Ask Your Physiotherapist: Lower Back Pain Problems, Headaches and More…

As a physiotherapist I get asked many questions on a daily basis that range from all types of pain and injury management. In this blog, I am going to answer five commonly asked questions that I get asked as a physiotherapist. If you have a question you want answered, feel free to leave to in the comments section below and I will do my best to respond as soon as I can.


Q. I suffer from recurrent headaches. Can physiotherapy help?

A. Many headaches can be due to a problem in your neck. An assessment by your local physiotherapist can help identify if this is the case with you. Often what is discovered is pain and stiffness in the upper joints of the neck and restricted neck movement. Fist thing first, make sure your doctor rules out any serious causes of headaches first. A gradually worsening headache or a sudden severe headache needs medical assessment.


Q. Who should I see about my lower back pain problem?

A. The good news is that, most people respond very well to physiotherapy. Medication and spinal injections have not been shown to alter the long term outcome for back pain sufferers. Only a very small number of people will benefit from surgery.


Q. How soon after an injury should I see a physiotherapist about a strained muscle?

A. First, apply the RICER regime (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate, Refer) for 48 hours and then commence physiotherapy. Early intervention will lead to a better, quicker recovery.


Q. What is the best treatment for a tendon problem?

A. A graduated exercise program to strengthen the tendon and its associated muscle is thought to be the best approach at present. A physiotherapist can set up a strengthening program suited to your needs.


Q. My teenage daughter has terrible posture and experiences headaches and mid back pain. Can physio help?

A. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve posture. Sometimes a postural support brace can be used for short periods to re-educate your daughter to keep a corrected position. The brace can often alleviate pain if she has to sit or stand for long periods and finds this brings on her pain.


Q. Everyone tells me I need to improve my “core stability” to overcome my back problem. What is “core stability”?

A. There are specific muscles in your trunk and neck that help maintain your spine in an optimal position whilst you perform your activities of daily living. If these muscles are not working correctly, the spine may move or be positioned inappropriately. A physiotherapist can assess your “core stability” and show you how to improve it with specific exercises.


Q. Can weak muscles in the hip be causing my knee problems?
A. If your hip muscles are not working optimally, your legs may not function properly. This can overload the knees and other structures in your legs. Strengthening your hip muscles can reduce this abnormal loading and help your knee problem.

Physiotherapy can usually help all of these problems and your physiotherapist will typically use hands-on type treatment, but you will often need to do exercises to stretch and strengthen your local muscles and soft tissue. Core stability is often an issue with groin problems, and needs to be addressed with Pilates-type and other exercises.

If you know someone with any of the problems outlined in this blog, please let them know about our clinic. We are grateful for any referrals we receive and aim to provide patients referred to us with the highest quality of care. Physiotherapy offers a safe, gentle and effective treatment approach for a variety of conditions.

To find out more, visit Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition or call today to book your appointment on (03) 9912 2000.


Physiotherapy Footscray Helps Nurse’s Back

Nurses are one of the most trusted and valuable professions. Nursing can be a very rewarding career but, unfortunately, it has its down sides. At our physiotherapy practice in Footscray, we deal specifically with one syndrome called ‘Nurse’s back’.  Read on to find out how your physio can help you overcome Nurse’s back.

Many older nurses undertook their initial training in hospitals rather than at university, as is the common occurrence now. This hospital training is what we would now call slave labour, with mostly young girls working long hours and performing back breaking work such as repeated heavy lifting of patients (remember there were no mechanical lifters in those days). The result was that many nurses in their 40s and older have terrible problems with their backs (among many other things).

Whilst things have improved a lot in recent decades, nursing is still hard work. At our physiotherapy in Footscray, we can vouch that ‘Nurse’s back’ is still alive and well! Many younger nurses are still developing ‘Nurse’s back’, even though conditions have improved and there has been a major push for occupational health and safety measures in hospitals.

If you are a nurse and you have, or want to avoid developing ‘Nurse’s back’, here are some things you can consider:


Rather than just putting up with ‘Nurse’s back’, see your physiotherapist and have treatment. This can reduce your pain, restore your movement and get you back on track.

Regular Maintenance

If you have chronic or recurrent problems, consider having regular check ups or tune ups, to make life more enjoyable.

Improve Your Fitness

Improving your muscle tone, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness can help you avoid and / or overcome back problems. It is surprising how many nurses are unfit and this needs to be rectified. Smoking is a risk factor for back problems and impedes recovery, so take this into consideration if you are a smoker.


