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Health Kick 101 – All about health and fitness

Melanie is the founder of Capital Physiotherapy Health Group.

Melanie started this practice believing that she can introduce a better quality of care to Australia.
Capital Physiotherapy philosophy was always around a high client contact, high client care model. We have strong emphasis on proper diagnosis and also medical referral where it’s appropriate.

Melanie graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. Melanie is a Certified APPI instructor (Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute). She also did multiple sports, dancing, pre and postnatal as well as dry needling courses. She is also trained to perform Pre-Pointe, Pilates and running assessment. Melanie has a keen interest in treating and educating clients to help individuals recover and achieve their personal health goals.

Starting this Vlog Channel she would hope to reach more people to educate and promote healthy living in a casual and fun way!

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or PFPS, can be a very debilitating condition which can stop you from doing a lot of activities. At its worse, most patient will report of pain and inability to walk far.

PFPS is a term given to describe pain around the knee cap. This is usually due to repetitive damage around the knee cap as it contacts abnormally with the femur. Most patient will report of having a gradual build up of pain. Initially, the pain is niggling but does not stop a person from doing their exercises. Continued activity result in increasing pain which will in turn stop them from participating further. With rest, the pain would abate. However, returning to sport is usually short lived due to the returning pain.

There are multiple causes of PFPS. This include:

  • Foot and ankle misalignment
  • Poor hip control
  • Poor core strength
  • Leg length discrepancies
  • Poor training schedule (not enough rest, sudden increase in intensity)

Usually there are multiple factors that contribute to PFPS. It is important that you seek a trusted physiotherapist that can do a comprehensive assessment on your body. Taking the time with the assessment will result in identifying the causative factors, which means a better prognosis! You can trust our physiotherapists at Capital Physiotherapy to understand your body and get you back on track! Our initial appointments are industry-leading 1 hour. This gives our physiotherapists time to do full assessment, to make sure you are looked after!

Depending on what caused your PFPS, you may expect your physio at Capital Physiotherapy to:

  • Reduce any muscular tightness
  • Give exercises to improve muscle control
  • Suggest different types of footwear, or refer you onto our trusted network of podiatrists
  • Help plan an exercise program to make sure your body do not burn out

Our physiotherapists are trained at making sure all your concerns are listened to and provide you the best care you need.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Capital Physiotherapy on 0401 865 333!

Tennis Elbow/Lateral Epicondylitis

One of the most common causes of elbow pain is the dreaded tennis elbow or, as it’s formally known, Lateral Epicondylitis. Tennis elbow affects predominantly the wrist and finger extensors that is located on the outside part of your forearm; specifically the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis and Longus). These muscles originates from the small bone bump on the outside of your elbow, and attaches to different parts of your hands.

The usual cause of a tennis elbow is usually due to a repetitive movement; specifically gripping activities. This is the reason why it’s called tennis elbow, this involves gripping a racquet. However, there usually is an issue with the person’s hitting technique. A common mistake is to use wrist extension to hit the ball. Your physio at Capital Physiotherapy can assess you in this regard.

Other common ways you can get tennis elbow are: prolonged computer work (typing), home renovations (hammering, painting) as well as carrying/lifting objects. In some cases, tennis elbow may also be as a result of some neck issues, including stiffness and nerve root irritation.
As you can see, it is important that you seek professional help when you have elbow pain. Inappropriate care will result in worsening of your symptoms as well as delayed healing. This may result in you requiring corticosteroid injections.

Your physio at Capital Physiotherapy is well equipped to look after you. They will spend the time that it takes to ensure you are cared for and get the results you need. They will make sure all contributing factors are considered and assessed. A thorough assessment is required so that you receive the correct treatment to get you back to your activities quickly!
So don’t hesitate to give us a call at Capital Physiotherapy now!

The Proper Lunge Technique

Last week, we wrote about squat technique. Lunges, like squats are one of the best exercises you can do in the gym too. It’s another exercise that can effectively work on more than one area of your body. An effective exercise means your body will gain the most out of it, so you can reach your goal quicker! However, just like an improperly done squat, the wrong technique will cause you injury and future issues in the knees. It is important that you scrutinise your technique and concentrate on the quality of your lunge.

Not only are lunges great for your body, but they are easily done anywhere you’d like to exercise. You may see lunges done out in the park during boot camps (*shivers*). You may also see them done in the gym; you can be creative and use the different weights and bars to increase the intensity of your lunge routine. We personally like to do the lunge at the comfort of our own home. It’s an easy exercise that your body will thank you for!

