How can physiotherapy help during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is an amazing time, but it also tends to lead to some pretty significant changes to your body! Physiotherapy can help through all stages of pregnancy, from treating aches and pains to providing exercises and advice to aid in recovery.

PRE-NATAL

It’s never too early to start working on your posture and core muscles, including your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles are stressed during pregnancy, even if you have a caesarean birth. Your physio can assist you with pelvic floor and core strength exercises to help prepare your body for pregnancy and help prevent incontinence during and after pregnancy.

FIRST TRIMESTER

During the first trimester your body is getting used to many new hormones. You might be feeling great, but you might also be feeling tired and nauseous. It’s important to listen to your body and be kind to yourself during this stage of pregnancy. Gentle exercise such as walking, Pilates and yoga can be beneficial, but if you feel too exhausted then let your body rest. It is not recommended to start a new type of high intensity exercise that you have never done before, such as running or weight lifting.

If you haven’t already, this is the perfect time to start your pelvic floor exercises.

SECOND TRIMESTER

During the second trimester your body generally gets more used to the changing hormones and this is often said to be the most comfortable trimester. From week 16-20 it is recommended that you avoid lying on your back if possible as this can place extra pressure on the vein suppling the blood to you and the baby. If you find you wake up on your back, gently roll onto your side and try to get back to sleep.

Continue gentle to moderate exercise during this trimester. Light weights can help to build muscle strength in both arms and legs, which will come in handy when bub arrives!

THIRD TRIMESTER

Your body releases more of the hormone called relaxin during the third trimester. This is to prepare your joints for childbirth. The downside of this hormone is that all your joints become a bit more stretchy. Aches and pains may start to hurt in your neck, around your lower back and pelvis or other joints. Our physiotherapists are here to help so don’t suffer in silence. A heat pack at home can also help reduce those aches and pains.

Your stomach muscles may also start to separate due to the size of your baby. This is called rectus diastasis. Your physiotherapist can assess this now and again after birth and advise you of appropriate abdominal exercises.

Walking can become difficult especially if you have put on weight or are carrying twins. Swimming is a great form of exercise for the third trimester. If possible, try to find a pool with a ramp rather than a ladder to get in and out with.

Leg strength is important for labour. Wall squats are a simple home exercise that you can perform daily. Start with 10 second holds and build up your endurance as able. Breathing exercises can also help prepare you for labour.

POST-NATAL

The hormone relaxin stays in your body for at least 3 months post birth. This means you need to be careful when lifting and returning to exercise. If you’ve had a caesarean then you need to be extra careful in the first 6 weeks. Pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscle exercises can be started early under the guidance of your physiotherapist.

Other common problems in the post-natal period include neck and shoulder pain from feeding and carrying baby, carpal tunnel, thumb pain and pelvic floor incontinence. See your physiotherapist as soon as possible to ensure an accurate diagnosis and management plan.

 

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

 

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

 

7 Tips to reach your goals this running season

As the days are finally starting to cool down, the winter running season is fast approaching. Whether you’re a weekend park runner or training for a marathon, it’s important to prepare your body and prevent overuse injuries that could stop you running for the season. Here are Ally’s 7 top tips to help you get through the season without time out due to injury.

1. Start training early and often

It’s ideal to get out for a run at least 3 times a week if you are training for an event. Aim to do 2 shorter runs and a third longer run, increasing these distances as you get closer (and fitter) to your event.

2. Warm up

It’s important to slowly increase your heart rate and generally loosen up your joints in preparation for a long distance run. Start with a few minutes of walking progressing to easy jogs including acceleration and deceleration over 100m. Finish your warm up with dynamic stretching rather than Static stretching. Dynamic stretching has been shown to better prepare your muscles giving you more power and a lower injury rate than static stretching.

3. Stretch cool down

A stretch cool down helps to flush out lactic acid and restore normal muscle length. Conclude your run with 5 minutes of gentle aerobic exercise (fast walk, slow jog) with deep breathing to return the body to its normal resting rate. Follow this with long static stretches i.e 30 second holds, 3 repetitions. Think gluts, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and calves.

4. Hydrate and get appropriate nutrition

See our dietitian Regina Tilyard to help you fuel your body appropriately pre-during-and post exercise. Always consume 2 litres of water daily, but increase this if you have exercised.

5. Take 2 rest days before the event

If anything, do a slow, very short 15min run to burn off nervous energy but definitely don’t set out for a long, hard last-minute training session. You will only fatigue your body and then underperform on race day and potentially be at risk of injury when you try to push harder.

