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Townsville Physio Blog

Townsville Physio Blog

Pilates as Physiotherapy: Why You Should Try It

Pilates as Physiotherapy: Why You Should Try It

Physiotherapy is the assessment and treatment of injury, chronic disease, persistent pain and can assist in the maintenance of your general health and well-being.  There are many different treatment techniques including therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, soft tissue mobilisation (massage) and dry needling.  Of these techniques, exercise is one of the most utilised modalities by physiotherapists.  Exercise can be used to strengthen your body, improve mobility and retrain your muscles to assist your recovery from injury and to optimise your general function. Pilates is a gentle style of exercise that Physiotherapists often prescribe.  There are benefits both for the rehabilitation of injury, but also to help assist the prevention of injury occurring in the future. What Is Pilates? Motion is lotion!  Getting the body moving is one of the best things you can do to balance the demands of our modern lifestyle. Pilates is a low-impact exercise that can improve quality of movement, strength and flexibility.  It is an exercise that is suitable to be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.  Your physiotherapist can adapt your Pilates program to accommodate any health or mobility concerns.  Pilates particularly good option for pre and post-natal exercise, older adults and rehabilitation post cancer treatment. Pilates can assist with: Posture Core stability Balance and coordination Flexibility Alignment Breathing patterns Movement Persistent Pain As a regular exercise, Pilates can improve general health and wellbeing through increased body awareness, posture control and a stronger, more mobile body. Pilates Into Physiotherapy: Is It Effective? There have been several clinical studies and research on the effects of Pilates on patients in need of physiotherapy, particularly among those who are experiencing chronic back pain. A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science concluded that Pilates exercises do offer relief and functional enhancement among patients with chronic lower back pain.  A more recent published review (Cíntia Domingues de Freitas, 2020) has concluded that Pilates can help to reduce the fear of movement that often results as a consequence of low back pain.  Improving confidence with movement can significantly reduce the disability associated with persistent back pain and will help to get you back to doing the things you love.  Although there’s more room for research and recommendations for Pilates as physiotherapy, rest assured that we prescribe safe and effective programs at NQ Physio Solutions. All of our pilates programs are carefully planned and calibrated to give you maximum benefits and to supplement any ongoing medical treatment or therapy. Our physiotherapy clinic in Townsville, Queensland, welcomes walk-ins and referrals for clinical Pilates. Is Pilates Safe for Everyone? A common question that we get from people who’re interested in doing Pilates for the first time is whether it’s safe for them to do a wide range of exercises when they’re experiencing pain or are recovering from an injury.  Generally, when adapted to your individual needs, pilates is a safe and gentle exercise suitable for most people.  Our pilates trained physiotherapists will complete a thorough assessment of your individual needs to ensure that pilates is an appropriate exercise for you. If you have any further questions or are interested in starting Pilates, Get in touch with NQ Physio Solutions today. View our Pilates Class Timetable Cíntia Domingues de Freitas, D. A. (2020). Effects of the pilates method on Kinesiophobia with chronic non-specific low back pain: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 300-306.

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The Pelvic Floor

The Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor's role in your core and more.... The pelvic floor muscles run from your pubic bone at the front of your pelvis to your tailbone at the base of your spine and extends out to your sitting bones either side. Picture it like a hammock supporting your pelvic organs – bladder, uterus (in females) and bowel. Therefore, you can imagine that there is an underlying level of activity in these muscles throughout the day until you lie down and the weight of our organs and gravity is no longer on this area These muscles also work closely with our deepest abdominal muscle (transverse abdominus), small muscles supporting spinal segments (multifidus) and our diaphragm. This group of muscles form our ‘deep core’ which provides support to our spine and pelvis. When working effectively the pelvic floor also contributes to: Maintaining continence of our bladder and bowel Sexual function Relaxing to allow us to empty our bladder and bowel Relaxing to allow women to birth a baby during labour Unfortunately there are times when the pelvic floor isn’t working optimally. In some people these muscles weaken due to a number of possible reasons including excessive weight gain, straining to empty bowels or trauma during pregnancy or childbirth. This can lead to symptoms such as incontinence, back and pelvic pain or pelvic organ prolapse. In some people we see that these muscles are actually holding too much tension, such as when our shoulders and neck tense up during times of stress. In this scenario, pelvic floor muscle strengthening could potentially worsen symptoms such as pelvic pain, poor emptying of bladder or bowels or sexual dysfunction. Therefore, it is important that you are able to contract and relax your pelvic floor well. If you’d like to know more about whether your pelvic floor function could be contributing to your back pain, or bladder/bowel symptoms we are here to help! See below for a short video about the pelvic floor from the Continence Foundation of Australia.

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Foam rolling – is it worth the pain?

Foam rolling – is it worth the pain?

There has been an explosion of foam rollers into the market over recent years, and I am sure that you have a family member touting their benefits. BUT, are they really worthy all that pain and discomfort? Well there has been numerous studies of late investigating the value of the foam roller use over the last decade with mixed results. An extensive literature review by Schroeder & Best (2015) examined the current evidence for the use of foam roller self-myofascial release (SMR) techniques highlighted mixed results on pre-exercise, maintenance and recovery. Results showed that there was benefit increased range of motion across most of the studies, and increased function physical testing across several studies and a notable decrease in reported post exercise muscular soreness. However, most importantly, no negative effects were observed throughout the literature review. “How long do I have to do this for?!” - The most common question yelled at me whilst patients are enjoying their first roller experience. Unfortunately, the jury is out. However, the good news is that across all of the articles reviewed, the most consistent timing appeared to be blocks of 1 minute x 3 repetitions (with 30 second breaks in between). On the studies whose protocols involved sessions routines of under 30 seconds and over 10 minutes showed decreased benefits in comparison. This timing instruction might not be perfect just yet, but it’s a start. So, the takeaway message is that there is benefits in exercise performance and recovery, with no negative impacts despite the initial pain, for a routine that only needs to last for 3 minutes. So maybe don’t give up on that roller just yet and slowly introduce it into your pre-exercise and recovery sessions to help you stay active and healthier for longer. References:Schroeder, A., & Best, T. (2015). Is Self Myofascial Release an Effective Preexercise and Recovery Strategy? A Literature Review. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 14(3), 200-208.

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Pain

Pain

Pain is a truly interesting concept. Like emotions, it is purely individual to a person. It can be hard to describe at times and everyone will have a unique experience, even if they have a similar injury. But, why is that? There have been great leaps forward in pain science over the last decade and we are beginning to understand its mechanisms more than ever. We now know that pain is signal that is designed to alert our bodies to potential tissue damage but there is no direct link to the amount of pain we can experience to the amount of damage that may occur. Imagine a papercut. It is extremely painful but there is only minor damage to your body, but you can also break bones and not experience any significant pain initially. Our bodies are constantly deciphering information to assess if it could harm us and how we each experience pain is controlled by several factors. Our body structures, immune systems, environments and even our emotions contrite to the pain experience. There are even conditions which you can develop where you experience quite a lot of pain from something that shouldn’t normally cause pain. So next time you roll your ankle or feel a “twinge” in your back, just remember that you may not have hurt yourself as bad as you may think. Also, if you have been dealing with an area of pain for a long time, popping pills and resting on the couch can be doing you more harm then good! So, make an appointment with one of our great Physio’s to find how to better manage your pain and get back to doing the things you love.

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