Many back pain and back neck pain sufferers find that Pilates helps improve their core stability and their back problems. Consider regular Pilates to help keep your back in check.

Occupational Health and Safety

Don’t be a hero or a martyr. Avoid performing activities that damage your back or out you at risk. Make sure your work place is ‘back safe’.

 If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above-named problems, visit our Physiotherapy practice in Footscray. To find out more about one of our experienced and qualified physiotherapists, visit  Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition or call us today on (03) 9912 2000.

Experiencing Nurse's back? See your physio today

Experiencing Nurse’s back? See your physio today

Ask Your Physio: 5 Commonly Asked Questions

As a physio I get asked many questions on a daily basis that range from all types of pain and injury management. In this blog, I am going to answer five commonly asked questions that I get asked as a physio. If you have a question you want answered, feel free to leave to in the comments section below and I will do my best to respond as soon as I can.

Q. I have injured the medical ligament in my knee. What does this mean?

There are four main ligaments in the knee. They are the medical collateral, the anterior cruciate, and the posterior cruciate ligaments. These ligaments help keep your knee joint stable. Twisting or stressing the ligaments can cause a tear, resulting in pain, bleeding, inflammation and loss of function.

A minor ligament tear (grade one) may only incapacitate someone for two to three weeks, whereas a major tear (grade three or complete rupture) may need a reconstruction. Recovery after a reconstruction can take 12 months. Seeing a physio after a ligament injury is vital, so that you regain function and recover as quickly as possible.

Q. I suffer from headaches. They are pretty constant but they increase when I use a computer or do any desk work. Can Physiotherapy help?

Headaches can arise from problems in the joints of the upper neck or the surrounding tissue. If your doctor has ruled out a more serious problem, you should try a course of physiotherapy to see if your neck is responsible. Treatment aimed at mobilising the joints and tissue in the neck, combined with specific strengthening exercises can be very beneficial. Correcting your posture, especially when you are sitting at your desk, can also be of value.

Q. I have foot pain. What should I do?

Physiotherapists can help you overcome many forms of musculoskeletal foot and leg pain. If you have developed foot pain and there has been no definite injury, it might be worth paying attention to your foot wear. Sports shoes in particular have different designs for different types of feet. A person with fallen arches (or flat feet), shouldn’t wear the same type of shoe as someone with a very high arch. If you play sport, are on your feet a lot or are overweight, this can make a huge difference. Your physio can assess and advise you what sort of foot type you have and point you in the right direction regarding shoes.

Q. How soon after a whiplash injury should I commence physio?

If you suffer a whiplash type injury you are advised to commence exercises to regain movements as soon as possible. Interestingly, studies looking at the effect of early movement on people who had a whiplash injury showed that patients who carried out early neck exercises had better outcomes in terms of pain relief, reduced sick leave, regaining or retaining neck movement. This was in comparison to patients who underwent a program of initial rest, wearing a collar and gradual self mobilisation.  If you have a whiplash injury, your physiotherapist can help prescribe a neck exercise program suited to your needs.

Q. My child carries a very heavy bag to school. She complains of neck and shoulder pain. Can the bag be causing her problems?

There is a very good chance that carrying a heavy school bag can be contributing to your child’s neck and shoulder pain. A good rule of thumb is that a child should only carry 10 – 15% of his or her body weight. Also you need to take into consideration factors such as the bag’s design, how far and how often the child carries the bag and how fit and strong the child is. If your child experiences neck, shoulder or back pain, then it is important to have your child assessed by one of the physiotherapists at Joslin Clinic.

As you can see, physiotherapy can usually help all of these problems. Your physiotherapist will typically use hands-on type treatment, but you will often need to do exercises to stretch and strengthen your local muscles and soft tissue.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing these kinds of problems or would like some advice, then visit a trusted and reliable physio at Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition or call today to book your appointment on (03) 9912 2000.


How Your Physiotherapist Can Help You Overcome Your Work Injury

Work injury is a big problem in Australia. In the majority of work injuries, phyisotherapists will play a vital role in helping an injured worker recover from their injury and return to work. In this blog I will be discussing how your physiotherapist can help you overcome your work injury.

Firstly, it is important to look at the various types of injury. Work injury can vary from sprains and strains to fractures. They can involve having operations to repair fractures, ligaments and other tissue. Quite severe injury can involve nerve damage, spinal cord damage and even burns. They can also involve amputations.

If you suffer from an injury, you should report it to your employer and supervisor straight away. Make sure the appropriate paper work is filled out and sent to the right insurer as soon as possible.

