Need motivation to exercise?


Inactivity alone causes THE SAME LEVEL OF MORTALITY AS SMOKING, type 2 diabetes, and MORE MORTALITY than being overweight or obese. This is regardless of body weight. 


45% of women are not active enough for good health.

19% of men and 26% of women are physically inactive (less than 30 minutes of activity a week).

See below recommendations for activity guidelines.

To get started, try not to be overwhelmed – remember anything is better than nothing! Every 10 minutes of exercise has a positive impact on your health! Start small and build up gradually.



Back-Care Pilates

Back-care pilates is a programme designed for people who feel unable to join a regular exercise class due to recent or previous back or neck pain, illness, pregnancy, or osteoporosis. Classes are run by a Chartered Physiotherapist, with smaller class sizes to allow for greater attention and care. Classes are held in the Ashford Community and Heritage Centre.

Timetable for January 2016:


5.30pm: Level 2 (previous pilates experience). Commencing Monday 11th January, running for 7 weeks, cost E120. FULL


5.30pm: Beginner (no previous pilates experience, or recent episode of spinal pain). Commencing Tuesday 12th, running for 7 weeks, cost E120. FULL

6.30pm: Level 2- a class for people with previous pilates experience. Commencing Tuesday 12th, running for 7 weeks, cost E120. FULL.


12.30pm: “Back and Bones” –  a class designed for people with back or neck pain, and or osteopaenia/osteoporosis. Mixed level. 7 weeks E120.

1:30pm: Back-Care Pilates. Beginners. Beginning Wednesday 13th, running for 7 weeks, cost E120. SPACES AVAILABLE.


1-2pm: Level 2: a class for people with previous pilates experience. Commencing Friday 8th, running for 8 weeks, cost E137. ONE SPACE LEFT.

If you have never attended the clinic as a patient or if your medical history has changed since you last attended, we may need to assess you prior to starting the class (cost included).

For those people looking for general pilates, we recommend Wicklow Pilates (

If you are interested in Back-Care Pilates, contact the clinic at 0404-49781 or email

Are you sitting in the correct way at work?
Do you have persistent neck and shoulder pain at work?

In today’s world technology has made life alot easier than it was, say 40 years ago, where everything we did was done manually. With technological advances it has seen our workforce become more computer literate and has increased the number or work related pain 5 fold. The majority of this pain is associated with long hours spent at the computer, so in this blog I will give you some tips to help relieve yourself of these nasty unremitting pains that you experience on a daily basis.

Everybody that works in an office should have heard of an ergonomics assessment.
Ergonomics relates to your work environment and how you interact with your workstation. As most people will spend on average 6 hours per day sitting at your desk it is vital that your desk is set up to be used in the most efficient manner. The four things you use the most at your desk are the computer, the computer keyboard, the computer mouse and the phone. Rearranging these items for easy of use and to reduce the stress taken by your shoulders from using your arms at each of these items is essential for maintaining a proper healthy back and neck. Here are some key tips to adjust your workstation.
a.) The top of your monitor shoulder be at eye level. This encourages your neck to sit in a neutral alignment and prevent postural pains in your neck
b.) Your key board should be tilted and have some wrist supports to take the weight of your upper limbs off your shoulders. 
c.) If you have wrist pain ensure that you have a good support to rest your wrist on when using the mouse. Angling your wrist upwards can cause repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s) which can last for weeks or months if continuously aggravated by poor posture
d.) Have a good back support in your chair that encourages you to sit more upright.
e.) Where possible use the elbow supports on your chair to  rest the muscles on your shoulders
f.) Most importantly DO NOT SLOUCH. Sitting in a slumped position creates excessive stress on your shoulders and encourages a forward neck position. This forward neck position is one of the most difficult positions for your neck muscles to support your neck.
These tips help to maintain a healthy neck, back and shoulders while at work but if you think you have already fallen into a poor work posture, and are already experiencing pain, it is best to ask for an ergonomics assessment.
Physiotherapy assists with the ergonomics assessment by prescribing specific exercises and releasing already tight musculature that is causing your pain.

Don’t waste time being in pain. Book an appointment today

Dizzy or have balance problems?

We need our EARS to balance!!

