Lower Back Pain

Should I go to Emergency or Physio for my Lower Back Pain?

An acute episode of severe lower back pain can be very debilitating and often people are unsure of where to go to get help. Often people struggle to identify if the type of pain they are experiencing means they should visit the GP, Physio or in some cases the emergency department. Therefore, this blog aims to help you identify through your symptoms the best first step for you. If you are ever unsure please call your local GP or Physio clinic and they can help guide you as well.

Physiotherapists often see clients who are in very acute episodes of lower back pain, some of these clients have been to emergency or to see their GP before visiting us and some present to us first. As first contact practitioners ie you don’t need a referral to see a Physiotherapist, it is our duty to determine if physio is the right place for you or if we need to refer you on for further medical care. As a general guide I have listed below the signs you should present to Emergency or GP vs the signs Physio would be right for you.

Signs to present to Emergency for Lower Back Pain

  • You have severe pain that means you are unable to walk, sit or stand. You physically cannot move due to the pain.
  • You have bladder/bowel retention and dysfunction
  • Loss of sensation in your pelvic region
  • You have sustained a traumatic injury
  • There is blood in your urine
  • You are experiencing fever / chills and weight loss with your episode of lower back pain

Signs to present to Physiotherapy for Lower Back Pain

  • You have lower back pain that is moderate to severe but are still able to walk/ sit and stand. (may be limited by pain and not for very far distances)
  • You have an acute episode of lower back pain after exercise, work or another movement related action.
  • You have numbness and tingling or pins and needles in your back and legs but you still have control of your bladder and bowl and have not lost sensation in your pelvic region.
  • You have ongoing persistent lower back pain
  • You have lower back pain that is sharp, dull or achey

It is important to be alert to any worsening changes in your symptoms and please report those immediately to your Physio or GP.

What are your options?

In summary, it is required you present to the Emergency department or immediately to your GP when it is likely your treatment is going to include, significant pain relief through medication, further imaging/tests that require a doctor to carry them out, tests to rule out spinal cord involvement and nerve damage and/or symptoms that may indicate traumatic injury/ surgical intervention required. Therefore, when your treatment isn’t going to require significant medical management it is indicated to present to Physiotherapy. Where your Physiotherapist can provide conservative lower back pain management including manual therapy techniques, mobility exercises, light strengthening and muscle releases/ joint mobilisations and a referral to the GP if necessary.

Lx Ax

If you have lower back pain and would like to see a Physiotherapist please click here to book in online. To speak to a Barefoot physio please call us on 1300 842 850. If you found this blog interesting please check out our blog on How Can Physiotherapy help Lower Back Pain.

Good positions when reading

How to stop back or neck pain when reading

Written by Caitlin D – Physiotherapist and avid reader.

As physiotherapists our general advice tends to be the same ….bodies love to move! Your physiotherapist will typically recommend frequent position changes regardless of the type of activity you are performing – reading is no different! It’s easy to get caught up in a story when reading, only to re-emerge from your book to find stiffness in your neck or back. Holding one type of position for a prolonged period of time can lead to discomfort (we’ve all felt that after a long time sitting at a desk, a long drive/flight, or when we stay standing all day).

As a lifelong reader (who likes to read for long periods at a time 😉), I like to change my position around to avoid feeling stiff or developing strain in my body.

My own favourite comfortable reading position would probably be lying down (not least because you will always catch me reading before I go to sleep), followed closely by sitting on the couch (with a coffee beside me). To find out more on how to stop back or neck pain when reading check out my tips below.

What to consider for a comfortable reading position?

“Neutral” postures tend to be the easiest to hold for longer periods of time without developing strain in the body. This means avoiding positions where the neck is hanging/looking down, which can develop strain in the neck and shoulders; or slumping through the back, which can likewise cause strain in the lower and upper back.

How to Read Posture

How heavy is your book?

Some physical books can be quite large – think epic fantasy, or pretty much any hardcover book. That can be a lot of load for your wrists and arms to support, especially over time. To reduce strain on wrists and arms, here are some suggestions:

· You can use additional external supports, such as book pillows/stands, or propped up against your knees.

