Before you jump in!

March 2018: Before you jump in!

We are looking forward to a beautiful swimming season with all this warm weather! There are many benefits to swimming such as

  • Lung training: exhaling into the water is especially beneficial for asthmatics, helping with more efficient breathing patterns
  • Weightlessness, low impact on weight bearing joints
  • Relaxing nature of being in the water, an opportunity to unwind, a moving meditation
  • Core strengthening (if done correctly!) and general muscle strengthening from the resistance of the water

Recently I have seen quite a few clients with neck, upper back and shoulder discomfort from doing laps in the pool or ocean.

Swimming freestyle requires full range of motion in your neck to turn to breathe. Any restriction in your thoracic spine (upper back) also affects the quality of your swimming stroke. Tightness in the shoulders puts more strain on the spine as you power through the water.

Next time you go for a swim, try these exercises as a warm up. Not only will you feel better, your stroke and speed should improve also!

1)      Shoulder stretch at wall: Place hand on the wall and gently stretch the body away. Now place your hand on a doorway frame and lean forward, pull the shoulder back and down.

28a Pectoral release

2)      Thoracic spine mobility

  • Start with elbows bent, and fingers clasped behind your head
  • Raise the top elbow up and slightly behind
  • Let your head gently turn as you do this stretchzxc

3)      For mid back strength:

  • Lying face downwards with your arms by your side and palms facing upwards
  • Now draw the shoulder blades together and down
  • Continue to breathe as you hold in this position for 10 – 15 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat 6 – 8 timesqwe




If you would like more ideas on how to improve your swimming, book in to see one of our physiotherapists on 9399 7399. We can tailor an exercise program to your specific needs.

-Blog by Alla Melman March 2018


November 2017

Did you know that stiffness of the muscles in your neck, shoulders and mid back can cause



Did you know that the upper joints of your neck can refer pain to the front of your face just like a headache?



If you go ahead and google the amount of headaches you could compile a list of hundreds. Physiotherapy will help to assess what type of headache you have and how best to treat it!



Tension can build over time and certain muscles can refer pain to the back of the head, forehead and sometimes even behind the eye. Our posture all day, particularly if you have a desk job can be one the biggest contributors to the cause of your headaches.


Here are 3 Exercises to try at your desk:

HA 3

HA 2

HA 1















If headaches have been an issue for you, book in an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists on 9399 7399.

-Blog by Sabrina Youkhana November 2017

What does a tight jaw have to do with back pain?

October 2017

It may seem odd that when you come in with back pain, we ask you questions such as “do you grind or clench your teeth?”

BruxNeckPainStay with me, there is a very good reason.


When you tense up the jaw, it fires up many more motor units in your brain – so basically clenching your teeth increases the tension everywhere else in your body. You may have been asked to grit your teeth and squeeze your hands together to get a stronger response if your doctor is testing your reflexes. The same mechanism is at play when you spend the night grinding your teeth, or the day clenching your teeth when concentrating.


We have had a lot of success decreasing tension in the back by teaching clients to release the tension in their jaw.


Try this:

  • Gently massage your jaw in small circular movements – notice if there is any tension there
  • See if you can relax your jaw, even giving it a gentle wriggle side to side
  • If you have managed to release some jaw tension, try repeating the process until you feel it is much more relaxed
  • Try doing this a few times throughout the day, and before you go to sleep


If you would like to find out if your tight jaw might be an issue, book in to see one of our physiotherapists on 93997399. We use a combination of hands on treatment and exercise to help you relax.

-Blog by Alla Melman 25th Oct 2017

Top five exercises for looking after your back

August 2017

Top five exercises for looking after your back.

An article by Francine St George, extracted from



ABOUT 80 per cent of Australians will experience an episode of back pain at some point in their lives. In my physiotherapy practice, I see quite a range of back conditions in patients of all ages. In most cases, poor posture and tight muscles require attention, in addition to overall fitness levels.


Unfortunately there is no single, magical exercise that will ‘fix’ your back, but there are plenty of stretches you can do to relieve the little niggles and twinges that we all get, and to help protect your back and neck in the long term. Here are five of my favourites. Do them every day or as needed, and in order as described below or as individual exercises.


Read the full article, including 5 effective stretches:

Teenage Posture

21 September 2016

Teenage Posture


Growth spurts, screen time, slouching…. good posture is particularly challenging in the teenage years.


