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Archive for category Physiotherapy News

Types of Physiotherapy: Boost Your Recovery

Finding the right types of physiotherapy can be crucial to managing your injury or condition effectively. This article offers a clear and concise overview of different physiotherapy types, each specific to health scenarios.

You’ll learn about methods ranging from manual and sports physiotherapy to geriatric and neurological therapies, giving you the knowledge to choose the best approach for your health and recovery.

Key Takeaways

  • Physiotherapy is a broad field of medicine with many techniques, such as massages, exercises, heat therapy, and electrotherapy, and specialisations, such as musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiothoracic, geriatric, pediatric, sports, and orthopedic physiotherapy, each for different conditions and body parts.
  • Physiotherapists use personalised treatment plans with manual therapy, therapeutic exercises and pain management strategies to restore function, improve health and manage chronic pain by considering the individual needs and recovery goals of each patient.
  • The different branches of physiotherapy, like neurological, which focuses on improving motor control for conditions like stroke and cerebral palsy, and geriatric, which addresses age-related conditions, show how physiotherapy plays a significant role in managing many health issues across different age groups and overall well-being.

Exploring the Range of Physiotherapy Services

Physiotherapy is a branch of medicine that diagnoses and treats physical disorders and helps injured, ill or disabled patients to recover. This field is not limited to a single method or treatment plan. On the contrary, it employs a plethora of techniques, including:

  • Massage
  • Exercises
  • Heat therapy
  • Electrotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Traction therapy
  • Manual therapy

Each technique is designed to target specific conditions and promote optimal healing.

Moreover, physiotherapy encompasses numerous specialisations, each focusing on a distinct body area or a type of condition. Some of the different types of physiotherapy include:

  • Musculoskeletal physiotherapy
  • Neurological physiotherapy
  • Cardiothoracic physiotherapy
  • Geriatric physiotherapy
  • Paediatric physiotherapy
  • Sports physiotherapy
  • Orthopaedic physiotherapy

These techniques are instrumental in managing chronic diseases, supporting palliative care and occupational health, and enhancing long-term health outcomes.

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy: A Focus on Structure and Function

Illustration of a person performing therapeutic exercises

Musculoskeletal physiotherapy is a branch that deals with the assessment, treatment, and management of disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, and tendons.  It’s a lifeline for patients with back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle sprains, helping them recover and improve function.

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists support their patients through manual therapy, exercise prescriptions, and education on proper posture and movement patterns. These approaches promote musculoskeletal health and overall well-being.

The beauty of this field is its personalised approach. Each patient gets a treatment plan designed for them and their goals, combining therapy with physical activity and education.

Manual Therapy Techniques

Illustration of manual therapy techniques

A big part of musculoskeletal physiotherapy is manual therapy, a hands-on technique that manipulates and mobilises affected joints and tissues.  Manual therapy is not just biomechanical but also neurological and psychological in treating musculoskeletal conditions, and that’s its versatility and effectiveness.

One of the manual therapy techniques is soft tissue mobilization or therapeutic massage, which relaxes muscles and reduces swelling and includes deep tissue massage, trigger point release, and stretching.  Another is joint mobilization, which involves oscillation movements and manipulations to improve the range of motion and reduce pain.

Manual therapy does not exist in isolation. In fact, it’s part of a broader biopsychosocial framework in physiotherapy practice.  Exercise, patient education, and postural advice complement manual therapy to create a holistic approach to patient recovery and well-being.

Therapeutic Exercises

Therapeutic exercises are integral to physiotherapy and come in various forms, including:

  • Aerobic conditioning
  • Strength training
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Balance and coordination exercises

These exercises are prescribed movements aimed at rectifying impairments, restoring muscular and skeletal function, or sustaining well-being, and cater to diverse patient needs and recovery goals.

Aerobic exercise programs may include activities like walking, swimming, cycling, and dancing to improve cardiovascular endurance. Strength training builds muscle tissue through resistance training with varying intensities.

Flexibility training exercises improve joint range of motion and include static stretching, dynamic stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.

Last but not least, balance and coordination training is important for injury prevention and control during movements in sports and daily activities.  It’s part of physiotherapy to ensure patients maintain their balance and coordination to minimise the risk of falls and injuries.

Pain Management Strategies

Illustration of pain management strategies

Beyond physical rehabilitation, physiotherapy also plays a significant role in managing pain. Regular sessions help patients maintain proper posture and body mechanics to reduce risk of future injuries and contribute to their long term health and pain management.

Notably, pain management in physiotherapy doesn’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it utilises various strategies customised to individual patient needs, guaranteeing effective chronic pain management and reduced discomfort.

Neurological Physiotherapy: Navigating the Nervous System

Moving from the musculoskeletal system to the nervous system, we dive into neurological physiotherapy. This branch focuses on treating neurological conditions affecting the nervous system, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Cerebral Palsy

The primary goal of this field is to help individuals regain as much movement and function as possible, focusing on improving motor control, balance, and coordination.

Central to neurophysiotherapy is the concept of neuroplasticity. This is retraining the brain to compensate for damaged or lost neurons, and it is the foundation of the rehabilitation process.  Starting rehabilitation early after a stroke increases the chances of full recovery, so early treatment is key.

Electrical Stimulation

Illustration of electrical stimulation in neurological physiotherapy

One of the methods used in neuro physiotherapy is electrical stimulation, which promotes neuroplasticity, increases spinal cord excitability, and is part of the neurorehabilitation process.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for example targets paralysed muscles and nerves and allows patients to perform functional tasks. It’s even been incorporated into neuroprostheses to enhance functional independence.

Electrical stimulation can be fine-tuned by adjusting the position of the electrode and the intensity of the electrical stimuli. This is done through trial and error to target specific movements and shows the treatment’s adaptability and customisability.

Interesting enough, combining electrical stimulation with voluntary motor training has been shown to improve motor function in individuals with spinal cord injuries and shows the versatility of this technique.

Balance and Coordination Training

Balance and coordination training is particularly beneficial for patients with nervous system disorders, often leading to improved functional ability and quality of life. Exercises used in this training include:

  • Single-leg standing
  • Sit-to-stand exercises
  • Agility training
  • Exercises requiring fine motor skills

These exercises provide a wide range of methods to cater to individual patient needs.

Balance and coordination training is founded on the understanding that:

  • The nervous system is plastic and can reorganise itself by forming new neural connections
  • Such understanding plays a key role in recovering or compensating for lost functions
  • These techniques have a scientific basis

The primary objectives of balance and coordination training encompass reducing the risk of falls, muscle strengthening, enhancing joint stability, and boosting overall mobility and independence.

Cardiothoracic Physiotherapy: Improving Lung and Heart Health

Illustration of cardiothoracic physiotherapy techniques

Cardiothoracic physiotherapy is another specialty that focuses on treating the heart, lungs, and related structures, assisting patients with conditions affecting the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Techniques used in cardiothoracic physiotherapy include:

  • Postural drainage
  • Percussion
  • Vibration
  • Active cycle of breathing

These techniques are used to aid in mucociliary clearance and improve lung compliance.

Innovative methods in cardiothoracic physiotherapy for conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease include:

  • Intrapulmonary percussive ventilation
  • Positive expiratory pressure devices
  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • High-frequency chest wall oscillation

Are used to assist with airway clearance and enhance lung function.  This specialised field provides targeted therapy for managing heart and lung conditions such as asthma, increased chest secretions, and other related issues, proving its vital role in enhancing lung and heart health.

Geriatric Physiotherapy: Specialised Care for Ageing Bodies

As we age, our bodies undergo various changes and conditions that require special care.  This is where geriatric physiotherapy comes in. It targets age-related conditions such as loss of motion, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease to maintain mobility and function in older adults.

For example, physiotherapy for osteoporosis includes weight-bearing exercises, balance and mobility training and strength training to prevent fractures by increasing bone density and reducing fall risk.

Geriatric physiotherapy improves the quality of life for older adults by reducing pain and improving mobility, especially after joint fractures, by strengthening muscles and maintaining joint movement.

Furthermore, specialised geriatric physiotherapists play a crucial role in recommending and assisting with home modifications and using equipment to enhance safety and prevent falls in aging patients with conditions such as osteoporosis.

Paediatric Physiotherapy: Supporting Young Development

Paediatric physiotherapy is another specialisation which focuses on rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities in children up to 18 years old. It handles conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy and provides dedicated care for our youngest patients.

This type of physiotherapy is for the physical needs of infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents with various movement and physical function disorders. It addresses the unique challenges associated with childhood conditions and development.

Practitioners, such as paediatric physiotherapists, have specialised skills in understanding the movement, development, and medical conditions likely to affect babies and growing children.

Pediatric physiotherapy primarily aims to alleviate pain, enhance motor skills, and facilitate children’s cognitive processes, promoting optimal growth and development.

Early detection is essential for children with movement problems in pediatric physiotherapy, allowing for timely intervention and the best possible outcomes.  The wide range of treatment options include engaging in therapeutic exercises, soft tissue massage, mobilization, posture education, and child-friendly activities such as play.