· Consider changing formats: listening via audiobook, or using an e-reader

Other environmental factors to consider to stop neck/back pain when reading:

· Furniture comfort – e.g. you can sit in a hard chair for a lot less time that a comfortable, supportive one

· Good lighting to limit strain on the eyes

If you or anyone you know is experiencing any back or neck pain from reading we would love to help you out in clinic. You can book online for an initial assessment with one of our team at the link here or give us a call on 1300 842 850. If you enjoyed this blog you should check out our blog on How Physio Can Help Nerve Irritation or How To Relieve Neck Pain.


Top tips for recovering from a cycling injury 

Having an injury is frustrating, especially when it takes you away from your favourite activities such a jumping on the bike and getting out for a ride. Unfortunately, they can’t always be avoided, but there are some things you can do to streamline the recovery process and give yourself the best chance of getting back on the bike as soon as possible.  Here are the top tips for recovering from a cycling injury.

1. Gentle Movement

We often think that what an injury needs is complete rest to allow it to recover. While we certainly want to avoid aggravating movements, often total rest is not the correct answer either. There are obvious exceptions to this, but most muscle and joints aches or pains do best with a ‘gentle movement’ or relative rest approach. For example – lower back pain is common in cyclist, so while you might need to take a short period of time off the bike, doing pain free supported lower back movements are ideal for calming down the area, reducing the threat messages from the area and encouraging the body to move as much as it comfortably can.  

Cat-cow is a perfect example of this – on hands and knees dropping the belly down, then lifting up into a curled spine. Just doing what range is comfortable and pain free for 5-10 repetitions.  

Cat/Cow Exercise
Cat/Cow 2

Hip shifts is another good option – on hands and knees and taking the hips to one side and then the other, allowing the spine to gently curve to the sides for 5-10 reps per side 

2. Releases 

Many common muscle and joint injuries arise as a result of accumulative strain (ie a slow build-up of strain or tension over time) – although some may be the result of very sudden strain build up (like coming off your bike!). Either way, reducing muscle tightness or tension can often help to ease the movement restrictions and improve pain free mobility. Here are two good options for common cycling areas of discomfort 

Glute release – great for hip or lower back issues. Either lying on the floor or standing against a wall. Place a firm ball in the glute muscle (top of your pelvis at the back, around to the side of your hip and down to your buttock). You’re aiming to find a ‘trigger point’ – the ball will feel like it is pushing against resistance (something firm like a “knot” or “band” in the muscle. Move around or change the angle of your hips to help you search the muscle for these spots. Once you find one, stay on it for 60-90 seconds then find another one, you want to release a total of 3 spots.  

Infraspinatus release – good for neck or shoulder issues. The muscle you are aiming for is on the back of the shoulder blade. Bring one of your arms across your body, and place the ball on the back of that shoulder blade. Lean up against a wall to push the ball into this muscle. Roll the ball on the wall pushing into the muscle. Try to find a spot in the muscle where your ball feels like it is pushing against resistance (something firm like a “knot” or “band” in the muscle). Once you find one, stay on it for 60-90 seconds then find another one, you want to release a total of 3 spots 

3. Set yourself up for success 

Often an injury is a marker of the body not being happy. That gradual build-up of strain that leads to most injuries (aside from crashes) needs to be dealt with if you want to give yourself the best opportunity to recover and repent future injury. This can look like: 

  • Cross training off the bike until your body is moving and feeling better – for example swimming to avoid too much hip bending or cycling on a stationary set up where you can sit more upright to take pressure off your lower back  
  • Getting your bike set-up checked – ensuring your bike is well set-up for your body and how you ride is really important for your longevity and overall musculoskeletal health. Most bike shops will be able to help you with this 
  • Ensure your whole body is moving well – often the area of symptoms can be the result of tightness elsewhere in the body. Likewise, an injury can cause compensation in the body that contributes to future problems. Seeing a holistic physiotherapist that can assess your movements, muscles and joints to get you moving as well as possible is ideal for your injury recovery and prevention.  

We hope you enjoyed this blog on the top tips for recovering from a cycling injury. If you would like to book in for a physio appointment you can book in online here or you can give us a call on 1300 842 850. If you enjoyed reading about the top tips for recovering from a cycling injury check out our blogs on Physiotherapy for Golf or Taking Care of Your Body While Scooting.

