Thursday, 22 June 2017

Understanding Pain and Accumulative Strain

I've said it before, I'll say it again.
There are things that your brain has tagged as painful, long before you may recognise it yourself. I only started to understand this concept after studying and listening to Michael Ridgway, one of my mentors who revealed so much of what I once had no understanding of... the accumulative strain model and clearing neural irritation. 

Some of the background to catch you up. 
Stress (or strain) causes inflammation, inflammation leads to fatigue, injury and/or illness.

When we experience pain, there is usually a reason for it. Often the symptoms (pain, swelling, redness, loss in ROM, flexibility function or etc) are obvious and require some type of pain relief or treatment. The best place to start in my opinion is clearing the nervous system (as taught to me in the Ridgway Method). We do this technique in clinic, try and touch your toes --> if you get a neural sensation or pain --> book in and I'll show you why stretching aggravates you and potentially could be making your pains worse

But what about the stress/strain that we aren't consciously recognising as a problem or pain?

[This is the part I love to communicate and share with people]

That understanding, our bodies are always communicating with us. We have a language that we natively speak (our body language) but many of us have disconnected from it because of technology, behaviours and addictions that steal our attention and separate us from our inner voice and self-understanding. 

Many of us perform dysfunctional movement at work, school, sport, holiday without truly understand that those movements are causing stress/strains that eventuate in what seems like an acute injury, but actually was stress/strain building up over a long period of time. 

Michael Ridgway explains further: 
I was taught that if someone has no overt symptoms, such as pain and stiffness, then there is no musculoskeletal problem.

This seemed to make sense because my clients would always present with a problem that needed the help of a physiotherapist to resolve.

Nobody ever came in saying "I don't have any issues, can you still treat me"

So there was no need to question the apparent logic of what I was taught.

Yet when I do a whole body assessment on a client with a musculoskeletal condition (in response to Fundamental 2 "Local Symptoms often have Remote Causes"), I very rarely find a single problem such as 1 tight muscle or 1 stiff joint. I always find a multitude of problems throughout their body.

Did all of these problems occur at the exact same time as the symptom that caused this client to seek my help…or did these problems exist beforehand and potentially play a part in the appearance of the presenting symptom?

I decided that instead of only doing a Whole Body Assessment on clients who had already presented with a problem, I had to start testing by doing a Whole Body Assessment on people who apparently had no symptoms…and no reason to seek my help.

What did I find?

These apparently healthy people, with no apparent symptoms and no "reason" to seek the help of a Physiotherapist, just like my clients, had multiple problem areas of tight muscles and stiff joints and restricted movement throughout their body,

My conclusion?

That these healthy people with no apparent symptoms, suffered from an accumulation of strain (strain + resulting compensation, leading to a new strain + resulting new compensation and so on).

Just as my clients who presented with symptoms also suffered from an accumulation of strain, but that cycle of strain then compensation eventually became too much for the body to continue to compensate adequately for, and so there was a "straw that broke the camel's back" effect which resulted in the onset of more apparent symptoms, to motivate them to avoid activities that aggravate, and/or to seek help.

Why is this important for us to know?

Because if musculoskeletal conditions are the result of an accumulation of strain, then treating or removing only the presenting symptoms, and not ALL of the dysfunctions, will result in at best a short-term fix that leaves the client vulnerable to regular re-accumulation and re-aggravation.

It also helps us understand that we need to retrain the client in how to move in a more "ideal" way once the accumulation of strain has been reversed throughout the entire body, in order for the client to not immediately recommence the re-accumulation of strain and compensations cycle as soon as they complete treatment…and that they continue to get Tune-Ups…

See the image of the Accumulative Strain Model

My conclusion... musculoskeletal conditions, that are appropriate for physiotherapists to resolve, are the result of ACCUMULATIVE STRAIN.

With this understanding, there are no mismatches anymore, I enjoy my work a lot more and I get significantly better results with clients.

RM 5 Fundamentals:
1 Be objective
2 Local symptoms often have remote causes
3 The Single Best Intervention results in Resolution Of Multiple Dysfunctions
Throughout The Body [i.e. Conditions are Protective Mechanisms]
4 And result from accumulative strain
5 Behaviour change is required for sustaining the fix

These fundamentals guide the redesign of RM... making it more simple and easier for physiotherapists to understand and apply.

Actually, it's much easier for me now. Not just with simplifying RM systems for physiotherapists, but also helping me to deliver better outcomes for my clients.

* Quiroga, Q.R., Mukamel, R., Isham, E.A., Malach, R, Fried I. (2008) Human single-neuron responses at the threshold of conscious recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol 105, p3599.
* Marras, Wm, S. (2003). The Case For Cumulative Trauma In Low Back Disorders. The Spine Journal, 3, 177.

Monday, 19 June 2017

FREE Functional Mobility Classes

Can we help you or someone you know feel better?

How: Functional Mobility Classes.

What is Functional Mobility: It’s something we all need. In fact, our bodies crave it.

We all love that feeling when our bodies just feel great. When they move really well all of the time. 
In clinic, we like to call it nutritious movement.

Essentially, functional mobility is the movements that we do every day (at work, school, sport, holiday). Movements like squat, bend, sit, stand, push, pull and lay.

These movements completed correctly will make feel confident, in control, strong and functional.

These movements performed incorrectly over a period of time can create stress on the body that later presents itself as pain. If these inefficient movements are continued and repeated in combination with:
- heavy lifting
- long periods of intensity
- high speed
- reduced recovery time —> your body will become inflamed, fatigued and injured.

If you know someone who needs nutritious movement to help:
- restore
- heal
- rest and
- recover
from the movements they do at work, school, sport, holiday, then the following movement classes will be perfect for them.

