What is clinical Pilates and what is it not?

Clinical Pilates is a variation on traditional Pilates that takes the knowledge and skills of physiotherapists and exercise physiologists in the human body and injury management and uses the Pilates exercises and equipment in ways that are most beneficial from an injury, exercise science and performance perspective.

The real strength of the Clinical Pilates process is that it is not a strict interpretation of traditional Pilates exercises, but the basis is the knowledge of the body and injury management.  The exercises selected for a client are very specific to their needs and goals and subsequently, the effect on the body’s structures.  This really means that Pilates is made to fit around the person, not the person to fit around Pilates.  The result is that anyone, no matter their age, injuries, fitness or strength, can benefit from Clinical Pilates and achieve their goals.

In Clinical Pilates, you most likely will not perform some of the fancy, difficult moves seen in some programs such as hanging from the trapeze table or a lot of the v-shaped holding exercises, but that’s okay because these exercises rarely suit a lot of people.  What you will see is targeted, specific exercises, designed and instructed for a purpose to achieve the client’s specific goals.

Article written by Michael Dermansky – Senior Physiotherapist.

Email: michael.dermansky@mdhealth.com.au

To book your FREE full body assessment, call us now on 03 9857 0644. We are located in East Kew and parking is easy. Open Mondays to Thursdays from 7am-9pm; Fridays & Saturdays from 7am – 2pm.

Preventing Back Pain in the Workplace

Preventing Back Pain in the Workplace

As a large proportion of life is spent at work, the tips below are to help you move well, stay well and assist in preventing back pain in the workplace.




  • Prior to any lift ask yourself if there is an easier way to do this. Could I use a crane, forklift, wheelbarrow or other device to do the hard work for me?
  • For those heavy lifts, asking for help doesn’t make you any less.
  • Do a quick safety check of the area and what you plan to lift.
  • Prepare your body by warming up BEFORE you lift and carry.
  • If you do have to lift, then use a sound lifting technique with your fee comfortably apart and in a stable position. List using your hips and knees, not your back.
  • Avoid twisting-turn by using your feet, not your back.

Standing Posture

  • Think tall, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin tucked in and head level.
  • Posture should be stable, balanced and relaxed.


  • Don’t stay seated for too long.
  • Regularly stand up, stretch and walk around.
  • If you work in an office ensure that your workstation and computer are correctly positioned.


  • Adjust your seat to sit comfortably. Adjust the lumbar support if available.
  • Take regular breaks on long journeys
  • Don’t sit with your wallet in your back pocket.
  • Be careful what you do after a long journey, take a few seconds to straighten up before lifting things out of the car.


  • With every step, shock is absorbed by the feet, knees, hips and spine to decrease the force of impact. Wearing the correct footwear helps reduce these forces further whilst not affecting the normal function of the foot.


  • Simple exercise such as walking or swimming is the best
  • Before and after exercise, make sure you warm up and cool down with gentle stretches.


  • If your back hurts, don’t ignore the pain! See a physiotherapist


Article by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as a part of Tradies National Health Month.
For more information visit http://www.tradieshealth.com.au/

Why We Need Strong Buttocks to Prevent and Fix Back Pain

Why We Need Strong Buttocks to Prevent and Fix Back Pain

The gluteals (buttocks muscles) are a very important muscle group; they serve many functions in the stability of the lower back and pelvis. However, nowadays we spend more time sitting on our buttocks than actually using it.

In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on average we are sitting at least 4 hours a day (usually watching television) and spending only 30 minutes doing some form of physical activity. That’s a total of 13 hours of watching TV per week!

One in three workers spend at least three-quarters of their time sitting. Office workers sit up to 23 hours per week compared to less than 4 for labourers.

Is it no wonder we see many people with back pain coming into our clinic. If we are all sitting for most of our day our bottoms are probably asleep!

To help you understand a little more, there are 3 layers of buttocks muscles. The smallest (Gluteus Minimus), medium (Gluteus Medius) and biggest (Gluteus Maximus).
The three muscles are all intertwined and yet have different roles to play, overall they help support and stabilise your pelvis, hips and of course your spine.

Without proper use of these muscles we tend to be more inclined to injuries such as back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain and much more.

When we conduct our Full Body Assessment, we look at the entire human body and how one area affects another. One very common thing we see is poor gluteal strength and activation. This can be caused by many things such as previous injury, but the biggest contributing factor is our lifestyle.

In today’s society, we are sitting more then ever and when we are seated; our glutes (particularly Gluteus Maximus) is on constant stretch and not being used. This results in poor gluteal activation which leads to weakness and eventually injury.

If there is weakness throughout the gluteal muscles, we lose significant support for the lower back, pelvis and hips, causing increased loading on passive support structures such as bones and ligaments. Increased loading of these structures is the major cause for spinal injury. One such example is picking up a heavy object off the floor with poor technique. When you do this there is more compressive loading on your back and you are more likely to experience back pain.

One of our main focuses is to improve the strength of our glutes to prevent an injury. If you already have back pain, done worry it is never to late to strengthen your bottom, in fact it will be a major part of your rehabilitation.

Strong glutes should be the main focus for many people, but as always, you should be properly assessed by a qualified health professional such as a Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist or Sports Doctor for a tailored and specific strengthening program.