Inclusive Physio

Inclusive LGBTQIA + Physio in Brisbane 

Written by: Sal (she/her) – Founder of Barefoot Physiotherapy. Truly inclusive Healthcare is a fundamental Human Right and underpins the Values of our clinic. At Barefoot we believe we exist to empower people to confidently live the lives they choose. Our Values at Barefoot Physiotherapy are: 

  1. To us you matter 
  1. Commitment to excellence 
  1. Bring the Fireworks! 

Meeting the Needs of the LGBTQIA+ Community 

I recently asked our clients to do their annual details update (so we know where to send nice things in the post and who to call if they’re poorly) and took the opportunity to add a couple of marketing questions in. One of them was: “If you didn’t know us and were searching on Google for a physio what would you type in”. And multiple people said LGBTQIA+ friendly physio. So, I checked and when you google that we don’t come up… so I’m sitting down now to change that. Do I have the kind of power to change that? Well, we’ll have to see.  

One of our Senior Physios (who’s highest value is Inclusion) and I had a discussion a couple of years ago about writing direct content into our website around being an inclusive clinic and we agreed that at the time it felt performative to write any specific blogs and we felt more aligned with auditing the whole website to ensure the language was inclusive, which we did. When you practise true inclusivity every day writing about it can feel weird. But then how do people know without meeting you. So here we are. Just as the acronym LGBTQIA+ is ever changing, the concept of gender and gender identity is also ever changing and evolving, which includes for an individual themselves, whose gender identity may change throughout the course of their lifetime. We understand this is a lifelong learning experience for us all.  

LGBTQIA+ Physio Brisbane

The aim of this blog is to rank highly enough on Google so that if “LGBTQIA+ physio Brisbane” is something you search for you end up in the right place. And by right place I mean reading our website and then deciding for yourself whether we may be the right people to help you with whatever it is you have going on in your body and life. Spoiler alert: we’re really good at what we do! (and we know you are too!) 

The Barefoot Physiotherapy and Brisbane Oasis 

Now I live in what is probably referred to by some as a ‘Leftie bubble’. I get to go to work with incredible humans, who take care of incredible humans from all walks of life, and we refer to and are referred to by (wait for it) incredible humans. We talk about Values, and Dreams and Goals and we continually work on our Soft Skills to ensure we connect wholeheartedly with those around us. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows because, as you know, living with Vulnerability means you have hard conversations (you know, that stuff your family doesn’t want to talk about at Christmas) and we own up to our stuff. 

My understanding is that this is in fact an oasis and is not the case everywhere, hence articulating clearly in this blog that we are LGBTQIA+ friendly physio Brisbane clinic and we would love to help take care of you if that’s what you need. 

Practical reasons we’re good at Inclusive/LGBTQIA+ Physio in Brisbane

  • We are all trained in the Barefoot Physiotherapy Plan way of treating – hands on, multimodal, truly holistic and cutting edge. 
  • We are highly skilled in Thoracic Rings, ribs and all the muscles, joints, ligaments that attach around that area. Why does that matter? We have higher level skills to manage or prevent issues that may arise with binders, top surgery, breast reduction, breast enlargement, breast lifts, posture and anything else I’ve forgotten to write. This includes scar management.  
Dry Needling Retest
  • We are highly skilled in palpation around hips/pelvis/low back. Now this next bit doesn’t have to be for everyone (in fact we learn lots without this) but we have found hands on assessment of any area helpful and have developed an assessment we call the ‘Bike Pants Assessment’. It is the palpation assessment we do when we have you change into a pair of bike pants and palpate hamstring insertion/adductors/deep glutes. We often hear people say ‘nobody would have a feel of the area’ – we will (with your consent), its anatomy, it’s all related to how you move and function.  
  • We provide great clothes in the change room to wear if you don’t have ones on that suit the assessment. We want you comfortable and feeling welcome! 
  • We have physios with higher training in Pelvic Floor, Invisible Illness, Sports, Needling, Complex presentations and more.  
  • We do regular training on our Softskills. In fact, we think it may be as valuable or even more valuable than all the practical training we do.  
  • We hear you when you tell us the name you would like to be called and what pronouns you would like used. It’s not silly, it’s your name. If we make a mistake tell us, we’ll fix it. 
  • All decisions on furniture and layout of the clinic is made with comfort and inclusivity in mind 
  • One last thing: we know when we need to refer on and who to refer to if needed.  

