Open Style Choreography

What is Open style choreography?

Written by Dan Jang: Physiotherapist and Dancer (yes I’m in these photos!)

A lot of people might be unfamiliar with the term yet they are probably exposed to this dance style on the media and entertainment without really thinking about it. Open Style Choreography puts an emphasis on learning, practicing and executing pieces of choreography. Since 2020 there has been a lot of movement to coin Open Style Choreography instead of Urban as it is deemed a derogatory term.

Open style choreography takes many moves and components out of hip hop, popping, breaking, jazz, lyrical and contemporary and other dance styles and focuses on expressing a story, emotions, experiences through different moves, beatS, rhythm, sounds and lyrics of a song.

There are major competitions all over the world including VIBE dance competition, Arena dance competition, and interestingly HHI(Hip Hop international) in Australia which is also a big competition focusing on choreography.

I (Dan here) personally used to be in a small professional team back in South Korea.

What are the Benefits of Open style Choreography?

There are many benefits to Open style Choreography and are not just limited to physical benefits.

Physical Benefits

– Coordination : Hand to eye coordination, upper limb and lower limb coordination are constantly challenged with dynamic movements. Coordination is key but don’t worry too much if you feel un-coordinated as dance moves are usually broken down into pieces for you to follow along.

– Balance: There are hardly any moves that are done staying still on your feet. Some of the impressive or fun moves are done on one leg. It doesn’t require as much balance as ballet but does require rapid change of footing which challenges your base of support.

– Cardiovascular: You will be sweating and huffing if you learn a piece of choreography that does push your cardio. A standard piece usually lasts around 1minute. To learn the 1 minute you might be drilling the same part of the choreography over and over again at high intensity. Some pieces require you to move your legs and arms quite rapidly and with this constant rapid movement your body will be demanding more energy and oxygen during your session.

– Body awareness and control: Similar to coordination, you might become more aware of where your body is. Majority of classes are done in front of a mirror and to start you will get a lot of visual feedback. Furthermore, a lot of the musical texture is expressed through control of the body and as you get used to this style you will feel quite confident of where and what a limb is doing at what speed and strength.

Dan Dancer

Non-Physical Benefits

– Expression: One of the non-physical benefits of this dance is expressing yourself which is often very liberating. Although you usually learn a set choreography many teachers don’t mind if you add a bit of flavour/flare to the moves.

– Creativity: Once you are used to a few moves you might want to make some choreography on your own. Breaking up things you have learnt and adding bits and pieces to create your own little masterpiece can be a very fun thing to do. It might come naturally or it might take you some time but is an area that is definitely worth trying once you have the basics.

– Accessibility: You might have access to a dance class near you. If not or if it’s not affordable you can try online video tutorials in your own home/room. There is a plethora of ‘Learn How To Dance’ videos and tutorials and some paid subscription sites that offer high quality dance classes online.

If you are interested in finding out more about this type of dance style please feel free to get in touch with the team at Barefoot Physiotherapy. Dan would love to share his passion for this style of dance with more people. If you are looking for a physiotherapist to help with any dancer related niggles or injuries you can click here to book an appointment and if you enjoyed this blog please check out our blog on Physical Activity for Mental Health.


A Physio’s tips for Bush Walking 

Lucky for us living in Australia, there are endless bush walks for us to revel in. Recently, while on a bush walk to spot Koalas, I found myself feeling rather fatigued halfway through with a neck ache at the end of it. I’m here today to share with you how you can look after yourself while bush walking, and some tips on spotting animals. 

Preparing for a bush walk 

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the day before your bush walk. If you want to read about sleep positions, click here.

Your bush walking gear should include the 3 essentials:  

  1. Trail shoes – They are designed to have a better grip on the uneven surface of the ground and protect your feet from rocks and debris. In addition, many trail shoes have water proofing material to keep your feet dry.  
  1. A water bottle – Whether you’re bush walking in the winter or the summer, you need to stay hydrated. Water helps hydrate the discs in your spine, and keep your muscles, tendons and ligaments in a healthier state. Dehydration can lead to your muscles feeling weak and tired and leave you in discomfort through your walk.  
  1. A fully charged phone – For making sure you can contact anyone should you need it, checking the map and of course capturing photos and videos of yourself and/or any animals you encounter.  

