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By Dr Stephanie Cations BAppSc (CompMed) MHs (Osteo) – Osteopath

Hands up who likes to warm up before a netball game? Unless you strangely love it like I do, my guess is it’s not your favourite part of playing netball. I get it. For most of us, netball is a winter sport played outdoors, so peeling off


by Dr. Matthew Jakovljevic BSc (Clin Sci) MHs (Osteo) – Osteopath

‘Tradie’s back’ also know as mechanical back pain refers to pain coming from the spinal structures (such as joints, muscle, ligaments, discs and nerves). I’m yet to meet a tradie who hasn’t had some form of back pain.

In tradies the most common cause is years of hard yakka on the tools. All those years of lifting, twisting and hard physical work add up. And it is incredibly common, accounting for about 97% of back pain. (1) It doesn’t take long until it really starts to affect your life.

That’s why I’ve designed the following 3 steps to get you on top of your back pain. It is important to stay on top of that niggly back pain to keep on the tools or at work as long as you can. Sometimes that ‘she’ll be right’ attitude can be your worst enemy.

It’s so rewarding to see people make the shift and get pain free and reclaim their lives.

Of course, if you’ve had any significant back injuries or get any pain while doing these exercises, please seek advice from your healthcare provider before starting or continuing these exercises.

  1. Daily 5 minute stretching routine

    Movement helps to oil your joints. You wouldn’t try to drive your car without oil, so why do we try to run our bodies without it?! It only takes 5 minutes of basic stretches each day to start to see a change.

    Make sure to set aside this time each day to make it part of your daily routine.

    Start by rolling up a towel as shown and lying on the floor with a pillow behind your head and the towel vertical down your back with the top of the towel at the junction between your back at neck. Just lying there for 1 minute can feel awesome, then do 1 minute of ‘cheerleading’ arms to get the upper back moving and 1 minute of turning your neck side to side.Then switch the towel to horizontal over your low back and roll your knees side to side for 1 minute.

    Then any time you’ve got left over use a spikey ball/foam roller to do some self massage on anywhere you are feeling sore.


  2. Twice weekly 10 minute strength exercises

    The next step is to start to get some strength back into your joints and muscles. These specific strength exercises allow you to prevent injury to your back, making the daily grind that little bit easier. This is similar to keeping your petrol tank full. Again pick two days and times that will suit, so you don’t forget to do them. I’m going to give you three exercises, that you can do as a circuit. Repeat the circuit 3 times. Start by lying on your belly, with your hand at chest level. Roll your nose forward, followed by your neck, mid-back and then finally your low back, slowly lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times.

    Then lying on your back, slowly roll your bottom up into the air, until you on are on your shoulder blades, then ‘tractor tire’ your spine back down onto the floor (starting from the mid-back) Repeat 10-15 times.

    Staying lying on your back, bring both legs into the air, with the knees at 90 degrees. Keep your back flat on the floor, while slowly dropping one heel down to the ground (be careful to only move at the hip, keep the knee at 90 degrees)

  3. Hands on treatment when required

    Just like you would with stange noises in your car, getting a hands on treatment to assist in acute episodes or for your aches and pains can help you get back on track.

    The osteopaths at Procare use soft-tissue massage, muscle stretching, joint movement as well as joint manipulation (cracking) to start to get that stubborn back of yours moving. We can then provide you with some more specific exercises if they might be beneficial. Please note, the advice above is generalised and may not be specific to your situation. If in doubt please contact one of our osteopaths or another health care provider to provide a specific diagnosis and treatment of your condition.

Click here to book an appointment with myself or one of our other osteopaths at Procare Geelong


  1. Chien, J. J., & Bajwa, Z. H. (2008). What is mechanical back pain and how best to treat it?. Current pain and headache reports, 12(6), 406-411.


Your knee hurts. You’ve given it time……..it still hurts. Sound familiar?

You get referred for an x-ray or MRI. Some ‘wear and tear’ is found in the knee joint and maybe even roughened or torn cartilage (meniscus). You head to an orthopaedic surgeon who can offer anything from a minor clean out to a major joint replacement. This of course will fix the problem and, after some post surgical rest, your knee will be fine.

Ah, well, sometimes that is the case. Often it is not.

This may come as a surprise to you. We have the best scanning technology we’ve ever had, with super talented orthopaedic surgeons that can operate on what is found on these detailed scans.

How can we be only tracking at sometimes in this area?

There are 2 key explanations here:

  1. Findings on an x-ray or scan are not always significant to someone’s pain.
    They can be…….sometimes. Often people can experience knee pain that has little to do with normal age related wear and tear (“arthritis”) in the knee joint. In these people, getting an arthroscopic “clean out” is unlikely to make much difference to their pain.
  2. A scan of the knee is like taking a photo of someone and asking a stranger to take guesses at the persons’ personality, talents, hobbies, and who their best friend is.

A photo can’t predict what a person will do, nor can a scan tell us how a knee moves and functions!

Is it strong?
Is it stable?
Is there good balance in the knee?

Does the knee have good endurance? Or does it tire quickly? Can the person co-ordinate the knee with good function at the hip and foot to take the load off the knee?

A scan can never give you any of this information.
Which is why there are a lot of assumptions and guesswork linking scan results with many knee problems. The result? We’re only sometimes getting it right.So how do we improve on sometimes?The first avenue is Prehab. This involves building the knee up before turning to surgery. If there is any doubt as to whether your knee problem is an open and shut surgical case, we should do more to rebuild the knee before taking a knife to it. I know I have worked with a number of people over the years who have not required surgery in the end despite earlier planning to do so.And then there is Rehab.
When your surgeon comes in the morning after surgery and says they are “happy” with how everything went they are only talking about the surgery they performed. It’s now that the work begins for the patient! The focus should be on building up the abilities of the knee with a comprehensive and customised therapist led program.

Now I’m not trying to start an argument against surgery; to me it’s not an either/or scenario. But the stats of outcomes of knee arthroscopies are simply not up to scratch so we need to rethink this entire process.

In summary, more discussion, thought and care is needed when considering whether to attribute knee pain to xray / scan findings. And if surgery is decided upon, the importance of functional rebuilding of the knee post surgery must not be understated. That’s a great starting point to help us improve on sometimes!

Grant Burrows


As an Osteopath, when it comes to chronic pain, I’ve seen it all. The trouble is, I keep seeing it. In a perfect world our patients would all leave with a permanent fix to whatever their issue is, but in reality, some people get longstanding relief from their pain through treatment, and some don’t.

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