Sports Physiotherapy: Keeping Athletes in the Game

For the sporty and active individuals out there, sports physiotherapy is a familiar term. It’s a specialisation that focuses on assessment, treatment and prevention of sports related injuries, to get athletes back to play faster and perform better.  Sports physiotherapists employ a range of techniques, including:

  • exercise prescription
  • massage
  • joint manipulation
  • joint and soft tissue mobilisation
  • muscle strengthening
  • cardiovascular conditioning
  • balance training
  • plyometric exercises
  • making ergonomic and biomechanical corrections

These techniques are used to improve athlete performance and aid in injury recovery.

Sports physiotherapists often work closely with coaches and trainers to provide guidance on training programs, technique and form and advice on nutrition and hydration.

They work with professional to amateur sports teams and private practices so the scope is wide. Sports physiotherapy is about injury prevention and management so athletes can mitigate risks and be in peak condition for performance.

Orthopaedic Physiotherapy: Recovery After Injury or Surgery

Orthopaedic physiotherapy is another specialisation that aims to relieve pain, increase mobilisation and correct skeletal injuries, improve range of motion and prevent further injury.

It’s a lifeline for patients following orthopaedic surgery and with conditions like arthritis, back pain, fractures, tendonitis and sprains and strains and provides a pathway to recovery and functionality.

Orthopaedic physiotherapy treatment plans are individualised, based on assessment and specific to the patient’s condition and goals.  Early intervention is key to prevent complications like muscle stiffness and joint pain, hence the importance of timely treatment.

Post surgical orthopaedic physiotherapy is essential to get patients strong, functional and mobile, to aid in faster recovery and mental well being.

Women’s Health Physiotherapy: Addressing Unique Needs

Women’s health physiotherapy specifically addresses the unique needs related to the female reproductive system, childbirth, and other gender-specific health issues. Initial consultations involve:

  • A comprehensive pelvic assessment
  • Reviewing the patient’s symptoms and medical history
  • Conducting a physical examination
  • Possibly performing a Real Time Ultrasound to assess the bladder and pelvic floor muscles.

Treatments in this field may include:

  • Pelvic floor and muscle exercises
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
  • Bladder and bowel training
  • Specific exercise rehabilitation

It offers targeted care that alleviates discomfort and supports recovery.

Women planning to become pregnant or those who are postpartum can greatly benefit from women’s health physiotherapy, which helps prepare the body for childbirth and aids recovery post-delivery, treating conditions such as diastasis recti, back pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction.

For more information about women’s health physiotherapy benefits check our latest blog.

Conclusion: Physiotherapy as an Essential Component of Healing

After covering in depth the different types of physiotherapy, it’s clear that physiotherapy is a vital component of healing, offering personalised treatments to facilitate recovery and boost overall health outcomes. Each specialty, from:

  • women’s health physiotherapy
  • paediatric physiotherapy
  • sports physiotherapy
  • geriatric physiotherapy
  • neurological physiotherapy
  • orthopaedic physiotherapy

Shows the important role of physiotherapy in achieving optimal health recovery for diverse patient needs.

Whether helping an athlete return to the field post-injury, assisting an older adult to maintain their mobility, or aiding a child to overcome a developmental challenge, physiotherapy indeed changes lives.  It’s not just about physical recovery; it’s about enhancing the quality of life, promoting independence, and empowering individuals to live their lives to the fullest.

If you’re looking for top-quality physiotherapy in Melbourne, The Alignment Studio is here to help. Our team of experienced physiotherapists offers tailored treatment plans to address your specific needs and goals.

Contact us today to start your journey toward optimal health and well-being. Visit our website or call us to book your appointment now!

Summary

Physiotherapy is a vital part of healthcare and recovery, offering hope through its diverse specialisations. Whether it’s musculoskeletal, neurological, or cardiothoracic, the various types of physiotherapy address a wide range of patient needs.

With personalised treatment plans and a focus on overall well-being, physiotherapy supports both physical and mental health.  Whether you’re an athlete, an older adult, a child, or a woman recovering from childbirth, there’s a type of physiotherapy ready to help you achieve optimal health.

Physiotherapy FAQs

Women’s health physiotherapy supports women’s unique needs by addressing issues related to the female reproductive system, childbirth, and other gender-specific health concerns through treatments like pelvic floor exercises and specific rehabilitation.  This helps women to improve their overall health and well-being.

Paediatric physiotherapy focuses on rehabilitating and preventing disabilities in children up to 18 years old, addressing conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy to improve motor skills and cognitive processes.

Cardiothoracic physiotherapy enhances lung and heart health by using techniques like postural drainage, percussion, and vibration to improve lung function and clearance of mucus.  These techniques aid in mucociliary clearance and improve lung compliance, thereby enhancing overall respiratory health.

Neurological physiotherapy involves treating conditions like stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and cerebral palsy to improve motor control, balance, and coordination using techniques like electrical stimulation and balance training.

The goal of musculoskeletal physiotherapy is to address conditions impacting the muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, and tendons through manual therapy, exercise, and personalised education for the patient’s specific needs.

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Mastering Movement: The Comprehensive Guide to What is Physiotherapy

If you’re looking for effective ways to recover from injury, alleviate pain, or improve physical function, physiotherapy might be the answer.  Our guide provides an in-depth look at the science and practice of physiotherapy, revealing how it helps restore movement, enhances healing, and contributes to overall well-being across a diverse range of settings and specialisations.

Key Takeaways

  • Physiotherapy focuses on improving mobility, function, and quality of life through assessment, diagnosis, and management of a wide range of health issues, requiring practitioners to hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and, in places like Australia, registration with the regulatory body AHPRA.
  • Physiotherapists employ various techniques and approaches such as manual therapy, exercise programs, and use of aids like taping and mobility devices, and specialise in areas like sports, musculoskeletal, neurological, and women’s health to provide targeted care.
  • The future of physiotherapy is shaped by and ongoing innovation in manual therapy techniques to enhance patient outcomes, wearable devices for personalised treatment plans and advancements in Telehealth for remote consultations.

Understanding Physiotherapy

Illustration of a physiotherapist providing treatment to a patient

Physiotherapy stands as a vital pillar of healthcare, targeting a person’s ability to move and perform functional activities.  It’s a profession that centres on improving quality of life by alleviating pain and restoring movement and function. A physiotherapist’s role entails:

  • Assessing
  • Diagnosing
  • Planning
  • Managing the care of patients with an array of health problems, including musculoskeletal, cardiothoracic, and neurological issues.

At the heart of physiotherapy lies the passion for optimising and improving movement. It’s about enhancing overall health and well-being.  Within this field, an array of specialisations cater to a broad spectrum of health needs, ensuring each patient gets the specialised care they require.

The Physiotherapy Profession

Physiotherapists (or physiotherapists) treat a wide spectrum of illnesses, infections and injuries. These include sporting injuries and musculoskeletal problems as well as long term conditions.  To work in this field you must achieve at least a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Physiotherapy.

In Australia, registration with the regulatory body Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) via the Physiotherapy Board of Australia is also required.

Some physiotherapists go beyond the basic requirements and embark on advanced training, equipping them with additional skills to manage complex clinical decisions.  These Advanced Practice physiotherapists often assume responsibilities typically held by medical doctors, making them an invaluable part of the healthcare team.

What Techniques and Approaches Do Physiotherapists Use?

Physiotherapy (or physical therapy) is as much an art as it is a science and therefore the techniques used by physiotherapists are diverse. Some of the main physiotherapy treatment techniques include:

  • Manual therapy: this involves physical treatment to the muscles and joints by a professionally trained physiotherapist to increase or maintain optimal function and reduce pain
  • Physical interventions: these include exercise programs to increase strength, range of motion and to improve correct movement patterns for musculoskeletal health
  • Technique correction: this is an integral part of many physiotherapy treatments aimed at improving movement patterns for musculoskeletal health

These techniques work together to provide comprehensive care for the body, helping patients achieve their goals.

Physiotherapists also utilise aids such as taping, splinting, and mobility devices. These tools enhance the healing process and enable patients to regain mobility more quickly.  The combination of these techniques and approaches allows physiotherapists to provide comprehensive and effective treatments tailored to each patient’s needs.

Types of Physiotherapy Specialisations

Illustration of a sports physiotherapist working with an athlete

Physiotherapists cover a wide range of clinical specialities and often choose to specialize in a particular field (such as occupational therapy) to deliver highly effective and targeted treatment. 

An example of a new physiotherapy specialisation is preventive physiotherapy which focuses on promoting health and preventing injury and disease.

Specialised physiotherapists can be found working in:

  • Private practices
  • Hospitals
  • Medical centres
  • Multidisciplinary clinics
  • Community health centres
  • Sports organisations

Each setting offers an opportunity for physiotherapists to bring their expertise to the fore, addressing the unique health needs of diverse patient populations.

Sports Physiotherapy

For athletes and physically active individuals, sports physiotherapy offers specialised care. This branch of physiotherapy focuses on injury prevention and rehabilitation, ensuring athletes can perform at their best.  It involves treating injuries related to sports and exercise, with a focus on recovery and rehabilitation to return to sport.

Sports physiotherapy offers care specifically designed for athletes and physically active individuals. This includes:

  • Injury prevention
  • Acute injury care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Assessments to determine an individual’s readiness to return to sport or work after suffering an injury

This specialised care enables athletes to safely and effectively return to their sport, minimising the risk of re-injury.

