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What is an exercise physiologist?

What is an exercise physiologist?

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is a university qualified allied health professional who specialises in the delivery of exercise and lifestyle programs for healthy individuals and those with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities.   AEPs possess extensive knowledge, skills and experience in clinical exercise delivery. They provide health modification counselling for people with chronic disease and injury with a strong focus on behavioural change.   Working across a variety of areas in health, exercise and sport, services delivered by an AEP are also claimable under compensable schemes such as Medicare and covered by most private health insurers. When it comes to the prescription of exercise, they are the most qualified professionals in Australia.   What makes AEPs different to other exercise professionals?
  • They are university qualified
  • They undertake strict accreditation requirements with Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
  • They are eligible to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and WorkCover, and are recognised by most private health insurers
  • They can treat and work with all people. From those who want to improve their health and well-being, to those with, or at risk of developing a chronic illness
Why should you see an AEP? AEPs are the experts in prescribing the right exercise to help you prevent/manage your chronic disease, help you recover faster from surgery or an injury, or help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.   AEPs can help treat and/or manage:
  • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Chronic respiratory disease and asthma
  • Depression and mental health conditions
  • Different forms of cancer
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Obesity
  • And much more!
    What makes AEPs even more special is they know how to set goals and maintain motivation, these are two aspects that will most commonly see people fail at exercise. What to expect when seeing an AEP?   During an initial consultation with your AEP, you will undertake a comprehensive assessment in order to develop an exercise plan based on your unique requirements. This session will likely be a fair few questions about your health and history. A lot of people are concerned about what to wear to this appointment. We always say wear comfortable clothing as you may be asked to do a range of movements and bring some comfortable walking shoes as you may need to complete an aerobic assessment. After this session, you will be provided with a plan of action. Working with an AEP can be a truly rewarding process and they can make a hugely positive impact to your life. Our AEP, Sammy, has special interests in the areas of Cancer and Exercise, Osteoporosis and Clinical Pilates. To make a booking with Sammy our AEP  please call 6676 4000 or 6676 4577.  

The Truth About Discogenic Lower Back Pain

The Truth About Discogenic Lower Back Pain

What is it?

As we all know, our spines are made up of vertebrae which are connected with each other by discs. These discs are responsible for absorbing the shock our spine experiences and they also allow and limit our movements. These discs are made up of an outer layer called the annulus fibrosis while an inner layer consisting of a gelatinous material known as the nucleus pulposis. This can be best describe as your jam filled doughnuts. When someone proclaims that “I have slipped my disc” they are actually describing a the pain they felt on their lower back which is really called the discogenic lower back pain. Even though the disc itself has not slipped, this has become the generic term for such injury. A more precise and to the point description of discogenic lower back pain is the disc bulge or a disc herniation, but this will also depend on how severe the injury may be. Disc bulge happen when an internal disruption of the disc and the inner gelatinous nucleus material or the nucleus pulposis moves to the outer edges otherwise known as the annulus fibrosis. This creates a bulging effect. The outermost part of the disc is highly innervated (nerve supply), and this bulging can cause serious discomfort.

Mechanism of Injury

An injury to the spine, otherwise known as disc bulge or herniation may be caused by lifting heavy objects, pain can also be triggered by minor activities such as bending to pick things up from the floor. A person can be injured without his knowledge because the inner part of the disc has no nerve endings that will trigger pain, it is only when the outer part begins to show signs of tearing that pain is felt. And this is best describes as “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”. Aside from repetitive heavy lifting of objects, sitting for a prolong period of time is also a common cause of injury to your lower back because it places great stress to the discs. Individuals who suffer lower back injuries often have some pre-existing condition regarding their proximal stability or weakness to their postural muscles. Signs and Symptoms
  • Severe pain is felt on one side of the lower back, down to one leg and it is also common that the same pain is felt even down to the toes
  • Once pain is felt, bending forwards and other movements are restricted especially when getting up from sitting. 
  • When experiencing neurological signs such as pains of pins and needles, numbness, weakness or bladder and bowel dysfunctions a careful consideration must be given because these may be signs of more serious disc injury.
Treatment Management
  • The most common treatment method to follow is the McKenzie Technique  - It involves proper exercise that reduces the pressure on the injured disc and it allows healing.
  • While dealing with the posterior disc bulge or herniation of the disc, extension based exercise is essential . 
  • Taping the lower back can help maintain comfortable posture and can help reduce muscular spasm to relieve pain.
  • Spinal mobilization and soft tissue massage to restore movement. 
  • Clinical Pilates can help regain stability of the proximal muscle.
  Self Management
  • Find out more about body position and certain activities to avoid pain and allow healing to your back.
  • Enrol in a Pilates based strengthening program.
  • Improve your posture by using lumbar rolls.

Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

Pelvic and Pubic Pain in Pregnancy

What cause it?

The ligaments holding the pelvic bones together become soft and stretch due to hormones (relaxin). This leads to an unstable pelvis. Pain or instability can occur at any of the pelvic joints
  • The pubic bone at the front can separate from 2 – 3 mm, this starts from as early as 8 weeks, it can separate as far as 10 mm and this is when symphysis pubis dysfunction is diagnosed.
  • The joints at the back (sacroiliac joints) also stretch making this joint unstable which causes pain and dysfunction
Changes in weight and posture also affect the position of the pelvis, which in turn makes it more difficult for the muscles to stabilise the pelvis as they are stretched and weakened. 1 in 5 women will suffer with pelvic instability with about 5% having serious problems

Symptoms Include:

  • Pain in the front or back of the pelvis, groin, buttock, thigh, hip and lower back
  • Difficulty walking or a waddling walking pattern
  •  Pain when standing on 1 leg
  •  Pain when turning or twisting
  • Rolling in bed
  •  Clicking/clunking sounds from the pelvis
  •  Pain when opening your legs

Patello-femoral Knee Pain

Patello-femoral Knee Pain

Aching knees affect 25 % of the population and are commonly caused by dysfunction at the patella-femoral joint (under the kneecap). It is typically aggravated by bending movements such as sitting, walking up and down stairs or hills, jumping and running. It is also common during adolescence as the long bones are growing faster than the muscles, tendons and ligaments putting abnormal stress on the joints.


  • Unfortunately genetics have a part to play and this can’t be changes
  • Faulty bio mechanics due to muscle imbalances


Treatment is very successful and we will look at correcting muscle imbalances throughout your lower back, hip, pelvis and leg. This is done by manual techniques to the knee cap, massage, acupuncture, exercise and taping.

Patellofemoral pain

Experiencing knee pain while walking, running, squatting, kneeling, going up or down stairs or slopes?

You may have a condition known as Patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of the most common knee complaints of both the young active sportsperson and the elderly. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the medical term for pain felt behind your kneecap, where your patella (kneecap) articulates with your thigh bone (femur). This joint is known as your patellofemoral joint Patellofemoral pain syndrome, is mainly due to excessive patellofemoral joint pressure from poor kneecap alignment, which in time, affects the joint surface behind the kneecap (retropatellar joint). Physiotherapy inventions help strengthen one’s quadriceps and hips, which subsequently aids in restoring the biomechanics of the patellofemoral joint. Physiotherapists are able to advise and design customised exercise programs to improve the strength of your knee and leg muscles and help you maintain good general fitness. If you are experiencing patellofemoral pain, or any pain in your knee and joints, it is important to have your condition assessed by a physiotherapist. Patellofemoral pain typically develops because of 1 of 3 different reasons 1. Excessive pronation of the foot (flattening of the arch). It doesn't matter if you have high arches or flat feet, it depends on how much your arch flattens from non-weight baring to weight baring. This can be addressed in the short term with the use of orthotics but a strengthening program of the muscles that support your arch is recommended. 2. Weak quadriceps (weak thigh muscles). The quads are the largest muscle group in the body that we use to extend our knee. Important for walking, running, squatting, and climbing stairs. We can test your maximum isometric contraction and compare it to your unaffected side to see if this is a contributing factor and address any deficit with an appropriate strengthening program. 3. Weak hip abductors (gluteal muscles). Gluteus medius and minimus help to keep our pelvis level while walking and running. If your opposite hip dips then the knee you are standing on will drift inwards causing poor alignment of the patellofemoral joint. This deficit can be picked up with good observation skills and strength testing.    

Carly’s Birthday Blog

Why do you love Pilates? I love Pilates because it is a form of exercise that can be modified to suit ANYONE. The layers of challenge you can add are endless. I also love that age is no barrier, it's the practice that counts! What's the best thing about being a physio? Being able to help people reach the goals that are most important to them. No matter how big or small, it's really rewarding to be a part of that journey. I also love that physio can take you in so many directions. From the clinic to the sports field, the possibilities are endless! Why work at Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy ? I grew up in Cabarita, so it's nice to be able to come back to my roots. It's an amazing community with a great coastal vibe and being so close to the beach is always a plus. But, most importantly, the team is amazing! Best relaxation tip? A nice long walk along the beach followed by some guided meditation.  There is nothing better. Best lifestyle tip? Find something you love and do it consistently. Challenge yourself in some way each and every day. Favourite activity? Doing some high intensity interval training or boxing. It gets the heart racing and the sweat pouring. It's even better when you have some amazing people to work out with. Favourite recipe? Tacos. Need I say more? A special mention to Kai's choc chip oatmeal cookies. If you haven't tried them, you should! A typical Sunday... A nice long sleep in followed by a Pilates workout. I then like to go to one of my favourite cafes on the Coast and enjoy multiple coffees and a delicious brunch. You might catch me running around the rugby league scene in the afternoon. That's my other passion!Carly    

