Kids school bags

On a daily basis, your child may lug more than five kilograms to and from school in their backpack. This concerns our practice as there is a connection between loads carried and reports of unhealthy spinal symptoms including lower back, shoulder and neck pain. By getting your child to see one of our physiotherapists for a check up, we can determine whether your child’s spine is not at risk of injury and suggest actions such as flexibility and muscle control to help maximise their spine’s health. To keep your child’s spine in good health use the following tips in addition to speaking to one of our physiotherapists. Tip 1 Choose the right backpack that … Fits the body comfortably Doesn’t extend above the shoulders when seated Has shoulder straps that are broad, well padded and adjustable Has straps attached to the top of the pack at separate points Has a waist strap to keep the load in place when moving Has separate compartments to allow heavy items to be packed close to the body Is padded where it touches the back and made of firm material to prevent the load from sagging backwards. Tip 2 Pack smart Lighten loads – don’t let your child carry too many heavy books on the same day Plan ahead – to avoid your child carrying lots of equipment at the same time, like sports gear, musical instruments or art materials Pack the heaviest items – such as a lap top – closest to the body and the lighter, softer items further out. Tip 3 Carry smart When packed, make sure the backpack doesn’t sag or pull backwards Insist your child uses both shoulder straps when wearing the backpack Ensure the backpack’s waist strap is used to keep the load in place when your child is walking or cycling Don’t let your child carry the backpack for too long – advise them to take breaks and put it down.

Core Strength and Back Pain

What is Core Stability?

This is a term which describes the firmness and stability of your trunk muscles. These are the muscles which wrap around your trunk like a cylinder or brace. They lie between your ribs and your hip bones just like the corsets worn in Victorian times.

The core or trunk muscles are the foundations of the body. The back, arms and the legs work much better if the trunk muscles are stable. When the trunk muscles are working together they support your body when walking, bending, lifting and even sitting upright and give you more energy.

Once working correctly they will also help protect the back from injury.

Why is Core Stability useful in the treatment of back pain?

Pain has been shown to turn muscles off. Pain encourages sufferers to adopt pain relieving positions but ultimately they add to the problem. This leads to recurrent low back pain. Improving core stability will help stop this pain or reduce it a lot and encourage better posture which will prevent further pain. Improving posture may reduce pain immediately. Improving core stability will reduce pain over time.

How can we help you?

We need to teach your muscles how to work again. This training is done one on one with your physiotherapist. Once the muscles are working correctly we can then give you a programme of exercises to improve your strength even further. These need to be monitored and are progressed as the muscles slowly strengthen and work together correctly. We also offer pilates classes and strength classes which incorporate core strength. Call us now to book into our classes. New times and more classes coming 2015…………. New schedule up on website in Jan

Upper back pain

Thoracic spine (upper back) pain

The main cause of this problem is injury to the small joints either side of the spine.

Risk factors for the development of this problem include:

Poor seated posture – or spending too long sitting
Limited thoracic extension – due to slouching posture
Reduced mid back rotation – again due to prolonged sitting and not enough movement of these joints.
Muscle imbalance between the chest muscles and the back muscles.
Treatment for this injury includes mobilization of the stiff and injured joints, massage, dry needling or acupuncture and stretching to help settle the affected area. A rehabilitation program is then devised to treat the risk factors and causes of the injury.

To help prevent this happening follow these simple exercises:

Lie over a rolled up towel on the floor placed horizontally across your back. Stretch your arms up over your head and feel the gentle stretch as your encourage your upper back to extend. Hold each position for 30 seconds and try to do 3 levels of your back.

Lie on your back on a Swiss Ball – then relax the arms out to the side at 90 degrees and keep them there for 30 seconds – rest for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

Is your posture hurting you?

Blog posted by Nic Craw, Physiotherapist at Bureta Physiotherapy

As human beings our bodies are made to be standing upright on two feet. With advancing technology, the internet, computer based work, learning and communication we are spending more and more time sitting. This has an effect on your spine, especially if you have an injury or an ongoing niggle.

In standing our spines have a series of natural curves known as a lordosis in the Lumbar (lower) and Cervical (neck) spine and a kyphosis in the Thoracic (mid-upper) spine. These curves allow for normal movement, shock absorption and maintaining our centre of gravity over our feet.

When we sit down it can be difficult to maintain these natural curves and most people are not aware of their spinal posture when they sit. Often when we sit, our pelvis rotates backward (posteriorly), flattening the Lumbar curve (lordosis). Flattening of the lumbar lordosis leads to an exaggerated bent forward upper back (thoracic kyphosis) in order to maintain our centre of gravity over our pelvis where we bear weight in sitting, which in turn causes the head to protrude forward.

When educating clients about their spinal posture I often get them to maintain their poor sitting posture and get them to stand up. Clients find their posture in standing to be stooped and bent forward. Maintaining this position for even a short time can lead to or aggravate numerous spinal related problems both in sitting and standing.


To improve your spinal posture in sitting, start at the pelvis ensuring it is rotated forwards giving you that natural lordosis in your lumbar spine – (a lumbar roll can assist this if you sit for long periods – available through the clinic). Once this pelvic position is set it becomes much easier to pull your shoulder blades back and tuck your chin in to achieve an upright sitting posture. One of the fundamentals of treating spinal pain is re-educating clients on posture

Maintaining this posture requires a strong core, shoulder blade stabilisers and neck strength and the team at Bureta Physio can guide you through a program to improve these areas and your postural awareness in sitting. If you spend a lot of time sitting either at work or play then maintaining a good spinal posture is very important not only when recovering from a spinal problem but to prevent them developing in the future.