Someone who is in pain, has inflammation, stress and movement dysfunction.

Someone who wants to exercise but simply feels like they cannot. These classes are you.

The Functional Mobility classes are designed around movement but are not considered exercise. 
Exercise is for healthy people and if you have pain, inflammation, stress and movement dysfunction, you are not healthy.

When, Where and How?
The following 3 classes are available to everyone and are lead by our Clinical Pilates Instructor and Physiotherapist.

Bookings are essential - Please book online

1. Mobility Func! (This class is for everyone - Even if you struggle with pain and movement)

2. Ground Up Therapy Rehab (Area specific classes) 
- Feet to knee Class
- Hip to lower back
- Thoracic to Neck

3. Functional Movement Pilates (FMP is a pre-pilates to develop nutritious movement + before moving into higher demands of function and strength)

We believe if people feel better, then they will think clearer and do more of what they love. 
We know people are stressed, so stressed that they have inflammation in their body that causes injury and illness.

We know that if we can help people feel better by identifying their stressors, then we can begin to reduce inflammation that causes pain and discomfort and treat injury at its source.

**You must book to attend. ** 
These classes are FREE but there are limited spaces. 
To see a timetable of what's available and to book online go to

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Thyroid Documentary for Thyroid Sufferers

By Joshua Iaquinto. | Physiotherapist |

Who do you know that suffers from Thyroid issues?

Dr. Izabella Wentz, is a thyroid expert and your host of The Thyroid Secret! Izabella became a thyroid expert as a result of her own challenges with autoimmune thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism.

Dr. Izabella Wentz goal is to change the way that thyroid disease is treated- "because too many people suffer needlessly like I did- and I hope to do so with this documentary! I need your help by watching the documentary. - Click here to watch

She partnered with over 100 thyroid experts, 67 thyroid patients, and an amazing production team to create this documentary series to empower you with the tools you need to take back your health!


I spent the last months of 2016 investigating my own health... after investigating my thyroid results, I was shocked by the level of testing, knowledge and advice given by (many) doctors. I know so many people suffer from superficial testing and ill-advice... especially when it comes to thyroid issues. 

i'll be watching this PREVIEW SCREENING when the World Premiere screening occurs on Jan 18th  - click here to watch for FREE

If you know someone who suffers from Thyroid related issues -  share this with them. Would love to hear your thoughts after the screening. 


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

How Chronic Pain Affects Your Family


By Joshua Iaquinto. | Physiotherapist |

Did you know, when you suffer from acute or chronic pain, others (especially close family members) can sense and feel it too. Humans possess mirror neurons that allow us to replicate what other people are experiencing (1). Side note, this is one of the main reasons why I don't watch horror movies, my brain can't figure out the difference between reality and cinematography scariness.

If pain is affecting you, who else is being affected by your pain?

Pain in the family can have a ripple effect — not only does it interrupt your life and challenge you to endure your pain, but it can also impact on your partner, children, family, and friends too.

The effect chronic pain has on your family has a lot to do with the amount of pain you are in, as well as how close your relationship is to each person in your life:



Partners of those experiencing chronic pain, develop their own challenges with their partner's pain. Obviously, there is a need and want to help the discomfort and pain that their partner is feeling, but often they can feel helpless as it is beyond their abilities to help. The supporting partner may need to do more for the hurt/sick partner in ways that can increase their own stress load. Things like, physically assisting to bed or the toilet, doing extra chores like cleaning, cooking or even taking up a second job to make up for loss of income.

These situations can put a strain on the supporting partners:

-    attitude

-    Behaviour

-    Sleep

-    relationship time

-    communication

-    Intimacy

Intimacy and communication can often suffer depending on the origin and severity of pain.



It’s difficult for children to see their parents in pain. Apart from the lack of understanding why their parent has pain, sometimes the child’s thoughts can unnecessarily worry and create beliefs that aren’t true, like believing a parent will get cancer or die because of pain when it may just be a temporary flu or injury. People who have pain for long periods can withdraw from contact with outside groups of friends, which can sometimes carry into the family circle. Children can also assume that they are the reason for the pain or the lack of family connection and develop emotions of guilt or anger.


Top 2 things that people in Pain can do to keep your family close:

1)    Communication

Family always want to know how you are feeling, so let them ask you and keep them updated with how things are going. Talking about the pain can improve the family unit, reduce feelings of isolation and improve overall communications within the family dynamic.  But, try to find the right balance between sharing and complaining, sometimes oversharing by complaining, or exaggerating, can lead to stress and feelings of helplessness for others.

2)    Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It’s surprising how others are willing and wanting to help you, if you ask them. Human’s inherently want to help other people. If you are like me, then you probably find it difficult to ask for help as well. Common issues why we don’t ask for help:

-    It’s a pride thing

-    you may suffer from an “I can do it myself attitude” or

-    you are embarrassed or ashamed

-    or you just have never said the words “I need help with….”

The trick to letting others, help you, is to ask for help. Often family does not know WHAT to do; they can't read your mind. If they knew, they would probably just do it. Simply, you’re going to have to overcome your hang-ups and just ask. FYI, helping the person in pain, also makes the helper feel special too, don't deny them the opportunity to share their love for you. 

Dealing with pain can be so much easier if these two simple steps are performed regularly.

Keep your loved ones loving you despite your pain by communicating and asking for help. is a Physio Clinic based in Gladstone, QLD. 

For pain relief today in Gladstone - Book online

1. Osborn, J., & Derbyshire, S. (2009). Pain sensation evoked by observing injury in others. Pain. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2009.11.007.



physio gladstone