November 2, 2017

Physiotherapy and women’s health

Did you know that there are Physiotherapists who specialise in women’s health and continence? 

Unfortunately it’s a well-kept secret and many women only find out about these specialist services after problems start occurring, after childbirth or a GP referral. 

Women face a range of complex health issues over and above injury, trauma or illness and the stage of life challenges associated with middle or old age. Menstruation, menopause and pregnancy and its related conditions can also significantly affect the body. Most women assume that they must live with these conditions, as there is little or nothing that can be done to influence them other than medical/operative intervention. In many instances, that is not the case.

Some of the issues that can be positively impacted by physiotherapy include:

  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction, including incontinence
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction
  • Pelvic organ prolapse and
  • Prenatal and postnatal issues including mastitis, lower back pain or abdominal muscle separation.

In fact, a specifically trained Women’s Health & Continence Physiotherapist can not only help better manage these conditions and any related health challenges, they are often integral to the treatment program, working alongside GP’s and specialists as part of the treatment team. What’s more, they can often help patients avoid surgery down the track. 

All Women’s Health & Continence Physiotherapists have post graduate training in the range of health issues faced by women throughout every stage of their life. They identify and address specific health problems and use a variety of non-surgical treatments. 

Appointments cover a thorough assessment of the concern and an in-depth discussion about the most effective treatment technique recommended for your particular health issue. Diagnosis and treatment plans are created in line with the latest evidence-based practice, and are delivered in a safe and supportive environment. Treatment may involve simple exercises, ultrasound or massage and follow up rehabilitation activities may be recommended such as a guided exercise program or clinical Pilates.

For example, a physiotherapy session for urinary incontinence might include:

  • Practical tips and ways to reduce urinary frequency and urgency 
  • Information about diet changes that can be made to avoid irritating the bladder
  • An exercise program to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

The recommended program will help the patient identify, exercise, re-train or repair internal muscles such as those in the pelvic floor, and ultimately help to improve their quality of life.

At many LifeCare practices, we have specially trained Physiotherapists who can help with women’s health and related issues. We also help with advice about safe fitness alternatives for those people affected by, or at risk of, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and offer classes and programs including:

  • Pregnancy education 
  • Pool exercise classes
  • Clinical Pilates
  • Individual exercise prescriptions.

Oh, and we bet you didn’t know there were physios specifically trained for men’s health issues did you? There are, but that’s another story - stay tuned.

If you would like to make an appointment at your closest LifeCare practice, simply click the button below.

November 1, 2017

5 Tips to avoid running injuries this year

Written by Aidan Rich, APA Sports Physiotherapist at LifeCare Ashburton

There are so many reasons to get into running - whether it is to see the health benefits that come with it, you've made a New Years resolution that you're finally coming around to, or you genuinely enjoy the activity - regardless of what your reasons are, we're going to take you through some simple ways to reduce the risk of a running injury.

Author of this article, Aidan Rich, running the marathon leg (PB 3.08) during the Ironman Western Australia Triathalon.

Author of this article, Aidan Rich, running the marathon leg (PB 3.08) during the Ironman Western Australia Triathalon.

1. Keep most of the running ‘easy’. Most of your running should be at a comfortable pace where you can maintain a conversation and this may mean incorporating some short regular walk breaks.

Keep the ‘hard’ running to 15-20% of your distance for the week at most, for example if you are running 40 km per week, 6-8km only should be at a faster pace. 

A sample program for a 40km/week runner might be:

  • Tuesday 8-10km including 4 x 1km hard with 90 seconds jog in between
  • Wednesday 6km Easy
  • Thursday 8km including 8-10 x (1 minute hard, 1 minute easy)
  • Sunday long run 16-18km

2. Vary the running environment. Your body is fantastic at adapting and does this best when exposed to lots of different stimuli. Do some running on hills, flats, grass, gravel and maybe some trails. Just be careful with too much running too quickly on the road or the athletics track as these have higher forces on the body.

3. Gradually increase your training load. Running is a high impact sport and increasing too quickly can cause problems with tendons, bones and joints.

Increasing by 10% per week is a common rule of thumb, and recent research has shown this to be a good measure of risk of injury

Change in training load per week.

(ref: Gabbett 2016)

How do you measure training load? One of the best ways is to use RPE method (Rating of Perceived Exhaustion), a 0-10 scale that starts at 0 (no effort at all) to 10 (maximal effort).  For example, a 40 minute run at an RPE of 5 would give 200 units of work. To avoid building up your running too quickly, aim to increase your load by no more than 10% each week. 

4. Get lots of sleep! Sleep is the number one recovery tool, with many studies showing a strong link between sleep and performance/injury risk.  Start creating good habits to maximise your sleep such as limiting caffeine later in the day, and minimizing use of screens within 1-2 hours of bed time.

5. Use rest days. If you are relatively new to running, it’s best to have at least 2 days of no running per week. Running one day on, one day off is often a good starting point. More intermediate runners may have their no running days after a hard session (such as intervals or a long run).  
Adding in some light cross training (such as cycling or swimming) can be a great way to actively recover as well as build cardiovascular fitness without the impact that running involves.

