How to use a spikey ball for massage and trigger points

7 Spikey ball exercises to help ease muscle pain

One of the best ways to maximise the benefits of your physiotherapy treatments is to do some basic exercises at home. We find foam rollers or spikey balls, used for self massage or trigger pointing, to be particularly effective at helping relieve pain from tight, sore muscles.

Using a foam roller for self massage can have several positive effects including reduced pain associated with delayed muscle soreness, reduced muscle tender spots and an acute increase in range of motion. Massage is also one of (if not the) the most effective ways of reducing delayed onset muscle soreness, such as from intense exercise.

To begin with you can lean your body against the ball on the floor or wall and use your body weight to apply pressure. To progress you can roll against the ball for 1-2 minutes. Check out this handy cheat sheet featuring 7 exercises you can do using a spikey ball.

It’s important not to cause further pain or injury when using your spikey ball. Tenderness and mild pain can be expected, but stop if you experience moderate to severe pain, pins and needles or tingling. You should still be able to breathe comfortably when using your ball. Certain areas such as bony prominences (eg kneecaps) and acute injuries (eg swollen, inflamed muscle) should also be avoided.


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


This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 
References: Behm (2017), Dupuy et al (2018)

A Guide to Acute Injury Management

Always warm up for 20-30minutes before exercise and cool down after.


  • Low intensity aerobic exercise such as jogging
  • Dynamic stretching of all muscle groups
  • Sport-specific drills
  • Moderate intensity aerobic exercise progressing to high intensity sprints.


  • Light aerobic exercise/running for 5min with deep breathing to return the body to resting rate.
  • Static stretches – 30sec holds, 3 repetitions
  • Rehydrate and refuel with lean protein
  • Do 20min light cycling or jogging the following day with a stretching session.


P – PREVENTION. The best management of an acute injury is prevention. Always be prepared for competition by training, using the right equipment, warming up and cooling down.

R – REST. Initial rest from aggravating activities is important to allow healing. Gentle movement can be helpful, but do no HARM (heat, alcohol, running, firm massage)

I – ICE. Apply ice immediately in a damp towel (never directly to the skin) to reduce swelling, bleeding and for pain relief. Apply for 20-30min every 2 hours.

C – COMPRESSION. Wear compression garments like Skins or use a compression bandage to help limit bleeding and swelling.

E – ELEVATION. Elevate the injured part above the level of the heart to reduce pooling of blood and fluid in the injured area.

R – REFERRAL. It may be appropriate to see a health care professional such as a physiotherapist. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to get back on the field as soon as possible.

Your physiotherapist can also provide strapping or braces for return to sport or refer you to other health professionals should imaging or specialist input be required.

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

Why we have decided not to become ‘Preferred Providers’

We occasionally get asked whether we are a ‘Preferred Provider’ of the various health funds. We have chosen not to participate in these programs because we don’t agree that they enable health fund members to get the best level of care.You will still receive a health fund rebate when you visit us; it may just be a lesser amount than if you were to visit a ‘Preferred Provider’.

This position is supported by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. You can read more on that at the bottom of this article.

Firstly, it’s important to understand what a‘Preferred Provider’ or ‘Members’Choice’ provider actually is…

Some private health funds have established ‘Preferred Provider’ or ‘Members’ Choice’ programs, however the true meaning of these terms is commonly misconstrued.A practice or provider can simply nominate themselves to join these programs with the health funds. In most situations they just have to agree to some non-negotiable terms including significantly reducing their fees; there is no screening process that assesses providers based on experience, qualifications or quality of care. The terms ‘Preferred Provider’ and ‘Members’ Choice’ may imply that you’ll receive a higher standard of treatment, however this is not the case and, in fact, it could actually be the opposite! Some physiotherapists provide shorter consultations in order to be able to offer the fees stipulated by the health fund, however shorter consultations may not be effective at efficiently assisting and addressing your needs.

Allyson Flanagan | Stafford Physiotherapy Centre | Physio Brisbane North“But I get a larger rebate when I visit a Preferred Provider!”

This is correct; oftentimes a health fund will pay a larger rebate when you visit a Preferred Provider, BUT keep in mind that your total benefit amount is the same regardless. This means that you may use up your annual limit more quickly and potentially before you have had enough treatment.

Why choose us to care for you and your family?

We understand that people have budgets and visiting a ‘Preferred Supplier’ for treatment is certainly better than not getting treatment for your pain or injury! You may receive a lesser rebate from your health fund when you visit us, however we offer experienced physiotherapists who regularly do further study and continuing education. With us, you are receiving quality, comprehensive care and this is something that we will not compromise on. We have committed to a high standard and have experienced physiotherapists treating our patients and mentoring our younger physiotherapists when needed.

What is the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) position?