Did you know? One the last bones to finish growing is the collarbone? A slumped or slouched posture affects the shape of the spine and final shape of the adult skeleton.






Give your child the opportunity to see their avatar on a big screen!


We are offering FREE

3D Postural Assessment

30 Sept, 4 & 7 October 2016 in school holidays.

Bookings essential.

To book in for a posture screening and Teen Posture Pilates Class, call reception 9399 7399.

Headaches from running

Headaches from running


I recently treated a client with headaches that only came on when running. By working on her neck posture together with specific breathing cues, she is now able to run without triggering neck pain or headaches!


Have you ever thought about how you breathe? And how this could be related to neck pain or headaches?

You breathe 12-16 breaths per minute at rest. So that is 17,000 to 23,000 breaths each day! Any bad habits are multiplied manifold.


Running out of breath pic



The diaphragm, a sheet of muscle that contracts to draw air into your lungs, is controlled by nerves from your neck. So poor neck posture affects the efficiency of your main breathing muscle and makes you overuse your neck muscles to try get enough air in. This becomes a cycle of the neck muscles being overly tense with breathing and making it difficult to hold your neck in a good posture….so how do we break this cycle?

Physiotherapy can be immensely helpful. In my client’s case we used joint mobilisation, massage and acupuncture to allow her to relax the tense neck muscles. Then she could work on strengthening the posture muscles of her neck.


Becoming aware of your breathing pattern is the first step, try this exercise:


Breathing x's sketch



1. Sit up tall. Place one hand gently on your shoulder, and notice if your shoulder lifts up as you breathe. If it does, you are overusing your neck muscles. See if you can release tension in your neck, shoulders and jaw.


2. Next, place your hands on the outside of your ribcage. Can you feel much sideways movement at the ribcage? This is your diaphragm working, as the dome shape of the diaphragm flattens, the ribcage expands laterally. Then, place your hand on your abdomen. Can you feel much rising and falling movement here?


If you would like to see if your breathing pattern may be contributing to your neck pain or headaches, contact Alla on 9399 7399.


How to Prepare for a 50km Trek

How to Prepare for a 50km Trek


You’ve signed up for your first big trek, or perhaps you’re attempting round two. Either way, you’re in the perfect place. Our Physiotherapists, Clare and Alla, completed a fundraising walk for the Fred Hollows Foundation, walking 50km along Sydney’s gorgeous coastline from Coogee to Balmoral. Coastrek raised an amazing $2.5 million to treat preventable blindness around the world. If you are considering signing yourself up for an epic trek, here are their tips:


Event Preparation


One of their favourite exercises training for Coastrek is for Hip Stability


96 adv hip stability

  1. Tie a theraband around your ankles, so that there is some tension in the band when your feet are hip width apart
  2. Take a step sideways, and drop into a slight squat position, then return back. Your kneecap should be centred over the middle of your foot
  3. Alternate sides until you start to feel some fatigue in your glutes


  1. Practice stepping backwards 45 degrees
  2. Dropping down into a split squat position


Extra Challenge

  • Repeat the exercise sequence with your heels lifted, balancing on the balls of the feet


TIP: Strength in your glutes, quads and calves is key to successfully completing a long trek without injury. It is not just about the hours of pounding the pavement in training alone, but making sure you have strong muscles supporting your joints.


If you have difficulty maintaining good alignment of the pelvis, knees and ankles, you may need a physio assessment to outline specific stretches and strengthening exercises for your body

On the Day


Strapping tape

Have it with you and know how to use it. Many blister can be prevented with appropriate preventative taping. It can also work incredibly well when a particular muscle is starting to fatigue, to offload it and give some support. Your physio can teach you specific taping strategies for your body.



Proper hydration is essential in making it to the finish line. Electrolyte mix in you water bottle will keep you going and prevent cramping and dehydration.


Trekking poles

Are very useful for when your legs get tired. They allow your Latissimus Dorsi and Triceps muscles to assist in propulsion, taking the pressure off your knees and hips. We were very glad we packed ours for Coastrek.


For specific advice on training for your next event, or to assess your alignment and strength, contact PPFC on 9399 7399 to book in to see a Physio

Pelvic Health Problems? There’s an app for that!

PPFC supporting ‘World Continence Week 2016’ June 20-26


Pelvic floor probelms- (1)



Technology and smartphones are pretty incredible! How did we live without them?!


