Tag Archives for " painslayers "

Is Chronic Pain creating Obesity?

In my 31 years of practice as a physiotherapist it has been obvious that there could be a link between obesity and chronic pain. It could be any pain but clinically I have noticed that spinal pain or lower limb pain may contribute more than other areas.

Chronic pain can be classified as pain lasting more than 6 months. Acute pain that has not been resolved will turn into chronic pain. Continuing to exercise through pain without proper modifications or actually doing nothing but complete rest with an injury can mean your pain may turn into a chronic condition.

I am going to focus more on the inactive person in pain. It is essential that after an injury or episode of pain that there is a gradual return to normal movement. Often when we focus on the pain too much we experience a heightened level of pain. Add to that painkillers and our body is unable to resolve the pain naturally. Now I am not saying to not take painkillers if you require them but often people in pain will continue to take painkillers when they should be weaning off. Some painkillers can be addictive and stopping taking them can make us think that the pain returns worse than it was before because we have become so reliant on them.

So you injure your lower back and your GP says to go home and rest, lie down and do nothing. This may be helpful for the first 24 hours but you must get up and move. Resting after injury means Relative Rest and not complete Rest.  Relative rest means that we continue to move as much as the pain allows. This movement actually helps with the healing process. As our pain lessens we then should be learning to activate muscles correctly that may have been inhibited by our pain. Retraining the muscles to work in the correct way and in co operation with other muscles is essential for normalising movement and actually helps to reduce pain.

So we can see that resting completely will not help us to get rid of our pain. If we think about the person who after injury stops moving and rests completely, they never learn how to reactivate the correct muscles and so they cannot possible move efficiently. They become tight and weak in muscles because of their inactivity and so this causes more Pain! It becomes a vicious cycle and starts to affect mental wellbeing also. People with pain as a result of inactivity can often become depressed.

Depressed people often turn to food as it gives them immediate comfort. When being inactive there is not much else to do but eat and sometimes even drinking alcohol can become a problem. Screen time often increases also. You may have heard the term that "Sitting is the new Smoking”. Well it is true. Sitting all day can lead to Obesity!

So if you experience Pain. Make sure that you see a Physiotherapist experienced in not just helping you to relieve your pain but getting your body working optimally again so that you can get back to enjoying your life.

Nobody wants to be Fat and in Pain. Lets make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Thanks Angela.

Written by Angela Melit of the Pain Slayers at Graceville Physiotherapy

6 Ways to transform your body from a Tech Wreck into a Strong Healthy Active Body

If you have a mobile phone, laptop or tablet and you get neck, upper back or lower back pain chances are you may be a Tech Wreck. I call a Tech Wreck any neck pain that is caused by using these pieces of technology.

In my practice we see many clients showing signs of Tech Wreck.  Susan is a client of ours who comes to mind.  Susan is a Tech Wreck! Susan is a professional in her late 20’s. She spends most of her day on her computer for work. She has deadlines that she has to meet and so can spend up to 3 hours at a time without getting up from her desk.

Susan is also into Facebook, Instagram and Snap chat. She belongs to many Facebook groups for work and to catch up with other special interest groups and loves to post to her friends on Instagram and Snap chat. She texts a lot on her mobile phone as her friends communicate this way also.

When we first met Susan we looked at her posture. She looked overweight, had hunched shoulders and her chin poked forward. We stood her up against the wall and her head did not reach the wall without her tipping her head back. Her stomach poked out also and her knees rolled in.

Susan was getting constant headaches and at the end of the day she was always exhausted and this was starting to impact on her social life. She had pain turning her head and looking up and it was also affecting her sleep. Many of you could be in the same boat if any of this resonates with you.

We decided that Susan would benefit from our “BodyFix” program. We empowered Susan to take her health into her own hands. Susan became the instigator of her program and we became the facilitators. Susan was taught how her body should work so that she could then make important decisions on what she did with her body during the day.

First of all we relieved Susan’s pain and helped her to understand where her pain was coming from. This way she was empowered to eliminate the causes.