The APA is concerned that contractual arrangements between Australian physiotherapy clinics and private health insurers create an imbalance of power. The APA is of the opinion that:

  • the current competition laws do not serve the interests of consumers of privately insured ancillary health services as preferred provider schemes discourage competition and restrict consumer choice of health services;
  • Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) prohibits a corporation with a substantial degree of power in a market from taking advantage of that power for one or more prohibited anti-competitive purposes. The APA submits that preferred provider schemes encourage a misuse of market power, as demonstrated by BUPA’s market saturation in South Australia;
  • existing unfair and unconscionable conduct provisions of the CCA should be strengthened to provide a more efficient and equitable basis upon which the forces of competition can operate; and
  • the experience of small businesses is that most small physiotherapy practices are reluctant to engage the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for fear of damaging their relationship with private health funds.

We hope this information has assisted your decision making process and to better understand why we are not involved in private health fund ‘Preferred Provider’ or ‘Members’ Choice’ schemes.


Please feel free to contact us if you have more questions. Click here to view our pricing for physiotherapy and Pilates.

Basic Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors or Sore Hips – Part Two

We see lots of people who are experiencing tight hip flexors or other hip pain. Last week I wrote about the importance of flexible hip muscles including the hip flexors, hip rotators and hip extensors. That post also included a number of stretches and activation drills to help keep your hip muscles healthy and free from injury.

This week I’ll show you some exercise to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips. Remember, when doing these exercises you may feel a mild to moderate stretch but should not experience pain.


Strengthening the hip is important, as this joint is required for many of our daily activities such as walking, going up/down stairs, squatting, getting up from chairs and rolling over in bed.

The exercises below are basic and intended to begin the strengthening process. Initially, your focus should be on the quality of movement not the quantity. Once you feel comfortable performing these exercises, you can increase your repetitions and progress to more advanced exercises.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Roll your pelvis backwards and squeeze your bottom to lift up your hips so they are in line with your shoulders


Leg slides
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Straighten 1 leg away from your body keeping your back and pelvis still
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Rotate leg away from body to about 45 degrees keeping other leg still
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg
Leg Lifts in Sitting 
  • Sitting on chair with feet flat on floor
  • Gentle activate TA (see above)
  • Lift 1 foot off the floor keeping back still
  • Try not to push down with arms for support
  • Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with other leg
Mini squats
  • Standing with feet shoulder width apart, arms out at shoulder level
  • Bend at the hips first – sticking out your bottom
  • Then bend at the knees to continue to squat about 45 degrees down
  • Push up through heels squeezing bottom to stand upright again


Got sore hips or tight hip flexors, glutes or hamstrings? Book a physio appointment today.

Some of these exercises can be difficult – if you have any questions or concerns, please come and see our experienced physiotherapists for a detailed assessment and tailored exercise plan. 

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This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

Basic Exercises for Tight Hip Flexors or Sore Hips – Part One

Do you experience soreness or tightness in your hips? If so, this can come from tightness in the muscles around your hips.

Some of the main hip muscles are:

  • Hip flexors: Iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fascia latae and sartorius
  • Hip rotators: piriformis, gemelli, obturators
  • Hip extensors: gluteals, hamstrings

Flexible hip muscles are important for healthy hips and also necessary for long-term mobility and stability in your lower back. This blog post includes a range of stretches and activation drills that will keep your hip muscles healthy and help you to prevent pain and injury.

If you have any questions about the following exercises (or if you would like to book an appointment for your tight hip flexors or general hip pain and tightness), don’t hesitate to contact us.


Hip flexibility is important because it ensures full range of motion. When performing these exercises, you should feel a mild to moderate stretch and no pain.

  • Put your foot up on a step or chair
  • Bend your knee slightly
  • Lean forward from your hips, pushing your bottom backwards as your chest goes forward
  • Feel stretch at back of upper thigh
  • Hold 30 sec x 3


Hip Flexors
  • Kneel on the floor with affected leg knee on the floor
  • Tuck bottom under and lean weight forward slightly
  • Feel stretch at front of hip
  • Hold 30 sec x 3



  • Sit down with unaffected leg straight
  • Bend affected leg knee over unaffected leg
  • Pull bent knee towards chest as you turn towards affected hip
  • Feel stretch around bottom
  • Hold 30 sec x 3



  • Lying on back
  • Put affect leg foot on opposite knee
  • Pull unaffected leg towards chest
  • Feel stretch around bottom
  • Hold 30 sec x 3



Activation Drills (Isometrics)

Isometric contractions involve a muscle tensing or contracting without creating movement. These drills target the small, deep stability muscles around the hip and pelvis. These muscles are often inhibited from working properly when you have an episode of hip pain.

These exercises should be performed without pain – it is important that you master these exercises before moving on to harder exercises.