The most important factor while doing lunges are to make sure your knees are positioned correctly throughout the movement. This means:

  • Your knees do not move past your toes at the front
  • Your knees do not move rotate inwards
  • You keep your body nice and upright

By making sure you follow the above rules, you reduce the chance of any wear and tear around your knee caps as well as reducing any issues that arise due to improper technique. By having your knees moving in the correct way, your knee caps are able to distribute the force much more evenly around its surface area; this reduces stress building up on only one area of the knee cap.

In addition, by doing the exercise correctly, you will gain the most out of your lunge. Correct technique allows your muscles to function at its most effective; which means you can progress yourself and get stronger quicker!

Make sure you have a chat with one of our physios to get the most out of your routine!

The Proper Squat Technique

Squats are one of the best exercises you can do in the gym (or at home!). This is because it is one of the few exercises that works multiple areas of your body. This makes it an efficient exercise to make you stronger quicker! However, when done incorrectly, squatting can cause a lot of issues to your knees. Improper technique results in imbalanced pressures around your knee cap, which will accelerate wear and tear.

Not only are squats great for your body, but they are easily done anywhere you’d like to exercise. While the gym is a great place, as you can use different bars with weights to challenge yourself. However, you can do squats at home or even at the park! The best exercises are the ones you can do anywhere. This means you won’t skip your exercise day and get the most out of it!

The most important factor while doing squats are to make sure your knees are positioned correctly throughout the movement. This means:

  • Your knees do not move past your toes at the front
  • Your knees do not move rotate inwards

By making sure you do not do the above, you reduce the chance of any wear and tear around your knee cap as well as reducing any issues that arise due to improper technique. By having your knees moving in the correct way, your knee caps are able to distribute the force much more evenly around its surface area; this reduces stress building up on only one area of the knee cap.

In addition, by doing the exercise correctly, you will gain the most out of your squat. Correct technique allows your muscles to function at its most effective; which means you can progress yourself and get stronger quicker!

Wry Neck

Wry neck is the sudden onset of moderate/severe pain in the neck. The pain is usually one sided. This pain is accompanied by muscle spasm which causes you to turn your head away from the painful side.

Cause of Wry neck

The exact cause of wry neck is not known however with diagnostic imaging intervertebral discs (which initially were thought to be the cause) have been ruled out. It is thought that one or more facet joints in the neck is the cause of the symptoms. These joints being put under stress in certain sleeping positions or neck positions. It is as if these joints become “locked”.

Who is at risk of Wry neck

Anyone is at risk of wry neck. It has been found that the most common age group for this condition is 12-30 years old

What to do at home

If you wake with similar symptoms to those described above the following steps can be taken at home to ensure maximum comfort before getting yourself to your nearest physiotherapist.
1 – Take analgesics – Paracetamol or Anti inflammatory drugs (nurofen/voltaren)
2 – Apply a cold pack – Approx 15 min at a time 3-4x daily.
3 – Maintain good posture (Upright, shoulders back and chin tucked in)
4 – Make sure you sleep on a low pillow

Physiotherapy treatment

Physiotherapy treatment includes but is not limited to the following
1 – Soft tissue massage
2 – Mobilisation of the facet joints
3 – Gentle stretching
4 – Postural advice
5 – Ice/heat

Strength and Conditioning

The deadlift

The deadlift is both the best and worst exercise for your back. This depends entirely on your technique.

If you deadlift correctly, you will build an extremely strong core and posterior chain. The posterior chain is simply the backside of your body and its primary muscles include the lower back, gluteus maximus (glutes), hamstrings, and calves The posterior chain is often neglected by the average gym goer however it is probably the most important.

Benefits of the deadlift in no particular order include the following:
1 – Development of power and strength for sports
2 – Prevents injury if done correctly
3 – Increased muscle mass
4 – Increased fat burning: By increasing muscle mass your metabolic rate increases.
5 – Better posture: Deadlifting strengthens your core and as stated earlier your posterior chain which is responsible for keeping you upright/erect.
6 – Improved grip strength
7 – Increased hormone production – Testosterone increases muscle growth and improves muscle repair while growth hormone, which is produced by your pituitary gland, promotes tissue healing, bone strength, muscle growth and fat loss.
8 – Improves cardio respiratory fitness.

In my professional opinion everyone who intends to deadlift (and they should) needs to have proper coaching/form to help avoid injury at all costs. In the long run you will not only avoid those injuries but will lift heavier and get more out of your workout. So make sure you invest in a good personal trainer/physiotherapist who has experience in teaching proper technique.