Neurological Physiotherapy

Illustration of a neurological physiotherapist assisting a patient with movement exercises

For patients suffering from neurological conditions including movement disorders, neurological physiotherapy provides care focused on rehabilitation techniques to reduce symptoms, restore function and promote well-being. 

Examples of conditions that benefit from neurological physiotherapy include stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Bell’s palsy.

Neurorehabilitation is a branch of neurological physiotherapy and physical rehabilitation that capitalises on neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt.  Through specific exercises, limb positioning, splinting and mobility aids patients can relearn functional tasks and regain mobility of spine and extremity joints. Factors that influence a successful outcome include:

  • The extent of brain damage
  • Timing of therapy initiation
  • Patient engagement
  • The use of emerging technologies such as virtual reality.

Women’s Health Physiotherapy

Women’s health physiotherapy covers a number of conditions that are unique to women, particularly those affecting the pelvis and pelvic floor. These conditions include:

  • Incontinence
  • Prolapse
  • Pelvic and vaginal pain
  • Prenatal and postpartum musculoskeletal pain

The treatments provided within women’s health physiotherapy are as diverse as the conditions they address. They encompass pelvic floor strengthening, antenatal massage, and management of postpartum recovery.  Through these targeted treatments, women can find relief from conditions that significantly impact their quality of life.

Physiotherapy Across Healthcare Settings

Physiotherapists, also known as physical therapists, can be found in various healthcare settings, each offering unique opportunities and challenges.  In hospitals, for example, physiotherapists often work with acute patients to help them recover mobility and function after surgery, illness, or injury.

Hospital physiotherapists also work in interdisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive care that encompasses both physical and psychological aspects of recovery.

On the other hand, physiotherapists in community health centres help manage chronic diseases and disabilities through education, rehabilitation, and intervention programs.  Private practice physiotherapists offer specialised services that are often accessible without the need for a referral and allow for longer, more personalised sessions.

Hospital-based Physiotherapy

Illustration of hospital-based physiotherapy in an intensive care setting

Within the hospital environment, physiotherapists play a crucial role. They provide care in critical areas such as accident and emergency, intensive care, and rehabilitation wards.  They also engage in patient treatment teams alongside doctors and other healthcare workers, addressing a variety of conditions from respiratory issues to general surgical recovery.

Physiotherapy in health care systems spans multiple departments in hospitals, including:

  • Accident & Emergency
  • Acute inpatient
  • Maternity
  • Palliative care
  • Rehabilitation sectors

This showcases the broad scope of physiotherapist involvement in patient care. Their work is crucial in ensuring a holistic recovery process for the patient.

Community Health Centres and Private Practices

In community health centres and private practices, physiotherapists offer a range of services aimed at enhancing patient care.  Among these is chronic disease management, which involves ongoing care and support for patients with long-term conditions. Physiotherapists also provide lifestyle modification advice, helping patients make healthy changes to their daily lives.

Exercise prescription is another key service, with tailor-made programs designed to address individuals’ specific rehabilitation needs.  Health education is another essential part of their services, empowering patients with knowledge about their conditions and how to improve their health. These services ultimately contribute to the overall health and well-being of patients, aiding in their recovery and quality of life.

How to Access Physiotherapy Services

Illustration of a person consulting a physiotherapist for mobility issues

Seeking treatment from a physiotherapist typically involves several steps. The first is understanding when and why to seek physiotherapy and then finding a qualified practitioner.

In Australia, for example, physiotherapy services may be covered by Medicare and private health insurance plans. However, coverage can vary, so it’s important to check individual policies for details on reimbursement levels.

When to Consult a Physiotherapist

Determining the right time to consult a physiotherapist can depend on various factors. Common reasons include rehabilitation from injuries sustained in physical activities, work accidents, or excessive exercise.  Persistent pain, such as headaches related to poor posture or muscle tension, might also indicate the need for physiotherapy.

Issues including mobility problems, decreased balance, or continuous pain warrant a visit to a physiotherapist for assessment and treatment planning. Physiotherapy consultation is also recommended for preventative care.

It can help adjust posture, form, and movement patterns, reducing the risk of future injuries. Most importantly, remember that patients can typically access physiotherapy services directly without the need for a doctor’s referral.

Finding a Physiotherapist at The Alignment Studio

finding a physio at the alignment studio

If you’re in need of physiotherapy in Melbourne, The Alignment Studio is here to help. Our clinic offers a team of qualified professionals ready to assist you with your physiotherapy needs.  Whether you’re recovering from an injury, seeking to alleviate chronic pain, or looking to improve your overall physical function, our therapists are equipped with the knowledge and tools to support your journey to better health.

With a commitment to personalised care, we ensure that each treatment plan is tailored to your unique circumstances, goals, and lifestyle.

The Future of Physiotherapy

Looking into the future of physiotherapy, we can see it being shaped by Telehealth, remote consultations and technology-driven personalised treatment plans.  Telehealth has recently proved to be of great importance and has helped many clinics to continue providing a treatment service remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to this, wearable devices are set to play a key role in physiotherapy due to their ability to capture patient data. Such data will be crucial in creating personalised treatment plans for individual patients.  Physiotherapy is going to become more personalised with technology helping physiotherapists to:

  • Capture accurate and real-time data about a patient’s movement, heart rate and other bodily functions
  • Monitor progress and adjust treatment plans accordingly
  • Provide remote monitoring and virtual consultations
  • Improve patient engagement and motivation through interactive apps and games

These new advances in personalised physiotherapy are enhancing patient outcomes and transforming the profession.

Telehealth and Remote Consultations

Telehealth has helped to revolutionise the way in which physiotherapy services are delivered.  Using a range of electronic communications and remote interaction including the Internet, wireless, satellite and telephone, patients are now able to receive a physiotherapy service without having to attend clinic.

The use of Telehealth in the physiotherapy profession has evolved from basic advice and guidance given over the phone in the 1960s to more complex remote consultations made possible through the use of modern-day technology.  Telehealth has resulted in virtual care that is satisfying patients as well as increasing therapists’ efficiencies due to time savings.

Advancements in Manual Therapy

The constant evolution of physiotherapy, including the consideration of a patient’s medical history, is also evident in manual therapy.  While we continue to research advancements in manual therapy techniques, it is clear that ongoing research and innovation are shaping the future of this vital component of physiotherapy, advancing manual therapy worldwide.

From the development of new hands-on techniques to the integration of technology in manual therapy practices, the future holds promising advancements. These will likely further enhance the effectiveness of physiotherapy treatments and improve patient outcomes.

Summary

In a world where we seek to live fully and pain-free, physiotherapy stands as a crucial practice.  It’s a profession that focuses on enhancing quality of life by alleviating pain, restoring function, and promoting independence.

Whether in hospitals, community health centers, private practices, or through telehealth consultations, physiotherapists touch lives, aiding in recovery, and improving well-being.  Looking to the future of physiotherapy, we can only expect further advancement, fully embracing technology to further enhance the delivery of physiotherapy services.

Discover the Benefits of Physiotherapy Today! Ready to improve your health and well-being? Contact The Alignment Studio for an initial consultation and find out how our expert physiotherapists can help you.

Mastering Movement FAQs

The future of physiotherapy involves advancements in Telehealth, remote consultations, and personalised treatment plans utilising technology to cater to the individual’s needs.  These developments are shaping the future of physiotherapy to be more accessible and tailored to each patient’s requirements.

You can find a qualified physiotherapist through online directories like the one provided by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. This is a reliable way to find a professional in your area.

You should consult a physiotherapist if you are experiencing issues such as injuries, persistent pain, mobility problems, or if you need preventative care. It’s important to seek their expertise for prompt and effective treatment.

Physiotherapy has several specialisations, such as sports physiotherapy, musculoskeletal physiotherapy, neurological physiotherapy, and women’s health physiotherapy.  These specialisations cater to specific patient needs and conditions.

Physiotherapy is crucial in healthcare as it aims to improve quality of life by alleviating pain and restoring movement and function for individuals.

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Ergonomic Solutions for Melbourne CBD Office Workers: A Quick Guide

In the busy corporate landscape of Melbourne CBD, the significance of ergonomics for workers cannot be overstated. As a physiotherapy clinic serving a largely office-based clientele, we’re incredibly passionate about good workplace design. And we witness every day the difference it makes to the well-being and productivity of professionals.

Promoting correct posture and reducing eye and physical strain, efficiently designed workspaces and ergonomic furniture and accessories contribute to reduced musculoskeletal issues. Furthermore, they enhance the concentration of workers and foster a healthier, happier work environment.

So, if you’re a manager, ask yourself this: can you afford to ignore ergonomics?

In this article, our Senior Physiotherapist and ergonomics advisor, Jane Lau, will explain why you can’t. She’ll outline how to achieve a comfortable and productive work experience – at home and in the office – through sound ergonomic design. And also provide information on our workplace ergonomics assessments in Melbourne CBD and surrounds.

Understanding Ergonomics

As the science of designing work environments to optimise human performance and well-being, ergonomics holds profound significance in the modern office setting. In the bustling Melbourne CBD, office workers often encounter ergonomic challenges that impact their daily lives.

