Tag Archives: muscles

Ever wondered why Spinal Disc Decompression Works?

Let’s talk DISCS!

The negative pressure of decompression releases pressure that has built on the disc and nerves, allowing the herniated and bulging disc to eventually return to a normal position.

Decompression is truly the most effective for severe cases of herniation, degeneration pressure on the nerve root. We can treat your disc-related issues at our Physio clinic.

What is a Disc? What does a Disc do?

The disc consisting of a soft cartilage material that separates the spinal vertebrae.

The middle of the Disc is called the nucleus and the outer layer is called the annulus.

These discs act as shock absorbers BUT if a disc is injured it continues to degenerate and does not heal properly.

One of the amazing benefits of decompression is that it heightens the disc space and returns it to their normal size and function.

The term bulging disc (Disc Herniation) implies that a rupture or a tear of the ring shapedfibers occurs, allowing the spread of nucleur material beyond the verterbral margin.

The nuclear material may protrude out and cause a swelling of the outer annulus fibrosis or rupture through the annulus and push behind the back ligament.

The annular bulge or Disc bulge is a small disc herniation that does not directly contact the nerve root and left untreated can easily progress to more nuclear protrusion because of the loss of the annular fibers to contain the nucleus.

Spinal decompression treatments with us may help to effectively treat low back pain due to disc issues.

Do You Have Patellofemoral Pain?

Do You Have Patellofemoral Pain?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a broad term used to describe pain in the front of the knee and around the patella, or kneecap. It is sometimes called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee” because it is common in people who participate in sports—particularly females and young adults—but patellofemoral pain syndrome can occur in nonathletes, as well. The pain and stiffness it causes can make it difficult to climb stairs, kneel down, and perform other everyday activities.

Pain at the front of the knee and under the kneecap is a frequent complaint we see at Active Physio Health – this discomfort can be due to conditions such as fat pad impingement, patellar tendinopathy or more commonly – Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. In this article we will tell you more about knee pain and how to get rid of it.

The typical Patellofemoral Pain patient presents with a history of a generalised ache at the front of the knee, placing the palm of the hand directly over the kneecap to indicate the region of pain. The pain is often aggravated by running (especially downhill), stairs and sitting for prolonged periods with the knee bent- this is termed a positive “theatre sign” or “movie sign” with patients preferring to sit in the aisle seats to allow them to keep the knee extended during the performance.

Effective management of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome starts with a full physiotherapy assessment to identify the problem and outline the best course of treatment to get the patient back to full training and activities as soon as possible.

The initial stage of treatment  (as with most overuse injuries) is to actively control pain and inflammation – this is best achieved with a combination of ice, rest from aggravating activities, anti inflammatory medication and the use of Patellofemoral taping to reduce pressure on the injured joint.

An important component of the rehabilitation process is the need for an effective strengthening program to restore pre injury function. The majority of exercises should be performed pain free with close attention being paid to any post exercise pain and especially increased pain the morning after a rehabilitation session – the need for appropriate strengthening must be balanced with possible aggravation of symptoms.

The exact exercises chosen will depend on the severity of symptoms and will be guided by your physiotherapist but the majority of programs initially focus on isolating the VastusMedialis Obliques (the small muscle on the inside of the knee) to contract prior to the activation of the rest of the quadriceps group.

Other important components of a successful Patellofemoral Pain rehabilitation program will include specific stretching of the iliotibial band, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps, as well as effective (and sometimes uncomfortable) deep tissue massage of the ITB – this can also be augmented by the patient using a foam roller to “self massage” the lateral structures of the knee.

Many patients with Patellofemoral pain have issues relating to excessive subtalar pronation (flat feet) which can act to increase internal rotation of the lower limb contributing to alignment issues – these patients are often best treated with an individually moulded orthotic device placed in their shoes to assist in controlling foot function – ask your physiotherapist about our new gaitscan technology.

While patella femoral pain is a very common injury it is also very treatable and with the right combination of rehabilitation exercises, stretching and biomechanical correction the sufferer will be back to sport in next to no time.

Patellofemoral Pain

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of the most common knee complaints of both the young active sports person and the elderly.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the medical term for pain felt behind your kneecap, where your patella (kneecap) articulates with your thigh bone (femur). This joint is known as your patellofemoral joint.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is mainly due to excessive patellofemoral joint pressure from poor kneecap alignment, which in time, affects the joint surface behind the kneecap (retropatellar joint).