Who else is out there doing great work in the LGBTQIA+ space in Brisbane?  

  • Anybody (Exercise Physiology and Pilates – Milton) 
  • Bodytrack (Exercise Physiology – Sherwood and Toowong) 
  • Gray Mind (Psychology – Rosalie) 
  • All Womens Health (Womens Health Physios – Paddington) 
  • Wander and Nourish (Dietitian – Teneriffe) 
  • Dr Carmen Main (GP – Hawthorne) 
  • Dr Liz Hay (GP – Sherwood) 

And you? 

Our ideal clients have a joy for life, are enthusiastic and interested. Interested in themselves, others and the world. You may not be able to do what you want right now and are looking for someone to walk beside you on a journey to feeling better and doing more of the things you love. Your body may be holding you back from something you want to do. You understand getting to the root cause is important and takes time and effort with a physio working with you along the way. You value honest communication, feeling truly welcome and being listened to. And you appreciate highly prepared, knowledgeable and caring health professionals. 

Where to from here? 

I’m assuming the next best thing for you might be to reach out to us. You might feel ready to book so you can do that ONLINE. Or if you want to talk to one of the physios give the clinic a call on 1300 842 850  

I’m now going to give this to my superstar colleague Britt who while being an incredible Senior Physiotherapist also learnt to put blogs up on our website. She will tinker with them until Google likes them. Work your magic Britt! 

If you are reading this and have: 

  1. Recommendation to add to the ‘who is out there doing great work in this space’ section and/or 
  1. Ideas for things to add to this blog 

Please reach out to me on sal@barefootphysiotherapy.com.au I really do want to hear from you. Also, if this might be valuable to anyone you know please share it with them.  


Dry Needling Retest

Why do I have rib pain?

Why do I have rib pain? Rib pain is a common form of musculoskeletal pain. It refers to any pain that is experienced in the ribs, the rib joints or the muscles between them. Due to the proximity to the lungs, it can cause significant distress and or difficulties with breathing. This blog will help explain where your rib pain may be coming from and how physiotherapy can potentially help.

Rib anatomy

Knowing the anatomy of the rib cage is helpful for understanding rib pain. The rib cage is made up a combination of different bones and joints. There are the thoracic spine vertebrae which sit in the centre of the spine. The sternum or breastbone sits centrally at the front of the chest. The ribs run between these two and there are 12 pairs of ribs (right and left). Each rib articulates (form a joint with) two thoracic vertebrae, as well as sternum at the front. Rib 11 and 12 are sometimes called ‘floating ribs’ because they do not join the sternum at the front. There are many muscles that attach onto the ribs, the intercostal muscles refer to the muscles that are in between each rib and play an important role in breathing.

Rib Treatment

What Causes Rib Pain

Rib pain may be caused by a variety of causes. Many of these are musculoskeletal in nature but some are more serious and may require medical attention

  • Rib joint dysfunction – stiffness or poor movement of the rib joints. This can occur at the rib joints at the front or back so pain may be at the front or back of the chest and may radiate around, along the line of the ribs. This may occur as a result of a trauma (such as a heavy tackle, car accident, fall off a ladder), repetitive strain (such as persistent coughing or occupational activities) or prolonged postures – especially if they are uneven or rotated. Pain is typically aggravated with particular movements and settles down if these movements or positions are avoided.
  • Costochondritis – this refers to inflammation of the cartilage of the rib joint at the front (the costo-chondral joints). Pain is usually quite localised over the joint, near the centre of the chest. It is similar to rib joint dysfunction in its causes but due to its inflammatory nature can be more unpredictable.
  • Intercostal muscle spasm – the muscles between the ribs can have a localised spasm resulting in rib pain. This can occur at just one level or at a few levels at once. It is likely the result of repetitive uneven loading (eg digging lots of holes when your body is not used to that) or acute overload (eg catching something heavy at an awkward angle). It may also be the result of persistent coughing
  • Nerve entrapment – a much less common cause of rib pain, however sometimes severe muscle spasm can cause local entrapment of the nerves between the ribs. This is usually results in high levels of pain (even at rest), very limited movement and even breathing may feel restricted or limited.

