.

1. Cat/cow

On your hands and knees. Take a slow deep breath while you arch your back up as far as you can, tucking your head. Then slowly breath out looking up to the sky, dropping your chest down towards the sand. Continue for 30seconds.

2. Down dog to cobra

Standing, reach over and touch your toes, then walk your hands out to down dog position. Push your chest down to the sand and your heels down to extend this stretch for one breath. Then lower your hips to plank position, hold for 3 seconds before lowering your whole body down to lie on your tummy. Push your shoulders up off the sand arching your back keeping your hips on the sand for a nice deep breath. Lastly push your hips back up again to press into down dog. Continue through this flow for about a minute

3. Lunges with side bend

Standing, elevate both arms up above your head. Deep lunge forward on one leg, then while you are in a lunge side bend to the side of your front foot. Return to standing again then repeat on the other side. Continue changing legs for about a minute.

4. Lumbar pendulum

Lie on your back with your knees elevated up in table top position, arms out to the side. Slowly roll both knees to one side controlling with your abdominals, then bring them up and over to the other side. Continue slowly for 30sec.

5. Single leg glute bridge

Lie on your back, one leg bent up, the other elevated off the ground. Squeezing your glutes lift your hips up off the ground as far as you can, then lower. Repeating slowly about 10 times each side. Remember you can do this with 2 feet if you’re unable to do them on 1 leg.

This post was written by Allyson Flanagan, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates.