AuthorTara Lee

Back Pain – What to expect in treatment

by Duncan Stewart, Physiotherapist

BPhy, BSc (Hons), APA


Approximately 85% of people have an episode of back pain in their life.      So what causes it?

That’s not an easy question to answer as there are many structures in the spine and they change from level to level. The movement of each spinal level needs to be co-ordinated with the other levels. Problems occur if this  co-ordination is altered for any reason. Pain is the signal there is a problem.

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Benefits of Yoga

One of the great things about yoga is that it is so adaptable to different populations with diverse physical abilities and needs. Though the popular image of yoga is of a young person twisted up like a pretzel with apparent ease, those who are older and less flexible can enjoy and yoga practice just as much and potentially benefit from it even more.
Is Yoga appropriate for seniors?
In most cases, seniors can absolutely do yoga. Many people with hectic schedules only find the time for activities such as yoga in retirement. Though the trend is to become more sedentary, retirement is the perfect time to pick up healthy habits that will promote longevity. Attending a regular yoga class will also establish a sense of community with teachers and fellow students.
What Type of Yoga Should You Try?
What kind of yoga depends on your age, current level of fitness and physical ability? If you are starting a fitness regime for the first time (or after a long break) or have already lost significant muscle tone and flexibility, you should start with a very gentle hatha practice. Although it is possible to learn yoga from books and videos, the best way is through teacher instruction in a yoga class. Attending class will allow you to get the most out of yoga with the least risk of injury. Yoga classes, especially for seniors are becoming increasingly available. A gentle beginners class will be suitable.
The Benefits of Yoga
The benefits of yoga for seniors are much the same as those for the general population: *Increased muscle tone,
* Balance,
* Strength,
*Improved mood.
*Through Pranayama (breathing exercises) lung capacity is increased.
*You can expect your posture to improve and you may sleep better .
* If you experience stress , yoga can help counteract that too. But keep in mind that these benefits will not come overnight after a single yoga class. Regularly attending at least three classes a week will allow you to enjoy the best yoga has to offer.

Our senior population is growing rapidly as is their interest in leading active, fit lives. On the whole, we live longer than we used to, and we all want high-quality living and good health to be a part of our older years. As we grow older however, we typically become more susceptible to ailments that are linked to aging, and, as a result, we tend to move less. The less we move, the more susceptible we become to a variety of ailments, and so it becomes a truly vicious cycle.
Although many of us feel that we should follow the advice of “taking it easy” as we grow older, that is actually what we shouldn’t do. Extended periods of sitting lead to muscular shortening, tightening and weakening. Lack of weight-bearing activity contributes to osteoporosis. Lack of movement and stretching leads to joint deterioration and loss of flexibility. Of grave concern for our senior population is the lack of balance which stems, in part, from sitting rather than standing and from not challenging one’s balance in various positions. Complications resulting from falls among people over the age of 65 frequently lead to a multitude of serious problems, sometimes culminating in death.
Many health concerns have been linked to the sedentary lifestyle which is typical of many older people, including, but not limited to, the following:
1. reduced joint flexibility
2. arthritis/bursitis
3. high blood pressure
4. increased body fat and decreased lean body tissue
5. osteoporosis
6. low back pain
7. breathing difficulties
8. poor blood circulation
9. vision problems
10. chronic pain
11. stress-related symptoms
12. inability to sleep peacefully
In light of our growing senior population and the health conditions associated with aging, researchers are beginning to take a closer look at the health concerns of this population and at how these issues can be addressed.
Yoga is considered by many to be a tremendous tool for combating the concerns of an aging society.

Specialised Group Exercise Classes – Instructed by our Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Group Exercise Classes (30 Mins) $10 per person

Diabetes Classes

Healthy Heart Classes

Falls Prevention Classes

Arthritis Classes

Older Adults

Musculoskeletal Rehab Classes

Stretch and Strengthen Posture Classes

Free Health Seminar

Friday 27th February 2015 – 5.30-7.30pm

Want to learn more about posture and how you can improve it?

Want to learn more about postural assessments and how they can help you?

Ever wondered what the difference is between an Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist and Personal Trainer?

Find out more about what Exercise Physiologists do and what medical conditions they can treat.

What is foam rolling and who should do it?

Find out more about our group exercise classes.

Tips and handouts on what to do when beginning a new exercise program and food and fitness log to take home.

Other nutrition tips to help you succeed in achieving optimal health and wellbeing.

Bulk Billing

Great News – We are now bulk billing all GP referrals for our Physio, Dietetic, Podiatry and Exercise Physiology services!

Budget Shopping Tips

Plan your meals. Check your recipes to see what you need to get.