For instance, prolonged desk hours and sedentary work habits often lead to issues including discomfort, fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders like Upper Crossed Syndrome. Not to mention the significant health risks associated with extended sitting – akin to those associated with smoking and obesity!

Ergonomic Issues Faced by Melbourne CBD Office Workers

Melbourne CBD office workers frequently grapple with ergonomic concerns, including poorly designed workstations, inadequate seating and incorrect monitor heights. These issues contribute to the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders we see day-in day-out at The Alignment Studio, including back and neck pain, headaches and repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

The Link Between Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Poor ergonomics in office settings can contribute to various musculoskeletal disorders among workers. The sustained pressure that incorrect posture places on muscles and joints can result in chronic discomfort, decreased productivity, and, in many cases, time off work.

Common issues include:

  • Back Pain: Improper chair height, inadequate lumbar support or incorrect sitting posture can strain the lower back, leading to chronic pain and discomfort.
  • Neck Strain: Incorrect monitor height, poor desk ergonomics or prolonged periods of looking down at screens can cause neck strain and stiffness.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Poorly designed workstations or improper placement of keyboards and mice can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, causing numbness, tingling and weakness in the hands and fingers.
  • Shoulder Pain: Incorrect arm and shoulder positioning, often due to poorly adjusted desks and chairs, can lead to shoulder pain and discomfort.
  • Eye Strain: Inadequate lighting, improper monitor placement or extended screen time can result in eye strain, dryness and headaches.
  • Tendinitis: Repetitive movements in an ergonomically inadequate setup can lead to painful tendinitis, causing inflammation and restricted mobility.
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI): Tasks involving repetitive motions without proper ergonomic support can lead to RSI, resulting in pain, numbness or weakness due to the continuous stress on specific muscles and tendons.

If you’re in charge, proper workstation design, regular breaks and ergonomic education for your team can significantly reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. While improving productivity and morale – a win-win all around.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Ergonomics

As physios, we have a clear picture of the consequences of poor ergonomics. Every day, we treat musculoskeletal conditions and workplace injuries that are largely preventable. And, with our intimate understanding of the human body’s mechanics and the relationship between posture, movement and workplace ergonomics, we can recommend adjustments to workstations, seating arrangements and practices that alleviate strain on the body. 

Physios like myself who have completed additional ergonomics training can also conduct comprehensive workplace assessments. Physiotherapy is not just about rehabilitating injury – we can help business owners deliver ergonomic solutions to their employees and foster a healthy work environment before problems arise.

Ergonomic Solutions for Desk Jobs

ErgonomicWorkstation
Image Credit: New York Times

Establishing an ergonomic desk setup is crucial for comfort and productivity. This starts with an adjustable chair with lumbar support that allows you to maintain a 90-degree angle at your knees and hips.

Next, set your desk height to allow your elbows to rest comfortably and position your monitor at eye level, looking at the top half or third of the screen. Feet should be flat on the ground with a 90-degree angle at the hips or with the knees slightly lower. 

Laptop user? Add an external screen, keyboard and stand to align the screen at eye level and support your forearms on the desk. These simple adjustments contribute to a comfortable and efficient work environment, promoting overall wellbeing.

Schedule Regular Movement

If you struggle to take breaks during the workday, it’s a good idea to set a timer at least every 30 to 45 minutes and get up, move about and stretch. Regular breaks are necessary for both your body and mind – and using a productivity app like Focus Keeper can help you concentrate on tasks and increase your output. 

Stretch Throughout the Day

I often recommend the following stretches to clients who spend a lot of time seated at their computer. 

Neck/Upper Trap Stretch: Use your right hand to pull your right ear toward your right shoulder, holding the stretch on the left side of your neck.

Levator Scapulae Stretch: With your right hand, pull your chin down toward your right armpit and maintain the stretch.

Upper Back Stretch: Interlock your hands behind your head and arch over the back of the chair. Additionally, interlock your hands behind your head and twist your body from side to side.

Forearm Stretch: Stretch your right arm out, extend the wrist back (palm facing away, fingers towards the ceiling), and use your left hand to gently pull the fingers towards you. Repeat with the wrist flexed downwards (palm towards you, fingers towards the floor).

Glute Stretch: Sit at the edge of the seat, cross your right ankle over your left knee, keep your back straight, and lean forward from the hips. Feel the stretch in your right glute and, for a deeper stretch, press down on the right knee.

Hip Flexor Stretch: Assume a half kneeling/lunge position, moving the back knee further back until you feel a stretch through the front of the opposite hip. Keep your back straight during the stretch.

Invest in Standing Desks and Ergonomic Peripherals

An adjustable standing or sit-stand desk is an excellent investment for a home office or workplace setup. Available in budget-friendly and more high-spec options, this type of desk is designed to provide flexibility. It allows individuals to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, promoting good posture and a more active, ergonomic workspace. While reducing the risk of musculoskeletal (and broader health) issues associated with prolonged sitting.

 

Not only does incorporating more standing into your workday boost circulation and burn more calories, but it may also be good for your business’s bottom line. One 2016 study found that call centre employees who used sit-stand desks were nearly 50% more productive than their seated colleagues. And almost 75% of those working at sit-stand desks experienced decreased body discomfort over the six-month duration of the study.


There is also a wide range of ergonomic peripherals such as ergonomic chairs, mice, mouse pads and trackballs, keyboards, footrests, monitor stands and more. If you’re unsure how to optimise your employees’ workstations, an ergonomics-trained physiotherapist can assess your office environment and recommend the right equipment.

Standing Desks and Ergonomic Peripherals
Image Credit: Updown Desk

Beyond the Desk – Comprehensive Ergonomic Practices

Ergonomic practices shouldn’t be constrained to your desk, either. Our Melbourne office worker clients also spend a lot of time in meetings and commuting on the tram or train, and the principles of good posture apply equally here.

Maintaining Ergonomics in Meetings

If your manager allows (or you’re in charge), switch to walking meetings where possible. Not only is the movement very beneficial to break up all your seated stretches, but a change of scenery can enhance creativity and mood – especially if you’re outside in nature. 

Otherwise, ergonomic chairs with appropriate back support are essential. As are short breaks to stretch if having long meetings.

In communal office areas, a variety of ergonomic seating and standing options should be available to accommodate different activities and body types.

During Your Commute

When taking public transport to and from work, try not to spend the whole commute looking down at your phone. If sitting, sit upright with your back against the seat. And stand up briefly if sitting for a long journey. 

When standing, try not to hang off the overhead handles. Instead, hold onto the handrail close to your body. Weight shift from side to side rather than leaning on one hip for extended periods.

Increased Productivity to Fewer Sick Days: A Final Word on Ergonomics

The value of creating an ergonomic working environment for office workers is undeniable. After an ergonomic screen, the companies I work with often report that their employees are much more comfortable operating at their workstations. And you don’t have to look far to find research highlighting the positive impacts of ergonomics for reduced employee pain, discomfort and absenteeism and increased satisfaction and productivity. If you regularly feel fatigued or uncomfortable at your desk or find yourself nursing neck or back pain, talk to HR or your manager about your workstation setup. Or rally your workmates and choose an individual to advocate for an external ergonomic assessment.  Employee job satisfaction increases when employers look after their employees and ensure a comfortable and supportive environment, both physically and mentally. It really is that simple! 

Additional Resources

Full-time desk jockey? You might like to read more about the impact of sitting ergonomics and low back pain. Or try this handy workstation ergonomics self-assessment checklist from Queensland Health to determine how ergonomically sound your office setup is. 

To book a Melbourne ergonomics assessment for your office or your WFH setup, contact us on 9650 2220. Offering personalised ergonomics screening and corporate workshops and training, we’re here to help – no matter your needs. 

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What Is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Hunchback, high rounded shoulders, a forward head posture and winging of the scapulae (shoulder blades) – these are four of the key signs you might have a common condition known as Upper Crossed Syndrome (or Upper Cross Syndrome). Often a result of excessive time spent scrolling or typing, UCS strikes when the muscles behind the neck and shoulders become overactive and strained, while the chest muscles become short and tight.

Unfortunately, we see this upper body condition all too often in the clinic. And, if left untreated, these muscle imbalances can lead to chronic neck pain, headaches, reduced range of motion and more.

However, UCS needn’t be your cross to bear. With the right treatment plan, you can improve poor posture and alleviate your symptoms. Read on for everything you need to know about tackling Upper Crossed Syndrome.

 

WHAT IS UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME?

Also known as proximal or shoulder girdle crossed syndrome, Upper Crossed Syndrome is a condition identified by Dr Vladamir Janda in 1979. The cross in the title refers to the “x” shape created by the overlapping of regions of underactive and overactive muscles in the neck, chest and shoulders.1

A diagram to understand the upper trapezius stretching exercises.

Janda’s Upper Crossed Syndrome Diagram. Image Credit: Physiopedia

How does this happen? The muscles in our body are all interconnected and overlap, and it takes multiple muscles for our body to create movement. When one muscle is weak or underutilised, another muscle must contract to take over the work from the weak muscle. These muscles become short, tight and overactive, and our body increasingly relies on them to stabilise joints and create movements rather than expending more energy to recruit another muscle.

