Returning to running after pregnancy

When is it safe to return to running after pregnancy? You ran before you got pregnant. You might have continued running during pregnancy. And now you’ve had the baby and you’re keen to get your joggers back on and hit the pavement once again. So when is it safe to do so?

There is a general lack of evidence-based research around returning to running in the postnatal period. Running is a high impact activity which places a significant load on the entire body, especially the pelvic floor muscles. The most recent guidelines* are from 2019 and suggest waiting a minimum 12 weeks after birth. The guidelines also suggest that women meet a series of criteria for adequate strength of the pelvic floor and lower body muscles before hitting the pavement again.

The first 12 weeks after birth is commonly referred to as the 4th trimester. There is still a large amount of relaxin in your body, which means the connective tissue, such as ligaments, is still more stretchy than normal. Your body is still recovering from birth during this period, especially if you had perineal tears, episiotomies, a caesarian section or any other complications. The pelvic floor muscles are weak after pregnancy and birth and you may have symptoms that indicate these muscles need strengthening.

Symptoms of pelvic floor weakness can include:

  • Incontinence – leaking, inability to control bladder and/or bowel
  • Heaviness in the vagina
  • Dragging sensation in the vagina and perineal region
  • Pelvic pain

There is strong evidence to support an individualised assessment and structured exercise program for pelvic floor rehabilitation in the management of these conditions. Sandra is qualified to undertake pelvic floor assessments and can refer you to a specialised pelvic floor physiotherapist if needed.

It is also important to be assessed by a physiotherapist if you had a rectus diastasis (abdominal muscle separation). Our physiotherapists can screen for this.

Low impact exercise such as walking is encouraged in the first 3 months (12 weeks) of the postnatal period. Following this a graded return to a running program should be implemented to build lower limb strength and gradually introduce loading again to the pelvic floor muscles.

Call us today to get started!

* Reference: Returning to Running Postnatal – guidelines for medial, health and fitness professionals managing this population. Tom Goom, Grainne Donnelly and Emma Brockwell. March 2019

 

If you’d like one of our physiotherapists to help you get running again post-pregnancy, please call or book online.

 

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

Lucy’s back!

We’re very excited to share that Lucy will be back working at the practice shortly! She is looking forward to returning and to working with both current and new patients.

Physiotherapist applying rocktape | Stafford Physiotherapy CentreLucy has an impressive skillset with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy, a Masters of Sports Physiotherapy and further study in dry needling, muscle energy techniques, running biomechanics, kinesiology, taping, diagnostic ultrasound, strength and conditioning coaching, and sports rehabilitation. Read more about Lucy here.

Lucy will be working Wednesdays and Saturdays from July. Her hours are limited so bookings are essential!

 

To book in with Lucy please call or book online.

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. 

CORONAVIRUS CLINIC UPDATE

We posted back in March about the measures we were taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep our patients and team healthy (click here for details). Since then, a number of things have changed and we thought it would be timely to provide another update.

Although some of the restrictions have started to be relaxed in Queensland, we have not relaxed our strict hygiene measures. This includes frequent hand washing, cleaning of equipment between uses, prompt replacement of linens (Sandra our washing lady has been kept very busy!) and use of single use paper dressing towels as needed. We continue to clean high touch areas between appointments and classes.

 

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

PHYSIOTHERAPY APPOINTMENTS

As always, we are treating all musculoskeletal conditions, such as back and neck pain, knee and shoulder injuries and tendinopathy, with hands-on measures and exercise prescription. As physiotherapists, we continue to be the preferred providers of rehabilitation following injury or surgery or a flare up of pain from osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. We are happy to speak to you on the phone if you are not sure whether physiotherapy can help you.

If you need to stay at home, we are able to consult via Telehealth and Ally is doing home visits at standard rates.

 

PHYSIO EXERCISE SESSIONS

We have recently extended the practice and have an additional room. This has allowed us to split the exercise equipment between three separate rooms. We now have a maximum class size of three, with one patient exercising in each room and the physiotherapist moving between rooms.

Additional measures include:

  • Handwashing on arrival (and throughout the class if you wish)
  • Cleaning of equipment after each use
  • Single use of all linens (eg. neck support pillows)
ALL PATIENTS AND CLASS ATTENDEES

If you are showing any signs of illness we ask that you postpone your appointment to ensure the health of our team and other patients. If you have symptoms of cough, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath we are happy to waive the applicable late fee. Similarly, our team will not be working if showing any signs of illness and, in this instance, we may need to reschedule your appointment. We appreciate your support. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

 

We follow the guidelines provided by our Australian Physiotherapy Association and Queensland Health, who provide daily updates as more information on COVID-19 comes to hand.

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!

8 Simple Pregnancy Exercises

Pregnancy and giving birth have been recently described as the physical equivalent of running a marathon. With this in mind, it is important to try and stay as fit as possible during your pregnancy. And it’s not just pregnancy and birth; once baby arrives there will be a lot of carrying and lifting that can place additional strain on your neck and back.

Here are 8 easy exercises to do at home to support you through pregnancy, birth and beyond! Perform 3 sets of 10 of each exercise. If you experience any pain during the exercises please stop and consult your physiotherapist.

 

< Wall Squat

Using a fit ball, lean against the ball resting up against the wall. Look straight ahead. Make sure your feet are hip width apart.

Squat down to 60 degrees at your knees. You should still be able to see your toes.

If you don’t have a ball, lean directly up against a wall.

 

Calf Raises >

Lean against the ball resting up against the wall.

Rise up and down on your tip toes.

If you don’t have a ball, use a table for balance in front of you.

 

< Wall Push Ups (ball optional)

Bend your elbows to bring your chest towards the ball.

Push away from the wall to straighten your arms. Keep your body straight.

 

 

Bridges >

Sit on top of the ball. Slowly walk your feet out so your head and neck rest on the ball.

Lift and lower your hips, squeezing your bottom.

If you don’t have a ball, rest your shoulders on your couch.

 

< Bicep Curls

Sit on the ball or a chair, feet flat on the ground.

Hold onto a small weight (1-5kg) and bend your elbows to bring the weight up to your shoulders.

 

Side Arm Openings >

Lie on your side with a pillow supporting your neck, your arms out straight and palms together.

Breathe in, then as you breathe out lift your top arm in a sweeping motion above and behind you. Follow your arm’s movements with your head. Inhale as you return to the original position.

 

 

< Horsekick

Start on hands and knees. Draw tummy in towards spine. Look down at your hands.

Slowly lift 1 leg towards the ceiling, keeping your back and hips still.

Stop if you feel nauseous or experience any pelvis pain.

 

Sitting Balance: Leg and Arm Lifts >

Sit on a ball or chair. Slowly lift one foot off the floor without moving your hips sideways.

Intermediate: Lift your leg and the same arm.

Advanced: lift your leg and the same arm holding onto 2kg weight.

 

 

 

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 and Pilates. 

 

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.