pilates 1

Introducing Clifton Hill Pilates and Rehab

We have some exciting news to share –  Clifton Hill Physiotherapy is proud to announce we have a new Clinical Pilates and Rehabilitation gym, conveniently located just 3 doors down next to Bendigo Bank.  

We have joined forces with Bodylogic Pilates (a longstanding leader and provider of excellence in pilates in the Clifton Hill area) to create Clifton Hill Pilates and Rehab.

With this new facility we will offer a full range of Clinical Pilates, mat based pilates, specialised classes (for example – pre and post natal pilates, strength training for women), comprehensive rehabilitation post injury/surgery and Podiatry services.

Please contact us for more information or ask your physiotherapist for further details about how you can participate. We plan to renovate this new space during the  September school holidays and launch to market soon after.


Help for sufferers of mastitis

Clifton Hill Physiotherapy offers help for mastitis sufferers

Earlier in the year Cathy Derham and Alison Harding attended professional development on “The lactating breast for physiotherapists” run by The Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapy Australia Group.

Cathy and Ali reviewed the most recent research and current best practice in the management of conditions of the lactating breast. The most common of these is mastitis. Mastitis is defined as “inflammation of the breast” resulting in a blockage of the ducts that transport milk to the nipple for the baby to feed.

Mastitis occurs in as many as 1 in 3 women during the post partum period, with the highest incidence occurring 2-3 weeks post partum. Mastitis is the most common reason to wean in the first 12 weeks post partum.

Some common risk factors for mastitis include: previous episode; a sudden change in number of feeds; incomplete breast emptying; suckling replaced by pacifiers or bottles; finger/ pump/tight bra compression; positioning and attachment problems or direct blow to the breast.

Breastfeeding is considered the biological norm, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends breastfeeding for the first two years of a baby’s life due to the enormous health benefits for both baby and mother. Therefore, best practice in the management of mastitis is directed towards resolution of the inflammation and unblocking any blocked ducts while supporting continuance of breastfeeding.

Cathy and Ali have recently conducted Mastitis update inservice to staff at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy, ensuring that your Physiotherapist at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy is delivering best practice for management of these conditions.


Cathy Derham

B Physio (Hons) M Physio (Sports Physio)

Low Back Pain Research using Vimove Technology

Low Back Pain Research at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy using Vimove Technology

Acute low back pain (LBP) is a very common musculoskeletal complaint seen in primary care.  It is commonplace for people to seek care from their physiotherapist for episodes of low back pain.  If you have been in this situation yourself, you may have experienced rigid taping as a part of treatment.

In the clinical setting, rigid taping is a commonly used treatment strategy to reduce pain and improve function by normalising movement.   Despite its widespread use, there is limited evidence regarding rigid taping for low back pain.

At Clifton Hill Physiotherapy we are fortunate to have access to DorsaVi Vimove technology to assist in the care and treatment of our patients.  Vimove is a specialist movement based technology suitable for many clinical situations.

Due to the high number of patients we see with low back pain, we recently carried out a study using our Vimove technology.  We assessed a series of lumbar spine (low back) movements and functional tasks in a group of ten people without pain.  We repeated these tasks with rigid taping and without and have collected the results.

The results showed a difference between movement in a step down task and also low back movements (side bend and back bend), between the two groups. This provides us with valuable information and has encouraged us to complete a second stage of this study- in a group of people with pain.

We anticipate the results will provide valuable evidence to support the use of taping in acute low back pain, furthering our commitment to evidence based practice here at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy. Watch this space for further updates.

Alison Harding

You can email Ali on admin@cliftonhillphysiotherapy.com.au with any inquiries.

Pelvic Floor First Exercise App

The Continence Foundation of Australia  has developed an incredibly useful free app for women.

The app provides examples of exercises that are pelvic floor safe and exercises to avoid if you have a weak or dysfunctional pelvic floor muscles. This is not only useful for people that are having symptoms of pelvic floor weakness, it is great for anyone wishing to use their core properly in their exercise regime.

The app has a series of workouts designed by Physiotherapist and fitness leader Lisa Westlake with both visual and verbal instructions to guide you through the exercises.

In clinical practice I find The Pelvic Floor First app a valuable adjunct to pelvic floor physiotherapy. In particular I recommend the app to pregnant or post natal women returning to exercise. I treat many women who are keen to continue exercise during pregnancy or in the post natal period but are not sure which are the best exercises for protecting their pelvic floor muscles.

The app provides a wide range of exercises for all fitness levels, to ensure people enjoy the benefits of a total body work out that also looks after their pelvic floor muscles.

Please note, if you are experiencing any symptoms of pelvic floor weakness (bladder or bowel leakage, vaginal heaviness or bulging, pelvic or lower back pain, pre or post pregnancy) it is important to have a consultation with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to ensure your exercise program is suited to your individual needs.

The app is now available to download for iPhones and iPads through the App Store. The app is also available for Androids from Google Play.

