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Tag : physiotherapist-norwood

Holding it all together- let’s talk about pilates exercise in pregnancy

Holding it all together- let’s talk about pilates exercise in pregnancy

With the number of changes that happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy at Balance Physio we recommend and use pilates as our preferred exercise. We have seen a number of women through their pregnancies recently, with some coming in right up to 40 weeks.

There are so many benefits to doing gentle exercise before and after pregnancy. Pilates is a great form of controlled exercise that can be done throughout all 3 trimesters. Not only does it help strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, but doing these gentle exercises will also help to control breathing, strengthen arms and legs, improve posture, maintain healthy body weight as well as aid in recovery after delivery.

You probably don’t want to think about pain during pregnancy, but your body will release a hormone called relaxin quite early to help soften the ligaments and allow the pelvis to stretch during delivery. This may cause stretching and pain through the low back, pelvis and hips. Pilates can help improve and maintain muscle strength to help support your joints and reduce pain.

Personally all I felt like in the first 12 weeks was sleeping, eating carbs and trying not to vomit! Honestly exercise was the last thing I felt like. However, gentle exercise like pilates can actually be beneficial in boosting energy levels and curbing some of the nausea. During this stage it is important to listen to your body and avoid raising your heart rate and body temperature too much.

Once your body starts to deal with the new situation, energy levels often start to return by the second trimester and this is a good opportunity to do a little more. At this stage there are certain exercises that should be avoided. These include:

  1. Lying on your tummy
  2. Lying on your back for a prolonged time. This may cause dizziness or nausea in the mother and reduced oxygen to the baby. This is because in this position the baby can place pressure on the inferior vena cava (a main blood vessel of the heart)
  3. Inner thigh work. As your ligaments and joints become more lax, this can cause the pubic bone to become unstable. Any excess work on the groin muscles can cause further separation of the pelvis.
  4. One sided exercises
  5. Overstretching
  6. Abdominal crunches


At all stages of your pregnancy make sure that you stay hydrated, stop if you have any pain, dizziness, chest pain or bleeding. Every pregnancy is different so listen to your body.

As bubs continues to rapidly grow and change, so does your body. Postural changes become more apparent in the third trimester with a more pronounced curvature through the low back (we call this lordosis). Breathing can also become more difficult as your lungs have less room to expand. You may also notice more pressure on the pelvic floor muscles as baby lowers into position for delivery. During this time you need to continue to avoid the positions I have mentioned for the second trimester.

After your baby arrives you can come back to pilates as soon as your doctor or midwife thinks you are ready. We can build on the strong foundations that you have made to get your body strong and to prepare you for caring for a baby!

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Pregnancy Pilates

Pregnancy Pilates

All of our exercise is planned with each individual in mind, but please bear in mind that this general advice applies only to uncomplicated pregnancies. If you are experiencing pain or have a more complicated pregnancy we can work with your obstetric professional to devise an appropriate plan for you.

Todays Forecast – Aches and Pains

Brrr it’s freezing outside this week. Seems like the best place to be is under the doona. When we do get out and about though all of the aches and pains seem to be a bit worse in this weather.
This morning I was looking out our front window at someone waiting for a bus and thinking “so why does everything feel worse when temperatures dip?” There are a number of possible explanations.

• Cold weather postures
• Arthritis flare-ups
• Cold weather depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
• Hibernation

Cold weather postures

Think about how you sit and stand when you are feeling cold. Neck bent, shoulders hunched, arms and legs pressed tightly into your body. These postures cause muscle tension and pain. Then at night you curl up in the foetal position to get warm and those over-tightened muscles don’t get any relief. You find yourself waking with a sore neck or back in the morning.
Arthritis flare-ups

Research has suggested that changes in barometric pressure can cause pain in joints. You probably have a relative who says they can predict the rain by the pain in their knee or other joint. Studies are not conclusive as to why this happens, but it is thought that falling pressure results in expansion of tissues inside joints, resulting in pain.
Seasonal Affective Disorder

This condition tends to occur as the weather gets colder and days are shorter. People affected may experience body aches and pains, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, poor sleep, depression and weight gain. It is thought to stem from lack of exposure to bright light and a deficit in vitamin D.

This isn’t a condition, it’s just what I have decided to call the practice of staying at home because it’s too cold to go out. Many people don’t get off their couch very much during the colder months and the less you do, the less you do. Eating a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk in front of a movie does not enhance your fitness or weight goals and results in aching muscles and feeling bad about them.
Well this is all rather miserable, but there are ways of dealing with it.

• Establish and maintain a regular winter exercise regime. This doesn’t have to be the gym. Go to pilates (at Balance Physio  ), go walking, use the stairs, try skipping, play sport or run around with your kids.
• Dress warmly for the weather. Protect your head, feet and hands as you lose a lot of heat from these points.
• Try to see some sunlight as often as possible. Whenever the sun shines make a point of getting out in it.
• Watch your weight and try to eat nourishing, hot meals.
• Try doing some stretches at home or at work each day. Stand up and stretch your arms back, stretch your calf leaning towards the wall, bend gently to the side.


If you think you have seasonal affective disorder you should see your GP who can work with you to manage your symptoms. If your pain relates to arthritis or inactivity, or just pain after sleeping, then Physiotherapy may help to relieve your pain. You don’t need a doctor’s referral. So keep warm and smile, because the days are getting longer now.