We have a very complex and tiny system in our inner ear which gathers information about our head position, balance and movement and sends this information to specialist areas in our brains. This system is called the vestibular system. Without it, we would be extremely dizzy and moving around would be very difficult!

Quite often, our inner ear malfunctions and this can result in dizziness and problems with balance. In fact, 45% if individuals who go their GP with dizziness or vertigo have a problem with their inner ear or vestibular system. These inner ear problems are often missed and very few of theses individuals are referred to physiotherapists who assess and treat balance and dizziness everyday.

Problems with your inner ear can be quickly assessed and very effectively treated with specific manoeuvres performed by your physiotherapist. There are also balance and inner ear exercises which your physiotherapist can prescribe which have been proven to help.

So if you are experiencing dizziness or poor balance,  see your Physiotherapist!

Are you one of the 50% of women with stress incontinence?

Urinary stress incontinence is the involuntary leaking of urine during activities like running, jumping, laughing or coughing.

Unless you’ve had the conversation with someone, you would be mistaken for thinking that this wasn’t common. And that what you are experiencing is something you have to accept. Well if that’s the case you are wrong! Up to 50% of women experience urinary stress incontinence during exercise and for many this can prevent them from exercising altogether. Most don’t talk about it. Let’s face it it’s embarrassing.

However it is VERY treatable. 75% of women can improve or get rid of their incontinence with the correct pelvic floor muscle training.

What are your pelvic floor muscles and what causes my incontinence?

They are the floor of your pelvis, running from the front of the pelvis to the back, helping you control your front and back passage functions, such as passing water and bowel motions, and your vaginal muscles.

Image result for image pelvic floor muscles

These muscles work all the time to keep the bladder and bowel from leaking. When they are weakened e.g. from pregnancy, childbirth, back pain or menopause they can have trouble controlling the bladder and bowel functions when they are put under stress, such as when we cough, laugh, sneeze, jump or run. This can cause leakage.

Some people’s pelvic floor is too tight, or “stays on” too much of the time, so the muscles can’t work well enough during high-impact activities.

How you can help yourself:

1. Train your pelvic floor muscles:

The basics:

When you are first doing this, lying on your side can be a good position to start in as it can be easiest to feel if they are working.

Breathe in, as you breathe out, relax your body, including your pelvic floor.

Breathe in again, as you breathe out,  tighten around the back passage as if you are passing wind, then bring that feeling forward to the front passages. Count to 5 out loud (just to make sure you are not holding your breath!). Rest for 5 seconds, and do 5 times. Your stomach should stay quite relaxed.

If this is too easy, you can increase to holding for 10 seconds, 10 times when standing.

Once you are confident you are doing them well lying down, it is important to bring them into play in other positions. This is to train your body to use them when you are up and about when you need them (walking, running, getting up from a chair).

Getting them stronger: 

It is also important to train the muscles for when you need them in a hurry. Imagine you are tightening your pelvic floor strongly like a yo-yo then letting go fully. Aim for 10 of these, make sure you keep breathing.  Your ultimate goal is to do 20 of these fast contractions in standing.

The Knack:

Practice pulling in the pelvic floor strongly, and holding for a cough, when you have finished, relax the pelvic floor. This helps to prevent a leak.

2. Avoid constipation

If you are straining for bowel motions, this weakens your pelvic floor muscles. Here are some tips to help you (note this is not a substitute for medical advice – consult your doctor if you are experiencing dietary distress):

- Ensure you are well hydrated.

- Change your toileting position- see the infographic below.

For women who have a tight pelvic floor that they are unable to consciously relax, or who need additional input beyond what is described above, they may benefit from seeing a physiotherapist specialised in women’s health.

We are stockists of EVB sports shorts for women who have urinary stress incontinence when they exercise. Read more here:



Tennis elbow

What is tennis elbow?

This is a condition in which the outer part of the elbow becomes sore and tender. Activities such as lifting, gripping, opening jars and twisting of the arm are generally painful. It is linked to tennis because it is a common injury from the sport due to the gripping and wrist movement that is involved. However most people we see with this condition are not tennis players and developed the condition from activities such as gardening, housework, decorating, or playing a musical instrument.



Tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylalgia to use the medical term!) is usually caused by repeated use of the muscles that straighten the wrist, that attach to your elbow.