If you have any questions regarding the Pelvic Floor First app please speak to Kiera Hannigan,  Clifton Hill Physiotherapy’s pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist.

Kiera is a pelvic floor physiotherapist and clinical Pilates instructor with a keen interest in helping men and women across all ranges of fitness and life stages perform effective and pelvic floor safe exercises as part of their general fitness and rehabilitation.


The ‘What Were We Thinking’ App


Clifton Hill Physiotherapy likes this evidence based App for new parents.

The Jean Hailes Foundation www.jeanhailes.org.au has developed an App for smartphones and mobile devices that offers practical guidance to support parents in the important first 100 days of their baby’s life. Expert advice is available form Maternal & Child Health nurses and Psychologists as well as a parental blog! It provides support in an evidence-based, supportive and non-judgemental environment. It has quizzes, tools, videos and helpful innovative information for parents.

Download it from iTunes App store today – https://itunes.apple.com/app/what-were-we-thinking/id925235935?mt=8

Jen Langford.

An Important Report on Pelvic Pain


From Clifton Hill Physiotherapy

The $6 Billion Woman and the $600 Million Girl’ – Pelvic Pain Report

Pelvic pain, while common, is often a hidden burden to the lives of many women. With emerging national and international knowledge about pain and the heavy toll it poses on individuals and society, it is timely that this report ‘The $6 Billion Woman and the $600 Million Girl’ raises pelvic pain to public attention as an important health issue. This call for action is overdue in a much neglected area of health and healthcare impacting the lives of so many women and girls in our community.”

Dr. Christine Bennett


Adequately addressing Pelvic Pain is an issue very close to us at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy. The Australian Government has made a commitment to Australian women to ensure a sustainable, high quality health system, which is responsive to all women now and in the future with a clear focus on illness prevention and health promotion as part of the National Women’s Health policy.

The Pelvic Pain Report highlights addressing pelvic pain must be a cornerstone of that commitment.

Kiera Hannigan and Jennifer Langford (Pelvic Physiotherapists at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy) share a strong passion for empowering women and men with pelvic pain with knowledge and strategies to overcome the burden of pelvic pain and live a fulfilling life.

Along with providing appropriate treatment with a compassionate and understanding approach, Kiera and Jen have a particular interest in a biopsychosocial approach to pain management, educating patients in the current concepts of pain science so that they understand their pain and how to manage it.


To read The Pelvic Pain Report click here


Kiera Hannigan

B Physio (Hons)

Post Grad Cert(Pelvic Floor Rehab)

Clinical Pilates Instructor


Kiera has worked in numerous tertiary hospitals, private practice and aged care settings, and currently also works across all areas of Women’s Health at The Mercy Hospital for Women. Call 9486 1918 to make an appointment with Kiera or Jen.



Recently we have noticed an increase in the number of people being offered injection therapies for management of their musculoskeletal conditions. The rise in popularity for such therapies has many patients asking – is there actually any scientific evidence to support this treatment approach?

What do we mean by injections therapies?

Injection therapies consist of treatments that inject blood products or cells (from the patient) into a joint, muscle or tendon. It is commonly used to treat acute muscle injuries and joint or tendon degeneration. We have seen a significant increase in one in particular, called platelet rich plasma, or PRP.

So what is PRP?

PRP is a component of the patient’s own blood. The blood is taken from the individual having the PRP injection. It is then put through a process of centrifugation, which separates the PRP from platelet poor blood and red blood.

What does PRP do?

PRP has an abundance of cells that stimulate and aid in healing of tissues within the body. It has been proposed that injection of PRP into an injured muscle or tendon will provide an optimal environment for healing or regeneration.

What does the science say?

PRP is commonly used in many different musculoskeletal problems. Two of the most commonly seen applications are in muscle strain injuries and tendon injuries. But there’s still some conjecture from a scientific perspective. Here are some key findings:

Muscle injuries: A recent systematic review demonstrated a distinct lack of quality human studies showing beneficial effects of PRP injections.

Achilles tendon: A systematic review regarding PRP use in chronic Achilles tendon problems failed to show that it is an effective treatment.

In summary, there is no concrete evidence supporting the use of PRP in commonly seen musculoskeletal conditions at this current time. With more research into the area this may very well change in the future. But for now we suggest that other treatment modalities commonly used by your physiotherapist is probably the best way to go.

Josh Heerey



About Josh: Josh is an experienced physiotherapist with a keen interest in musculoskeletal and sporting injuries. He is currently completing his Masters of Sports Physiotherapy at Latrobe University.


Vannini, F., Dimatteo, B., Filardo, G., Kon, K., Marcacci, M., & Giannini, S. (2014). Platelet-rich plasma for foot and ankle pathologies: A systematic review.  Foot and Ankle Surgery, 20(1), 2-9.

 Hamid, M. S., Yusof, A., & Mohamad Ali, M. R. (2014). Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Acute Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review.  PlOS ONE, 9(2), 1-7.

Children with a disability

A Better Start for Children with a disability – Clifton Hill Physiotherapy

The Better Start for Children with Disability initiative provides funding for early intervention services.

