Conditions Helped by Physiotherapy

You may be surprised to discover the many different problems that your physiotherapist treats effectively. Capalaba Physiotherapy can help with a wide variety of problems affecting the human body throughout the life cycle. Here are some of the areas where the care by physiotherapy staff achieves notable success:

  • Back Pain (including sciatica)
  • Headaches – including migraines
  • Neck pain
  • Sporting Injuries
  • Shoulder conditions (including Frozen Shoulder)
  • Knee disorders
  • Arthritis – all types
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Pelvic Floor dysfunction including incontinence
  • Joint replacement rehabilitation
  • Pre- and Post- operative prostate surgery
  • Work related injuries
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Postural problems –all age groups
  • Maintain health in people with chronic illnesses

Our services cover musculoskeletal conditions such as sprains and strains. Our main area is care of spinal dysfunction so anything like a tight or stiff neck, headaches or an aching back after a few hours in the garden will benefit from our treatment. So, if you have a sore back, painful shoulder or an arthritic knee we are the clinic for you.

Contact the friendly staff at Capalaba Physiotherapy Centre either by phone or email for more information, service and expert advice. To assist those patients who are just injured or in acute pain, we keep emergency spaces available each day.


Most people will get some osteoarthritis as they get older, but like most things, the severity can vary greatly – from a little bit of morning stiffness to occasional painful episodes to major debilitating pain. It is really interesting to know that the severity of the X-ray does not predict the level of pain and disability.

The main reasons that you may present for physiotherapy for osteoarthritis are pain and loss of function. This can be when the pain wakes you at night or when you can’t play bowls or when it hurts to swim or when it affects your work. Other reasons may include stiffness or joint swelling. Physiotherapy may also give relief if you are unable to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or if these drugs and your painkillers are not helping enough. Osteoarthritis (degenerative changes on X-ray) benefits immensely from physiotherapy and there is often complete and long lasting relief of the pain.

Physiotherapy aims to:

  • Restore stiff joint motion (by gentle mobilisation or gliding movements)
  • Restore muscle balance by strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight muscles
  • Relax sore or overworked muscles (by massage, trigger point therapy or needling), and

Prevent further pain, by advising on exercise, activities, posture and ergonomics
If you are unsure whether physiotherapy can help you, please come and see us for an assessment. Even if we cannot ease your pain, we can give you appropriate and specific strengthening exercises. Research has shown that the pain of arthritis improves with exercise.

Lower Back Pain

Lower Back PainMost back pain is caused by straining the sliding joints of the spine or hurting the discs. This causes the muscles to spasm and the area can become tight, stiff and painful. Physiotherapy can offer safe, gentle and effective treatment by using rhythmic joint mobilisation which can restore pain free movement. Your physiotherapist will design an exercise programme especially for you and your condition to strengthen and help prevent recurrences. You will be provided with an individualised exercise sheet (no stick figures here). Massage, given either by our massage therapist or our physiotherapists can alleviate muscle spasm.

A pain in the buttocks and legs (a.k.a. “sciatica”)

Lumbar spine disc herniation or inflammation around the joints causing low back pain, buttock pain and leg pain can be a very debilitating problem. There may be associated symptoms such as pins and needles or numbness in the toes, foot or calf. In severe cases, there can be a decrease of muscle control in the leg and foot.

This condition is called “Sciatica” or a “Pinched Nerve”.

The unseen problems are of significant wasting of the core stability muscles of the back, abdominals, buttock and hip area. Research at the Physiotherapy Department at the University of Queensland has demonstrated that these muscles do not return to normal strength unless specific exercises are performed. UQ is a world leader in this research and they work with NASA and the European Space Agency to help astronauts.

At Capalaba Physiotherapy Centre, we successfully treat a large number of patients with this problem, where the sciatic nerve is irritated, pinched or compressed. It is important that you follow a specific exercise programme to prevent further problems. Our concern is that once the pain eases or appears 80-90% better, some patients do not return, and we do not have a chance to progress the initial basic exercises to a more challenging level. If this is you, then you are welcome to return for an update of your exercise programme.

Strains and Sprains and Sporting Injuries

Children playing sportAt Capalaba Physiotherapy Centre we are experienced in treating high level and recreational sports people. Katrina completed a postgraduate course in Sports Physiotherapy in 1992. She has provided sports coverage for Commonwealth Games (1982- Brisbane) tennis, rugby, triathlon, Masters swimming and the Paralympic Games in Sydney 2000. Katrina is currently a member of Sports Medicine Australia. While in London, Deb treated members of the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams as well as elite tennis players.

Muscle strains or tears can be caused by accidents at work, home or sport. Some of the reasons for this are when the limb moves too far for the muscle to adapt, or from overuse from repetitive movements, or from constantly being in an awkward or inefficient position because of bad posture or incorrect working setups.