Other causes of rib pain – less common causes of rib pain include:

  • Rib fracture – usually preceded by a significant trauma (fall from a height, heavy tackle, significant car accident) or a more minor trauma (including persistent heavy coughing) in those with low bone density
  • Medical causes – lung/chest infections, cancer in the lungs or ribs, pulmonary embolism. These are all serious conditions that need urgent medical attention. They are usually accompanied by other general health symptoms such as shortness of breath, high levels of persistent pain, dizziness, nausea, changes to heart rate and unintended weight loss
Rib Pain Treatment

How can physio help?

For any pain that is musculoskeletal in nature, physio can help to manage rib pain. At Barefoot Physio we do a thorough assessment of your nerves, muscles and joints to help determine the underlying cause to your condition. All our physios have also undertaken extra training specifically in thoracic ring assessment and treatment. Treatment may involve:

  • Hands on assessment and treatment – using manual therapy to address areas of tension/tightness in both muscles and joints to improve range of motion in the thoracic area and resolve any nerve irritation
  • Postural education – advice about work posture/set up, sleep positions, car set up and any other positions that are relevant to you
  • Exercises – you may be given exercises that focus on releasing areas of tension (such as stretches or muscles releases) or exercises that focus more on strength building and reinforcing good postural habits. Your exercises will likely change over time as your treatment progresses. Here are two examples of gentle mobility exercises that may be helpful in the early stages of rib pain
  • Lat stretch
  • Rib opening stretch

If you have rib, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the friendly team of Physiotherapists at Barefoot Physiotherapy. They can help relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. You can give us a call on 1300 842 850 or book online.

Body weight Strength training for dancers

Written by Dan Jang: Physiotherapist and Urban Hip Hop Dancer

More and more professional dance studios are implementing body weight strength training for dancers and for a good reason.

There has been a lot of focus on stretch and mobility for warm ups prior to dancing but the paradigm is shifting to strength as more and more evidence shows that it helps to prevent injuries.

Here are some body weight strengthening exercises for dancers that you can incorporate into your training/warm up. It will highly depend on the style of dance you practice so please feel free to pick and choose the exercises that you feel are relevant for you.

Squat for strength

Lower Body Strength Exercises:

– Single leg calf raise with legs straight and bent +/- hop – strengthening calves for ankle strength and stability, helps with balance as well helping your secure your body when you are on your toes more

– Single leg squat +/- jump – helps strengthen your legs and glutes which is essential for being stable on your feet

– Side lunge+/- jump – Great exercise to challenge the lower limb muscles that help you stabilise yourself after a side step or jumping movement or when you are trying to control momentum after moving to your side. Feel free to hold a set of dumbbells or ramp things up with a weighted vest if you feeling adventurous.

Calf Raises

Core Body weight Strength Exercises:

– Plank with one arm or leg off the ground – strengthening core and adding extra difficulty with taking one hand off. Great reinforce that stability especially if you do more one sided movements with one arm or leg.

– Side plank with one leg/arm up – strengthening the side of your body for more stability

– Bear crawls – Great for dynamic core activation and stability when you are moving your limbs

Upper Body Strength Exercises:

– Push ups +/- weight add weight if you want to hit reps for true strength, bodyweight push ups might fall into endurance especially if you do more than 15 reps, you can focus to do slower tempo to focus on building muscle mass or might choose to do the push phase fast for faster contractions mimicking faster movements that you might be using

– Pull ups +/- weight add weight if you can, I don’t think huge lats are essential to a dancer(usually looks a bit funny if you aren’t a Krumper) but do help with upper body control especially rapid downward arm movements or rapidly controlling an upwards arm movement.

Feel free to change tempo/speed to tweak the training to more dance specific training(Agility/power).