Next thing you should do is first aid. Appropriate first aid for sprains and strains is outlined in an earlier blog from Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition. Use the RICER method and have cuts and abrasions treated properly. Serious injury may require an ambulance. It is a good idea to report your injury to the doctor. Most insurers require that a medical doctor be involved in the process, even if the main person you are seeing is your physiotherapist.

The good news is, your physiotherapist can help you recover from your injury as quickly as possible. Rehabilitation involves restoring movement, strength and function. This can involve hands-on type therapy but should also involve therapeutic exercises. This may involve gym work or hydrotherapy.

One of the most important aspects of recovery is getting an injured person back to work as soon as possible. Often this will initially involve modified hours of work and duties. Returning to work is not only good psychologically, it also helps to restore function. Every one from the case manager to your physiotherapist will make this a goal. The injured worker and the employer need to be involved with this.

An important aspect of work injury prevention is work fitness. Being unfit can predispose you to work injury and is something workers should seriously look at. This is especially so if you are involved in heavy or repetitive work such as manual labour or nursing. Even desk jobs need elements of fitness to enhance posture and flexibility. If you are constantly suffering work injury, or have an old injury that may be at risk, talk to your physiotherapist about work fitness.

If you or someone you know has recently experienced a work injury, and are looking for a trusted physiotherapist then contact Joslin Physiotherapy  to book an appointment. Located in Barkly Street, Footscray, we have over 20 years experience dealing with all types of injuries and rehabilitation. Phone today on (03) 9912 2000 or click Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition.

Your physiotherapist Footscray can help you overcome your work injury fast!

Your physiotherapist Footscray can help you overcome your work injury fast!

How Your Local Physiotherapist Can Help You With Referred Pain

Have you ever heard of referred pain? This is a term used to describe the phenomenon of pain perceived at a site adjacent to or at distance from the site of an injury’s origin. In other words, in some situations, you may have a problem in one place (for example, your neck), but feel pain in a different place, like your shoulder and / or arm.

The good news is that your local physiotherapist can help you with referred pain and in this blog I will explain what the mechanism behind referred pain is, along with examples and how your physiotherapist can assist in managing this.

The neurology behind referred pain is complex and still not understood fully. However, one explanation is that of convergence in the spinal cord. The pain conduction nerves from different parts of the body converge in the same or an adjacent area in the spinal cord. When nerve impulses arrive from one area of the body (such as the neck), the brain is unable to differentiate these signals, from those of the adjacent nerves (e.g. the shoulder and arm) entering the spinal cord and so you “feel” the pain in both areas (neck, shoulder and arm). This pain is felt in the shoulder and arm even though the problem is only in the neck.

Examples of referred pain include heart attacks, which can cause arm pain. Your neck can cause headaches and your back can cause pain into your leg, chest or abdomen.

The important thing to remember is that pain can mislead you. It is easy to get confused about what is causing your pain. Having ongoing treatment with your local physiotherapist or any practitioner on your shoulder, when you really have a neck problem, can be a waste of time and money. It is always best therefore to insist you receive a thorough assessment so that proper treatment can be initiated.

At Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition, we provide an initial assessment before we start work with you to make sure you receive the best and most appropriate treatment. In addition, we can also supply and obtain a range of splints, braces, walking aids, tape and other equipment for you, to help manage or overcome a problem or disability. Call us today on (03) 9912 2000 or visit Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition to book your appointment.


8 Ways Your Physio Can Help You Avoid and Overcome Ankle Injuries

There are a surprising amount of individuals who experience pain in their ankle and foot problems and either have no idea what to do about them or avoid doing anything about the problem. If you are experiencing a pain in your ankle or foot problems then it is a sure sign that something has gone wrong and may get worse over time if you don’t act now. In our featured video this week, I have provided some helpful information regarding the foot and ankle which can help you. Click on the link below to find out 8 ways your physio can help you to avoid and overcome ankle injuries

If you are experiencing ankle injuries or are worried about any foot and ankle pain, then speak to your physio regarding any problems you may have to help manage and revert further damage. In particular, sport injuries can be a variety of muscular pain and tears, ligament strains and sprains and bone fractures or breaks.  A physiotherapist should be your first point of call for most of these sports injuries.  Soft tissue damage and minor joint injuries will respond well to a course of physiotherapy treatment.  Your physiotherapist can order X-Rays if fractures and breaks are suspected.

To book an appointment with Joslin Physiotherapy & Nutrition call today on (03) 9912 2000 or visit back neck pain now.