In Upper Crossed Syndrome, the muscles in the front of our chest, back of the neck, and tops of the shoulder blades become overactive and short. These include the pectoralis muscles, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, suboccipitals, and sternocleidomastoid. As these muscles are recruited by our body since they are already tight and active, a group of muscles in our mid-back and neck become inhibited and therefore weak. These weaker muscles include the rhomboids, lower and middle trapezius, serratus anterior, and deep neck flexors.

 

HOW DOES UPPER CROSS SYNDROME PRESENT?

The muscular imbalance (short, tight muscles in the chest and weak muscles in the upper back and neck) in Upper Crossed Syndrome affects the position of the head, shoulder girdle and spine, and can result in pain, headaches, and reduced range of motion.

Presentation of Upper Cross Syndrome includes:

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

 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME?

Activities that involve repetition of incorrect posture are largely to blame for Upper Cross Syndrome. The postural imbalance is most common in those who sit at a desk for prolonged periods, such as office workers and students.

Excessive phone, tablet and laptop usage can trigger the condition, but it can also be caused by driving, reading, or cycling. Weightlifters and swimmers can also develop this pattern of muscle imbalance due to the repetitive use of the muscles around their necks and shoulders.

The primary causes of Upper Crossed Syndrome include:

  • Prolonged Poor Posture: Sitting at a desk or scrolling on a phone for long periods with your head forward and rounded shoulders can contribute to the development of Upper Crossed Syndrome.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can lead to muscle imbalances and weakness, contributing to the development of UCS.
  • Muscle Imbalances: Weakness in the deep neck flexors and lower trapezius muscles, coupled with tightness in the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and chest muscles, creates an imbalance in muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Repetitive Movements: Repetitive movements that involve the muscles in the chest and front of the shoulders, such as excessive computer work or activities that encourage a rounded shoulder posture, can contribute to muscle imbalances.
  • Incorrect Ergonomics: Poor ergonomics at workstations, including improperly adjusted chairs, desks, or computer monitors, can encourage poor posture and contribute to muscle imbalances.
  • Unaddressed Injuries: Past injuries in the neck, shoulders, or upper back may contribute to muscle imbalances and the development of Upper Crossed Syndrome.
  • Lack of Exercise and Stretching: Failing to engage in regular exercises that target postural muscles and neglecting stretching routines can contribute to muscle tightness and weakness.
  • Genetic or Neurological Factors: Some individuals may be predisposed to musculoskeletal imbalances due to genetic factors. Certain neurological conditions may also affect muscle function.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Those with Upper Crossed Syndrome may experience the following:

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

 

ARE THERE LONG-TERM RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH UCS?

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

Our muscles are responsible for moving our joints, and allowing this imbalance to continue can create stress on the joints and even inflammation of the joints. This cycle can cause our body to adapt to a new motor pattern which can lead to even more muscular imbalance. In some cases, people may develop joint degeneration.

Additionally, in active and athletic individuals, upper crossed syndrome can affect mobility and performance. Not only may this increase the pain and discomfort already experienced with UCS, but the associated movement dysfunctions can lead to poor lifting and sport-related biomechanics and increase the risk of sustaining other injuries.

Potential issues associated with untreated Upper Crossed Syndrome include:

  • Chronic Neck Pain: This is very common due to the strain on the neck muscles caused by the forward head position.
  • Shoulder Pain and Impingement: Imbalances in the muscles around the shoulder girdle can contribute to shoulder pain and impingement syndromes.
  • Headaches: The tension in the upper shoulder and neck muscles can lead to tension headaches.
  • Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction – TMJ): Poor posture and muscle imbalances can contribute to jaw pain and TMJ dysfunction.
  • Reduced Range of Motion: Imbalances can limit the range of motion in the neck and shoulders, affecting daily activities.
  • Muscle Weakness: Chronic muscle imbalances can lead to weakness in specific muscles, affecting overall strength and stability.
  • Impaired Breathing: A head-forward position and tight chest muscles can restrict the expansion of the ribcage, potentially affecting breathing.
  • Nerve Compression: Prolonged muscle imbalances may contribute to nerve compression, causing numbness or tingling in the arms and hands.
  • Postural Changes: Untreated Upper Crossed Syndrome can result in long-term postural changes, making it more challenging to correct as time goes on.
  • Degenerative Changes: Over time, chronic muscle imbalances and poor posture may contribute to degenerative changes in the spine.

 

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME?

Since many of us don’t have a choice when it comes to the hours spent desk-bound, there are several things you can do to help prevent tight muscles.

ERGONOMIC WORKSTATION

An ergonomic workstation is incredibly important to prevent Upper Cross Syndrome. This type of setup is designed to enhance comfort and productivity while minimising strain and injury. It includes adjustable furniture, proper monitor height, ergonomic keyboard and mouse, wrist supports, and good lighting.

Good ergonomics promotes proper posture and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal issues associated with long-term desk work. (Ask about our workplace ergonomic assessments in Melbourne today).

MOVE AND STRETCH

Even with a perfect workstation, you should schedule regular breaks into your day. Set an alarm to remind you to move around or stretch every half hour or so..

EXERCISE

Exercise to improve strength, flexibility and range of motion. Pilates is an excellent practice to help prevent Upper Cross Syndrome (and Clinical Pilates with a physio can be particularly beneficial).

IMPROVE YOUR SPORTING TECHNIQUE

If your condition is sports-related, work on improving your technique. A sports physiotherapist or exercise physiologist will be able to help you here, and also help to reduce your risk of injury.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER POSTURE

Correcting Upper Crossed Syndrome is impossible without addressing your posture. To maintain good posture:

Keep the head and neck in a neutral position, aligning your ears over the shoulders, and avoiding prolonged looking down. Keep the shoulders relaxed, avoid rounding forward, and imagine sliding your shoulder blades down the back. Ensure a neutral spine with a slight lower back curve, especially during extended periods sitting. Keep your elbows and arms close to the body, maintaining a 90-degree angle when using a desk.

When standing, distribute weight evenly on both feet and when sitting, sit back in the chair with your hips against the backrest. Position your computer monitor at eye level and maintain an arm’s length distance to prevent looking down or up.

A supportive pillow that maintains the natural curve of your neck when sleeping is also important.

 

HOW IS UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME TREATED?

Treating Upper Crossed Syndrome usually involves a mix of physical therapy, education, stretches, ergonomic adjustments, lifestyle modifications and exercise. Expect:

  • Hands-on treatment including soft tissue massage and joint mobilisation
  • Education and addressing the causes of UCS, including chronic poor posture
  • Education on how to address it with stretches and lifestyle adjustments
  • Exercises to strengthen weakened muscles and improve stability, endurance and flexibility

 

EASY STRETCHING EXERCISES TO PREVENT UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME

Upper trapezius stretching exercises – and other simple stretches – are your secret weapon to help prevent neck pain, muscle tightness and Upper Cross Syndrome. Here are some stretches your physiotherapist may suggest, depending on your condition. (Please note, this is not a prescription and independent physiotherapy advice should be sought before embarking on a stretching program.)

Upper Trapezius Stretch

Sitting on your right hand, roll your right shoulder back. Place your left hand on top of your head and gently pull your left ear to your left shoulder until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Swap sides and repeat.

Levator Scapulae Stretch

Sitting on your right hand, roll your right shoulder back. Look down 45 degrees bringing your chin towards your left underarm. Place your left hand on top of your head and gently add light pressure to the stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Release and swap sides.

An image of a woman depicting forward head posture.

Chin tuck exercise. Image Credit: Spine & Orthopedic Center

Chin Tucks

Sit or stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed and your spine in a neutral position. Keep your head in a neutral position, with your eyes looking straight ahead. Gently draw your chin in towards your neck without tilting your head up or down. Imagine making a double chin. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Release the chin tuck and return to the neutral position.

Chest Opener Stretch

Stand in a doorway with your arms at a 90-degree angle on each side. Step forward, allowing your chest to open up. You should feel a stretch in your chest and underarms.

General Sitting Stretch 1

Start with your hands behind your head. Bring your elbows as far back as you can until you feel a stretch in your pectoral muscles and chest. At the same time, arch over the back of your chair.

General Sitting Stretch 2

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

 

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU TACKLE UPPER CROSS SYNDROME

If you feel you may be suffering from Upper Cross Syndrome or postural issues, book a physiotherapy appointment or call us on (03) 9650 2220 today.

From physical therapy to corrective exercises and education, we will address the cause of your UCS so you can enjoy life – pain-free.

Image Source.

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Bicep Tendonitis Symptoms: An In-Depth Guide to Understanding and Managing Pain

Understanding Bicep Tendonitis and Its Impact

A painful condition that affects shoulder and arm movement, as well as sleep, biceps tendonitis (also known as tendinitis) arises when there is inflammation to one of the biceps tendons – typically the long head (upper) tendon that attaches to the top of the shoulder.

Caused by overuse or trauma and often seen in sports and professions that involve repetitive overhead activity, the condition commonly occurs alongside shoulder injuries and dysfunction.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, biceps tendinitis will often be present when there is damage to the rotator cuff tendons. In the Studio, we often see it in patients with rotator cuff injuries, shoulder instability, labral (shoulder fibrocartilage) tears and arthritis.

The good news? While steroid injections or surgery may be required in severe cases, bicep tendinitis tends to respond well to treatment. A combination of rest, pain management, physical therapy and exercise can often get you back on track in a few weeks.