We hope that has given you some ideas on body weight strength training for dancers. If you do feel stuck, want more specific directions or have sustained a recent dance injury please click here to book in for a consult with one of our Physiotherapists. If you enjoyed this blog be sure to check out our blogs on Top 5 Running Drills and Physiotherapy for Golf.

Activity Pacing

How to Find the Right Physiotherapist for you! 

Written by Sal – Director and Founder of Barefoot Physiotherapy in Brisbane. Est 2012 

How to find the right physiotherapist for you! I’m going to start this blog by saying we are not for everyone, and that’s ok. Our ideal clients have a joy for life, are enthusiastic and interested. Interested in themselves, others and the world. You may not be able to do what you want right now and are looking for someone to walk beside you on a journey to feeling better and doing more of the things you love. Your body may be holding you back from something you want to do and you understand getting to the root cause is important, and takes time and effort with a physio working with you along the way. You value honest communication, feeling truly welcome and being listened to. You appreciate highly prepared, knowledgeable and caring health professionals. 

Now I studied Physiotherapy because I truly care about helping people. I believe helping people connect with the right Health Professional for them is a wonderful thing. And that does not have to be at my clinic for a multitude of reasons: 

  1. We are a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy clinic (you may need a different type of physio or a different profession) 
  1. We are in Tennyson, Brisbane and you may not live here 
  1. You may not be our ideal client (you read the paragraph above and think: well that all sounds a bit much) – no problem 
Physio Treatment

The basics of how to find the right physiotherapist for you

To call yourself a Physiotherapist in Australia you need to be registered with AHPRA – you can look up if a physio is registered here. We have a strict Code of Conduct and require significant ongoing Professional Development to satisfy our Registration Board.  

Physiotherapists come in many different varieties. Bolded is what we take care of at Barefoot.  

  • Musculoskeletal (is the one you would often think of and what we work in 
  • Sports (likely some crossover with above – we work with a variety of sports) 
  • Neurological (work with people with Neurological disorders in hospital as well as in the community. Think: stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s, vestibular disorders) 
  • Cardiothoracic (take care of people with respiratory problems as well as hospital inpatients. Includes ICU work) 
  • Paediatric (work with children – ranges from developmental Paediatrics to Adolescent Sporting – we work with Adolescent sports (age 10 and up) and refer the rest to Paediatric physios) 
  • Orthopaedics (pre and post of care and conservative care of Orthopaedic injury – think broken bones and joint replacements – we work in this field too) 
  • Surgical/Medical (in hospital care of Medical and Surgical patients on the wards) 
  • Womens Health (specific concerns to women) 
  • Occupational (work place assessment and ergonomics) – we help people return to work post injury but don’t describe what we do as occupational even though this falls under this category.  
  • There are more specialty areas including Oncology, Lymphodema, Mens Health, Hands, Animals, Emergency, Pain, Mental Health, Aquatic, Gerontology that are all self explanatory. 

As you can see Physiotherapy covers a broad range of areas. And for the standard person Googling ‘How do I find the right Physiotherapist’ I’m going to assume you want someone to help you with something Musculoskeletal in nature (eg back pain, headaches, rolled ankle).  

Education Physio

Key to good care 

The impact a good Physiotherapist can have on your life is high. Physiotherapy is one of the most trusted professions and the most referred to Allied Health by GPs. Things to look for in a Health Professional that would tend to indicate a good fit for you: 

  • Connection/good rapport 
  • Great communication 
  • Good support for the therapist (they have time to prepare for you) 
  • Potentially have a special interest in the area you are needing help with (read their bio on the website) 

Tips from Sal for Finding the Right Physiotherapist for you 

  • Reach out to them for a chat or to answer some questions by email. Great physios love to hear from people who want help. If you find the interaction good that is a great start.  
  • Remember that how you do anything is how you do everything so take note of the things that matter to you on their website or social media.  
  • Ask questions! 
How to find the right physio for you

Practical aspects 

  • Parking! It is my opinion that this is essential (hence why we have a clinic with 20 car parks) but that may not matter as much to you.  
  • How far from home. We have people travelling from all over Brisbane to see us with the majority within 10-20min away. If you come to Barefoot it’s likely we’ll need to see you a couple of times a week to start with but this decreases and ideally we have you solved and feeling better and we can space the treatments out so. I believe travelling for good care is appropriate as long as it fits with your lifestyle.  
  • Hours availability – make sure the clinic and practitioner are open and have availability at times that you can make.  