How Physio Can Help With Dance Injuries

In Australia, dancing is a very popular activity. People dance for a variety of reasons, including work, recreation, fitness and weight loss. There are many different varieties and dance styles. Ballet is one of the obvious ones, but people may also be involved in jazz ballet, aerobics and various traditional types of dances (from Greek, to Irish to Bootscooting). Dance can be very strenous and demanding and as such, injuries do occur in dancing. Read on to find out the common types and how your physio can help with dance injuries.

Common types of dance injuries

  • Back problems
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain – often from your patello-femoral joint (the joint under the knee cap) and knee injury
  • Overuse injury such as Achilles tendinopathy, patellar teninopathy, ‘shin splints’, plantar fascitis, as well as stress fractures in feet and legs.
  • Ankle sprains
  • Muscle strains – often to the calf and hamstring
  • Foot problems, such as bunions, neuromas, corns and calluses.

Risk Factors

Inexperience is  an important risk factor. Beginners often don’t have the skills or techniques to meet the demands of the dance style. Poor fitness is also important. Poor technique, poor posture, fatigue and a hazardous environment (eg. slippery floors) can all contribute to injury occurence. Overtraining is common in dance and is a significant factor in injury. Failing to rest adequately after an injury is common and can lead to further problems.

Some Things You Should Consider

  • If you are overweight, you need to take things slowly as excess weight will put excess strain through your back and legs.
  • Rest in between dance sessions so that your body recovers properly.
  • Choose a dance style that is appropriate for you. High impact dance styles are not appropriate for an older person with arthritic joints.
  • Warm up before and cool down after dance sessions.
  • Pilates can improve your core strength and posture. Ask your physio about this.
  • Concentrate on correct technique and posture. You should work with a competent dance instructor.
  • Wear correct and properly fitted shoes for your type of dance.

How Physio Can Help

Physiotherapists are becoming increasingly involved with dealing with dance injuries. Physiotherapists can treat your injury and help an injured dancer to optimise recovery. Often, liaising with your instructor, they can help enhance your dancing by helping you improve flexibility, core stability and posture. Many physiotherapists now offer Pilates as a way of helping with these three important aspects of dance.

If you have any of the above problems, and you want to improve as quickly as possible, have an assessment from a physio at Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition. Phone today on (03) 9912 2000.

How Physiotherapy Can Help Manage Chronic Joint and Muscular Problems

Many people develop chronic joint or muscle pain unfortunately. Often these people will go from therapist to therapist, or doctor to doctor, seeking a ‘magic cure’. If you fit into this category, read on to find out how physiotherapy can help manage chronic joint or muscular problems.

First up though, let’s find out a bit more about what to do when you experience chronic joint and muscular problems.

Underlying Wear and Tear

In many joint and muscle problems, underlying wear and tear may be present. The joint or muscle has simply worn out and is not capable of withstanding the same stresses that it could at a younger age. Doing too much, too often may cause pain and inflammation. You may need to accept this.

Mental Health Strategies

Chronic pain can lead to depressed moods and this can make your pain worse. Whilst medication can help you, finding coping strategies can also be important. Distracting yourself from the pain by going on outings, engaging with hobbies and working at connecting more with people and outside things can be very helpful. Sitting at home, dwelling on the pain can make the pain and your mood worse. Gentle exercise can stimulate pain relieving chemicals in your body and it can stimulate your immune system.

Healthy Lifestyle

Keeping your weight under control, having a healthy diet and a good nights sleep, giving up smoking and reducing alcohol intake may all help your muscle and joint problems.

First Aid Measures

If you have a flare up, you use the RICER method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate and Refer – to your doctor or physiotherapist).


Pacing means breaking big jobs or activities, such as cleaning the house or gardening, into several small ‘bite sized’ chunks that don’t exacerbate your pain. An hour of housework may irritate your back pain but four 15 minute chunks, with a rest in between, may not.

Chronic Pain and the Nervous System

Chronic pain alters the nervous system to the extent where non painful nerve signals (such as a stretch), may be interpreted by the brain as being painful. Whilst you should respect pain, don’t let it stop you living. Not all pain you feel is the result of tissue damage. You need to recognise that sometimes your body may be ‘tricking’ you into thinking you are injuring yourself.

Acute Flare Ups

Taking medication, using the RICER method and having physiotherapy  for acute flare ups is appropriate. Taking strong medication daily or having hands-on therapy three times per week for the rest of your life, may not be appropriate.

Medication and Treatment

Speak to your GP about medication and have your problem reassessed from time to time to make sure you are on the right track with your treatment.