Preparing the body with a good warm up 

Warming up your muscles and joints before a bush walk will help set you up for a more enjoyable time. Here are 3 exercises and muscle releases to try: 

  1. Neck muscle releases: click here
    Spotting birds and koalas high up in the trees can put some strain on your neck muscles. Releasing these muscles before can keep them feeling optimal before you start on your walk. 
  1. Glute muscle release: click here
    The glutes are put to work when we are walking uphill. Get them feeling good before a walk and you’ll likely find those hills more manageable too. 
  1. Ankle circles
    Perform 10 circles in each direction on each ankle to warm up your ankle joints. 

During the walk 

Take breaks, enjoy the scenery, breathe in fresh air!  
When you’re looking up for birds and koalas for an extended time, your neck muscles are working very hard and may be tired and sore. To prevent this from happening, make sure you’re looking in various directions – looking up, down, sideways and mostly ahead where your head and neck are in neutral. When the neck muscles get tired, the body often compensates with other muscles kicking in, such as muscles at the shoulder. If you’re experiencing muscle soreness or tightness at your neck or shoulders, it’s a good sign that your muscles are fatigued, and you need to take a break. 

Also, koalas and birds aren’t always high up on trees, they may sometimes be on the ground! 

After the walk 

Take a few minutes to cool down with light stretches, muscle releases of your glutes and neck, and head off for a good meal to refuel!  

How we can help you get ready for bush walking 

The body needs to have a good amount of muscle strength, joint range, balance and cardiovascular endurance to participate in bush walking. If you’re wanting to improve on any of these, book in with us online or call 1300 842 850. One of our friendly team at Brisbane’s Best Physiotherapy clinic would love to see you and provide a tailored program for you and your body and get you on your way to living your best life. 

Pilates for Back Pain

Pilates for Back Pain

Thank you to Jaclyn at MVMNT by Design for the photos in your space

What is Pilates ?

Pilates is an exercise approach that focuses on building mind-body awareness, strength, balance, control and flexibility. It is a great exercise method for back pain.Two broad forms of Pilates, include:

· Mat – does not require much equipment, though may involve props such as a Pilates block, magic circle, TheraBand, swiss ball

· Reformer – a bed-like platform with springs to add resistance or support to exercises

Why is Pilates good for back pain?

Backs love to move! Yes, when we are in pain that comfortable range of movement may decrease, but commonly the first thing your physiotherapist will get you doing is some gentle movement for the back through your comfortable range of movement.

Pilates can be a great form of exercise where the load (or intensity of how much the muscles need to work) can be scaled back to an appropriate level according to symptoms.

Oftentimes with back pain, there tends to be an “overactivity” of the back muscles – they just want to be super-helpful and contribute to every…. single…. movement.

Whereas other muscles, such as abdominals and glutes, can get a bit lazy. When we have a muscle group doing all the work all the time…it is bound to get a little cranky (most of us have experienced that group project where you do all the work – it’s not fun).

Therefore, your physiotherapist will often prescribe exercises that are aimed at recruiting these lazy muscles, to help share the work around a bit more, and offload the overworked back muscles to help keep them a bit happier. Exercises aiming for precise control and correct activation align with the philosophy and practice of Pilates, as it is great for improving body awareness and motor control (i.e. developing a focus for turning on the right muscles for the movement we are wanting to perform). Therefore, Pilates can be a great form of exercise to help with your rehab!

If you would like to learn more about other strategies we use to help treat low back pain at Barefoot – see here.

Pilates and Back Pain

How can your physiotherapist help you with Pilates and your back pain?