  • Write your shopping list to avoid waste and return tips. Stick to it!
  • Don’t go shopping hungry. Don’t fall for the fancy packaging!! Have something to eat before you go
  • Check the ticket prices per 100g gram. That way you will find out which is the cheaper brand
  • Go to the farmers markets for your fruit and veg. Usually cheaper than the stores and your helping support your local farmer
  • If you have to try to limit takeaway food as these are more expensive than their homemade options and less likely to be as nutritious.


  • Less expensive cuts of meat such as lean gravy beef or chuck steak are good for curries, stews and casseroles.
  • Reduce the amount of meat needed in stews, casseroles and curries by bulking up with legumes such as lentils, beans and extra veg.
  • Try having a couple of meat free dinners per week. Try alternating with legumes, eggs, cheese dishes.
  • Tinned fish is nutritious and relatively cheap.
  • Chicken drumsticks, wings or thigh fillets are cheaper than breast and can be made into delicious meals
  • Check your supermarket catalogues for weekly specials

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Buy in season fruit and veg, will be cheaper as more abundant and less food travel miles
  • Frozen and canned veg are a cheap and nutritious alternative for out of season fruit and veg
  • Food Co-Ops may be a cheaper alternative for fruit and veg.   Check with your local council
  • Get together with some family or friends and buy bulk fruit and veg to divide between you and reduce the cost


Other Foods

  • Sliced bread lasts longer in the freezer, just take out what you need when you need it
  • Add a couple of non-perishable foods to your shopping to build a stockpile in your pantry for when money is tight
  • A nutritious meal does not have to be a hot meal. Try healthy sandwiches, salad, foccacias or stuffed pita breads


Free Nutrition Information Evenings

FREE Nutrition Information Evening


Friday 30th January 5.30pm – 7pm.


Ever wondered what the difference between a Nutritionist and Dietitian is?

Confused about all the diets that surround us – low carb, paleo, fast diet, raw, vegan, the list goes on……………..

Do you know what portions of protein, dairy, grains and fruit and vegetables you should be eating?

Do you want to know how to read and understand nutrition labels properly?

Do you want to know how to modify your diet to address your specific needs?

Do you want a no nonsense approach to eating well?

Not sure how much protein you should you be eating?

Confused about supplements?


We are holding monthly Nutrition information evenings presented by our Accredited Dietitian Shelley Thompson.

Our first Information evening will be held Friday 30th January 5.30pm – 7pm



If you’re like most people, you want to live a long and healthy life.   You want to have the energy and vitality to be able to do the all the things to live your life to the full. There is little doubt that what you eat directly affects the way you look, feel and live. Trying to decipher the boundless amount of nutrition information available today is sometimes hard to know what’s what and a term that is coming to our attention more often is Superfoods.    A simple definition of a super food is a food that contains a high level of essential nutrients and other compounds that may benefit your health.

So let’s take a look at a couple…


A leafy green vegetable Kale is a type of cabbage in which the central leaves do not form a head. Kale is one of the many nutritious cultivars of the Brassica oleracea family which includes broccoli, cauliflower, collard and Brussel sprouts. The nutrient packed leaves contains more than twice the level of antioxidants contained in other leafy greens, effective in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.   These include beta-caratone, lutein and zeaxanthin which may help prevent degenerative eye diseases such as cataract, macular degeneration and glaucoma. One serving is low in calories and a good source of folate, fibre, vitamin C and the minerals manganese, potassium, copper and calcium.   To make the most of this versatile food, add it to a wide range of dishes such as soups, omelettes, salads, juices and smoothies or even crispy homemade Kale chips.

What’s in a Serving?

Cooked Kale (1cup/130g) Calories: 36 (152kJ) Protein: 2.5g Total fat: 0.5g

Saturated fat: 0.1g Carbohydrates: 7.3g Fibre: 2.6g



Goji berries come from a woody perennial plant that grow widely in China and have been used there for medicinal purposes for centuries. Goji is available as dried berries, juice extracts, food additives and dietary supplements. Dried berries are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and fibre and a good source of calcium. High levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals found in the fruit suggest that it protected against atherosclerosis and diabetes. Studies have shown daily consumption of 120ml over 30 days significantly reduced levels of free radicals in the blood which reduces possible further damage to the cells in your body. It has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress after exhaustive exercise. Add both dried berries in to baked goods, grain products and other Asian inspired dishes, as juice or just on their own!

What’s in a Serving?

Dried Goji Berries (¼ cup/28g) Calories: 112 (469kJ), Protein: 1g, Total fat: 1.6g,

Saturated fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 24g, Fibre: 3g



A member of the mint family, the chia plant was cultivated by the ancient Aztecs and was an important food crop. Native to Mexico and Guatemala these crops were used to produce oil found to be rich in omega-3 fatty acid in the form of high levels of linolenic acid (ALA). Health benefits of chia seeds have been shown to improve blood cholesterol and glucose levels.   Nutrient rich, being high in protein, fibre, omega-3, chia seeds also provide useful amounts of calcium, iron and magnesium. Chia seeds may be used in the same ways as most other seeds. They make a healthy addition to smoothies, yogurt, salads, and cereals. They are also great at absorbing liquid (up to nine times their weight) to help add bulk, texture and fibre without adding the calories.

