Human Anatomy

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease & Exercise

Written by Adrian Choy, Exercise Physiologist at Blacktown. Article from September 2018

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease & Exercise


What is it?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) is a group of genetic disorders presenting with chronic progressive neuropathy affecting motor and sensory nerves (1). The main features of CMT range from mild to severe in severity and involve progressive weakness and impaired sensory function in the upper and lower limbs (2) as muscle atrophy develops with areflexia (absence of neurologic reflexes) (1). The chronic nature of this condition leads to foot and toe deformity with likely involvement of the hands to follow.

Who can help?

Due to this disease being a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disease, it is imperative patients receive regular assessments by a Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, and Occupational Therapist to assist in maintaining range of motion for their benefit of appropriate functioning (1).

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What is Spinal Bifida?

Written by Michelle Brown, Student from The University of Wollongong. Article from September 2018

What is Spinal Bifida?


The name comes from the Latin term meaning “split spine”. Spinal Bifida is an incurable group of spinal abnormalities or neural tube defects which occur in the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. It results when the baby’s developing spine (neural tube) fails to develop properly causing a chronic spinal injury when they’re born. The spinal cord, bones forming the spinal column (vertebrae) and the overlying skin don’t develop correctly.

There are three different types, ranging in severity and can occur anywhere along the spine producing a very broad range of conditions from mild impairment to very severe disability.

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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: It’s not ok to leak!

Written by Sarah Hillman, Studio Manager at Sylvania. Article from August 2018

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:  It’s not ok to leak!


Many women and men will experience pelvic floor problems during their lifetime. This includes incontinence, prolapse, pelvic pain and/or leakage with jumping, coughing or sneezing. Women are more often affected, with one in two women experiencing some symptoms in their lifetime. Pelvic floor dysfunction can have significant impacts on quality of life, through uncomfortable or painful symptoms, limiting the physical activity sufferers can safely perform as well as potentially embarrassing situations where leakage could occur. We incorrectly accept that this is a function of aging and change our life to accommodate pelvic floor dysfunction.

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Written by Adrian Choy, Exercise Physiologist at Blacktown. Article from August 2018

The Knee Unlocking Muscle

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An odd place that raises eyebrows when experiencing pain in this area is the posterior knee compartment. There are structures in the back of the knee that are frequently associated with posterior knee pain. One of the involved structures is a small muscle called the popliteus. This muscle is triangular in shape and has what is called a ‘reversed orientation’ (1) meaning the muscle belly inserts distally and the tendon originates proximally.

Issues may arise when the popliteus lacks the mechanism of ‘unlocking’ the knee joint.

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How Incorrect Breathing Contributes to Neck Pain

Written by Demi Ljilja, Exercise Physiologist at Campbeltown. Article from July 2018

How incorrect breathing contributes to neck pain


Causes of Neck Pain 

Incorrect breathing is not the primary nor the only cause of neck pain and bad posture. There are many other factors such as muscular imbalance, biomechanical alignment, muscular tightness, mobility and movement proficiency that account for and contribute towards neck pain to a greater extent. All these factors need to be addressed prior to primarily focusing on breathing.

So what is the correct way to breathe at rest, during activity/exercise?

The correct way is by using the diaphragm during inhalation and exhalation, called diaphragmic breathing.

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The Great Glute Max & Lower Back Pain

Written by Adrian Choy, Exercise Physiologist at Blacktown. Article from July 2018.

The Great Glute Max & Lower Back Pain


Lower Back Pain

I often hear lower back pain (LBP) being a common and repetitive problem reported by many that walk through the clinic doors. LBP has been well documented clinically as a cause of high pain levels and function loss. A major joint of the lower back is the sacroiliac joint (SIJ). This joint, if compromised, can result in debilitating pain for many humans today who lead either sedentary or active lifestyles. During weight-bearing activities, the SIJ provides the link between the trunk and lower limbs for ground reaction forces.

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Bowel Cancer & Exercise

Written by Sussanah Keppo, Exercise Physiologist at Croydon Park. Article from July 2018

Bowel Cancer & Exercise

Exercise for the Aging Population 2

Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia. It is associated with being a lifestyle condition, where modifiable risk factors are a definite way to decrease the risk. 

Some of the risk factors for bowel cancer include:

  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Excess body fat

Exercise for all cancer is found to be the beginning of a vital therapy to improve immunity and promote cancer-fighting cells. Additionally, exercise can also aid with managing the side effects of various cancer treatments. The research states that it is clear that some activity is better than none and more activity is better than less (Hayes, Spence, Galvao, Newton 2009).

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Neuromuscular Control And Knee Health

Written by Hamish Hall, Exercise Physiologist at Sylvania. Article from June 2018

Neuromuscular Control and Knee Health

knee article

Strength and balance training for improved knee health

The tibiofemoral joint (knee) often becomes arthritic due to wear and tear of the cartilage, and clients often ask what I can do to improve this. I always tell my clients that improving the strength of the surrounding musculature and improving the neuromuscular control of the knee through balance training will significantly improve their knee health by providing support throughout a variety of movements.

What is neuromuscular control?

Neuromuscular control involves the body’s ability to contract the correct muscles during movements to provide stabilisation; this is done through the proprioceptive system.  

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How To Train Your Core Functionally & Effectively

Written by Gabriel Pisanu, Studio Manager at Croydon Park. Article from June 2018

How To Train Your Core Functionally & Effectively

the core

At Optimum, we consider the core pretty much anything that attaches to your pelvis. That is a large plethora of muscles ranging from your Rectus Abdominis (6-pack) to your hamstrings.  I quite often see people in commercial gyms performing exercises such as planks, crunches and sit-ups to train the “core”. These are not always the best way to attain the greatest functional benefit from this crucial network of muscles which have the role of stabilising the spine, maintaining posture, improving performance and reducing the risk of injury.

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Think Of Balance As A Muscle

Written by Michael Zajc, Exercise Physiologist at Croydon Park. Article from June 2018

Think Of Balance as a Muscle


Did you know, not being able to hold your balance on one foot for longer than 5 seconds greatly increases your risk of falls. There are many senses and processes that begin to decrease as people begin to age. One very notable loss as we age is our ability to balance and control where we are in space. Balance is an essential part of our day to day lives and plays an important role in allowing us to live life to the fullest and with confidence.

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