For everything you need to know about biceps tendonitis symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention, read on. We’ve covered all the bases in this comprehensive article.

Recognising the Early Signs of Bicep Tendonitis

Common symptoms of biceps tendinitis include the following:

  • Pain: Typically located at the front of the shoulder and may extend down the arm.
  • Swelling: Inflammation of the tendon can lead to localised swelling.
  • Tenderness: The affected area may be tender to the touch.
  • Weakness: Some individuals may experience weakness in the affected arm.
  • Pain with overhead activities: Pain may increase with movements that involve raising the arm overhead.

One of the first signs of biceps tendinitis is often pain when sleeping on the affected shoulder. Patients will typically experience pain in the front of the shoulder, especially when lifting or performing overhead movements such as pulling on a jumper or putting on a jacket. There will be pain and/or weakness with shoulder flexion, ie. when lifting the arm forward and above the head.

Other symptoms may include swelling and tenderness in the shoulder and upper arm, pain radiating to the elbow, pain and/or weakness when bending the elbow, pain on reaching into the back seat of the car and a clicking noise accompanying shoulder movement in the affected arm.

A partial or complete tear of the biceps tendon, on the other hand, is usually accompanied by a sudden, severe pain at the shoulder or elbow. You may also hear a popping sound when a biceps tendon rupture occurs, and bruising may appear on the upper arm.

Types of Biceps Tendonitis

There are two types of biceps tendonitis. However, we most often talk about the more common proximal biceps tendonitis. This involves inflammation of the long (upper) head of the biceps tendon, which connects the biceps muscle to the shoulder. Distal biceps tendinitis, on the other hand, involves inflammation of the distal (lower) end of the biceps tendon, located near the elbow.

What Causes Biceps Tendonitis? Key Risk Factors Explained

To understand the causes of biceps tendinitis, we need to look more closely at the biceps muscle. Made up of a short head and a long head, the biceps muscle is situated in the front of the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow.

The short head attaches to the top anterior (front) portion of the shoulder. The long head passes through a groove at the front of the shoulder, through the shoulder joint and attaches at the top of the shoulder, making it more susceptible to inflammation and injury. Hence, we see a much greater proportion of proximal versus distal biceps tendinitis in the clinic.

Pain, weakness and poor biomechanics of the shoulder joint can often trigger biceps tendinitis by placing excessive load on the muscle. For this reason, symptoms often present in patients with injuries to the rotator cuff (muscles on the back and top of the shoulder that provide stability to the shoulder joint) and/or shoulder instability.

Additionally, biceps tendinitis is most often brought about by repetitive overhead motion. For instance, it is regularly seen in athletes involved in sports that require overhead activities, such as baseball (pitching), tennis (serving), and swimming. Those in jobs that require overhead activity and lifting (eg. painters and builders) are also at risk of a damaged biceps tendon.

In some instances, biceps tendinitis occurs as a result of trauma. Whereas tendinosis – chronic, non-inflamed tendon discomfort due to degeneration – can be a problem for the older population.

An image showing biceps tendon anatomy for bicep tendonitis.

Effective Treatment Strategies for Biceps Tendonitis

Treatment strategies for biceps tendon injuries or tendonitis often involve a combination of rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy, including strengthening exercises. In more severe cases, a healthcare provider may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation of the injured tendon and relieve pain.

In the case of severe tendonitis or a biceps tendon tear, surgery may be an option to repair the damaged tendon.

If you are experiencing pain in the upper arm or shoulder, have a reduced range of motion or weakness or clicking in the shoulder joint (especially with overhead actions), it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They will provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan based on the degree of inflammation or damage to the bicep tendons.

Exercises to Alleviate and Prevent Biceps Tendonitis

Engaging in targeted exercises can be instrumental in alleviating the symptoms of biceps tendonitis and protecting the biceps tendon from future damage. Effective exercises include:

Rotator Cuff Strengthening: Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles helps stabilise the shoulder joint. External and internal rotation exercises with resistance bands or light weights can be beneficial.

Video Source: Physitrack

Scapular Stabilisation Exercises: Improving the stability of the shoulder blade can reduce strain on the biceps tendon. Exercises such as shoulder blade retractions and squeezes can help.

Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle range of motion exercises help maintain flexibility in the shoulder joint. These may include pendulum exercises and passive shoulder stretches.

Video Source: Physitrack

Posture Correction: Addressing poor posture can alleviate stress on the shoulder joint. Exercises focusing on improving posture, such as shoulder blade squeezes and chin tucks, can be beneficial.

How Physiotherapy Can Help with Bicep Tendonitis

If you are suffering from tendonitis, have a biceps tendon injury or shoulder pain, physiotherapy can be very beneficial. Your physio will first take a thorough history of your injury and assess the range of motion, strength and function of your neck, shoulder and thoracic spine to rule out other potential pathologies.

Further investigation of the biceps muscle may be required in the form of an ultrasound or MRI.

If there is inflammation of the biceps tendon (tendonitis), the first stages of treatment will typically include anti-inflammatories, ice and rest. Patients with acute biceps tendinitis – as well as the chronic, non-inflamed condition, tendinosis – will need physiotherapy combined with a strengthening program.

To rehabilitate the area and prevent biceps tendinitis from recurring, it is important to strengthen the shoulder muscles and scapula (shoulder blade) stabilising musculature and improve posture and neck and thoracic (upper back) flexibility. Your physiotherapist will provide you with strengthening exercises and educate you on how to improve your lifting/overhead technique to protect your biceps tendons.

Explore More: Comprehensive Guides and Research on Tendonitis

Want to know more about biceps tendon injury? Visit Medical News Today for further information on the causes, symptoms and treatments for tendonitis, including surgery, as well as how it differs from chronic tendinosis.

Or try these WebMD-approved exercises to keep your shoulder and bicep flexible while you allow the tendon sheath to heal.

Experiencing symptoms of biceps tendonitis? Don’t wait for relief. Book an appointment with our expert physiotherapists today for personalised care and effective treatment strategies. Click here to schedule your consultation or call us on 9650 2220 to get your rehabilitation underway.

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Physiotherapy for Headaches – Can it Help?

Bothered by a dull ache, shooting pain or throbbing in your head – and sick of popping pills for it? You’re not alone. Headaches affect approximately 47% of people globally. But the good news is that, with headache physiotherapy, help is (literally) at hand. 

In this article, The Alignment Studio director and senior physiotherapist Pete Hunt explains the role physiotherapy can play in relieving chronic headaches and improving your quality of life.

He discusses the effectiveness of manual therapy in treating three main types of headaches: migraines, tension headaches and, especially, cervicogenic (neck-related) headaches. And he also recommends some easy lifestyle changes that can be made to ease or avoid pain (hint: it all starts with good posture).

So, to discover whether headache physiotherapy might provide the relief you need, read on.

CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP HEADACHES?

Physiotherapy and manual therapy are beneficial in the management of most types of headaches – and very effective in the treatment of cervicogenic headaches. This common type of headache refers to a secondary headache that originates from the cervical spine (neck).

Cervicogenic headaches differ from primary headaches such as tension headaches and migraines which originate from the brain itself.

CERVICOGENIC, TENSION HEADACHE OR MIGRAINE – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Source: HealthMatch

So how can you tell which type of headache you’re experiencing? Here are a few clues.

Cervicogenic headache (CGH): Originating in the cervical spine, this type of headache will usually be associated with neck pain. Accounting for 15-20% of headaches, it is most often unilateral (one-sided) and can be aggravated by sustained postures or particular neck movements. CGH is common among desk workers.

Tension headache: A tension headache, on the other hand, is typically characterised by bilateral head pain and is a generalised, pressing-type headache not associated with nausea. 

Migraine: A migraine is a unilateral, severe headache with throbbing pain sometimes accompanied by nausea/vomiting, photophobia (light sensitivity) or phonophobia (noise sensitivity). It can be triggered by factors including hormonal changes, poor sleep, certain foods or unusual smells, and usually requires bed rest or medication.

For all three types of headache, stress can be a trigger due to the sensitisation of the central nervous system which can then increase muscle tension.

Source: Physiopedia

WILL PHYSIOTHERAPY RELIEVE YOUR NECK-RELATED HEADACHE?

Absolutely. Due to the musculoskeletal source of the headache, there is Level 1 evidence to show that physiotherapy treatment is highly effective in the treatment of cervicogenic headaches.

CAN PHYSIO HELP WITH MIGRAINES AND TENSION HEADACHES?

Physiotherapy may also be beneficial for migraine sufferers and help reduce the frequency and severity of tension headaches. However, since tension headaches and migraines are primary headaches with a central source, the degree to which it will help can differ. It will depend on how much musculoskeletal impairment there is as a contributing factor to the headache.

While physiotherapy will definitely provide relief for these types of headaches and can reduce the severity, relief will be temporary. Physiotherapy can be useful as an ongoing part of managing symptoms, used in conjunction with advice from a GP or neurologist regarding pharmacological treatment.

HOW DO PHYSIOS DIAGNOSE NECK HEADACHES?