What’s in a Serving?

Chia Seeds (28.4g/1 ounce) Calories: 138 (578kJ), Protein: 4.7g, Total fat: 8.7g,

Saturated fat: 0.9g, Carbohydrates: 12g, Fibre 9.8g.



Referred to as the “mother of all grains”, Quinoa remains a staple food in must of South America and has gained popularity in Western countries due to the high protein and nutrient content. Once unheard of in a typical Aussie diet, Quinoa is now readily available from the supermarket, health food stores and pharmacy’s and it makes a nutrient-rich substitute for virtually any grain dish. Quinoa contains a high level of nutrient and antioxidant phytochemicals such as polyphenols and flavonoids, which help to combat disease. This includes being high in vitamin B6, folate, fibre, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron and zinc and a good source of vitamin E, potassium and selenium. Mix up your Asian inspired meals and use it instead of rice, or try it as a hot breakfast cereal topped with generous topping of cinnamon. Quinoa is gluten free, so it is an ideal food for people with Celiac Disease.


What’s in a Serving?

Cooked Quinoa (1 cup/185g) Calories: 222 (931 kJ), Protein: 8.1g, Total fat: 3.6g,

Saturated fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 39.4g Fibre: 5.2g



Overall, some foods will provide more bang for your buck when it comes to their nutrient content, just be wary of overly hyped claims about individual foods and make sure to talk to an expert if you need more specific dietary advice.

Why Posture?


with Zach Bruton, Exercise Physiologist



Put simply, posture is how you balance your body. It describes how your body is positioned when you are standing, sitting, lying down, even exercising. Good posture means the force of gravity is evenly distributed through your body so that no particular structure is overstressed. Poor posture means an increased wear and tear on your joints and muscles due to an uneven distribution of gravity. Poor posture can cause back and neck pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration and

a pot belly. Posture is not just how you look but it can actually affect how long and how well you live. People who move well and have good posture age better!



Factors such as occupation, recreational activities, obesity, modern technology, personality/emotions, and any trauma or injury you may sustain throughout your life, be it physical or emotional, can affect your posture. Given the many factors influencing posture it is no surprise that the majority of people will at some point in their life experience some kind
of musculoskeletal dysfunction or
pain as a result of poor posture.


Being mindful of your posture is a good start! Undergoing a full postural analysis from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist can be beneficial in identifying any postural imbalances/deviations. Strengthening of certain muscles. such as mid and lower back, shoulder setting, deep core muscles and gluteus medius is often required, while soft tissue therapy (massage), self myofacsial release (foam rolling) and stretching may be necessary for other muscles such as chest, hip flexors and hamstrings. More often than not it requires a combined approach incorporating healthy eating, exercise, posture awareness and some lifestyle changes. If you would like more information regarding posture and exercise, healthy eating, lifestyle modifications or massage please call us or come in and see us at Suncoast Health & Wellness.

Food Behaviour


When you’re trying to lose weight sometimes your will power muscle is a bit worn out and the temptation to just have a little extra snack, go back for seconds at dinner time or even finish the kids leftovers so you don’t waste food is just that little harder to resist. So here are a few quick tips to help change some of that behaviour to keep your weight loss momentum going…


If it’s not there you can’t eat it. Go out and buy your treats – have them away from home.


Don’t have jars or bowls of food around. Keep food in containers, wrapped in foil or in the freezer.


Do you eat half of a meal whilst preparing it? Do you feel full when you sit down to eat? Clean your teeth, have a mint, or drink instead of nibbling


No picking at the roast, or leftovers as you are tidying up. Never eat any food left over from anyone else and wrap in foil or freeze for lunch for tomorrow so it’s out of sight before you sit down to eat.


Self-serve bowls are dangerous. Serve to a plate, resist seconds-salads ok. Use a smaller sized plate.


Using smaller tools – children’s size cutlery, teaspoons, splade (fork only) or chopsticks will slow you down.


Remember the 20-minute rule – it takes this long for the satiety centre in the brain to register. SLOW DOWN!! Put knife and fork down between bites. Finish mouthful before loading your fork with the next. Time yourself.


When you aren’t concentrating on your meal you lose track of how many calories you’re actually eating. Enjoy your food, sit at the table, and make it an enjoyable dining experience. Eating on the run means you often don’t even realise you have eaten.


Do not go shopping or out near the shops when hungry. Always shop just after a meal, ideally breakfast when not soon likely to be too hungry. Plan you weekly menu before going shopping and have a list – STICK TO IT!


Never be tempted to buy a large serve. A single serve will satisfy you with none left over for seconds for tomorrow. Don’t be duped into bargain bulk buying-more temptation if in the house – Rule No 1!