We have apps for pretty much everything. Need to find a good restaurant near-by? Want a fun school holiday activity to do with the kids? Jump straight on your smartphone and with a little searching you’ll find the answers right at your fingertips.


Pelvic health is no different. There are many apps available for people with pelvic problems or for general men’s and women’s health needs.  There are apps that can help patients with their pelvic problems and support or enhance their home exercise program.


Jessica Reale*, a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist in the USA, has put together a great list of apps on her blog and she has kindly given her permission to share them on our blog.


If you would like to discuss any of the information below, please contact our clinic to arrange an appointment with one of our Women’s Health physiotherapists.


02 9399 7399 /


Helpful Apps for Pelvic Floor



Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Plan
This app by the CFA has both a tracker to see weekly milestones during pregnancy, but also has great information on pelvic floor health. It includes the option to receive regular reminders to perform pelvic floor exercises.


Gentle Birth
This app promotes a positive pregnancy and birth experience. It includes mindfulness, breathing techniques, affirmations and hypnosis – combined with evidence based research. Customised programs based on the woman’s needs. Free for a sample program, then requires paid subscription.


Mind the Bump
Meditation app geared toward pregnancy/postnatal populations. Includes different meditations for different periods of time (first trimester-postpartum)


Pregnancy Exercise- Weekly Workout
This app by Oh Baby! Fitness, based out of Atlanta, includes a new exercise for every week of pregnancy based on pilates, yoga and strength training. 10 weeks is free, then $5 to unlock the rest of the weeks.


Rost Moves
This app provides recommendations for body mechanics/movement options when performing different regular home activities. It is especially great for new mums or pregnant women with pelvic girdle/low back pain.

pregnant woman

Pelvic Floor Exercises


This excellent app was designed by pelvic physiotherapists in the UK and is endorsed by the NHS. It allows for a personalized exercise program, has reminders, visuals and keeps a record.


Kegel Trainer
This app includes information on how to use pelvic floor muscles, and has various levels of exercise based on different contraction/relaxation intervals. It includes reminders and an exercise tracker. Free version includes first level, paid goes up to 15 levels.


Pelvic Floor First
This app is from the Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA).  It offers a nice progressive exercise routine for someone struggling with pelvic floor weakness (like we commonly see with urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and postpartum difficulties). The programs go from Starting Out (30 min), Moving On (40 min) to Stepping Up (50 min). Just be sure to chat with your Physio before you jump in the program.



Pelvic Pain/Relaxation Apps


RelaxLite with Andrew Johnson

A popular 10-15 min guided progressive relaxation. He has a paid version too with lots of additional upgrades – the free meditation is great.



Free version includes a free 10 minute meditation to teach basics of meditation. Upgrade provides access to lots of different meditation options. This app is a great way to start learning meditation.



Another great meditation app. Free version includes the ‘7 days of Calm’ introductory program to learn the basics of mindful meditation. It also includes access to soothing sounds to help relieve stress. Upgrade allows access to all of the different meditation programs (for sleep, calm, etc)


Insight Timer
Meditation community app, includes a timer to track meditation with different sound options, and includes over 1300 guided meditations. Also includes discussion groups and meet-up groups.


Binaural- Pure Binaural Beats
This app allows you to listen (use headphones) to various sounds to promote brain wave activity correlated with relaxation, meditation, problem solving and activity – all of the content is free.


Bladder/Bowel problems


Free version includes a tracker for pad usage and bladder leakage. Premium version includes options for interventions, pelvic floor exercises, a more detailed chart tracker, reminders, and options to send to your health care providers.


This app allows tracking of urinary frequency, volume, leakage, urgency level and fluid intake. It also allows results to be converted to a PDF so you are able to e-mail them to health care provider. App costs $1.99


Flush Toilet Finder
For those struggling with strong urinary or bowel urgency and/or incontinence, this app may become your best friend. It uses your location to quickly identify all of the public toilets/bathrooms nearby.


BM Classic
For those with bowel problems, this app not only allows you to track your bowel frequency and stool consistency (using the awesome Bristol Stool Scale), but also allows you to track stress level, water intake, and dietary habits. Could be a great resource for someone struggling with bowel problems.


Women’s Health


Paid versions only. Use this app to track periods, ovulation and fertility. Graphs of data can be exported to make showing your results to your practitioner easy. Lots of personalisation options too.


Period tracker that predicts dates for your next period, and also allows you to track symptoms such as pain, as it relates to your cycle.