Deadlifting Incorrectly

Deadlifting incorrectly can result in many different injuries. These injuries include but are not limited to the following: Disc prolapses , Facet joint injuries, muscle strains.

Disc prolapse: When the centre of the intervertebral disc (a jelly like substances) pushes through the fibrous outer ring and can push on nerves or surrounding tissue. This can cause debilitating pain and neurologic symptoms.

Facet joint injury: Each vertebra connects with the vertebra above and below via two types of joints: the facet joints on either side of the spine and the intervertebral discs centrally. During certain movements of the spine stretching or compressive forces are put on these joints which in turn can result in injury.

Muscle strains: Muscle strains in the lower back (erector spinae muscles) can happen when load being lifted is too much or improper technique is used.

If you injure yourself deadlifting it is important not to panic/stress. This can make the problem and recovery time a lot worse.

Stop the activity immediately and do not continue any other exercises in the gym as again this can make things a lot worse. Put ice on the affected area as soon as possible. If you are in a lot of pain non-steroidal anti inflammatories such as Nurofen (ibuprofen) or voltaren (diclofenac) may help.

Often people with back injuries believe it is best to rest however it has been found it is best to keep moving if at all possible, so try minimise prolonged sitting and keep yourself moving.
Book yourself in to see a physiotherapist for a professional opinion. They will be able to assess the severity of your injury and guide your rehab process so you are able to get back to the gym as soon as possible and avoid further injury.

Any physical activity can cause injury. Yes, you can hurt your lower back with Deadlifts. But more people hurt their back outside the gym than doing deadlifts. Sitting slouched at work for hours is bad for your lower back. So is picking up something at work by bending over with straight legs and a rounded lower back. Everybody knows somebody who never did deadlifts but hurt his lower back anyway at work or home.

Importance of Core Strength/Stability

Many people have heard the term core stability bandied but few know exactly what the term actually means. In actual fact, core stability is as important in everyday life as it is in the gym. It helps to prevent injuries in activities such as sitting, driving, gardening, shopping and DIY.

Core stability basically refers to stability of the spine. The “core” is a group of muscles in your back and stomach which help support your spine and keep your body stable/balanced. These muscles are extremely important in allowing you to perform everyday activities safely.

It has been shown that those who do not have good core strength/activation are far more likely to sustain an injury to their back. A weak core also increases your chance of injuries elsewhere as more load will be placed on other muscles.

The core comprises a lot of muscles however the most important muscles of the core are two muscle groups you probably haven’t heard of.

Transverse abdominus

This is the deepest of the abdominal muscles. Think of it as a corset or a weightlifters belt – wrapping around the spine for support, protection and stability.

Multifidus

Is a group of small muscles close in to the spine. These muscles respond to the movement and action of the transverse abdominis. They are also the first to start to waste away in an episode of back pain.

If you are fairly sedentary (desk job). There is no doubt you have a weak core. Combine that with sitting all day and it is a disaster waiting to happen. A qualified physiotherapist can develop a suitable core strengthening program for you which will help prevent injure. PREVENTION IS THE BEST CURE!!!

If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0401 865 333 (South Yarra) or 0406 067 105 (Balwyn). We are happy to help!

It’s PAINFUL help me!

Many people come to see a physio when they are hurt and in pain. This could be due to a sports injury, a workplace incident or more commonly, those niggles that seem to never go away or even gets worse over time.

Whatever it is, pain is only a part of the injury. More than likely, there is a root cause of the pain or injury. You can take medication which will help to reduce the pain but without finding out the root cause, whether it’s next week or next month, it will most likely come back. So what can you do?

It’s important that you get to the bottom of your injury. That is why our consultation is longer than the industry normal, as this gives us a chance to delve deep into your history. At Capital Physiotherapy, our consultation involves a series of pinpointed questioning and movement tests to find out exactly why you are in pain. There may be areas of your body that is too tight or weak. There may be areas that has poor stability and poor muscle activation. Whatever it is, we will find them, provide you with an accurate diagnosis and start the treatment plan straightaway!

Remember, pain is simply a sensation that you feel when something is not right with your body. Panadol can mask the pain and let you do your normal activities, but if the pain continues, it is highly recommended that you see your trusted physiotherapist.
At Capital Physiotherapy, we also do running assessment and work ergonomic assessment. If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to let us know if we can help you!