Book for treatment 

If you think you have found the right Physiotherapist for you please reach out. To book with us you can do so ONLINE or phone the clinic 1300 842 850 to have a talk to one of the physios. If you aren’t from Brisbane we do treat people in bursts while they are visiting. We have treated people from all over Australia and people visiting from overseas! Alternatively you’re welcome to reach out to see if we have recommendations in your area. 

You may be interested in reading the What to Expect page of our website or have a read through the different pages under the Our Services drop down menu on the Homepage 

Should I see Physio or GP

Should I see a Physiotherapist or a GP? 

Written by: Sal – Founder and Director of Barefoot Physiotherapist. Should I see a Physiotherapist or a GP? When you are in Pain it can be tricky knowing whether it is best to see a Physiotherapist or the GP. While every situation is different, I’m going to do my best to help you with that decision.  

TLDR: if in doubt ring the Physio clinic as it is more than likely you’ll be able to speak to a physio and they’ll be able to help you as based on your symptoms they’ll know. 

The different roles 

When deciding if you should see a Physiotherapist or a GP you first need to consider their roles. A Musculoskeletal Private Practice Physiotherapist takes care of people with pain, injury or restriction in their body. They are highly trained in Muscles, Joints, Nerves, Ligaments, Pain Science, Rehabilitation, Exercises and Education. They are a first contact practitioner, meaning you do not need a referral to see them.  

A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who is also qualified in general medical practice. GPs are often the first point of contact for someone, of any age, who feels sick or has a health concern. They treat a wide range of medical conditions and health issues. 

Making the Decision to see a Physiotherapist or a GP?

Essentially if a condition is Musculoskeletal in nature, you are best to see a Physiotherapist. If this is unclear and other systems may be involved or further investigations needed it is best to see your GP first.  

Here is a table of presentations that may help you decide if seeing a Physio or GP first is right for you 

Back pain – acute or longer term, mild to strong pain.  Severe back pain with radiating leg pain (for appropriate medication) 
Rolled ankle – acute or longer term, mild to strong pain Suspected fractured ankle (for referral for imaging) 
Neck pain – acute or longer term, restriction range of motion, symptoms down arm Neck pain due to concussion or accident 
Headaches – linked to neck/jaw/upper back tightness Unexplained headaches – may have changes in vision/nausea/face pain 
Muscle tightness – potentially tight through shoulders or hamstrings Muscle weakness and altered sensations in muscles 
Shoulder pain – acute or longer term, mild to strong pain, tightness, restricted movement Acute shoulder acute injury that may be a dislocation or collar bone fracture to go to Emergency Department
Mid back/rib pain – stiffness, tightness, restricted movement.  Acute severe mid back/rib pain – or night pain in mid back.  
Hip/pelvis pain – tightness, restricted movement, acute or longer term Unable to pass urine, numbness through saddle region, strange sensations through pelvis 
Knee pain – acute or longer term, mild to strong pain. Suspected ligament/meniscal injuries. OA Suspected fracture in leg (for referral for imaging). Unexplained severe swelling of knee.  

Collaboration between Physiotherapists and GPs 

Physiotherapist and GPs often complement each other’s care. For example, the person that presents to the GP with a suspected fractured ankle is first referred for imaging. They are then cleared of fracture and referred to the Physiotherapist for their ongoing care. The Physiotherapist is confident that there is another Health Professional on their team in taking care of this client and keeps the GP informed on progress of the client.  

In more complex presentations where, for example, a diagnosis of Hypermobility disorder is suspected by the Physiotherapist. Working collaboratively with the GP to ascertain whether this is the case provides high level care for the client.  

Open clear communication between the Health Professionals is paramount to best client care.  

What to do next 

If in doubt about whether you should see a Physiotherapist or a GP ring the Physio clinic. It is more than likely you’ll be able to speak to a physio and they’ll be able to help you decide based on your symptoms. 