Patellofemoral pain symptoms are normally noticed during weight bearing or jarring activities that involve knee bending.  Stairs, squatting, kneeling, hopping, running or using stairs are commonly painful. As your patellofemoral pain syndrome progresses your knee will become painful while walking and then ultimately even at rest.  You can also experience kneecap pain when you are in sustained knee bend eg. sitting in a chair. A nickname for this condition is “movie-goers knee”.

As for the treatment, researchers have confirmed that physiotherapy intervention is a very effective short and long-term solution for kneecap pain.

Approximately 90% of patellofemoral syndrome sufferers will be pain-free within six weeks of starting a physiotherapist guided rehabilitation program for patellofemoral pain syndrome.

For those who fail to respond, surgery may be required to repair associated injuries such as severely damaged or arthritic joint surfaces.

The aim of treatment is to reduce your pain and inflammation in the short-term and then, more importantly, correct the cause to prevent it returning in the long-term.

There is no specific time frame for when to progress from each stage to the next. Your injury rehabilitation will be determined by many factors during your physiotherapist’s clinical assessment.

You’ll find that in most cases, your physiotherapist will seamlessly progress between the rehabilitation phases as your clinical assessment and function improves. It is also important to note that each progression must be carefully monitored as attempting to progress too soon to the next level can lead to re-injury and the frustration of a delay in your recovery.

For something that can be very painful and debilitating, it is very easily treated.

Seek help now by contacting us an organising an assessment.


Ergonomics is the science which has its focus on the “match” between people and their work environment. It puts people’s welfare first, taking account of their capabilities and limitations within the workplace.

The goal of ergonomics is to ensure that work tasks, equipment used, information and the environment suit each worker in order to maintain health and safety standards.

Why is Ergonomics Important? Ergonomic improvements are specific to the worker and their demands upon their body. The ergonomic demands of an office worker vary significantly from a manual job such as a labourer. An employee may be fit or physically capable for one occupation and not another. That’s the basic point, we’re all different shapes and sizes and our workplace setup and practices can vary on an individual basis.  This is where an ergonomic assessment for the individual worker is important.

Ergonomics can roughly be defined as the study of people in their working environment. More specifically, an ergonomist designs or modifies the work to fit the worker, not the other way around. The goal is to eliminate discomfort and risk of injury due to work. In other words, the employee is our first priority in analyzing a workstation.

So what tips can you put into practice straight away to improve your Ergonomics? This obviously depends on your environment. However, lets take a desk based worker. We see so many problems with these.

We recommend people have a good lumbar support. We also recommend that people have their monitor top at approximately eye level. Everything also needs to be symmetrical. If you spend 8 hours on the phone, try not to have the phone always on the same side. If you always use two monitors, don’t have one at 90 degrees to your sitting position. Otherwise you will get neck pain from looking one way over and over again.

We generally work on a rule of 90 degrees. Elbows 90 degrees, knee’s 90 degrees. We like these angles because naatomically it is not stressing our body. Try to implement these steps to ensure we are sitting in good posture.

However, last point, and probably the most important.


Move as much as you can.

Do not sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes at a time. Movement is key as we are not built to sustain any position for too long!

For further information about ergonomics and how we can improve your ergonomic setup, get in touch now!

Benefits of Dry Needling

Dry needling is a technique that is fast gaining appreciation within the physiotherapy world, with many practitioners throughout Australia now trained in the use of acupuncture needles to assist with their client’s pain and rehabilitation.

Dry needling is a unique procedure intended to specifically target and restore muscle function, with an emphasis on improving tissue healing and restoring normal tissue function. This is important as continued activity with poor muscle function may lead to further tissue damage and increased pain. Dry needling is not meant to replace conventional medical procedures such as physiotherapy or surgery. However, when combined with conventional treatment options, dry needling can be an influential method to accelerate pain reduction, healing and the restoration of normal tissue function.

The exact mechanisms of dry needling are complex and not fully known. However, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the positive effect inserting a needle has on the electrical and chemical communications that take place in our nervous system. These include inhibiting the transmission of pain signals in our spinal cord and increasing the release of our own pain relieving chemicals within our brains. The pain relieving effect of dry needling is gaining strong support in mainstream Western medicine, with public hospital systems now directly funding its use.