Susan asked for a stand up desk that would allow her to stand up while on the computer and because it was adjustable she could lower it to sit for some periods of time also.  She no longer looked down at her screen but looked straight ahead. She used eye drops to help her avoid getting eye strain from too much screen time.

Susan decided to limit her time on her tablet and mobile phone to 10 mins at a time. She used an alarm to tell her when her 10 minutes was up. She could always go back to it later on for another 10 minutes after a short break.

Her life was starting to get back in order and she was feeling strong and confident about her future. We taught her self massage techniques to use when she was starting to feel any strain and she had a list of stretches that she performed daily to counteract the tightness in her muscles. We also gave Susan a strengthening program to start with. Using this as a starting point Susan was then able to find the right exercises for her. Susan was confident in attending gym classes as she now knew what her body could do and what she liked to do.

Susan would come in every 4 to 5 weeks or so for a tweaking of her “BodyFix” program so that we could then teach her more about her body and keep her feeling Strong , Healthy and Active, and also to get on top of any niggles that could potentially turn into problems later on.

Interestingly when we first saw Susan she looked overweight and sluggish. A few weeks into her program she no longer looked overweight. She had transformed into a picture of Health and Vitality. She was actually never overweight at all she just looked it because of her poor posture.

Here are the 6 ways that Susan transformed herself from a Tech Wreck into a person bursting with Health, Strength and Vitality.

Use of a Neck Tek

As soon as Susan felt any inkling of a headache coming on she would lie on her Neck Tek, which I also call the headache remover. If your headache is a result of neck strain then this simple device corrects the muscle action (BodyFix). It will even work if you just lie in it for 10 minutes and do nothing as it corrects body position and facilitates the correct muscles to work.

Susan did not sit or stand at her computer for more than an hour at a time. She had an alarm to tell her when to get up and/or move . This then stops the accumulation of stress in certain muscles.

Susan limited her mobile phone and tablet usage to 10 mins at a time

Susan performed specific neck stretches gently every hour to stop accumulation of tension in muscles

Susan performed specific posture strengthening exercises every morning and night which only took her 5 minutes to do. This then got her muscles ready to take on the load she was going to put on them during the day.

Susan made the decision on which exercise she would do because she knew her body better than anyone else.

In this day and age every single person needs their own “BodyFix” program because everybody deserves to have a Strong, Healthy Active body.

Come and see a Pain Slayer for your BodyFix program.

3 steps to get you back into running after having a baby

I am sure that if you are a runner or were a runner and have recently had a baby you would be aware that a high profile trainer (Michelle Bridges) was back running just 3 weeks after having her first baby. Michelle seems like Super Woman and all of us would like to be like her! Why would her pelvic floor be different than ours? Surely we can all run 3 weeks after giving birth also.

Meet OUR Michelle...

Let me introduce you to a client of mine. Her name is Michelle also. Michelle had her first baby at 30 years of age. She used to run for fitness a couple of times a week and play touch football once a week. Michelle ran while she was pregnant up until she was about 6 months, however she stopped because she started to get some lower abdominal pain and started to get some leakage after running more than 2kms. She always found that other forms of exercise just didn’t do it for her so after having her baby she was keen to start running as soon as she could. Michelle had no complications during the birth except for a small vaginal tear which needed 2 stitches and healed quickly. She had some urinary incontinence immediately after birth which lasted about a week. She noticed it when she laughed, coughed or sneezed. Because she had no problems with any leakage after a few weeks Michelle thought that her pelvic floor was back to normal.

Michelle had her abdominals checked for separation after birth and was told that she had only one finger separation between her muscles. Because she only had slight separation she was told that there was no need to wear any form of support garment.

Our Michelle decided if Michelle Bridges could start running again so soon after giving birth, so could she. She was fit and healthy and so decided when her baby was 4 weeks old that she would start running just 2km.

What happened after Michelle started running?

After her first run Michelle felt a little “weird” in the lower back but did not think much of it. Two days later she went for another run, however once again she felt a little uncomfortable. With Michelle Bridges as her motivation she decided to keep going however during her third 2km run she started to get some lower back pain and felt that weird sensation come around into her abdominals. She also noticed that she had some leakage. She started to realise that the running may be causing the pain.