6. Include strength and core stability training

Endurance athletes can be prone to overuse injuries of the lower limb. You can help safeguard yourself from these tendon injuries of the hip knee and foot by staying strong. Include 3 strength sessions a week of squats, lunges, heel raises, glut bridges, balance and abdominal exercises. If you are inexperienced in these types of exercises, or already suffering pain in your hip knees or feet consult one of our physiotherapists.

7. Get enough sleep

6-8 hours before exercise is ideal to allow the body to repair and prepare for exercise. Not enough sleep and you could already be fatigued before your event! This puts you at risk of a muscle tear, especially when trying to power up that hill that always seems to be in the last kilometre before the finish line!

 

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

5 Steps to reduce your headaches

Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates neck treatment by Allyson FlanaganIf you suffer from headaches or migraines, you’re certainly not alone. It is estimated that 1 in 20 people do! In many cases, the pain in the head actually stems from issues with the upper spine and neck. This is why around 80% of people are able to get headache relief through physiotherapy treatment.

We’ve chosen to train in the Watson Headache® Approach, allowing us to assess the joints of the neck and their potential involvement in head pain. Here are 5 tips from Allyson, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor, on how to reduce your headaches. You can also download this handy cheatsheet to refer to later.

1. SEE YOUR PHYSIOTHERAPIST

You might wonder why your physiotherapist is treating your neck for headaches. Research at the Watson Headache Institute has found that issues with the top 3 neck joints and very first cervical disc can impact the brainstem, leading to pain in the head. With specific assessment and treatment of these 3 joints and muscles we can desensitise the brainstem therefore reducing and even resolving many headaches.

Combined with some simple home exercises, good posture, heat or ice, dry needling or segmental needling your Physiotherapist is well equipped to help headaches and migraines.

2. CORRECT YOUR POSTURE

Sustained forward head positions or ‘poked chin’ positions commonly aggravate headaches. Have a think about the ergonomics of your workspace and how you sit throughout the day and talk to your physio if you need guidance.

3. SELF MOBILISATIONS OR PRESSURES ON THE UPPER NECK JOINTS

Sustained pressure on certain joints of the upper neck can stop a headache in its tracks. Your physio can teach you these!

4. HOME EXERCISES

We can help prescribe some appropriate at-home exercises to help. This simple exercise that can help relieve a headache.

Stand with your back against a wall, with a pillow behind your upper back.

Gently retract your chin keeping your head level. Then use the space between your thumb and index finger to apply pressure to your chin. Hold for up to 20seconds or until the headache subsides. Repeat up to 5 times in a row.

5. SEE YOUR GP FOR MEDICATION

If your headaches or migraines have been around for 3 months or more, it may be worth talking to your doctor about migraine preventative medication. These medications, if taken at the very first signs of your migraine, can stop the full attack.

DID YOU KNOW

A forward head position can increase the stress on the upper neck joints, as it increases the perceived load of the head from 5.4kg to 27.2kg! You can reduce this by:

  • Sitting with your head centred on your shoulders
  • Using a pillow under books, tablets and iPhones so you don’t have to look down
  • Correcting your workstation set up

12 days of Christmas gift ideas

…Gifts for a fit, healthy and pain free 2019

The countdown to Christmas is most certainly on but, if you’re like us, you’re still scrambling to finish the Christmas shopping. We’ve pulled together a list of perhaps unexpected, but very useful, gift ideas that we have available at Stafford Physio. We’ve got a number of budget-friendly options suited to secret Santa gifts too!

 

Day 1: Wheat bags and stick on heat patches

Using heat is one of the best ways to relax tight muscles, reduce joint stiffness and improve flexibility! Applying heat promotes healing by increasing blood flow to an area, and reduces pain by soothing sensory pain receptors and blocking pain signals to the brain. Our microwaveable wheat bags come in a great range of colours and sizes for neck (rectangle), back (square) and shoulders (wrap over shoulders and cover upper back). Heat in the microwave for a couple of minutes (depending on your microwave strength) and mould to your sore area for 10-15 minutes for instant relief. Our physiotherapists commonly recommend using heat for sore necks, stiff backs and relieving tight muscles. A great gift idea for mum or nanna, any students or hard-working relatives!

Sizes available: Neck $25; Back $39; Shoulders $58

Sitting in the car for long holiday trips? Try one of our stick on our heat patches for longer lasting heat ($2.50, single use)

Day 2: Rock tape

Need an idea for that hard to buy sibling, tennis-mad uncle or injury-prone dad?