So the question is dry needling safe?

Dry needling is a very safe treatment. In the clinic we are trained in using a ‘clean’ technique, and only individually packaged, single use, sterile needles are used. The needles are very fine (.16-.30mm), and very rarely does any bleeding or bruising occur at the insertion site.

So what are the benefits of dry needling? Dry needling may provide relief for some muscular pain and stiffness. In addition, easing the trigger points may improve flexibility and increase range of motion. That’s why this method is often used to treat sports injuries, muscle pain, and even fibromyalgia pain. Dry needling, unlike acupuncture, does not have guidelines for practice.

Physio for Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is an overuse injury caused by a repetitive activity. Although common in racquet sports, it can also be seen in workplace injuries, particularly among painters, carpenters, and plumbers. According to research, typical signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and burning on the outside of the elbow and weak grip strength.

Symptoms develop over time and may gradually worsen over weeks or months. Nonsurgical treatment includes:

    • rest
    • ice
    • NSAIDS (such as Advil or Aleve)
    • exercise
    • ultrasound
    • bracing/compression
  • steroid injections

The first steps in treating tennis elbow are reducing inflammation and resting the irritated muscles and tendons. Ice and compression may also help reduce inflammation and pain. Once inflammation subsides, you can begin gentle exercises to strengthen the muscles of the forearm and prevent recurrence.

In addition, Tennis Elbow is an injury to the muscles that extend the wrist and fingers. The site of injury is typically the lateral epicondyle, a bony bump on the outside of the elbow where these muscles attach. Tennis Elbow symptoms that have lasted more than 6 weeks are considered to be sub-acute and beyond three months, as chronic tennis elbow.

The symptoms typically when the Tennis Elbow sufferer will experience pain when performing gripping tasks or resisted wrist/finger extension. Pain can also be present when the muscles are stretched. There will be tenderness directly over the bony epicondyle, and there may be trigger points in the wrist muscles.

Some sufferers will also have neck stiffness and tenderness, as well as signs of nerve irritation. Most elbow movements will be pain-free, despite that being the area of pain.

Physiotherapy has been shown to be effective in the short and long-term management of tennis elbow. Physiotherapy aims to achieve the following:

    • Reduction of elbow pain.
    • Facilitation of tissue repair.
    • Restoration of the normal joint range of motion and function.
    • Restoration of normal muscle length, strength and movement patterns.
    • Normalisation of your upper limb neurodynamics.
  • Normalisation of cervical joint function.

There are many ways to achieve these and, following a thorough assessment of your elbow, arm and neck, your physiotherapist will discuss the best strategy for you to use based on your symptoms and your lifestyle. Results are typically measured through patient feedback and measurement of pain-free grip strength.

Physiotherapy treatment can include gentle mobilisation of your neck and elbow joints, electrotherapy, elbow kinesio taping, muscle stretches, neural mobilisations, massage and strengthening. There is also evidence to suggest utilising a tennis elbow brace around the elbow will reduce your symptoms and help you recover quicker.

If you are struggling with elbow pain or think you have tennis elbow, we can accurately diagnose and treat your condition.

Physio for Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy is a disorder of the musculoskeletal system that is typified by progressive weakening of various muscle groups. This disorder has many genetic presentations giving rise to its different types and forms.

The role of medication and corrective surgeries is very well known as part of management of muscular dystrophy. Physiotherapy is a therapeutic science that makes use of manual skills and thermal modalities to correct the deviations from normal health process. Muscular dystrophy will reduce peoples independence. Reduction in strength, function, and mobility, can all be improved in some form in Physiotherapy.  Our Physiotherapists will set achievable targets and work towards these goals with the individual and family. By achieving smaller regular goals, bigger goals such as mobility will be improved.

Muscular dystrophy is an inherited disorder. Mutations in the genetic structure lead to disruption in the sarcolemma structure of the muscle fibre. A protein complex, dystrophin-glycoprotein, is responsible for binding together all the muscle fibres in a muscle group. Genetic mutations as a result of inheritance or defective development during embryonic stage disrupts these complexes and henceforth make the musculoskeletal system of human body susceptible to dystrophic/atrophic changes.