Michelle was really disappointed as she really wanted to be able to run. It was an exercise she loved doing and importantly it a great stress reliever for her. With worries about her lack of fitness, weight gain and the stress of being a new mum, it wasn’t long before the whole family unit suffered. She felt unhealthy, unfit and fat.

Michelle happened to see one of our posts on Facebook about getting back into shape after having a baby and thought that one of our “Body Fix” programs could work for her. Michelle booked in for an appointment. We helped Michelle develop a plan which directed her towards her end goal of being able to run again without damaging anything in the process. She could see that there was light at the end of the tunnel!

Initially we were able to work out that Michelle needed to strengthen certain muscles, relax other muscles and allow her pelvic region to heal before embarking on an exercise program involving running. We gave Michelle a step by step program and educated her so that she was empowered to make decisions about her plan that suited her best.

What happened after the birth of her baby?

Six months after the birth of her baby, Michelle was able to run 3 times a week. Now 6 months seems a long time to wait but Michelle was running better than she had been running even before her pregnancy. Her body was working efficiently, she had a strong core and a strong pelvic floor. She even started to play touch football again.  Michelle was happy that she could eat without feeling concerned about putting on weight, her husband was thrilled because she was so happy and her baby thrived because his mum had plenty of energy and spent a lot of time playing with him. Everybody benefited because Michelle did not settle for being in pain, being unfit and depressed.

  • Number 1. See a physiotherapist who will work out exactly what is happening, what is weak, what is tight etc.
  • Number 2. Work out exactly where you want to be, that is running 3 times a week etc.
  • Number 3. Build a plan with your physiotherapist that you have control over and that they facilitate to get you back to what you love doing.

What would you like to achieve after the birth of your baby?

 It may not be running, it might just be getting Strong Active and Pain free.

You can book an appointment with a Pain Slayer online or call 32781186. 


Because Pain Slayers believe that everybody deserves to be Strong Active and Pain free.

7 Tips For Women on Staying Strong and Healthy at Any Age

It is essential these days to maintain strength and health. We are all living longer and what is the point of a long life if we are plagued by health issues.

We as physiotherapists here at Pain Slayers, also known as Graceville Physiotherapy, believe that it does not need to be difficult to maintain and improve your health.

We have decided that there are 7 ways that you can help to remain strong and healthy at any age or stage of your Life.

Angela Melit | Principal Physiotherapist at Graceville Physiotherapy

No. 1 - Get Moving

Any movement is better than no movement.

Even if you are unwell it is beneficial to have a walk around your house or yard than to sit and do nothing. If you are so unwell that you are in bed or a recliner move whatever you can while you are in that position.  

Moving your feet backwards and forwards helps to promote blood flow through the legs and prevents blood clots. Lifting your arms up overhead helps to prevent shoulder and upper back stiffness. Squeezing your butt cheeks helps you to remain strong when standing.

Try not to get into the habit of letting your family do everything for you. Do as much as you can yourself. 

No. 2 - Do not sit for more than 30 minutes at a time

Sitting is the new smoking!

Sitting may be required for certain tasks but it is essential that you get up every 30 mins if you need to do a lot of sitting.

2 minutes of walking around after 30 minutes of sitting can negate all of the issues that can arise from sitting too much. Sitting causes us to become weak in our bottom or gluteal muscles which are essential for standing and prevent lower back pain. When you are watching TV don’t skip through the ads if you are watching something recorded. When the ads are on get up and move around a bit, your body will love you for it.

Sitting also puts more pressure on lower back structures. Ever wondered why it is hard to straighten up when you have been sitting? Your muscles and tissues have a memory and if you sit a lot it is more difficult to straighten up your back and hips after sitting. This should be reason in itself to avoid the sitting posture for too long.

Number 3 - Maintain a strong pelvic floor

Pelvic Floor muscles are one of the most important group of muscles in the body.

Maintaining a strong Pelvic Floor may not be as difficult as you might think but you first need to understand why it is necessary. 