What do I do if I think I have tennis elbow?

If your elbow pain is caused by a strenuous or repetitive activity, you should avoid that activity until your symptoms are gone. The longer you keep pushing through the pain, the more likely it is that the tendon will start to develop some wear and tear, which can take a little longer to settle.

Ice the elbow with an ice pack, 10 mins on and off, then repeat. Do this several times a day (once your skin can tolerate it).

Taking anti-inflammatory medication if the pain is less than 2 weeks old can be helpful. After 2 weeks the pain is less likely to be from the inflammation and more likely from wear and tear in the tendon. If that’s the case a specific exercise problem can usually help.

If the above measures don’t clear your pain, or if you have symptoms longer than a couple of weeks, best to get it assessed. Treatment for tennis elbow is very successful but the earlier it is caught the quicker it recovers.

Growing pains

Children and teenagers are not mini adults. That period when a child’s body transitions into an adult’s body is a period of dramatic physical change. These changes can take place anytime from age 8 to 21! While they still get normal injuries like an adult does, we see alot of injuries that occur only during this period.  This is because:

  1. our bone grows first and the soft tissues follow. There can often be a period where the muscles and tendons are tight as they haven’t caught up with the bones yet. This in itself can give pains.
  2. the pre-pubescent bone has a growth plate, which is softer bone that increases in length as we get taller. During puberty, this bone starts to harden. During this period the areas of the body where tendons attach to bones are at risk of injury as the bone is less stable, and this becomes the weakest link in the chain.

Below we have described two common injuries we see in this period. Both have frightening names but are quite straightforward once properly dealt with:

  1. Severs disease  – this is an injury affecting the back of the heel, where the achilles tendon attaches to the bone. It can sometimes cause a little bump to appear. It usually happens in girls aged 8-10, and boys around 10-12 years (girls bones mature earlier than boys). These kids are often physically active, but their parents might notice them limping or running awkwardly. The child might say it is sore to walk on their toes.
  2. Osgoods Schlatters: this is an injury affecting just below the knee, where the tendon attaches to the bone. This can also cause a little bump to appear on the top of the shin bone. It occurs usually between the ages of 12-15 although it can be seen younger or older than that. This is common in kids who are active in sports involving running, jumping and twisting.

How to reduce likelihood of your child getting a growth related injury:

1. If your child is very active and playing alot of sport, it is advised to reduce how much they train by approximately 10-20% during a major growth spurt. This may be as simple as dropping one training session per week.

2. Make sure your child is stretching after sport, especially the knee and ankle muscle which tend to get tightest. Examples of these stretches are here (the first five ones are usually the most important):

3. I’m showing my age by saying it seems to be the trend among “young people” to wear very flat shoes or shoes with laces open. The arches of the feet don’t get good support from these styles, and that can cause problems right up the leg.

4. No slouching! Long hours sitting at school and studying can lead to lazy postural muscles, and slouching, which can bring on all sorts of problems. Long use of tablets and smartphones is making slouching a bit of an epidemic. Make sure they are studying at a well set up desk and chair, and that they sit into the seat properly (see below if using a computer).

5. Make sure they are getting enough sleep!

6. And finally – always listen to a child – if they are complaining of a pain that won’t go away, in pain at night-time or crying with pain, it needs to be checked.



Patellofemoral Pain

Patellofemoral pain is a term used to describe pain around the knee cap, i.e at the front of the knee. There can be clicking at the front of the knee and a sensation of giving away or locking.

It is a common knee injury, especially in runners, cyclists and hill-walkers. It also commonly affects people who are new to exercise, especially when they are rapidly increasing  their activity levels.

The patella is also known as the knee cap. It lies in a grove at the front of the knee. It slides up and down in this grove as the knee bends and straightens. When there is excessive pressure on the knee, for example when we increase our training volumes, increase our speed or go up or down lots of stairs or hills, this puts an increased load on the patella and surrounding structures and can result in pain. Pain can also result from the patella not tracking up and down correctly in it’s grove.

Pain can arise from the highly sensitive fat pad which lies just under the knee cap. Pain can also arise from the tendon that attaches the knee cap to the shin bone (patellofemoral ligament) or from the muscles on the outside of the thigh.