There are three key features to help assess and diagnose a cervicogenic or neck headache:

  • Restricted neck movements on active testing, particularly extension and rotation.
  • A detailed manual examination of the hypomobility of the cervical joints, particularly of the upper cervical spine.
  • A muscle strength/endurance assessment which looks at the interaction of the deep muscle flexors with the global muscle extensors.

Additionally, poor scapula control or stability and the inability to weight bear through the arms appropriately can also be major contributing factors.

If your neck muscles and joints are in order, your physio will be able to determine if you have a tension-type headache or migraine by asking you questions about your symptoms.

WHAT PHYSIOTHERAPY TECHNIQUES ARE USED FOR HEADACHES?

Headache treatment will include muscular release, deep tissue massage, joint mobilisations and specific stretches to alleviate pain and regain range of movement. Even more importantly, strengthening exercises will be given to progressively load the muscles and build muscle strength/endurance to support the neck and shoulders and return pain-free to all tasks.

WHAT ELSE CAN HELP RELIEVE HEADACHES?

Dry needling, remedial massage, neck stretches, heat or using a massage ball can all help to manage headache symptoms. Adjusting your sleeping position or changing your pillow may also be beneficial.

However, if musculoskeletal function has been impacted, neuromuscular retraining will be important for long-term maintenance. This means ensuring an individual can control their head-on-body posture in varying positions or under differing loads. This can be achieved with rehabilitation exercises, clinical pilates and physical therapy. 

Thoracic spine stiffness (in the upper and mid back) can also be a contributing factor that can load the neck. Manual release or exercises to address this would also be helpful.

WHICH LIFESTYLE CHANGES CAN ASSIST WITH HEADACHES?

Your physiotherapist will also be able to recommend lifestyle changes to minimise headaches. For cervicogenic headaches, these will be based around identifying what is contributing to loading the structures of your neck. 

In sitting postures, we need to learn how to maintain the craniocervical neutral position. This simply means keeping a head-on-neck position rather than protracting the chin with a forward head posture – something many of us do during computer work. An ergonomic assessment of your desk set-up is therefore advised to help facilitate appropriate posture. 

Additionally, clinical pilates and exercise-based physiotherapy are also important to build the muscular endurance needed to maintain correct posture throughout the whole day.

To reduce the incidence of all types of headaches, staying active is important. General exercise has many health and wellbeing benefits including the release of ‘happy hormones’ which help to regulate pain. Moving our muscles more also helps to prevent a build-up of tension. 

However, specific exercises that build strength/endurance relative to our cervicothoracic posture or scapula control are particularly beneficial for secondary headaches stemming from the neck as they target the specific impairments directly.

Your physio also needs to ensure your exercise program is aligned with the requirements of your daily life – whether that includes retraining a tennis hit, lifting heavy washing, or repetitive computer work.

A final and major contributing factor to cervicogenic headaches and neck pain is stress, so awareness of your mental health is a priority. This may include increasing self-care tasks, taking some downtime, talking to friends/family or asking for help to manage the load – and your stress levels.

For help managing neck-related headaches with physiotherapy, book an appointment with one of our Melbourne CBD physios today.

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Meet Physiotherapist, Ana Coan

Meet Ana Coan ­– a dynamic physiotherapist and Pilates instructor and the newest member of The Alignment Studio team. Hailing all the way from Brasil, Ana brings valuable insights into rehabilitation gained through her experience as an elite athlete. As well as a diverse skillset honed over a decade in private practice, sports physiotherapy and aged care.

With a remarkable background as a former champion swimmer (South American champion in 2005!) and a Certificate III in Fitness, Ana is highly skilled at treating sports-related musculoskeletal injuries. She also has a passion for women’s health physiotherapy and chronic pain management and a thirst for self-improvement and learning.

To learn about Ana’s journey into physiotherapy, her approach to rehabilitation and wellness and her fledgling green thumb, read on.

When did you know you wanted to be a physio?

I started swimming when I was 6 years old, and by 12 I was competing at regional level. I suffered a shoulder injury (a rotator cuff tendinopathy) at that time and was helped by a physiotherapist to return to sport. I found it super interesting how that professional was able to change my daily life. After that, physiotherapy was part of my daily routine as an athlete.

Even though I started studying Sports and Science, I found myself skipping practical sports classes to be in the rehabilitation classes. Then I decided to change my course to physiotherapy. I wanted to be able to help others the same way I was helped.

When did you move to Melbourne?

Four years ago, when I started my journey to become a validated physiotherapist in Australia. I got my first job as a physiotherapist in a private practice and worked there for four years, before my move to The Alignment Studio.

What excites you about working at TAS?

Being in the heart of the city with this great environment and this amazing team to share knowledge and grow together as part of a family. Being closer to home and at the same time enjoying this lively environment in the city is amazing! The experienced team is a great motivation to continue developing my skills.

Are you looking forward to working in Melbourne CBD?

Absolutely, I love to be in contact with city life. I love a good coffee and being able in my spare time to just walk around and enjoy the beautiful view and skylines.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Being able to be part of people’s journey through wellbeing. I love teaching clients exercises and enabling their recovery, as well as helping them to reaching their movement goals.

What are your areas of special interest in physiotherapy?

I’m interested in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, especially shoulder and arm complaints. I love to train and teach exercise routines and progress into rehabilitation functionally. I also have vast experience with chronic conditions, ageing and women’s health conditions.

Yoga or Pilates?

Pilates!

What’s unique about your Clinical Pilates teaching style?

Due to my vast experience and long years of Pilates practice (20 years on and off), I understand the pathway to achieve good outcomes with Clinical Pilates. I love exercise and exercise prescription and Pilates can be a powerful rehabilitation tool.

Many people think Pilates is just stretching. However, it’s one of the most complete exercises nowadays, which is why I believe it is so prescribed by the medical environment. As well as helping with injury rehabilitation, combining it with other sports and activities can improve your performance and help you achieve your goals faster.

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

Possibly working as a swimming teacher. I really like to teach, and swimming was a great part of my life. So possibly I would do that.

What do you love doing in your spare time?

Being with my partner and my dog, relaxing by the beach and having fun with my friends and talking with my family overseas. I love a good meal, a nice walk and travelling to a beautiful area.

What’s your approach to wellness?

Looking for balance in your daily tasks. Balance of mind, body and time. We usually forget to find that midline and accept our defeats.

My secret talent is…

Besides swimming, I love gardening and my plants. Since the pandemic I had tried a few hobbies such as baking, cricket and music, but the only one that I made much progress with was gardening.

Book an appointment with Ana, or call us on 9650 2220 for further information.

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Meet Physiotherapist, Michelle Labonia

New York’s loss and The Alignment Studio’s gain, Michelle Labonia is a skilled Physiotherapist with qualifications from Penn State and the University of Melbourne. Initially working with professional sports teams, it was only after a stint in private practice that she found her true vocation—improving movement in the broader population.

Today, Michelle thrives on the challenge of working with patients of all ages, life stages and physical ability. However, her personal passion for fitness and hands-on, collaborative approach to recovery remains.

Read on to learn about Michelle’s path into physiotherapy, her ‘favourite’ injuries to work with, and her secret, all-American talent.

Why did you decide to become a physio?

I grew up in an active family and have been playing sports for as long as I can remember. In year 11, I made a funny turn during a basketball game and tore my ACL/MCL/meniscus—a season-ending knee injury! I had surgery on my knee, and during the process found myself curious about how and why my knee had been injured and what the operation and rehabilitation would entail.

Rather than taking my time away from sports as a negative, I really felt that I was learning a lot and I was able to persevere through my rehab exercises and return for the next high school volleyball season. After high school, I went off to Penn State University without having declared a major. My mother and grandmother were nurses, and so empathy, helpfulness and interest in healthcare is inherent to me.

I decided to study as an Athletic Trainer—an American version of a sports physio. It wasn’t until I worked in a private practice that I realised I could take the sport aspect out of the work I thought I had wanted to do, and I could develop more skills and more passion for working with a wider variety of patients. I love to learn and pursued my Doctor of Physiotherapy degree here in Melbourne and have absolutely loved working as a physiotherapist here.

What have been your career highlights so far?

There are so many! Often people come to see me and say they can’t do something, or they don’t believe it’s possible for them to do something they used to love. Even though it’s not a very specific “highlight”, I can’t express the amount of pride and joy I feel in the moments when they’re able to return to things they love. Or prove themselves wrong and achieve what they believed they could no longer do.

What excites you about working at The Alignment studio?

I can’t wait to be a part of the community in the CBD. With the energy coming back into the city, I’m excited to be working at an aesthetically beautiful, calming clinic where I can help provide holistic healthcare right in the middle of the hustle and bustle.

WHAT ARE YOUR AREAS OF SPECIAL INTEREST?

I really enjoy working with people with neck and back pain. The pain can be so distracting and feel debilitating. It’s rewarding to help ease that pain and lighten the load someone bears all day. With my background of knee injury, I am also always drawn to knee injury as well as hip injury/function. From my own experience, working on my hip muscles really helped me recover from knee pain and I love working through that with my patients.

What’s unique about your treatment approach? 

I believe physio treatments work best when there’s a team approach. I will put in all the work I can to be there for my patients. When that’s met with willingness to learn, ask questions, and find reasonable solutions that fit the individual, that’s where I see the most success.

