low back

Sleep Hygiene: Simple tips to keep it clean

Sleep Hygiene: Simple tips to keep it clean

here is a reason we spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping. It is a very important aspect of life and affects just about every biological system of the human body in one way or another. With that in mind it is still amazing how many people still deprive themselves of it. According to the Geneva Convention, sleep deprivation can be interpreted as a form of torture. So, it begs the question, why do we knowingly do it to ourselves?



Optimising recovery from surgery:

Regardless of what it’s for, surgery can be scary and overwhelming. It is normal to feel a sense of helplessness or feeling as if you don’t have control over the end outcome. However, it is important to understand that you play the single most important role in the outcome of your recovery and it starts long before you meet with your surgeon. Preparing your body and mind for what you are about to encounter is an important aspect of recovery and creates good habits for your post-surgery rehabilitation.


How do you do this, you ask?


We call this Prehab


Prehab is a programme designed to prevent injuries before they actually occur. This can be applied to anyone or any injury however in the context of surgery it is you taking an active approach to prepare yourself physically and mentally for what you are about to go through. It plays a massive part in giving you the power to control the success of your upcoming surgery.


Why should you do Prehab?


Numerous studies have shown that patients who participate in Prehab have significantly better outcomes than those who do not. Those who undergo prehab generally have quicker recovery times, return to sport faster, have less complications and are generally more satisfied with their end outcome.


Does this apply to me?


Prehab is highly recommended for anyone planning to undertake or has been referred for surgery. Research has shown Prehab to be effective in enhancing recovery for patients undergoing total hip and knee replacements, ACL reconstructions, shoulder surgery such as rotator cuff repairs and lower back surgery.



What does it involve and how long for?


Ideally, undergoing 6-12 weeks of Prehab prior to surgery will optimise post-surgical outcomes. In most situations this is not possible due to availability with your surgeon. This does not mean that Prehab won’t help be helpful for you. As they say, something is better than nothing and there are still many meaningful benefits to be gained with only 2 weeks of preparation.


5 reasons to Prehab:


1.     Get control of your pain:


 A prehab program should give you the tools to minimise pain. Reducing pain early will enable normal muscle activity and put you in a good head space leading up to surgery.


2.     Get in optimal physical shape:


Through a specific exercise program, you can improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance and coordination which has shown to optimise and speed up the recovery process post-surgery. Additionally, improving general fitness and wellbeing has many added benefits such as weight loss and improving mental resilience which is extremely important to recovery.



3.     Create good habits and kick the bad habits


Firstly, creating good habits beforehand will make your life so much easier once you have been discharged from hospital. Good habits start with getting in a healthy exercise regime This extends to healthy sleep, nutrition and lifestyle habits which your physiotherapist and health practitioners can guide you on.


Conversely, bad habits will have the opposite effect, so you can imagine the importance in changing these prior to surgery.


4.     Manage anxiety/stress


It is completely normal to feel anxious or stressed prior to surgery. In addition to physically preparing yourself you must also get yourself in the right headspace. Prehab will help mentally prepare you by getting you in a good mindset for the upcoming rehabilitation process. It will also teach you appropriate coping strategies to deal with pain and stress associated with the injury.



5.     Speed up your recovery and reduce post-operative complications


Prehab sets you up for a successful recovery leading to quicker recovery and return to sport times. It also reduces the risk of common complications associated with surgery.



Please feel free to contact our team at East Vic Park Physio on 9361 3777 if you have any questions or would like to find out if Prehab is appropriate for you.

Low Back Pain

Approximately 80% of people will experience lower back pain at some stage in their life. It is one of the most common reasons for people missing work and seeing a doctor or physiotherapist. Although it is extremely common it can often a bit of an unknown to the general public as to what is the cause for their pain and disability.


There are many different causes of low back pain from strains/sprains, posture related pain and overuse injuries. This blog post will mainly focus on acute strains or sprains of the low back.


Similar to other joints around the body, strains or sprains to the low back occur when a stress is placed on a tissue that exceeds what it is capable of handling. An example of this could be someone bending over to lift a heavy object off the floor. However, a heavy force is not always required to strain the back. Repetitive movements of small force can also do this. 


Again like other joints around the body, different structures around that area can be irritated or strained. For the low back this can be surrounding muscles, ligaments, facet joints, discs or a combination of a few structures.


Timeframes of recovery will vary depending on what structures are involved, the severity of the injury, the demand of the person and lifestyle factors such as sleep, stress levels, diet ect.



What Can I do?


The back responds very well to movement. It is encouraged to continue to keep moving within your pain limitations.  Identify positions and movements your back feels better with adopt these positions rather than the painful ones.  This will differ from person to person so your physiotherapist will go over these particular activities/positions with you.



What can’t I do?


Your pain and symptoms will often be exacerbated immediately during specific activities. However, an increase in symptoms can often be noticed after completing particular tasks or even the following morning/day.


It is important to identify these activities or postures and avoid over repetition of them or prolonged time spent in those positions.  These activities are often simple tasks we complete on a regular basis throughout the day so it is often unrealistic to completely avoid them. Instead, modifying how we complete them or limiting how much of them we do of them will be more effective. Eg sitting posture or length of time spent sitting.



Do I need a scan?


The majority of back injuries do not require any scans or imagining and will resolve without the need for a scan. Scans can also be misleading at times as they tend to show everything that is happening in your back even when it’s not the source of your pain. Scan results can make people anxious, worried and stressed which can make their pain significantly worse.


 Imaging of the low back is potentially required when treatment/management of the injury could potentially change depending on the diagnosis or extent of the injury.  Your GP or physiotherapist will discuss with you if they think imaging is required in your case.


Do I need surgery?


Again, like imaging most low back injuries do not require surgery. However, there are circumstances where surgery may be required or beneficial in addressing certain injuries.  Obviously there are risks when any surgery is performed and so they are only recommended when they are truly needed.


When can I return to exercise?


This is a difficult question to answer as it will depend on a number of factors including the type of exercise you are attempting to return back to, the severity of the injury and previous injury history. However, in general, most soft tissue injuries have a recovery timeline of about 4-6 weeks. There will often still be things you will be able to do during your rehabilitation. This will usually start off with activities that do not exacerbate symptoms followed by modified versions of more complicated tasks with the aim to progress back to your previous level of function.  



Will this injury reoccur?


Like most injuries there is always a risk it re-aggravating Your treating physiotherapist will advise you on ways to best prevent this from happening. This will often involve an exercise program to address any deficiencies and optimising technique and posture with specific tasks/activities.



Whether your sports season is heading into finals or you are about to start gearing up for the summer season ahead, the information presented will help you to perform at your best.



Finals time for most winter sports is fast approaching and from a physiotherapy perspective this is the time of year that we see a spike in sporting injuries. A lot of these injuries tend to be to parts of the body that have some sort of deficit, be it strength, length or control. It is quite hard to be able to identify these areas yourself and even physiotherapists would find it hard to accurate identify these deficits purely through observation.