Physiotherapy treatment will initially aim to reduce pain with manual therapy, rest, ice and taping. The most important part of treatment is to identify the cause of the symptoms. The Physiotherapist needs to assess your foot, your biomechanics (ie the way you move), your flexibility and your strength. they will need to look at your training programme and may need to tailor it, aswell as building in some rehabilitation.

Bear in mind that this is just one type of knee pain. There are many other causes, so it is important to get assessed to ensure things are dealt with correctly. If you are suffering from knee pain and would like some help, please do not hesitate to call us at East Coast Physio.



5 Reasons Triathletes Get Injured

Triathlon season is almost upon up us! Avoid an injury at this stage by avoiding these common pitfalls:

1. Too much, too soon

At this time of year, triathletes are increasing the length and intensity of their sessions in preparation for race season. Injuries happen when the load put on our bodies is too much for our tissues to withstand. Before increasing your training load, ask yourself; Is you body ready for this increase? Have you built up steadily over the last few months? If so, increase you mileage or your intensity of sessions in one discipline at a time. 10% a week is a good guide, and this means a 10% increase in either intensity or mileage, not both!

2. Rest/Recovery

I would argue that the rest day is the most important training day!

Triathlon requires high volumes of training. Not only does the triathlete have to find time to train for three very different disciplines, they also need to incorporate endurance, power and skill training into each discipline. Most triathletes are working full time, have family and social commitments. It’s hard to fit it all in!

Many triathletes push themselves until their bodies break down and they get an injury. If you are tired, take a rest day or chose a lighter session for that day. If you are physically or mentally tired, you will not get the benefit from a tough session, and you increase your risk of injury.

3. Nutrition

If you are training hard, you need to consider how you are fuelling your body.  It is important you are well nourished. Otherwise you could find yourself picking up every cold and sore throat going! Choose healthy options, slow release carbohydrates, adequate protein and unsaturated fats. Healthy snacks between meals are important to avoid highs and lows in blood sugar levels during the day. After a training session, you should eat a snack which contains some carbohydrate and protein. Try to eat a proper meal within an hour after training.  And don’t forget to stay hydrated!

 4. Invest in a bike fit!

You spent an open fortune on a bike but shy away from investing in a bike fitting?! It is so important that the bike fits you.

5. Flexibility and strength 

It’s hard to fit it all in, but in my opinion, flexibility and strength are the most important factors in injury prevention. Flexibility is easy! Three times a week (more if you can), grab a mat in front of the TV, and stretch/foam roll all of your major muscles.

Strengthening is in my opinion a little more difficult. It is important to identify where your weaknesses lie. You may need to consult a Physiotherapist to help identify what areas you need to work on. This will allow you to focus on the important areas, which is more effective for injury prevention and also more time efficient!

Good luck! And if you need any assistance or advise, please do not hesitate to contact us at East Coast Physio. 



Operation Transformation – Injury Prevention

Three basic tips for injury prevention:

1. Variety is the spice of life!

Exercising the same muscles in the same way day in day out can lead to muscle breakdown and injury. Factor in a rest day, and if possible vary your exercise. For example, do swimming, cycling or an exercise class for one session instead of walking.

If you have done little or no exercise in the past few months, be careful to start your exercise routine this week gradually (try not to go from zero to hero!!).  Read Zero to Hero to find out how to ease into your new exercise.

2. Footwear

In the clinic we advise clients everyday on correct footwear.  It is so important to have good supportive footwear when you are exercising to avoid injury. Read our Footwear section to find out what would be suitable for your foot.

3. Recover well

For your body to get stronger and fitter, it needs a chance for recovery. Eating and sleeping well and staying well hydrated will help this.

To help your muscles to recover, doing a good cool-down is important – it is important to stretch after exercise to avoid soreness after exercise and to avoid injuries.  We have pictures of all the stretches you should be doing after your Operation Transformation exercise plan (pay particular attention to calf, hip flexor, quad, hamstring and glut stretches). These need to be held for at least 30 seconds to have an effect.

Foam rolling can be a good addition to your routine, to help you self-massage tight muscles. We stock these in the clinic.

Best of luck this week with your new programme!  If you have any injuries or problems with your Operation Transformation exercise plan call us on 0404 49781 or email

Catherine, Fiona, Robert and Ian