Now what is the role of Physiotherapy in muscular dystrophy? The main goal of physiotherapy in patients with MD is to maintain the available function in their limbs and attain maximum possible improvement in the associated disabilities. This would help the patient attain a socially functional status so that he/she can function in the surroundings, of their own accord, bringing about a sense of independence in the patients.

There are several therapeutic practices that could help patients with MD and those therapeutic practices, it is the duty of the physiotherapist to counsel the patient about what his/her condition is and how he/she may expect to change in the course of the disease. The parents/guardians/caretaker should be enlightened about the progressive and degrading condition of the disease and the fatality of the condition if applicable. They should be explained the necessity of the physiotherapy regime that needs to be followed back at home as well after one or two sessions under the physiotherapist´s supervision. Results are not achieved just in the Physiotherapy sessions, therefore it is essential for exercises and routines to be kept outside the clinic, in the individuals own environment which they function.

If you know someone who struggles with MD, get in touch to see if we can help.

Physio for Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a condition of the brain and nervous system. It is caused by abnormal development or injury that occurs in the developing brain of a baby during pregnancy, birth or as a young child. The affected area of the brain is unable to form the correct instructions and messages to send to the related area of the body for appropriate activity or movement.

Cerebral Palsy affects body movement, muscle control, coordination and tone, as well as reflexes, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. Also covers any amount of damage to any part of the brain, and therefore symptoms and treatment vary dramatically depending on the individual.

Physiotherapy (PT) is an important part of managing cerebral palsy (CP). It usually starts soon after diagnosis. It may begin earlier, depending on the symptoms. Some people with CP continue physiotherapy throughout their lives, especially those with severe physical disabilities.

Also Physiotherapy plays a central role in managing this condition. Physiotherapists will assess the child and record and monitor their development.

As part of a tailored treatment plan, they will teach the child how to control their head movements and how to sit, roll, crawl and walk, encouraging normal motor development and function. Their treatment will also strive to prevent and inhibit abnormal reflexes and patterns of movement.

The goals of physiotherapy are to:

    • Foster independence by improving functional mobility.
    • Strengthen and encourage the growth of muscles.
    • Improve the ability to move all parts of the body.
  • Prevent joints from becoming tight or permanently bent (contracted).

Physiotherapists provide exercises for patients to improve functional mobility, encourage muscle growth and prevent joints from becoming permanently contracted. They may also provide adaptive techniques and special equipment for the patient to more easily perform day-to-day tasks.

Typically, parents (and other member of the family) are involved in therapy and taught home exercises and strategies to help their child keep muscles strong and joints flexible.

Physiotherapy also may include the use of:

    • Special positions, exercises, and cushions to help keep a child in a more natural position.
    • Braces, casts, and splints to help straighten and support the child’s joints. These devices also may help manage uncontrolled limb movements.
    • Scooters, wheelchairs, and other devices for increased mobility.
    • A special plastic jacket that is individually moulded to prevent the spine from curving more. Curves in the spine (scoliosis) sometimes develop in teens with cerebral palsy.
  • Equipment for constraint-induced movement therapy, also called shaping. This approach encourages a child to increase movements through presenting interesting activities or objects and giving praise and rewards when a child makes attempts to use the less-functioning muscles.

For children, treatment for Cerebral Palsy primarily aims to increase mobility and promote physical development such as sitting, crawling and walking. Treatment should be started early and should aim to continue on a regular basis. Every child with Cerebral Palsy presents differently and has different needs.

Some of the physiotherapy treatments we offer aim to:

    • Increase muscle strength and activation
    • Decrease muscles tightness and spasms through stretching programs and splinting techniques
    • Encourage physical development through play and everyday activities
  • Improve mobility with the use of different aids

For adults, treatment is aimed at improving muscle activation and control and improving functional abilities. Specialist services for adults with Cerebral Palsy are often less widely available than those for children.  Every individual with Cerebral Palsy presents with different symptoms, needs and priorities depending on their age and the extent of the damage to the brain. Each individual will be assessed by their therapist and have treatment tailored to their needs and goals.