If participating in Pilates is something you would like to do,

  • Your physiotherapist will assess abdominal and glute activation patterns, helping you to identify the appropriate level of challenge …. so you know what to look out for (i.e. indications that your muscles are fatiguing and falling into their old habits again)
  • Often we will recommend 1:1 or small group classes where you are able to be more closely monitored by your instructor
  • Your physiotherapist will be able to provide you with key cues that work best for you, to be able to integrate into your Pilates classes
  • We love to communicate with all members of your healthcare team …. that includes your Pilates instructors. With your permission, we are able to provide them updates regarding your care, best cues, and specific areas we want to take care of during exercise

If you are currently participating in Pilates, or keen to give it a go, the team at Barefoot would love to see you and help personalise exercises and advice to get you living your best Barefoot lifestyle. Feel free to call us on 1300 842 850 or book online to get started today.

Taking care of your body whilst gardening

We love getting to know what activities our clients enjoy getting up to, which is why we include asking about your interests & hobbies on our new client intake form! This helps us understand the activities you are wanting to engage in, and allows us to personalise and tailor your treatment plan to you. This blog will help you take care of your body whilst gardening.

Many of our clients tend to list gardening as one of these activities – and it isn’t hard to know why. Gardening can be such an enjoyable form of physical activity – it lets you get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and be surrounded by green and growing things. This can be such a benefit to both our mental and physical wellbeing.

You may know that Sal’s Mum Helen (or H.O. as she is known) is an avid gardener and a main reason why the Red Brick House is so beautiful. While she lives 300km away up at the beach she does come to Brisbane regularly for fun, physio and to keep an eye on the Barefoot plants. Caitlin Detmers and Helen put together ‘HO and CD’s top tips for taking care of yourself while gardening’. Keep in mind Helen has created many beautiful gardens in her time, including taking a barren beachside block of land and transforming it into a lush subtropical oasis, creating a Toowoomba cottage garden, Sal’s beach house garden, the gardens of the Red Brick House and many more. Her next major project will be Sal’s Fairfield garden after the house is raised (post 2022 floods). If you ever see Helen at the clinic and would like garden tips make sure to ask as she is a wealth of knowledge.

HO on the farm – part of HO garden at the beach – And beach adventures with Ziggy

HO and CD’s Top Tips to take care of yourself while gardening…

  • “Get under a tree between 10 and 3” and using sunscreen and hats: Living in sunny Australia means it is important for us to practice sun safety (slip, slop, slap!) and stay hydrated
  • Try to be aware of your physical capabilities and tailor your gardening: If you are recovering from an injury, or experiencing any aches and pain, it is important to look after that area of your body – this can look different for everybody. When lifting weights- keep the load close you your body and lift with your legs. Adopt a wide stance to help with your stability. If the object is particularly large or awkward, consider asking a mate or two for help.
  • Don’t do too much for too long: we know it’s tempting to keep going but it’s not worth it!
  • Break activities up into smaller segments of time and the type of exertion required: Similar to how you wouldn’t walk into the gym for the first time and expect to be able to do 500 squats, think about gardening in a similar manner. Give yourself rest breaks and pace your activities
  • Set your own pace and don’t follow others pace especially when working with others
  • Drop tools regularly for a walk, stretch, sit, read or cup of tea – whatever suits you: Be aware of your body positions and postures. Avoid prolonged postures (e.g getting out of a crouched position when weeding to have a bit of a stretch)
  • Wear clothing that is comfortable for you – allows movement and doesn’t restrict as you bend, squat, lift etc.
  • Enjoy the activity or leave it to another day entirely if it’s not your cup of tea.
  • And for this gardener living at the beach: Make sure you go and enjoy the beach at least twice a day
HO in her element creating plants 1: propagated at Barefoot and going to Fairfield – 2: saved from a neighbour – 3: clinic plants repot

What equipment and resources have you found most helpful to decrease load and strain on yourself?

In my bundle of tools/equipment that live, and often travel, with me are 3 pieces of equipment as well as 2 resources that are my “go to’s”:

Go-To Tools & Equipment

  • A Basic Hand Truck Trolley
    • They’re bought at any auto parts store. Mine is over 40 years old and still used for moving heavy things around my garden. I don’t lift things. I roll and use the trolley. 
  • Long handled pot hole shovel- A wise gardener in Toowoomba put me on to this year’s ago.
    • Mine is on its second handle and going strong with a shovel head size that means I’m not lifting/digging into large/heavy amounts of soil or materials.
    • A long handle means I’ve got a better chance of keeping a good posture
  • Soft plastic double handled buckets
    • For me no bigger than the 15-litre size. Only filling these halfway with whatever material is being transported means that that I’m not lifting or carrying quantities my body can’t handle.
We made HO do a photo shoot showing us the key tools: long handled shovel and flexible buckets!