Bike Rider Physiotherapy

Tour Down Under will be hitting Norwood in a few weeks. On 22nd January The Parade will be locked down and filled with riders and spectator crowds. With this event coming up I started to think about the riders that I treat in the clinic and what their most common complaints or goals are. So this has become my topic for this week.

So in no particular order these are the 5 most common problems that I see from cyclists (or riders as they seems to prefer being called) and what advice and treatments I have been delivering.


Cycling and lower back pain

The back is a weak link for many riders. Cyclists usually develop strong leg muscles, but don’t always have the core strength to support and resist the force from the legs. This can make your back work too hard and spasm, causing rapid fatigue.

To prevent or remedy lower back pain, get into the habit of keeping your back straight, whether you are standing or riding. This will ease the pain and also improve your riding. Stretch out your hip flexors with lunges or leaning backwards in standing.

Work on developing your core strength. There are many exercise styles that can assist with this but pilates in particular will help focus upon the trunk/torso.
Cycling and hand injuries

An early sign of a hand injury is tingling or numbness in the palm or fingers. To prevent or reduce hand injuries:

Observe how you are gripping the handlebars. The grip should be firm yet relaxed.
Change hand positions frequently.

Remember to keep your wrist straight.

Try padded gloves or handlebar tape to reduce the vibration.

Taping of your forearms with dynamic tape can reduce the stress on the forearm muscles while you work on reducing the strain in your hands. There are also exercises that you can learn which with floss the ulnar nerve (the root cause of the problem) and help to reduce the tingling sensation.
Cycling and shoulder pain

Injury to the shoulder usually occurs during longer rides. It is mainly caused by placing too much weight on the hands, and riding with straight elbows.

To prevent or remedy shoulder pain, keep the elbows slightly flexed to stop ‘road shock’ transferring to the arms and upper body. Massage, dry needling and ultrasound have all proven effective here. Resting the shoulder and giving it time to recover is also very important. For immediate relief a 24 hour heat patch or a short application of ice helps a lot.


Cycling and knee injuries

Knee injuries are generally due to overuse, and occur when a cyclist is riding too much or too fast. To prevent or remedy knee injuries:

Slowly build up your strength through training to minimise strain on the knees, and reduce the amount of hard training or hill work.

Pedalling in high gear for a long time will stress your knee joints. Switch to lower gears whenever you can.

If your saddle is too high or too low, stress is placed on the knees. Adjust your saddle’s height so you have almost straightened your knee with the ball of your foot over the pedal axle at its lowest position. Seek the advice of a professional bike fitter to determine the appropriate height for your saddle.

Tightness in the front or side of the thigh can be addressed with specific stretching and dry needling. Strengthening any weakness of the gluteals through also helps to address this problem.


Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the large tendon in the back of your ankle which connects the calf muscles to your foot. Frequently Achilles tendonitis occurs when pedals are misaligned resulting in increased pronation or inward rolling of the foot. This causes fatigue of the calf and strain of the Achilles tendon.

Taping is a very effective approach to mitigating this problem but it is very important to seek advice on your footwear and to learn stretching exercises for the calf muscles.



All of these problems are very common for riders. I would suggest that anyone who rides regularly to be aware of them and to make sure they take the precautions required to avoid injury. If you do think that you may have be suffering from one of these issues feel free to give me a call to discuss it.


Finding Balance

Balance Physio is up and running :)

Balance Physio is up and running :)

Finally I have some time to begin.
Welcome to my Balance Physio Blog.
I guess I really started thinking about this business nearly 2 years ago. I wanted to make a difference in my life, touch other people’s lives and feel that I contributed positively to my community and the people in it. So… this is Balance Physio! A family business which is determined to become a meaningful part of the community.
Starting a business from scratch has been an exciting but often difficult project. The process started with the selection of our location.
The Parade is a fantastic place. I feel a little bit more in love with the place each time I come to work. Everything we could want is here. And the people are great, seriously, so many people have been introducing themselves and asking if they can help us setup.
Choosing the equipment was fun. Pilates is an exercise method which anyone can do with professional instruction and the equipment is very versatile, so I chose to use high quality Pilates machines to compliment my Pilates based therapy approach.
The build was a BIG job ( check my facebook page out ) but it is done now and I am happy with the results.
And so here we are. All new with a slight fresh paint fragrance. This is the third week and although not yet profitable the books are gradually looking better. A lot of people who offered to support us have rallied to our call.
There is definitely a sense of satisfaction in running my own business and although we are at very early stage I am beginning to enjoy the scary/exhilarating roller-coaster. The whole time we have been working on this project we have been reminding ourselves that no-one reaches their death bed and regrets not doing more of a job they didn’t like.
So far the customer feedback has been great on the Physio and massage side. There are a few people walking a bit straighter and a few others experiencing less pain and some with less frequent headaches. As the number of people we have helped grows I feel more and more confident that this has been to right path for me.
Pilates classes are starting this week and they are beginning to book up. We are offering classes that cater for everybody, whether young, fit, old or needing rehabilitation. I guess the point of difference here from many other Pilates studios I have seen is that we truly understand the physiology and medical conditions underlying our clients’ needs and goals. We’re not about image here … its about real results and genuinely improving the health and fitness of our clients!
I think I posted on facebook a few weeks ago that I am so happy that I have been needing to resist the urge to HI-5 everyone. Well scrap that. Come in, let me show off everything and then do a HI-5!