Everybody knows that if our Pelvic Floor is weak we may experience some bowel or bladder incontinence. Our Pelvic Floor is like a hammock of muscles that hold all of our internal organs inside our abdominal cavity. When we contract or lift up through the pelvic floor we lift the abdominal organs up and this can help to prevent prolapse of some of these organs. Our pelvic floor muscles also support our lower back. Activation of the pelvic floor tilts the coccyx/tail bone and therefore sets up the lower spine in an optimal position for stability.

How to correctly engage your pelvic floor muscles

Strengthening your Pelvic Floor can be done during the day during your normal activities. Every time you lift, reach for something, push something or pull something think about breathing out and lifting up through the pelvic floor as if you are trying to stop yourself from urinating. This will get your pelvic floor working the way it should during your everyday activities. The heavier the item you need to lift the more you need to lift up through the pelvic floor. If you know that you have a weak pelvic floor it is essential that you do not lift anything more than 5 kgs as it can result in lower back pain.

Tips to protect your pelvic floor muscles

  • 1
    Sometimes we can mistakenly think that bracing our abdominals helps with our core strength but it is often this that causes our pelvic floor to become weak. Bracing the abdominals can result in holding the breath, increasing the intra-abdominal pressure and this then causes a big downward pressure onto the pelvic floor group of muscles stretching it and resulting in weakness.
  • 2
    Excessive coughing and sneezing cause pressure on the pelvic floor and can often lead to weakness and incontinence. A handy tip is to move your ribs to your hips while coughing and sneezing. This will lessen the downward pressure on the pelvic floor.
  • 3
    Straining on the toilet is one of the main reasons why women can do damage to their pelvic floor. Try to lean forward and have your knees a little higher than your hips when using the toilet.  A small foot stool is all that is needed to ensure correct positioning. You can also use a pack of unopened toilet paper to put your feet up on. Drinking plenty of water and fibre rich foods also will help. Avoiding medications with codeine in them is also a good idea as these medications cause constipation and often result in poor pelvic floor function.

No. 4 - Maintain strong bones with load-bearing exercise

It is necessary to load the bones and joints for them to keep strong. Any weight bearing exercise will keep those bones strong and help prevent osteoporosis. It is not always necessary to hold hand weights to do this.

Modified push ups on a bench is great for loading up the upper back, shoulders and arm bones,

Walking is great for loading up the hip joints, lower back and leg bones. Actually walking is one of the best forms of exercise around. It is particularly good for people with lower back pain as long as the pain does not worsen during the walk.

Load bearing exercise also helps to keep the pelvic floor strong as long as there is no straining involved. It is well known in the physiotherapy field that people doing a lot of weights, high impact exercise and dancers can all have poor pelvic floor function.

No. 5 - Maintain good balance and posture

Balance exercises are essential to prevent falls and keep you mobile. In fact they also help to keep your pelvic floor strong. If your balance is off your pelvic floor is usually weak also.

Good balance requires good activation of your core muscles and the ability to hold a good posture. Good balance also ensures that you look good. You hold your posture upright and tall and keep your tummy in when your balance and posture is good.

This can also help to make you look younger and who wouldn't like this!

Balance exercises are easy to do while you are in the kitchen cooking dinner, making a cup of tea, when you get up out of bed etc.

Number 6 - Exercise with a friend

Exercising with a friend usually means that you become more accountable and are less likely to stop exercising.

We are usually more likely to let ourselves down than let a friend or group of friends down.

Setting aside certain times during the week when you meet up with a friend to go for a walk or having a group class that you attend every week is a great way of ensuring that you keep up the exercise.

It is also very important socially and mentally that you maintain contact with other women.

How else are you going to unload some of the pressures that you might be feeling without being judged?! Everyone needs to complain about their partner or family occasionally and women friends are the best to vent to. They usually have a similar story so we learn that everyone has similar issues. This combined with physical exercise is essential for overall health and well being.