‘Resources for taking care of yourself while gardening’

  • Arborist – Lionel

The arrival of this resource was a game changer for me. One skilled person has reduced the number of flare ups I have now to a working level. With skills and equipment, one person in a few hours once or twice a year undertakes and finishes what would take me weeks to do. And so much fun to watch the process.

  • Massage Therapist – Dean

I’m rather lucky to have the benefit of regular Barefoot treatments plus a great local massage therapist. For me an hourly massage session every 3 weeks helps keep my body on track for gardening and life at the beach. 

Gardening incorporates a range of different kinds of activities: mowing, tree/shrub trimming, weeding, mulching, watering plants, landscaping, and so on.  If you would like more personalised advice regarding taking care of your own body whilst gardening and specific gardening activities, book in to see one of our Barefoot physiotherapists by calling 1300 842 850 or online here.

Physiotherapy car setup

Back Problems from Driving? Try These 3 Tips

Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people see a physiotherapist. An important activity that back pain often interferes with is driving. People may have ongoing back pain that flares up when they drive, or sometimes the only time they have back pain is while they are driving or immediately after. Physiotherapy can help acute back pain, and long-term, chronic back pain and help you manage any back problems from driving.

Why Do People Have Back Problems From Driving?

There are many factors that are involved in back problems while driving. People commonly feel back discomfort in a variety of places. It may be more in the hips and low back, or in the upper and mid back, or even a combination. The best way to understand how to avoid lower back pain while driving requires taking a look at why it’s happening in the first place.

If you are consistently upright and tightly gripping the steering wheel you may feel it more in the upper and mid back or front of hips. If you are sitting in the one, maybe slumped, position for an extended period of time you may feel it more in the lower back. Driving in constant stop-start traffic can result in fatiguing hip and back muscles resulting in back discomfort.

People may experience ongoing or chronic back pain with driving, particularly if their job requires long hours behind the wheel. When sitting in a moving vehicle the body experiences forces and challenges that it wouldn’t in a stationary chair. You have to compensate for changes in speed and direction, the constant vibrations from the vehicle, and changes to your base of support as you use your feet on the pedals or shift to check your blind spot.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back problems from driving can occur from poor posture, sustained postures, restricted movement ranges, and decreased variety of movements. Your spine and back are comprised of your vertebrae, the discs and ligaments between and around vertebrae and muscles at the back, side and front of your spine. There can be structural changes to these tissues from age or from trauma that can change the capacity to tolerate load. Muscles can tighten up from habitual poor posture or repetitive small muscle strains. When the body continues to tighten up to protect itself from a perceived threat, we begin to lose options for our movements, often associated with an increase in symptoms.

How To Avoid Lower Back Pain While Driving

There are several ways to know how you can avoid lower back pain while driving. The correct driving position to prevent back pain is the one your body can tolerate without stress. Your body will send you signals it is unhappy via tight muscles in the shoulders, hips and low back. Especially when taking long drives you want to be as comfortable as possible. Take the time before you set off on your drive to get in the right position for your body.

3 key tips to avoid lower back pain while driving:

  • Adjusting Seat and headrest: we often find that people’s car seats aren’t set up ideally. Most cars will have multiple places that you change the seat position. Make sure that you are able to rest the back of your head on the headrest without it pushing your head forward. Try tipping the backrest to a different angle, even a slight change can make all the difference. The seat can slide forward and back to find a spot where the knees aren’t up against the dashboard but you don’t have to sit stretching the arms forward to reach the steering wheel. You may also be able to change the height of the steering column.
  • Using Lumbar Support: if the inbuilt options to change the seat set up are enough, or aren’t quite right you can use external additions. A lumbar support might be appropriate for you. You can also fold towels and use them under the hips, behind the low back or behind the shoulders.
  • Taking Regular Breaks: even after all of the changes you’ve made to your car seat, it’s still not going to feel completely great after hours and hours of driving. It’s recommended that you get out of your car and move the body every 2 hours to prevent mental fatigue. This also helps physical fatigue and is important in reducing back discomfort while driving. If you know your suffer from back discomfort with long drives take breaks more frequently.