My Days
This app tracks and predicts periods, ovulation and fertility. Also allows options to track basal metabolic temperature, cervical mucus and cervix for those trying to become pregnant.



*Extract from

How often do you stop and stretch?

How often do you stop and stretch?


The human body was made to move! We are definitely not meant to sit still for hours at a time. However, we are all guilty of sitting at screens for far too long without moving. It can be so easy to become engrossed in a task that we don’t realise how much time has actually passed.

Over time, this can lead to neck and back pain, as well as other injuries. Frequent stretch breaks (every 30-45mins) also ensure you stay more mentally alert and productive.


There are hundreds of apps out there to help remind you to move through the day.


Some software to consider:


Or for those that prefer a physical reminder, a vibrating activity tracker might be the way to go. The wristband will alert you if you are not moving enough, and encourage you to move to reset the inactivity timer.


But it can also be as simple as setting a reminder on you PC or phone to get up and move every 30 minutes. Get a glass of water. Walk and chat to a colleague instead of sending an email. Any excuse to move will benefit your body.


Exercises to try during your break:
  • Stretching the pectorals improves circulation to the hands and reduces neck and shoulder tension.


28a Pectoral release

28b pectoral release



Place your hand in the doorframe, keeping the elbow bent and pulling your shoulder blade down towards the floor. Slowly rotate your body away from your hand, to create a gentle stretch along the front of the chest. Progress this exercise by moving your hand further up the door to stretch the forearm. Hold for 20 seconds, release, and repeat on the other side.










  • To release tension in the upper back, cross your arms and put one hand on the outside of each knee. Pull back with your shoulder blades as you gently press the knees into your hands. Hold 15seconds, repeat 2-3 times. 16 sitting in chair, shoulderblade stretch
  • Eye exercises: simply looking out into the distance regularly is important in reducing screen related eye strain.



We all have tendencies to hold tension in different areas, so an individualised repertoire of exercises, determined by your physiotherapist is essential.

For advice on specific exercises you can do regularly at work, speak to your physiotherapist.


By Alla Melman, Physiotherapist

Running – Calf Exercises

Prepare to Run with these Calf Exercises


Calf tears are arguably the most common running injury. We sit all day, or walk in heels, and the calf muscles get tight. The extra load on the calf in running can lead to a tear. It feels like someone has hit you in the back of the leg, and that’s the end of your running for 4-6 weeks. Faulty foot mechanics can also cause tight calf muscles.


Start these simple tips and exercises to run better this season.


  1. Start your running slowly and avoid explosive bursts until you are warmed up.
  2. Look up when running hills, and shorten your stride a little.
  3. Increase your running rhythm and don’t overstride to increase your speed.
  4. If you are getting bruised toes or a bunion on your big toe, this is usually a sign that something is wrong. You may be overpronating. We can assist by offering stability exercises and changes to your footwear can correct overpronation. We can also advise if you need to see a Podiatrist.



Calf Raises114 calf raises2

  1. Start with your knees straight and raise yourself up onto tip toes, maintaining balance and posture. Then, lower your feet back down onto the ground. Don’t grip the floor your toes. Repeat 10-15 times.
  2. Stand on one leg, and repeat this exercises 10-15 times. Repeat on the other leg 10-15 times.
  3. Try this routine with your knees slightly bent.
  4. Once you are confident with these exercises, progress to raising yourself up fast and then lowering back down slowly.115 towel exercise2
  5. Make this exercise more challenging by doing the exercise on the edge of a step or with a rolled up towel under your toes.



  1. Stand in front of a mirror with one foot on the inside of the opposite thigh.78 stork position2
  2. Spread your arms our 90 degrees from your body.
  3. Engage your gluteals to maintain your posture.
  4. Once steady, slowly raise yourself up onto tip toes and then slowly lower back down.
  5. Maintain your balance, and repeat 10-15 times on each leg.




If you have an old chopping board and some large books or bricks, you can make an effective wedge to stretch your calf muscles.Calf stretch - wedge

  1. Angle the wedge down towards a wall. Stand with your back against the wall, and your feet up on the wedge.
  2. Hold this position for 1-3 minutes with your knees straight.
  3. Repeat with your knees bent a little.
  4. Turn your feet in a little to make this stretch a little more challenging.


If you’d like to have an assessment of your running biomechanics, improve your stability, speed or strength, please contact us on 02 9399 7399.


Alex Sherborne