By Nick Adkins
Exercise Physiologist

Instil Confidence in Athletes not Reliance on the Practitioner

Instil Confidence in Athletes not Reliance on the Practitioner

One of our Exercise Physiologist’s, Kyle, recently read an article by Adam Meakin’s (Physiotherapist) called ‘All that is wrong with Sports Physios’

Adam explained that a therapist conducted endless hours of massage, joint alignment and acupuncture on an elite athlete prior to competition. This routine of hands on treatment was done religiously and recommended by this therapist.

The athlete’s perception of her own performance was based around this approach. She believed that if she didn’t get the massage or joint alignment prior to competition it would have hindered her ability to do her best. This of course, is not the case. The recommendations given to her from her therapist seemed the best approach in her mind, but how was she to know any different?
It is now known that massage and stretching can hinder performance rather than enhance it. Stretching and lengthening a muscle can cause instability of a joint (couple that with unpredictable and powerful contractions) and may cause injury.

It can be argued that as a result of this way of thinking, this therapist is not providing the “best practice” for the patient and could be classified as negligent. If she had been assessed appropriately, given specific strength exercises and mobility as well as educated on how she can be in charge of her own training it would empower the athlete rather than allowing them to become reliant on a therapist’s hands to help their performance.

We see this in elite sports all over Australia and although the trend is changing slowly there is still a reliance on rub downs and stretching. It is an age old habit that has been instilled from us from a young age and so of course it must be good, right? Research proves otherwise. Unfortunately, behavior is tough to change hence the importance of writing this article.
Adam explains that many athletes believe they need to get ‘this poked, that cracked, or that taped’ before a race and if they don’t it will in some way have a detrimental effect to their game or competition. No one in amateur sport is living by this ritual and so the elite are obviously getting this terrible information from somewhere or someone.

The same approach should also be for the general public. Whether you are seeing your Physiotherapist for a back injury or your Exercise Physiologist for chronic disease management. They should be educating you on how you can take control of your own ailments. There should be a plan in place to treat, train, and manage on your own. To have the confidence that your body can do what is was made for with the correct approach.

Our 13 week program is there for a reason, it is well known that compliance and adherence to an exercise program are often the main hurdles to long term improvement. MD Health has implemented the 13 week program based on how long it actually takes to make physiological changes to your musculo-skeletal system. Some people may need more or less time. After this we want to encourage you to go ahead on your own. Some people prefer to keep attending our sessions and see even better results. Some manage quite well on their own at a gym or home and only come back if they have a niggle or new injury. Again, we try to help educate you to manage on your own; we believe you have the power to do it. Plus, no ones hands can not make your muscles stronger.

By Beth Chiuchiarelli
Exercise Physiologist



Prehabilitation – The Importance of Pre Surgery Strength Training

Prehabilitation or ‘prehab’ is not a new concept but it may be starting to gain some ground in the health industry due to recent findings.

The benefits of prehab has been known and taught in universities for decades however it is still not utilised to its full potential and the public are not well educated on its benefits.

Usually patients require or are encouraged to complete inpatient and/or outpatient rehabilitation post surgery yet they are not encouraged to complete any pre surgical exercise or strength work when we already know it can enhance the rehabilitation phase greatly along with many other benefits. The funny thing is that current research doesn’t just find positive outcomes for the patient but can also save hospitals a lot of money.

So What is Prehabilitation?

According to Mr Graham Mercer (Head of Orthopaedics at Repatriation Hospital, South Australia) ‘Prehabilitation is the process of enhancing functional capacity of the individual to enable them to withstand the stresses of orthopaedic surgery and the associated inactivity.’

From our experience at MD Health we see many people who are potentially in need of surgery in the future or are already booked for surgery. The results we obtain from the Full Body Assessment are a clear indication that they need to increase their strength to enable quicker recovery and better rehabilitation post surgery.  It is very rewarding to see the positive effects that our clients achieve to get them ready for surgery and in some cases their surgeries are postponed due to improved function and reduced pain.

This in itself is a major reason why patients should be included into a graded exercise plan prior to surgery.

Based on information from Mr Graham Mercer, orthopaedic surgery places many issues within the hospital system these are:

  • Length of hospital stay post surgery
  • Patient expectation of inpatient rehabilitation
  • Growing waiting list for surgery
  • Service capacity

This means more money goes into funding all of these much needed services. The longer the patient stays the higher the costs.

After conducting a 6 month trial where prehabilitation programs were included as part of patient’s surgery they found that there was:

  • A reduction of inpatient rehabilitation.
    • Up to 94% of patients did not need to complete inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Reduction of length of stay post hip replacements
  • 91% achieved their pre surgical goals

Prehab has a huge role to play in preparation, management and outcomes of surgery. You could almost say it is a wasted opportunity if not completed and there is more chance of pre/post surgical issues.

Here at MD Health Pilates we highly recommend strength training programs prior to surgery to help activate muscles and stabilise your joints to create the best atmosphere for surgery as well as aid in rehabilitation.

If you have a friend or family member who may be in need of or has been booked in for surgery please contact us to start a prehabilitation program today.

Beth Chiuchiarelli
Accredited Exercise Physiologist