How Do I Reduce Back Pain After Driving Long Distances?

To minimise back pain after driving long distance you can try a few stretches or movements in your breaks or once you get to your destination. Depending on how much space you can try some gentle standing movements. Lean forward with bent knees like you’re trying to touch your toes. You can gently rock from side to side here like a “ragdoll”.

You can also lean back with hands on your hips, or side to side. Lunges or squats can help move the hips and activate the glutes after being stationary. From a seated position you can take a twist to both sides, lean forward between the legs, or arch and curve the back with your hands on your knees. The point is to give your body the opportunity to move again after being relatively still and to reduce back problems from driving.

What Are the Best Exercises For Lower Back Pain?

Depending on the underlying cause of your lower back pain there are a variety of exercises that you can do to ease your back problems from driving. These can include mobility, strengthening, motor control and general exercise.

Mobility exercises can help to increase the overall range of movement that your body is comfortably able to access. These can include cat/cow where you arch the back in both directions from a kneeling or a seated position or bow and arrow which is a twisting movement of the thoracic spine from a side lying position. You can also use a trigger ball to release muscles or include a gentle stretching movement.

There are helpful releases on our Muscle stretches and releases page: GLUTE RELEASE, LAT STRETCH, QL RELEASE are a few you might like to try. There are plenty more on the page!

Strengthening can help increase the body’s tolerance and endurance to sustained postures. Key areas to strengthen for back pain is abdominal muscles, glutes and hip flexors, and back extensor muscles. Strengthening exercises can include pilates exercises such as single leg lifts, teasers, or planks through to weighted squats or deadlifts. It is important to work with a health professional to determine the appropriate level of loading or complexity for your body.

Motor control exercises are important in helping to change the patterns of the body. These can include pelvic tilts, where you tip the pelvic “bowl” forward and back, or hip shifts, where the hips move side to side. These help to highlight subtle position changes in the lower back joints and muscles and can provide more options when sitting for longer periods of time. Read more about Muscle Retraining here.

General exercise helps to reduce inflammatory levels in the body, improve overall strength and endurance and improve mood. All important elements in reducing back pain and discomfort.

Book In with Barefoot to Manage Lower Back Pain Today

It is common to experience back pain from driving. These are all general tips and suggestions to try to minimise your discomfort. If you are wanting more specific tips or want to know how to prepare your body for driving contact us at Barefoot Physiotherapy by calling 1300 842 850 or booking online.

Barefoot Physiotherapy Brisbane example of a Glute self release clients can do at home.

Self Management Physiotherapy

The goal of any Physiotherapy is ultimately empowerment and understanding, we want to provide you with the tools to be able to look after your body and to do it well. A one-size-fits-all blanket approach to self-care is not effective and in a lot of cases can do more harm than good. The human body is complex and every single one of us is different which mean our needs differ too. What one body likes, may exacerbate symptoms in someone else, so we aim to guide you to better understand your body and what it wants so that you can give yourself the best care.

Different how?

We all have different anatomy, postures, jobs, daily activities and hobbies which all goes into influencing our bodies and how they feel. At Barefoot we appreciate these differences and are committed to finding the root cause of your issues. We target these primary areas with our treatment and provide the tools so you can do self management physiotherapy at home too, because to get the best results you need to be able to take care of yourself.

Examples of Self Management Physiotherapy:

‘Person A’ presents with right shoulder pain and lower back pain and after testing with them we find that treatment to their glutes and right pec muscle is most effective so they get these releases for homework. ‘Person B’ also presents with right sided shoulder pain and lower back pain but treatment to their midback and glutes as well as pelvic tilts are most effective for their body so they receive these for homework.