Whether the cause is a sudden tear or a strain, physiotherapy can help by promoting efficient healing, assisting strong scar tissue formation and strengthening and stretching affected muscles. If massage only helps temporarily, then the underlying joints should be assessed and treated by one of our qualified physiotherapists.

If the problem with the muscle is chronic tenderness and tightness, the muscle is probably being overworked. We call this a muscle imbalance issue.

It is important to get to the cause of this with a thorough assessment. Treatment may involve training other surrounding muscles to help out the overworked muscles.

To assist in the recovery of these overworked muscles, we may use massage, heat or dry needling. Please ask us if you are interested in knowing more.

Joint sprains of ankles, knees and shoulders are the most common joint strains that we treat outside of the spine. They respond very well to physiotherapy so that you can get back to your normal daily activities, or return to sport or work faster than if the injury was left untreated or if you just took medication. Physiotherapy speeds up the healing processors of the body and we can give you advice on minimizing the damage and pain from a sports injury.

We also treat tennis elbow, sprained wrists and fingers, hip joint and groin pain and jaw pain (sometimes this can cause neck pain and headache).

Please ask us if you are interested in knowing more.

Neck Pain

It may seem that a pain in the neck can occur at any time. You might wake up with neck pain and limited movement, or have a painful neck after sitting in front of the computer or after a long drive.

At Capalaba Physiotherapy Centre, we sometimes see patients who can’t move their neck after falling asleep on the couch or in the lounge chair, or who have a sharp pain when they turn suddenly or yawn.

The neck has a constant heavy load to carry around all day. Our head weighs about 7kg! We abuse our necks with bad posture, ear to shoulder phone conversations (you know it’s wrong, so STOP IT!) and staring at a computer screen for many hours at a time. We expect it to hold up our head while we work our arms out in front of us performing complex movements like driving the car, using a nail gun, a paint roller or sander, a whiteboard marker, saucepan, machinery or even working a computer mouse …the list is endless!

Here are some tips to help you look after your neck:

Keep good posture – the head directly on top of the body
Pull your head in – don’t poke your neck out
Change positions regularly- stretch or reverse sustained positions – look up and back
Keep fit
Do exercise (tennis, squash, swimming) involving big arm movements if your job involves lots of little arm movements (especially computer work)
Rest – lie down during the day if you are able for 10 – 20 minutes to take the weight off your neck
Use heat wheat bags or hot water bottles as needed if you have stiffness or tension in your neck – you don’t have to wait until it is painful
Consult your physiotherapist for treatment, exercises and advice on posture and ergonomics at home and work
Use a golf ball or spiky ball on troublesome trigger points in the muscles (come and see us for advice on this)


HeadachesThe type of a headache that responds to physiotherapy is one that has a large neck component. Even migraines can be decreased significantly in frequency if the trigger of a migraine is neck pain or stiffness. Severe migraines can also cause tightness of the neck muscles and joint pain and stiffness that persists after a migraine has subsided. Physiotherapy treatment can help relieve these and the further problems they may cause.

At Capalaba Physiotherapy Centre, our physiotherapists are trained to assess whether your headaches may respond well to treatment. We can also advise you on strategies that can minimise your headaches.

Please ask us if you are interested in knowing more.

Pelvic Floor Problems in Both Women and Men

Katrina Dalzell is experienced in assessing and treating pelvic floor problems. She did her first of many post graduate course on these conditions in 1985 and conducted community ante-natal classes at Alexandra Hills for almost a decade.

Pelvic Floor muscle dysfunction can present as stress incontinence (wetting yourself when coughing, sneezing and laughing – and NO, it is NOT normal at any age or after having children), urge incontinence (not making it to the toilet in time), weak pelvic floor muscles (which contributes to discomfort with prolapse) and bladder urgency and frequency. Katrina can also help your recovery following gynaecological surgery.

Some men have problems with urine leakage after prostate surgery. This is a common problem but some men feel a sense of shame and loss of self-esteem. It is often the biggest challenge men have to cope with during the recovery process. Katrina regularly sees men prior to surgery to get them started on their pelvic floor exercises. After the operation, you resume and upgrade the basic pre-operative programme as you work towards the goal of continence. Katrina’s friendly manner, empathy and years of experience will help you to overcome this potentially embarrassing problem.

Your initial consultation is 40 – 60 minutes long and a thorough history is taken. The visit involves looking at the perineum and usually involves a vaginal examination in female patients where the ability of the pelvic floor to LIFT can be checked. You are usually given basic pelvic floor exercises, advice on good bladder habits and if necessary, advice on bladder re-training (it has wonderful results and while it is harder than training a dog, it is easier than training a child!). You can be given small, easy to read books on the subject that are relevant to you.