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Posture Tips for Travel

Admini Si - Friday, March 15, 2019

Posture tips for travel

The adventure begins and finally you are heading off on your journey!  You can already sense the relaxation of having a break from work and a change of scenery…

The next step is one that physios often get involved in - treating the back strain from lifting the suitcase from the taxi or the rotator cuff tear from taking luggage from the carousel. It’s enough to ruin your holiday!

When you are going away there is often a lot going on, distractions and everything is rushed.  Your body is quite good lifting and carrying if you give it plenty of preparation and warning.  Of course, ideally, preparation started months before with some strength and conditioning at the gym or a sport.

Here are some tips to help avoid pain/injury whilst travelling:

  • Preferably start with a wheelie suitcase.
  • Have your suitcase up off the floor for packing (and stand upright now and then whilst packing it).
  • Know the weight of any suitcase you are about to lift - injuries can occur even when lifting a suitcase lighter than expected!
  • Take a moment to prepare by engaging your core and shoulder muscles before lifting bags in and out of a taxi, onto weighing belt, and off a carousel. Particularly with taking a bag from a carousel, set your shoulder blades back.
  • When lifting try to keep the case close to you, and avoid your torso being in a side-bent or rotated position.
  • If you have shoulder or neck problems ask for help with overhead lockers
  • Whether you are in a plane, train or automobile take a moment to adjust the seat. A lumbar roll behind the small of your back, even one fashioned from a jumper or towel, can assist with lower back and neck pain.
  • Take breaks from sitting to move around, and do exercises such as calf raises, glute squeezes and shoulder rolling whenever possible.

Good luck and happy, pain free travels!

Do I need an MRI for my back?

Admini Si - Tuesday, December 04, 2018

As physiotherapists, we are often asked this question by clients who come to see us with back pain. 

There is a misconception among the public that MRI scans hold the key in finding out why they are experiencing back pain. 

A systematic literature review was undertaken in 2013, to review the imaging findings of individuals who did not report or experience any back pain. 

Interestingly, the review found that degeneration, disc bulges and protrusions were present in a high proportion of asymptomatic individuals and that these findings increased with age.

A summary of the results of the review are found on the table below:

Based on these results, it is worth taking into consideration that many imaging-based findings may be part of normal aging and not related to back pain.

MRI scans definitely have a place in confirming diagnoses but the imaging findings must correlate with symptoms and be interpreted in the context of the individual’s condition. 

If you wish to discuss your MRI scans or have any questions relating to your back pain feel free to contact Macquarie Street Physiotherapy to book an appointment.  

A full version of the systematic review is available via this link:

Posture Tips - Standing Desk

Admini Si - Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Standing Desks

You might think that a standing desk is the answer to all your back or neck issues at work.

However, did you realize it is possible to slouch at a standing desk?  And that your back or neck issues may continue as a result!

Standing slouching looks a little different to sitting slouching:

1)     Hanging on one hip
2)     Hips forward of the rib cage
3)     Pelvis tilted forward
4)     Leaning on the desk
5)     Craning to view the screen


Actually the last two points also can happen sitting, but it’s important to realize that standing helps only if you get it right!

Best standing posture:

-        Even weight on both legs (or have one foot on a small step)

-        Hips under rib cage, pelvis “neutral”

-        Chin tucked in

-        Stay on the move – you don’t have to stand stock still!

Remember, you can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.  At first it is recommended that you only stand for 30% of the day.

Macquarie Street Physio