Rock tape is a type of kinesiology tape, or elastic strapping tape, that has the ability to stretch lengthways. We often use this tape within our physiotherapy treatments to provide joint and muscle support, encourage normal and full range of movement, and improve flow of fluid or swelling, which is great for all types of injuries! Rock tape is comfortable to wear, allows you to move freely and lasts up to 5 days. It comes in a great range of colours and sizes, so you can match your team uniform or Christmas day outfit!

Drop in to purchase a roll ($22) and ask one of our physiotherapists about how to apply safely.

Day 3: Theraband

Gift your love ones the ability to be strong for Christmas! Theraband is a type of resistance band used for strengthening a wide range of muscle groups, and can be used for general exercise, post injury and rehabilitation, sport specific and Pilates type exercises. We stock a range of colours which vary in resistance, so drop in and ask one of our physiotherapists which colour would be appropriate for you or your secret Santa’s goals. We can also give you some exercises to go with it!

Resistance difficulty ranges from yellow (lightest) to red, green, blue and black (most difficult).

$5 per meter, or purchase a pack with each colour for $20

Day 4: Spikey balls and pocket physios

Can you think of someone who is always tight? Loves to exercise? This is the gift for them!

Spikey balls and pocket physios are perfect tools for doing self-massage or trigger point release, which is a great way to relieve pain from tight, sore muscles. Trigger point release involves applying a sustained pressure to, or gently rolling over a tight band or “knot” within a muscle. This helps to reduce pain, improve flexibility, and increase blood flow to the muscle. This can be very effective for a wide range of muscle groups, including hamstrings, gluteal muscles, shoulder, lower back and calves. At Stafford Physio we have exercise sheets to guide you with getting the most effective and safe use out of your spikey ball or pocket physio.

At just $10 for a range of sizes and colours, this is the perfect stocking filler!

Day 5: Pad pods

Is there someone in your family who is always on their phone, ipad, kindle or has their head in a book? Gift them the gift of good posture (and a pain free neck!) this Christmas, with one of our Padpods.

A Padpod is a pyramid-shaped beanbag designed to hold your phone or ipad while you are operating it, which helps to keep the screen at a comfortable angle. This effectively improves the user’s posture and alignment, reducing incidence of neck pain and injury. Padpods can be used in a range of positions, whether sitting on your lap, lying in bed, or placed on a table or desk, which means they can be used anywhere too! Perfect for work or home, or those with longer car or plane trips planned over the holidays. The Padpod holds all devices, including your phone, ipad, cookbook or novel, making it great for all ages. In a range of great colours (hence reducing fights over whose belongs to who) come in and grab one for yourself, and your loved ones.

Padpods are $29

Day 6: Pilates socks

Does someone in your family love Pilates? They will love you for gifting them a pair of our fabulous Pilates grip socks!

We currently have a great range of sizes and designs, ranging from animal print to stripes and spots as well as neutral colours, in sizes small, medium and large. These socks have non-slip grip which is perfect for safe exercise on our equipment, or any exercise where you are in bare feet, even for floor mopping days! Plus you can never have too many pairs (to match all of your active wear outfits, of course!).

Drop in and pick up a pair or two for $17 each

Day 7: Foam rollers

Need a gift for someone that loves to run, ride, swim, gym or, well, exercise in general really?! We guarantee they will appreciate the gift of a foam roller!

An essential piece of home workout and cool down equipment, foam rollers are basically foam cylinders that can be used to slowly roll over a particular muscle group or area, such as the calves, quadriceps, gluteal muscles, or upper back. This is a great way to perform self-myofascial release (or give yourself a deep tissue massage), which breaks up scar tissue or adhesions between muscle and fascial layers. After a big run or training session at the gym, this helps to speed up recovery and reduces risk of injury. In addition, foam rollers are great tools for mobilising your upper back, stretching your chest, as well as a huge range of core strengthening and stability exercises. Pop in and see our physiotherapists for some examples of exercises and to pick up one for you and one for a mate!

We currently have a range of colours and sizes in stock: Short $20; Long $45

Day 8: Chi balls

Chi balls are soft, inflatable balls used in many of our Pilates and rehabilitation-based exercises. The small 15cm balls are infused with an aromatherapy fragrance corresponding to its colour. Using a chi ball is a great way to challenge your core muscle strength and control, improve mobility and provide spinal support, all with a range of exercises. Great little stocking fillers, your physiotherapist is happy to give exercises for any specific injuries or gentle general exercises you can incorporate into your home program.