I also believe language is really important. It’s often met with a sigh or an eye roll (which is fair enough!) but if we keep referring to a sore back as being “bad” I think we start to believe that! Talking about pain or injury with less negativity helps shape how we can see our recovery and gives a bit more hope.

What’s your favourite part of the job? 

Working with so many different types of people! It’s so much fun to meet people from all walks of life with different experiences. I love helping people learn about their bodies, but I often find that my patients are teaching me things along the way as well.

How has Covid changed your approach to health and wellbeing?

The impact of Covid has been so eye opening. It really forced us all to slow down and discover what’s most important to us. There are so many factors that influence our health; social, physical, emotional, mental. I made a promise to myself to carve out a block of time each day that was just for me. Whether that was spent exercising, reading a book, or calling my loved ones, slowing everything down and prioritising myself helped me keep healthy.  

Yoga or Pilates?

Both! There are so many benefits to both, and each is challenging in its own way. I love to mix both yoga and Pilates into my exercise routine, as well as some cross training, barre and running. I strongly believe the best exercise is the one you enjoy, so I like to keep things dynamic.

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

I honestly have no idea. I have yet to have a day where I don’t feel like going to work. I feel so lucky to be in a field that not only aligns with my beliefs and ideals but allows me to help others.

What do you love to do in your spare time?

I love to walk near the Yarra River or on a beach—I just find being near water is so refreshing. In the last few years, I’ve made a couple of attempts to try to learn to play tennis and golf… but both need a lot of work!

I love to be active and busy, but when I get home I Facetime my family, put on episodes of Jeopardy!, try cooking new recipes, and relax with friends and the rescue cat I adopted during lockdown. I’m always up to go explore more of Melbourne with my friends and am often out and about now that we can take advantage of it.

What’s your approach to wellness?

Drink water, get quality sleep, and move your body. To me, wellness means listening to what my body needs. If I think I should go for a run but my body is exhausted, I respect it enough to change my plans and try yoga or a walk instead.

My secret talent is…

I can sing the 50 States in alphabetical order… but my singing voice is painful so don’t ask!

Book an appointment with Michelle, or call us on 9650 2220 for further information.

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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

You’ve no doubt heard of it, but exactly what is carpal tunnel syndrome, and who does it affect? According to The Alignment Studio Physiotherapist Jane Lau, carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful disorder that results in numbness, pins and needles and pain in the hand and wrist ­– especially at night, as well as weakness and burning sensations. Sound familiar? Read on to discover more.

Where is the carpal tunnel & what is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow passageway at the base of your hand, over your wrist. The base of the carpal tunnel is formed by the carpal bones (small bones of the hand) and the roof is formed by a strong band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament. The carpal tunnel allows nerves and tendons to past through the wrist into the hand.

The tunnel is small in size and has little capacity to stretch or increase in size. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve as it runs from wrist to the hand.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common complaint that can be triggered by anything that causes swelling in the wrist, such as arthritis, pregnancy, injury to the wrist or repetitive hand movements (overuse).

Certain individuals are more at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. These include:

  • Pregnant women – due to extra fluid retention
  • Men and women with arthritis
  • Obese individuals
  • Women aged between 40-60
  • People who constantly engage in work or activities that involve repetitive hand and wrist movements, eg. painters, hairdressers, musicians

The condition is significantly more common in women than men, in part due to hormonal factors during pregnancy and menopause. Females also tend to have a smaller carpal tunnel, making them more susceptible.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Those experiencing the hand disorder may experience some (or all) of the following:

  • Numbness, pain or pins and needles in the hand – often worse overnight*
  • Sensation of swelling in the fingers
  • Hand weakness, dropping things, difficulty clenching hand or gripping objects
  • Pain, tingling or burning sensations that may radiate up the arm, sometimes as far as the shoulders/neck
  • Heavy arm sensation

* Symptoms are typically worse at night, due to natural flexion of the wrist that may occur during sleep. Fluid may also accumulate, resulting in pressure on the median nerve. For these reasons, bracing and elevation may be required at night.

How is it diagnosed?

A physiotherapist can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. As well as a thorough physical examination, your physio may refer you for a nerve conduction test, ultrasound or MRI.

How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated? 

Depending on the severity of your condition, treatment will vary. The first step will be rest, with a cessation of repetitive activities causing swelling within the wrist. Other treatments include:

  • Cool packs to reduce swelling
  • Diuretics to reduce fluid retention
  • Hand elevation overnight
  • Splinting of the wrist
  • Physiotherapy
  • Exercise prescription
  • Cortisone injections
  • Surgery

How can physiotherapy help?

Your physiotherapist can assist with bracing or splinting, soft tissue massage and wrist/ carpal mobilisation. They will be able to provide advice on how to manage swelling, ergonomic corrections, and strengthening and stretching exercises.

By improving posture, ergonomics, technique and improving flexibility and strength of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder, you will reduce the risk of recurrence.

To put an end to your hand or wrist pain, book an appointment with one of our Melbourne CBD physios today!

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What is Women’s Health Physiotherapy? (And Will it Benefit You?)

Don’t suffer bladder, bowel or pelvic floor dysfunction or pain in silence – women’s health physiotherapy can help. A women’s health physiotherapist is equipped to identify and treat a variety of women’s health concerns, from overactive bladder symptoms to incontinence, pelvic girdle pain and pelvic organ prolapse. With the post-graduate study and extensive training required to become a women’s health physiotherapist the Australian Physiotherapy Association bestows a title of specialist physiotherapist on those therapists in this important area of practice.

While many pelvic health concerns will first arise during pregnancy, a women’s health physiotherapist can improve the lives of women from early adulthood to childbirth, menopause and beyond. Read on to discover more, and to book a consultation with a leading women’s health physiotherapist in Melbourne, call us on 03 9650 2220.

When should you see a women’s health physiotherapist?

Treating conditions associated with the pelvic floor, such as bladder and bowel dysfunction, women’s health physiotherapy can be particularly beneficial for pre and postnatal women and peri and postmenopausal women. A trained women’s health physio in melbourne can assist with conditions including:

  • Stress incontinence – involuntary urine leakage during everyday activities and actions, e.g. exercise, laughing, coughing or sneezing
  • Overactive Bladder symptoms – urinary frequency, urgency (a sudden, urgent need to pass urine) and urge incontinence, nocturia (getting up to pass urine overnight)
  • Bowel symptoms – faecal urgency and incontinence, problems with bowel evacuation, chronic constipation
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (descent of the bladder, uterus or bowel, causing symptoms)
  • Vaginismus (spasm of the vaginal muscles) and dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
  • Overactive pelvic floor (seen in conditions such as endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain)
  • Pelvic girdle pain during or following pregnancy
  • Separation of abdominal muscles during pregnancy/childbirth (diastasis recti)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – often associated with pregnancy.

Appropriate early intervention can help in the management and/or resolution of many of these symptoms.

What techniques does a women’s health physiotherapist use?

A women’s health physiotherapist may use various techniques, such as:

  • Pelvic floor muscle awareness and training
  • Down-training for an overactive pelvic floor
  • Bladder training
  • Advice for prolapse management
  • Biofeedback for bowel evacuation retraining
  • Pelvic floor-safe exercise advice
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation and exercise advice (following gynaecological surgery)
  • Prescription of abdominal support garments, pelvic girdle belts and other supports
  • Core muscle training
  • Real Time Ultrasound for visual biofeedback
  • Occasionally, specialised equipment and small hand-held machines may be used.

What happens during your consultation?

The women’s health physiotherapist will take a comprehensive history including your general health, occupation and regular physical activities, your obstetric and gynaecological history, and ask for details about your bladder, bowel and sexual health at your first visit. This will highlight key areas of interest.

The physiotherapist will often do a pelvic floor examination at the first or second visit. This usually involves an internal examination if you are comfortable to proceed. Its purpose is to gain more information about your pelvic floor strength and function.

Following this, goals are set and a treatment plan is discussed, including some of the physiotherapy techniques that may be used and a realistic timeframe for achieving them. The physiotherapist will often prescribe a pelvic floor home program for you and ask you to fill diaries to bring back on subsequent visits. Maintaining healthy bladder and bowel habits is an integral part of this plan, as is weight management and an appropriate general exercise program.

Do you need a referral to see a women’s health physiotherapist?

A referral from a GP or Specialist is not essential, but is useful for women over 50 or with complex health conditions. You should bring any relevant scans and reports, details of prior surgeries and a list of current medications.

If it is a complex or chronic condition that you have had for six months or more, and a specialist and/or other allied health professionals are involved, you may qualify for a Medicare Team Care arrangement. The Care Plan is devised by your GP and is subsidised by Medicare for up to five visits in a calendar year; however, there will be a gap payment. Your GP can tell you whether you are eligible.

Women’s Health Physiotherapy at The Alignment Studio

If you’re looking for a women’s health physiotherapist in Melbourne, The Alignment Studio has recently welcomed Peony Fernandes to the team. With over 25 years’ experience as a women and men’s health physiotherapist, Peony can assist with advice for early prevention, as well as pelvic floor re-education and management of your symptoms.

To improve your pelvic health and quality of life, book an appointment with Peony today!

Also, for more information about physiotherapy or remedial massage and which one is better for you make sure to read our latest blog covering this topic.

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