You can see there is some overlap and some difference in homework for each person due to what works best for their body. We arrive at this knowledge through a process of testing with each person, as well as an understanding and appreciation for an individual’s situation. Self management physiotherapy is about feeling empowered and confident to take care of yourself armed with the right knowledge about your body and it’s requirements. If you’d like to book with us call 1300 842 850 or book online


Physio brisbane

Physio & Yoga – with Cath (Physio and Yogi)

Yoga is often prescribed as something of a “cure all” by both medical practitioners and the general public. Whether you’re suffering from low back pain, are pregnant, have tight muscles, are stressed etc, the answer is often – go do yoga. Now don’t get me wrong, I love yoga and I think it has something to benefit nearly everyone. However, I believe that for the best outcome your yoga practice needs to be just that – yours. It needs to be individualised and guided.  That’s where Barefoot Physiotherapy comes in! We bridge the gap between physio and yoga, to make sure you’re getting the most out of each.

How can Barefoot Physiotherapy help your yoga?

Regardless of your symptom presentation we are here to help you feel good again!  This involves looking at your movements, muscles, joints and any neural irritation. Once we have a picture of your body, we can work on treating and retraining the areas that are important to you. 

Barefoot Physiotherapy can help you decide the best type of yoga for your needs, whether that is yin or restorative, vinyasa or hatha.  We can help you adjust asana (postures) to best suit your body by using cues or props. Along the way, we’ll help you discover a better awareness of your body so you can implement these changes independently in a physio and yoga class.

What are the benefits of yoga?

  • Mindfulness: yoga incorporates breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation.  This awareness is useful in providing a nervous system “reset” and supporting your immune function. 
  • Motor Control – yoga is great for increasing body awareness and exploring options for movements.  By changing the cues used and allowing time for observation you can become more aware of subtle changes in your body.
  • Flexibility – the more active styles of yoga use gradual loading into range of movement, over time increasing your flexibility. 
  • Strength – active yoga styles encourage a co-contraction around joints (bandhas), body weight strength, and challenge your pelvic floor and deep abdominals in a variety of positions.
  • Cross-training – yoga nicely complements the more intense forms of training (running, powerlifting etc) and helps get the most out your body.

If you are wanting to find out more about how to include or adjust a yoga practice – or you just want to learn more about yoga and physio – book in with Barefoot Physiotherapy by calling 1300 842 850 or booking online

HAES Physio – Health at Every Size Physiotherapy

Your health is not dependent on your weight.

This may be surprising given the narrative spun from a host of sources including health professionals. Health at Every Size (HAES) is “an approach to public health that seeks to de-emphasise weight loss as a health goal, and reduce stigma towards people who are overweight or obese.” At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we place a lot of value in inclusion and take a non-biased approach to healthcare for our community with leading HAES physio initiatives.

Weight isn’t as 2 dimensional as diet and exercise…

We understand that size is complex and is influenced by many factors outside an individual’s control e.g hormones, genetics, and illness. Yes, diet and exercise definitely play a role, however the research shows that focussing on these factors can often be counterproductive for a person’s overall health and wellbeing. It’s all very familiar when we hear our clients have been told to “just lose weight” in order to solve their health issues or pain. This is a problem because in addition to being misleading, it also tends to have a negative effect on an individual’s health. Research shows that intentional weight loss doesn’t work. 95% or more of people who start dieting end up regaining all the weight they lost and 2/3 of those end up being heavier than when they started. This phenomenon can result in very disordered eating patterns and unhealthy habits, so it makes sense to move the conversation away from weight and focus on health in a more holistic sense.

What does this mean?

We can use so many other outcomes to measure one’s health e.g sleep quality, energy levels, and mood. More accurately, we should look at health as a combination of all of it’s many facets and ask the question, “what healthy habits can I employ to feel better now?”. This may be to focus on the joy of movement itself. This isn’t to say that having the goal of losing weight is wrong, so long as there is a clear understanding as to why.