Common Surfing Injuries – Ankles


Common Surfing Injuries - Ankles

Ankles are one of the most common joints injured whilst surfing and having adequate ankle mobility and stability are very important for surfing performance. Research has found ankle injuries to be increasingly prevalent, particularly amongst competitive surfers due to the demands of aerial surfing and other progressive manouveres.   Important elements of the prevention of ankle injuries include having adequate ankle range of movement. Having good ankle range of motion helps to protect the ankle against injury sustained from forceful landings, and also assists in the prevention of other lower limb injuries such as knee and hip conditions.  

How do I improve my ankle mobility?

There are many ways to increase ankle mobility, stretching is a simple solution that will help with this and lead to increases in ankle mobility.

Soleus stretch: keeping your heel planted, try and touch your front knee to the wall.


Gastrocnemius stretch: hold your leg straight behind you and lunge forward. A00667F01


 Ankle Stability

Ankle stability is another important aspect of the prevention of ankle injuries. Proprioception describes the awareness of where the body is in space and is an important aspect of the stability of a joint. Ways to train ankle proprioception include training on unstable surfaces such as the surf set or bosu ball. Other functional ways to increase ankle stability include practicing tasks like landing onto unstable surfaces and maintaining adequate lower limb strength.   Our surf performance Pilates classes focus specifically on training specific movement patterns and functional strength training to match the requirements needed whilst surfing. We integrate dynamic movement patterns and proprioceptive training tasks to increase balance, core stability and help to increase surfing performance and decrease risk of injury. To find out more about our surf performance classes, visit our website CLICK HERE  you can book online or call us on (02) 6676 4000.   http://pottsvillephysio.com.au/services-pilates-fitness-programs/    

Daniel’s Birthday Blog



I liken doing a Pilates session with rebooting a computer. It clears out all the "junk" and gets the right muscles firing properly. If I do a class in the morning I feel more upright and 'switched on', when I do Pilates in the evening I'm set up for a good nights sleep.

Dan and Ollie


Without a doubt helping people to achieve their goals. Seeing people transform themselves following an injury so that eventually they are stronger and moving better than pre injury. This is the ultimate goal and gives the most satisfaction as a Physio. If someone tells me that they feel better than what they did pre injury or they are able to do something that they haven't been able to do in a long time then I know I have done a good job.


We are always striving to improve ourselves clinically and professionally. I want to stay at the cutting edge of Physio and movement analysis, which means you never get stale in your job.






 Zoodles with prawns and pesto


Hopefully get a wave or two in the morning myself and then head to the beach with the family to take the kids for a surf!

 dan and fam


Birthday Blog – Shannon


Why do you love pilates:
 It's just like Yoga to resistance... Plus it's fun to relearn how to use your body.
What is the best thing about being a physiotherapist?
 Being a physio is wonderful, I basically just get to chit chat about bodies all day (which I do in or outside of work).
Why work at Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy ?
The people here are awesome (that includes all you clients too!).
I Love how friendly and supportive everybody has been since the first day I started here.
Best relaxation tip:
 Please breathe
Best lifestyle tip:
 Slowwww down
Favourite activity:
 Playing outside
Favourite recipe:
 Recipe? Who uses recipes? I usually make everything up as a I go!
A typical Sunday:
Wake up, Yoga session, then a nice long late breakfast

Birthday Blog – Helen – Fabulous Front Desk Team


Why do you love Pilates? I love the way Pilates makes me feel strong. It is such a great way of strengthening the body assisting with posture, body awareness and most importantly, keeping any niggles of pain at bay. Why work at Pottsville and Cabarita Physio? I am lucky in that I work 10 minutes from home and I get to work with such a great team of people. I have personally felt the benefits of Physiotherapy and Pilates and I see the improvements and positive impact that it has on our client’s lives every day, making it a very rewarding job. Best Relaxation tip: Taking a moment each day for yourself. Just stopping to take a few deep breaths, steady your mind and reset/recharge. Best Lifestyle tip: Do things you enjoy and spend time with people you enjoy being with. Favourite activity: Spending time in the kitchen and garden is quite therapeutic for me. I really enjoy cooking for family and friends and just pottering around in the garden. Favourite Recipe: My favourite foods to cook would be Greek or Mediterranean style. I make a delicious slow cooked lamb shoulder – throw the shoulder in the slow cooker with some herbs, spices and lemon and leave to cook for the day. I like to serve it with Cous Cous and a nice leafy Greek style salad. The whole family love it and it’s great for entertaining. A typical Sunday: Sundays for me usually involve a late breakfast, some quality family time and then cooking something yummy for dinner.   helly