No. 7 - Do these simple exercise 3 times everyday

  • 1
    Sit to stand out of your chair 10 times trying not to use your arms. As you stand up squeeze your butt cheeks together and stand very tall.
  • 2
    Stand with your legs pressed together and while keeping your heels together raise up and down on your toes. Do this 10 times keeping your heels together and thinking about lifting through the pelvic floor muscles as you come up onto your toes also. You can do this holding on if you need to.
  • 3
    Stand with your legs pressed together and while keeping your heels together raise up and down on your toes. Do this 10 times keeping your heels together and thinking about lifting through the pelvic floor muscles as you come up onto your toes also. You can do this holding on if you need to.
  • 4
    Stand holding onto the kitchen bench or your desk. Lower your body down towards the bench/desk while pulling up through your pelvic floor. Ensure that you tuck your elbows in and keep your shoulders back and down. Lower your body down and up 10 times.
  • 5
    Practice standing on one leg ensuring that you squeeze your bottom of the leg you are standing on. Try to stand for at least one minute at a time. Do this 3 times on each side.
  • 6
    If possible walk around the block, your yard or even your house. Remember that walking is one of the best forms of exercise that you can do. When you walk keep your step length even and not too long. Stand up as tall as you can when walking. This will ensure that you are working the correct postural muscles and will help to keep your pelvic floor strong. Do not walk so far that you feel fatigue into your pelvic floor or lower back.
  • 7
    Hold onto the back of a chair and lower yourself down into a squat. Do this at least 10 times keeping the weight in your heels as you lower. Try to squeeze your butt as you lift up.
  • 8
    Hold onto the back of a chair. Lift up one arm and if you can look up towards it. Then follow your arm with your eyes around like a windmill and back to the start. Then do the same with the other arm. Do 10 on each side. Breathe in to raise your arm up and breathe out to follow the arm around and back to the beginning. Lift through your pelvic floor as you breathe out.

Staying healthy and feeling your best is important at any age. Follow these simple steps to help you stay as healthy and active as possible so you can get the most out of life!

Thanks Angela.

Stay tuned for more articles from Angela and the Graceville Physiotherapy team. 

In the meantime, if you wish to get in touch with Graceville Physiotherapy, visit their website or click the button below. 

Graceville Physiotherapy have developed a dedicated team that specialise in sports injuries, back and neck pain, workplace injuries, ante-natal and post-natal care, respiratory conditions and arthritis. 

They are also proud to offer Telehealth Consultations via their Physitrack App. Call them to find out more

5 Reasons Why Cyclists Get Neck Pain and What You Can Do About It

Are you a cyclist who sometimes or often gets neck pain during or after your ride?  Do you suffer from neck pain after only a short ride?

Is your neck pain then difficult to get rid of forcing you to take medications that you would not rather take or spending your hard earned cash on expensive massages, Physiotherapy or Chiropractic sessions?

Who would have thought that cycling could be so expensive!

First you outlay thousands for just the right bike not to mention the gear you need to make the ride more comfortable and then of course the bike racks etc ...  Why then should you be outlaying all of this extra money to eliminate the pain caused as a result of your bike ride.

Angela Melit | Principal Physiotherapist at Graceville Physiotherapy

Here are my 5 reasons cyclists get Neck Pain

1. Incorrect Bike Set Up

Everyone’s body is different.

 If you have had any neck issues in the past it is important that your handle bars be higher that your seat. This puts less strain on your neck and shoulder position.

As you become stronger in your riding position it may be possible to lower the height of the handle bars but this must be done gradually.

2. Looking too far forward and up while riding

Obviously it is essential that you look where you are going but many cyclists develop neck pain because they fail to activate the neck stabilisers while riding. 

It is important to have your chin gently tucked while looking forward in order to activate these important muscles.

The strength in your eye muscles has an effect on your neck also. This may be hard to believe but strengthening this "Occular Motor response" can help in stability of the neck and make it easier to look ahead while keeping the neck in a good position.

Often when there is weakness in the stability of the neck there is also weakness in the stability of the shoulder blade area also. Weakness in this area causes more strain on the neck as the muscles that attach into the back of the head overwork to compensate for this weakness.

3. Poor Core Activation while Riding

 Note that I have said Activation and not Strength.

There is too much emphasis on developing “Core Strength” in my opinion.  Everybody wants to strengthen their core. We see many injuries coming through our clinic due to poor Core activation and not poor Core strength.