Maintenance Treatment with Physiotherapy

If you have chronic or recurrent problems, such as back pain, neck pain, headaches or arthritis, a regular ‘tune up’ may help you enjoy your life more.

Most of the problems mentioned above respond really well to a course of physiotherapy. In conjunction, your physiotherapist will usually give you self treatment exercises, to help you improve your problem and maintain this improvement. Many patients find that a tune-up session with a physiotherapist every few weeks can help keep them feeling good and stop them having repeated acute episodes of pain. It is also more cost effective than having extensive treatment to overcome an acute episode of pain.

If you are wondering how physiotherapy can help manage your chronic joint and muscular problems and whether you might benefit from regular maintenance treatment, please ring to book a time to discuss this with your physiotherapist.

To speak to an experienced and trusted physiotherapist, visit Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition or call today on (03) 9912 2000. Located Barkly Street, Footscray.


Referring Others to Physiotherapy Footscray

I have been in based in physiotherapy Footscray for years. Having recently moved to Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition in West Footscray, it is nice to maintain a similar customer base and also get referrals. The funny thing about physiotherapy is that you don’t really want your clients to keep coming back as that is evidence that you are not doing your job properly! However, injuries and pain management can take a while to conquer and for your body to get back to its normal function, so once you find a physiotherapist it is advisable to stick to the full course of treatment recommended. Also, regular maintenance and check up’s is important in physiotherapy, just as it is important to go see your doctor for blood tests etc.

This week, I dug out a couple of really nice testimonials and thought I would share with you. So if you are thinking of referring others to physiotherapy Footscray, then find out what others have to say about it…

testimonials for Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition

testimonials for Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition

“I have never posted a review before and don’t believe or trust florid gushing reviews. Nathan listened, comprehended, accurately located and treated my condition and relieved my pain. I highly recommend him. 4 stars (5 is a cure) }”

Rgds, Col

“Nathan has been treating me before and after shoulder surgery. He answers any questions or concerns in a down to earth manner. He is very professional, easy to talk to, friendly and you can have a laugh with him”

Barb P, West Footscray


For a trusted and reliable physiotherapist, visit Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition. Located Barkly Street, West Footscray, you can phone now to book your next appointment on (03) 9912 2000 and ask for Nathan.

How Cycling Injuries Contribute to Back Pain

Cycling has grown in popularity over recent years. It is not only a great way to get fit, it is an enjoyable activity for all ages, and is a great way to get out and enjoy the world around you. However, bicycle injuries are common so you need to be aware of this. Read on to find out how cycling injuries contribute to back pain and more, and what you can do about it…

See your physiotherapist immediately if you are involved in a cycling injury

See your physiotherapist immediately if you are involved in a cycling injury

Types of Injuries

The nightmare scenario with cycling is a collision or a fall. These can result in major traumas, such as fractures, head injury, chest injury and even death. Lower down the scale are problems such as overuse injury, neck and back pain and saddle soreness.

Bike Set-Up and Correct Posture

Many neck, back, shoulder and leg problems can be the result of poor bike set up and poor posture. Having your bike set up correctly to suit your body and maintain good posture is therefore vital. It is worth having this done professionally by visiting a reputable bike shop or mechanic.

Riding to far, to fast, too often or up too many hills can lead to overuse problems. Build up your riding slowly until your body accommodates to the challenges you put it through. It is worth having regular breaks in between rides and even looking into some cross training to give your body a break from doing the same repetitive movements.

Proper Equipment

Proper equipment is vital. It goes without saying that you should have the best helmet you can afford. A good reliable bike is essential. Padded gloves, appropriate clothing, good riding shoes, pedals and cleats are all good investments to prevent injury. Have your bike serviced regularly so you know your brakes work properly, that your wheels aren’t coming loose etc.


Make sure you have good flexibility in your spine, legs and arms. Poor body biomechanics can predispose you to various injury such as spinal pain or knee problems.

Core Stability

Having good control will enable you to maintain good posture over long rides and it will enable you to generate optimal power in your legs.

Good Riding Technique

This may involve changing hand position regularly, being careful with braking, stretching at traffic lights or during safe periods on your ride.


Ride defensively. Be aware of situations where cars may pull out suddenly, car doors opening or riding into stationary vehicles. Watch for oil slicks on the road, animals or children running onto road as well as other cyclists.

If you do suffer an injury, make a beeline to your physiotherapist for assistance. Visit us at Joslin Physiotherapy and Nutrition or phone today on (03) 9912 2000. Located Barkly Street, West Footscray