Some of the physiotherapy treatments we offer can help to:

    • Increase muscle strength through strengthening and mobilisation exercises
    • Minimise abnormal patterns of movement through re-alignment and activation of muscles
    • Improve postural alignment through mobilisation and strengthening
    • Improve balance and mobility through assessment of different seating and mobility aids and postural  re-education
    • Increase sensation through sensory stimulation
    • Reduce muscle stiffness, spasms and pain through stretching programmes
    • Reduce the risk of falls through balance work, gait re-education and training
    • Help reduce foot drop through functional electrical stimulation (FES) and various orthotics
  • Increase independence and quality of life through management of positioning in bed and seating

With the new NDIS, many people now have access to funding which can be utilised for Physiotherapy services to improve their independence.

If you know someone who has Cerebral Palsy, get in touch now to see how we can help!


Headaches happen to everyone, and everyone hates them. They can be mild or severe, they can be all over your head or radiate from one side. Whatever they are, they’re the worst. They make simple tasks seem insurmountable and make even a great day miserable.

What you might not realize is that different types of headaches come from different causes, and that means they can be reduced in different was, even at least just a little, if you know what’s causing the pain. Just like with any other part of your body, you can learn the habits of headaches, and have a better idea of how to make them hurt less, as well as how to avoid them in the future with some simple changes. There are actually several types of headaches. The most common are migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. They can be the result of illness, injury, or a problem elsewhere in the body. They can also occur from stress and emotional tension, overexertion, or even dietary issues. In addition, there are primary and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are annoying and painful, but are harmless. A secondary headache is a symptom of another problem, and can be anything from harmless to dangerous. These are much, much less common.

In medical terms, Headache is a pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or backache, has many causes. All headaches are considered primary headaches or secondary headaches. Primary headaches are not associated with other diseases. Examples of primary headaches are migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches.

Physical treatment is not always the first thing people consider for a headache. However, physiotherapy treatment for tension headaches can produce some great results. Especially, where medication and other treatment has failed. Most experts now accept that some forms of headache are caused by problems in the upper spine. These are called Cervicogenic headaches or tension headaches.

These occur when tension and muscle in the upper back and neck are a contributing factor. Physiotherapy can be very effective in helping to relieve symptoms in this type. This type of treatment can also be a great way to identify and eliminate the cause.

So how Physiotherapy can help? Massage techniques and joint manipulations administered can a very effective treatment for tension headaches. Physiotherapists can then use a range of techniques to restore movement and help maintain good posture in the upper spine. They can provide short-term symptom relief, but also long term prevention strategies which will help you reduce and manage your headaches long term.


Are you experiencing Vertigo? If you’ve experienced dizziness for no obvious reason, you may have suffered with vertigo. If you felt like you’re on a roller coaster while you’re walking down the street or sitting in your office, then you might have vertigo. Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness that is typified by the sudden sensation like the world around you is spinning. In simplest form, vertigo is a sense of movement when a person is standing or sitting still. It’s the feeling of being off balance, like you or the world around you is spinning, even when you are standing completely still. Vertigo may be so mild that it’s barely noticeable, or it may be so severe that it affects your balance and even makes you vomit.

Often people find that when lying down, their vertigo symtpoms are worse. Also when rapidly rotating or tilting the head whilst the body is still, can worsen symptoms. Many different conditions can cause vertigo, and each condition may need different physical treatment.

The feeling can come and go or it can last for hours or days. Along with the dizziness, people may also experience nausea or vomiting, headaches, double vision or a racing heartbeat. According to research, vertigo can be a once-in-a-lifetime thing that comes and goes quickly, and should not normally be cause for alarm. “It just happens,” which means to say it’s uncontrollable but fixable.

Moreover, based on the research Vertigo may range from mild to severe, may last anywhere from a few minutes to several days or more, and may include:

    • Dizziness
    • Loss of balance
    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Sweating
    • Ringing in the ears 
  • Unusual or jerking eye movements (called nystagmus)

There are several available treatments for vertigo, all depending on the severity of the attacks, One example of this is Canalith Repositioning Procedures, this treatment is helpful. This works by shifting crystals from the inner ear and moving them out of the canal, so they can be absorbed by the body. Our expert Physiotherapists are trained in this and can help improve symptoms. Some people experience a 100% improvement of symptoms within just 3 days. Others, it can take slightly longer, up to 90% of clients report an improvement within just 3 sessions.

So if a person does experience any of these symptoms, contact us now!