You may go to Pilates, Yoga, Reformer classes etc to develop more core strength but unless your core is activated when it needs to be activated during your ride there can be a domino effect and the result can be Neck Pain.

Correct activation of the core during your ride will help with the shoulder blade area and neck stability also. Poor core activation causes you to lean on your handle bars and this causes tension in the neck resulting in tension headaches.

4. Inadequate Warm Up

If you are over 40, have had previous problems with your neck/previous whiplash type injuries or even if you work at a computer you are likely to already have some sort of neck tension and or stiffness.

It is then important before you get on your bike to do some gentle neck stretches. I say gentle because if you stretch the neck muscles too much this can lead to a bit of instability on the bike.

It may be also helpful to do some gentle mobility exercises for the shoulders, thoracic spine, lumbar spine and hips.

Doing this before you get on the bike will ensure that the muscles that need to be activated have already been prompted to activate and any tension is released (gently) before hopping onto the bike.

5. ​Turning your Head to talk to a rider next to you

Now obviously you will need to turn your head while riding to check for traffic etc but continuously turning your head to talk to someone alongside of you leads to neck problems.

We have seen it in our clinic on a number of occasions. If you are riding 2 abreast it may be necessary to speak to the rider alongside of you but it is not necessary to turn your head.

 I would suggest that the safer option is to not talk to the rider alongside you unless absolutely necessary. This action causes shortening of some of the muscles on one side of the neck and also leads to asymmetry which can then alter the way you ride and be the cause of problems lower down in the spine also.

It is easy to see then how a cyclist can develop neck pain leading to an uncomfortable ride.

What can we then do about it?

1. Bike Set Up

Ensure that your bike it set up by an expert. Your bike set up expert needs to be aware of any past history you have of neck pain and or injury. Tell them of your concerns and if you experience pain while riding make sure that you go back and report to the bike fitter what you are experiencing. Do not put up with the pain. If re jigging the set up does not work make an appointment to see a physiotherapist who can give you some exercises that will help you while you are on the bike.

2. Strengthening Neck, Eye and Shoulder Blades

Pilates style Dart exercises are great for neck and shoulder blade stability. These are done lying on your tummy. Firstly you activate your core by pulling in your belly button but not activating your lower back muscles. You then pull your shoulder blades back together and reach your fingers down towards your feet. Then you lift your chest and head off the ground just a little keeping your head in line with your body and your chin gently tucked in. Hold for 10 seconds and do 10. To strengthen your eye muscle response you can use a “Neck Tek” to strengthen the Occular motor response or practice moving your eyes to follow a square shape in both directions without moving your head and then try moving your head from side to side without moving your eyes.

3. Core Activation

Increasing the ability to activate your core can be done in a similar position to riding. If we do this on our hands and knees we can teach the core to activate in this position. While on hands and knees gently pull your belly button in towards your spine so that you feel some tension between your hip bones. Just practicing this activation while keeping the weight spread through your hands can help you to know when your core is activated or not. If you then gently lift up one arm or one leg you will notice that your core needs to activate to maintain a flat back. Getting used to this activation can help the core to activate while on the bike.

4. Stretching

Gentle stretches of the neck by taking your ear to the shoulder and then depressing the opposite shoulder can help to stretch some of those tight neck muscles. You can also turn your head to look in the same side armpit and then turn your head to look up to the opposite side to stretch other neck muscles. Rolling your shoulders up around and back can help to loosen up stiff shoulders and some gentle lunges to loosen up the hips may be of benefit.

In summary don’t let neck pain ruin your ride ... Bike riding is a fantastic form of exercise and should be pain free!  With a little care and attention to your set up and your bike riding form you will be able to enjoy riding well into the future.

Thanks Angela.

Stay tuned for more articles from Angela and the Graceville Physiotherapy Team. 

In the meantime, if your wish to book an appointment for your sore neck, or any other issue, please visit the Graceville Physiotherapy website or click the button below. 

Graceville Physiotherapy have developed a dedicated team that specialise in sports injuries, back and neck pain, workplace injuries, ante-natal and post-natal care, respiratory conditions and arthritis. 

They are also proud to offer Telehealth Consultations via their Physitrack App. Call them to find out more.