Children are eligible for the Better Start program if diagnosed with one of the following disabilities:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deafblindness
  • Down syndrome, including mosaic Down syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome with full mutation.
  • Hearing impairment
  • Sight impairment
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Williams syndrome
  • Angelman syndrome
  • Kabuki syndrome
  • Smith-Magenis syndrome
  • CHARGE syndrome
  • Cornelia de Lange syndrome
  • Rett’s Disorder
  • Cri du Chat syndrome; or
  • Microcephaly

Children with an eligible diagnosis must register for Better Start before they turn 6 years old. A child will have until they turn 7 to access funding.

Children registered with Better Start can access up to $12,000 (maximum $6,000 per year) to pay for early intervention services. These services include:

  • physiotherapy
  • audiology
  • occupational therapy
  • orthoptics
  • psychology and
  • speech pathology.

Service providers must be registered better start providers. For further information of registering your child for Better Start visit http://betterstart.net.au/.

Clifton Hill Physiotherapy‘s experienced paediatric physiotherapist, Brendan Egan a registered provider for Better Start. Brendan has over 20  years experience working with children with neurological conditions, and  worked for many years at The Royal Children’s Hospital in the Paediatric Rehabilitation Service. He has a special interest in gait training for children with cerebral palsy, including the role of orthotics in both gait and tone management. He also has a keen interest in maximising participation in the neurological population including training of bike riding skills, running skills, and return to sport following a brain injury.

If you have any queries please email admin@cliftonhillphysiotherapy.com.au or call 94861918 to make an appointment with Brendan.

Are you over 50 years old and suffering with chronic knee pain?

Are you over 50 years old and suffering with chronic knee pain?

Sign up to participate in the IMPACT (Internet Mediated Physiotherapy And pain Coping skills Training) Study.

The IMPACT trial is evaluating different treatments, delivered over the internet, that aim to reduce pain and improve function. This includes online educational handouts, an exercise program delivered by a physiotherapist via Skype and an online pain coping skills training. Cathy Derham, of Clifton Hill Physiotherapy, is one of the therapists trained in delivering the online intervention that combines Pain Coping Skills Training and physiotherapy-guided exercise.

Who can participate?

We are looking for people 50 years and over with persistent knee pain. As this study is being conducted over the internet, you could be living anywhere in Australia, metro or rural, as long as you have a reliable broadband internet connection at home. 
Persistent knee pain in people over 50 is most likely due to underlying knee osteoarthritis and you may, or may not, have been told you have this condition. That is fine as you are able to participate in the study if you:

  • Are aged 50 years or over.
  • Have had pain in your knee for more than 3 months and for most days of the past month.
  • Are able to commit approximately 6 months to the study and willing to do regular home exercises and pain coping skills training practice online if allocated to this group.
  • Have an active e-mail account and home broadband access to the internet.
  • Are not currently receiving physical treatment for your knee.
  • Do not have systemic arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Are not on a waiting list for knee surgery or joint replacement surgery, or have had a joint replacement on your painful side.

To register your interest in participating in this study go to the following link:


This study has approval by the University Ethics Committee, HREC No. 1339459.2,
and is being run by the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne.

About Cathy Derham: B Physio (Hons) M Physio (Sports Physio)

Cathy is an experienced musculoskeletal Physiotherapist with a Masters in
Sports Physiotherapy. She has worked with multiple professional sporting
teams and Olympic teams and is a Clinical Pilates instructor.

What’s the Thorax? And why is it more important than you think?

Your thorax consists of the vertebrae in the middle of your back and the ribs attached to them, along with all the accompanying ligaments, muscles, joints, and internal organs. It is traditionally considered a ‘stable’ structure with little room for movement, and rarely considered as a source of pain.

Recent studies have shown however, that thoracic pain is common, with up to 55% of working adults experiencing thoracic pain in any year. Importantly, it is also a predictor of lower back pain.

Your thorax is an important structure, the bones and ligaments protecting vital internal organs underneath. But it’s also where we get most of the rotation of our trunk. So if you like running, golf, swimming, walking, tennis, football, or almost any physical activity, you need good function in your thorax.

The nerves from our thorax supply the abdominal muscles; these muscles protect our lower back and abdominal organs. If our thorax is not moving well, it’s possible that this may affect the muscles supporting our lower back.

Dysfunction of the thorax can also lead to feelings of shortness of breath, nausea, and many other sensations. While these symptoms should always be assessed by a medical professional, if thorough testing is negative the effect of the biomechanics of your ribs may be an important next step.

The great news is the Thoracic Ring Approach provides a method of assessing and managing thoracic pain, uniquely and holistically considering all the structures of the thorax and their interplay.

Clifton Hill Physiotherapy team member Caitlin Farmer is an industry recognised musculoskeletal physiotherapist who is skilled in the Thoracic Ring Approach series in Australia.

If you’re experiencing thoracic pain please Clifton Hill Physiotherapy on 94861918 for an assessment.