Chi balls come in a range of colours and have instructions and tools for inflating, $20 each  

Day 9: Pilates program 10 packs

Is someone in your family a regular attendee at our Pilates classes or has always wanted to get started? Or are you looking for the perfect way to improve movement, increase strength, start exercising safely and just feel better? If so, one of our Pilates 10 packs is the ideal gift for a loved one, or a great hint to drop to your loved ones!

Stafford Physiotherapy Centre has been offering clinical Pilates for the past 7 years, with all of our physiotherapists trained in both Pilates assessment and teaching. We run small group 60 minute classes (maximum of 4 participants) 3-5 times a day from early morning (7am), mid-morning/afternoon, and evening classes, as well as Saturday mornings. We do an ensure an initial assessment and follow up one-on-one appointments prior to joining the classes, which allows us to assess any injuries, imbalances in muscle strength and flexibility, joint mobility, balance and core strength, as well as teach you how to effectively engage your core muscles. From this information we prescribe each person an individual program which we go through with you in the follow up session, and is then performed in a group class when you feel comfortable. The majority of the program involves exercising using a range of equipment, including our reformers, trapeze table, wunda chair, ladder barrel as well as smaller apparatus like swiss balls and foam rollers, with each participant in the class doing their own prescribed program. Click here for more information on Pilates.

We tailor your individual Pilates program to all ages, levels of fitness, injuries and areas of tightness or acute to chronic pain, and would love to chat to you about your exercise and health goals!

Pilates program 10 packs are currently $380 for existing patients, or $450 for patients new to the practice.

Initial assessment is $140 and follow up session $135.

Most private health funds will cover our Pilates appointments and group sessions.

Day 10: Anti-flamme massage cream

One of our most loved, long standing products is the anti-flamme cream. This cream has natural arnica oil with anti-inflammatory properties useful for massaging most muscle aches and pains. We often use anti-flamme within our treatments as it smells of lovely peppermint oil, and is a great consistency to massage with. Great for general joint aches and tight muscles on a daily basis or for specific sports injuries.

Priced at $20 for 90g tub, or $35 for 450g tub for true anti-flamme fans, this gift will be very well received!

Day 11: Flex-Ice packs

The freezer essential for all families, weekend warriors, elite athletes, and just Queenslanders in general is our flex-ice pack! Available in 2 sizes, these gel ice packs are easily mouldable and the best way to treat any acute pain or swollen area.

Applying ice (cryotherapy) works by reducing blood flow to an area, which is a great way to reduce swelling and inflammation and relieve nasty pain. Perfect to apply for any ankle sprains, swollen knees or after an acute muscle tear, we recommend wrapping the ice pack in a wet cloth/pillow case, and applying with the area elevated above the level of the heart if possible for 10-15minutes. Also useful to help cool down in 30degree+ Queensland weather!

Drop in to ask our physiotherapists any specific questions and grab one to take home today!

Small Flex-Ice $10; Large $16

Day 12: Lumbar rolls

If you are travelling anywhere this Christmas, your lower back will thank you for the support of a lumbar roll! The most popular is our D-shaped lumbar rolls which have Velcro straps, meaning they can be fastened nicely to your desk chair as well as are portable for car and plane trips. The rolls work by fitting in the small of your lower back, or lumbar curve, supporting the muscles in this area and also propping you up into sitting in a neutral spinal posture. If you have a sore lower back or history of back pain or injury, we recommend you try one of these for any longer duration sitting. And remember that breaking up your journeys (in particular breaking up your sitting time), in addition to stretching and gentle exercise will almost always be a great help, ensuring you are ready for that backyard cricket match Christmas day!

D-roll shaped lumbar support $22

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

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

THE BEST MANAGEMENT FOR ACUTE INJURIES IS PREVENTION!
Always warm up for 20-30minutes before exercise and cool down after.

WARM UP SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • 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.

COOL DOWN SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • 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.
THE MAJORITY OF INJURIES IN CONTACT SPORTS INVOLVE CORKS AND STRAINS TO THE LOWER LIMBS.

IN THE FIRST 24-72 HOURS POST-INJURY, IT’S IMPORTANT TO APPLY P.R.I.C.E.R.

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 Stafford Physiotherapy and Pilates; 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

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.

Bridging
  • 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

 

Dropouts
  • 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. 

Book an Appointment

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.

Stretches

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.

Hamstrings
  • 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

 

 

Gluteals
  • 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

 

 

 Piriformis
  • 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
Iliopsoas
  • 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 www.rocktape.com.au. 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.