If you are in Brisbane and would like to see one of our Physios BOOK ONLINE or call 1300 842 850.  

You may be interested in reading How can Physiotherapy help Back Pain or Physiotherapy for Headaches  

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.

Physio and Golf

Physiotherapy for Golf 

Golfers know that the golf swing is a full body movement. It was said by pro golfer Tom Armour that golf is an awkward set of bodily contortions designed to produce a graceful result. We can’t agree more. That’s why physiotherapy for golf is so important. What we frequently hear from golfers struggling with their game include: 

  • Stiffness in the body that is restricting your golf swing  
  • Losing your balance at the end of a swing 
  • Pain and soreness in the back and shoulders 
  • Difficulty coordinating the upper and lower body 
  • A feeling of trying too hard because the swing doesn’t feel right 
  • They’re just not getting it and they don’t know why 

Do any of the above sound like you? Well, golf is complex and before we find out where physiotherapy for golf comes in, let us explore what goes into a golf swing. 

Golf swing and physio

What you need in a Golf Swing? 

  1. Balance and stability through the lower body 
  1. The ability to turn one’s body while keeping the head still  
  1. Range of movement through the trunk and shoulders to swing  
  1. Wrist and finger strength to hold the club firmly 
  1. Core strength and power 
  1. Coordination of the head, shoulder, arms, trunk, hips, knees and ankles 
  1. Precision in each joint to hold steady 

Suffice to say, golf is far from simple! Joint stiffness and muscle tightness in any part of the body will hinder a smooth and graceful swing. Physiotherapy for golf includes reducing joint and muscle stiffness, increasing your range of motion, retraining muscles and building strength where it is needed.  

Exercises for Golf  

These are the top 3 exercises to try today to help with balance and mobility through the trunk and hips. 

  1. Open book 
    This mobility exercise focuses on movement through the spine and ribs. In the golf swing, the head and legs stay relatively stable as the trunk and shoulders rotate. To do this exercise, 
    – Lay sideways and have your head resting on a pillow 
    – Take a breath in as you twist your body open and reach your arms out 
    – Breathe out as you bring your body to the start position 
    – Repeat x 5-10 per side. 
  1. Forearm muscle release 
    The muscles in the forearms need to be strong and healthy to have a good grip on the golf club and maintain control of the wrists. The muscles on the inside of the forearm flex or bend your wrist forwards, and the muscles on the outside of the forearm extend or bend your wrists backwards. To do this muscle release,  
    – Sit with your arm resting on a table or some cushions. 
    – Rub with your thumb or fingers on the forearm muscle. Try to find a spot in the muscle where your thumb feels like it is pushing against resistance (something firm like a “knot” or “band” in the muscle). 
    – Hold each spot for 90 seconds 
    – Aim to find 2-3 spots per muscle group (3-5mins per muscle total) 
    – You may prefer to massage the forearm muscles with lotion, making longer strokes along the muscle for 3-5min. 
  1. (Balance + stability) 
    – Weight shift (lateral) 
    – Weight shift (front to back) 
Golf and Physio help

How does Barefoot Physiotherapy help golfers? 

At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we understand that golf is complicated, and we want to make things easier for you. Your Barefoot physiotherapist will assess how your nerves are functioning and treat any nerve irritation present so that the body is set up as best as possible for mobility and strength. Nerve irritation can present itself in the body as tight muscles, uncoordinated or restricted movement, and/or weakness.  

When the nerves in your body are functioning well, your physiotherapist will conduct a head-to-toe assessment of your muscles and joints. Through systematic testing, we will identify key muscles and joints that need treating, whether it needs releasing, strengthening or gaining control around the area. Not all tight muscles need stretches and it is a common misconception that we want to address. To learn more about the difference between stretching and releasing a muscle, you may read more here.  

We love to communicate with all members of your team, including your golf coaches. We can also join you at the driving range for a session so we can better understand your individual swing and incorporate our treatment to further improve how you feel in your swing. 

Whether you are new to golf or have been golfing for decades and your body is not moving as freely and smoothly as you’d like, we want to help you. Feel free to call us on 1300 842 850 or book online to get started today.  If you enjoyed this blog you should check out our blog on How to do a great squat.