Get your comprehensive running assessment completed at your closest LifeCare clinic.

November 1, 2017 -->

Clinical Pilates Vs ‘Regular’ Pilates

Written by Laura Anderson, Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor at LifeCare Ashburton

Pilates is a form of exercise that is suitable for just about anyone. It uses a system of exercises designed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s and is designed to improve strength, posture, flexibility and overall physical fitness.

Pilates is offered in a range of different class settings, which can sometimes make it confusing when trying to choose the right option for you. Clinical Pilates classes are run by experienced physiotherapists with postgraduate training in the Pilates methodology, which means they have extensive knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy and rehabilitation from orthopaedic and sports medicine conditions. This difference is important as most Pilates instructors don’t have such in-depth knowledge and understanding of the human body.


Some of the advantages of choosing Clinical Pilates over ‘regular’ Pilates (such as a gym based Pilates classes) are:

  • Clinical Pilates classes are small - a maximum of 4-5 per class allowing for plenty of 1:1 attention
  • Importantly, each participant gets an individualised program specific to their needs.
  • Private Health insurance can be used to claim on the cost of the class.

Prior to commencing Clinical Pilates, a thorough assessment is undertaken to understand how your body moves and to develop a personalised Pilates program. We understand that everybody’s goals are different, so it is important that you have a tailored program that is specific to what you want to achieve. The beauty of these individualised programs is that they are dynamic - there is the ability to alter them from week to week if any issues arise or if your goals change.

Most Lifecare clinics offer Clinical Pilates on site within spacious studios which comprise of all the latest Pilates equipment including reformers and trapeze tables. The classes are run by experienced physiotherapists, which means that you will receive specialised guidance and advice on your technique.

prahran Pilates.jpg

Pilates continues to be a popular exercise option for people of all types due to its versatility. Pilates can be of great benefit if you are:

  • Recovering or undertaking rehab from an injury or surgery: Pilates can help to regain lost strength, balance and motor control. It’s a great way to transition back to sport or to return to your everyday activities.
  • Employed in a typical office desk setting: prolonged sitting often leads to poor posture, which in turn can result in back or neck pain. Pilates can help correct your posture and also to stretch out those sore or tight areas.
  • A Sports enthusiast/athlete: Pilates can help to fine-tune the skills required for all sports. It can add that extra dimension to your current training program, and increase sports performance. Plus, it’s a great way to help prevent injuries.
  • Pre- or post-natal: Pilates can be tailored to suit women who are pregnant to help manage the physical changes involved with pregnancy and prevent pregnancy-related symptoms like back pain. Pilates also has a big role with post-partum recovery and can help women strengthen their pelvic floor.
  • Social interaction: Pilates are a fun way to meet like-minded people who enjoy working out in a fun environment.
  • Maintaining strength after 50: Strength and balance often decrease after this age however appropriate exercise can dramatically slow the losses and in some cases reverse them!  Pilates provides an opportunity to improve strength without the sometimes intimidating environment of a gym.

It’s easy to see why so many people are drawn to Pilates –it’s just so versatile! If you’re not already doing Pilates, book in today and let us help you start achieving your goals!

May 22, 2017 -->

Mount Pleasant has moved!

LifeCare Mt Pleasant Physiotherapy has moved.

Now located on the first floor at 896 Canning Hwy in Applecross, we are now directly above the Canning Bridge Medical Centre.

Our wonderful team of Physiotherapsist: Leigh Ray, Moulina Sahai, Tom Valentine and Sarah Davies  have all settled into their newly renovated Centre, and are enjoying the additional space and Therapeutic Exercise area.

 LifeCare Mt Pleasant Physiotherapy is open 6 days a week


We had a great Opening Ceremony in conjunction with the Canning Bridge Medical Centre, complete with Ice Cream Van, Coffee and BBQ, and even the Cutting of the Ribbon.

For more information call 9364 2012.

May 22, 2017 -->

Ground Breaking

LifeCare opened one of the very first Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centres in WA in the late Eighties.

Located in the Ground Level of the St John of God Subiaco Medical Centre, this clinic offered Sports Medicine, Sports Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiography and Hydro Therapy, 7 days a week.

This Centre was “Ground Breaking” in the Services provided to Perth’s Sporting Population.

Some 30 years later, it seems it is now the site of a different type of “Ground Breaking”.

The old St John of God Medical Centre in Subiaco where this started has been demolished.

Luckily LifeCare Wembley is still providing 7 days a week Sports Physiotherapy, as well as Pilates Podiatry and Hydro Therapy, 7 days a week, over the road at 202 Cambridge St – 9489 6266.

November 22, 2016 -->

"Pain in the plantar" - tips for managing Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fascia pain is the most commonly reported cause of inferior heel pain.

November 15, 2016 -->

Do PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections help for tendon and joint pain?

The use of PRP in musculoskeletal conditions has increased in popularity in recent years. 

November 10, 2016 -->


In Podiatry news -  the Western Bulldogs Football Club players have just been issued with Birkenstocks to replace the wearing of flat footbed thongs over the summer months.