Transversus abdominis (TA)
  • Lying on back, knees bent up and feet flat
  • Gently draw in lower tummy without moving back or pelvis
  • Hold for 5 breaths
Pelvic Floor
  • Lying on back, knees bent up and feet flat
  • Gently draw pelvic floor up and in – like you are stopping the flow of urine when doing a wee
  • Hold for 5 breaths
Gluteus Minimus
  • Lying on your unaffected side with pillow between knees
  • Try to draw the ball of the hip into the socket
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
Gluteus Medius
  • Lying on your unaffected side with pillow between knees
  • Imagine lifting top leg slightly without actually moving leg
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
Hip abductors
  • Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat (shoulder width apart)
  • Tie belt around thighs
  • Gently press out into belt – try to keep muscles at front of hip relaxed
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10
  • This can also be done in standing
  • Lying on your back with knees bent over 2 pillows
  • Imagine lifting your affected leg off the pillows without actually moving your leg
  • Hold 5-10 sec x 10



Some of these exercises can be difficult – if you have any questions or concerns, please come and see our experienced physiotherapists for a detailed assessment and tailored exercise plan.

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Stay tuned for part 2 – hip strengthening exercises! Want to find out more about how you can improve your health and wellbeing? Check out these simple lifestyle changes you can make.

This post was written by Lucy Beumer, Sports Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. 

What is Rocktape? Find out everything you need to know

If you’ve had treatment from one of our physiotherapists, chances are you’ve probably had strapping tape used on you at some point. There are three main types of strapping tape: rigid, kinesiology and dynamic. Today we will discuss Rocktape, Australia’s leading brand of kinesiology tape.

What Is Rocktape and How Does it Work?

Physiotherapist applying rocktape | Stafford Physiotherapy Centre Kinesiology tape was originally developed by Dr Kenzo Kase in the 1970s. It is an elastic strapping tape that has the ability to stretch longitudinally (lengthways) but not transversely (horizontally). Rocktape was later developed in the USA by chiropractor Greg van den Dries, who wanted a stickier and stretchier product.

Applying an elastic tape on the skin creates a lifting effect, decompressing the subcutaneous layers beneath the tape. There are three proposed mechanisms by which Rocktape can influence the body:

Fluid effect – improved fluid flow by reducing compression of vascular (e.g. veins) and lymphatic vessels

Mechanical effect – decompression of soft tissue layers to allows better glide between tissue layers (e.g. muscle and fascia)

Neurological effect – decreased pain and improved body awareness.

Figure 1: Compressive forces on fascia, neurovascular bundle and muscle.

Figure 2: Rocktape applied to reduce compression on fascia, lymphatic vessels and neurovascular bundle and muscle.


The Advantages of Rocktape

Some of the reasons we use Rocktape over other types of tape include:

  • The elasticity in the tape allows for a full range of motion, so it is very comfortable and doesn’t limit your movement.
  • The tape can be worn for up to 5 days.
  • Loss of muscle strength is limited by allowing and encouraging pain-free movement to occur.
  • The tape encourages normal movement and therefore decreasing compensatory reactions.
  • It provides a sensory sensation to the skin to help improve body awareness


How Do You Apply Rocktape?

Rocktape is made of 91% cotton, 3% nylon and an acrylic adhesive similar to a BandAid. It is 100% latex free. We encourage you to check with your physiotherapist on whether Rocktape may be able to help you. We can identify the best Rocktape application for you and show you how to apply it yourself in future.

General Rules of Application:

  • Ensure skin is clean, dry and free of oils/moisturiser
  • Clip Very hairy areas
  • Round the edges of the tape
  • Don’t apply tension to the first or last 2.5 – 5 cm of tape
  • Don’t use much stretch in the tape- “less is more”
  • This tape sticks better to skin than to itself
  • Can cut tape into fans, X, Y or V shapes
  • Glue is heat activated so give it a good rub to make it stick
  • Apply at least one hour before activity, two hours before swimming

When applying Rocktape, precaution should be taken if you:

  • Are elderly with thin skin
  • Are a diabetic
  • Have any history of tape allergies

Rocktape should be not used if you have:

  • Open wounds or broken skin
  • Active infection
  • Cellulitis
  • Adhesive allergies

Click here to view a video showing these principles.

When removing Rocktape, it is important to remove the tape slowly and in the direction of the hair. Rocktape comes off easily when wet and you can also use oil to help break down the adhesive.


Examples of Rocktape Applications

Below are some examples of Rocktape applications.

Regional applications (on joints and muscles) of Rocktape can help to improve range of motion, decrease pain and improve muscle activity.







Inflammation and oedema applications can improve fluid flow, reduce pain and improve range of motion.








Postural taping applications can reduce pain, influence muscle activity and cue body position.






Find out More

You can find more information on Rocktape at If you have any questions about the content in this post, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Ask Us About Rocktape

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This post was written by Lucy Beumer. Lucy is a sports physiotherapist and clinical Pilates instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre. She is also a presenter for Rocktape Australia and has presented courses in Queensland and Darwin for the last 4 and a half years. She was not paid for this blog post.