Whatever your goal may be, we are here to support you on your journey to achieving it and feeling your best. Book your appointment with one of Brisbane’s HAES Physio team members by calling 1300 842 850 or booking online

Mental Health

Mental Health First Aid course

Britt interviews Catherine

At Barefoot we are committed to continued learning and upgrading our skills as both Physiotherapists and holistic health professionals. In order to keep our finger on the pulse of new research and treatments we undertake courses as a part of our professional development. Over the past year although the ability to attend face to face courses has been limited we have been completing some fantastic learning online. Catherine recently completed a Mental Health First Aid Course and the skills learnt were delivered to the rest of the team in one of our weekly in-services. This week I sat down and had a chat with Catherine to summarise the course and provide you all with insight into some of our extra learning.

What made you choose the Mental Health First Aid Course?

Mental health and wellbeing is something that I’ve always had an interest in and try to consider in my interactions with others – personal and professional.  With the increase in uncertainty throughout 2020 this was a topic that was becoming more and more prevalent in conversations with client. I wanted more tangible skills to help navigate those conversations and feel more confident in how/when/where/why to refer.

What was the aim of the course and key topics?

Similar to a First Aid course the main goal was learning how to assist someone in a mental health crisis. We learnt key information regarding anxiety, depression and bipolar, and substance use disorders as well as an action plan to assist in the moment.

The most interesting fact you learnt?

Only 1/3 of people affected by mental health concerns will seek professional help.

Your 3 main takeaways?

  • Listen, listen, listen! In this context people don’t want or need you to ‘fix’ them, just to hear them.
  • Mental health is a continuum and people will travel along this at different points in their lives and for different reasons.
  • There is a wealth of resources and organisations for support – apps, websites, call lines, health professional etc. (see the bottom of this blog)

How can you implement your learning into your job as a Physiotherapist?

  • Being more aware of the signs and symptoms in my clients to be able to open up conservations before reaching a crisis point.
  • Considering how mental health illnesses can manifest physically but also how medications used to treat mental illnesses can create physical side effects as well.
  • Trying my upmost to enter every conversation with an open mind, ear and heart.

If you or someone you know is in need of help please reach out to someone you know, a professional or contact a helpline:

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636,

Lifeline: 13 11 14,

MHCALL: 1300 642 255 (1300 MH CALL) which is QLD Health. 

The Butterfly Foundation: 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE),

Activity pacing

Activity pacing

Why is it important?

When getting back into an activity after injury or a flare up we want to go slow and steady! What we often see is a “boom-bust” cycle, where a person completes an activity at a higher level than what their body is currently capable of and then has an extended period of rest to recover.  This can be short term (i.e doing 15km run straight from 5km walks) or long term (e.g. starting gym classes 5 x week when previously only doing 1 x 30min walk a week).  Over time we can experience a gradual worsening of symptoms or decrease in function over time. This is because the bodies threshold continues to decrease as it hasn’t been appropriately challenged.

When starting to increase activity level you want to consider your current, symptom free, functional level.  You can consider this as a single activity as well as across a week. For example, two 5km walks a week on their own is achievable but if you add a gym session it becomes too much.  You can also use same approach for day-to-day activities like cooking and vacuuming.  The activities you choose depend entirely on you and your current capabilities. Pay attention to what you’re doing, how long you’re doing it for, and what it feels like. When you’ve worked out your current limit, reduce the average of the limit (across the week) by 10-20% and that’s your starting goal!

Ideas of Activity Pacing

Have a read of the below examples and see if you can think through one for yourself.

Example 1:

Goal:  Return to Park Run (5km – distance not time goal)
Current level: 3 runs a week; achilles pain begins at 3.2km, 2.7km and 2.5km.  80% of average is 2.25km.

Starting point: run 2.25km 3 x week and gradually build by 10% each week/fortnight.

Example 2:

Goal: Cook a daily meal

Current level: Cooking 3 nights a week, back pain starts after standing for 8 mins, 12 mins, 10 mins. 80% of average standing time is 8 mins.

Starting point: 8 mins of active cooking time then rest for 50% of active time before repeating active time.  Can increase by number of days, or amount of time standing by 10%.

For assistance in creating a specific pacing plan for your activity give us a call at 1300 842 850 or Click here to book an appointment.