Graphic of sad girl standing in the rain

National Pain Week 2021

Graphic of sad woman in the rain

It is National Pain Week all this week (July 26- August 1). National Pain Week is an annual awareness event coordinated each year by Chronic Pain Australia. This year's theme is centered around connection and it encourages people to connect with their bodies and to acknowledge their pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain is an unpleasant or uncomfortable body experience caused by activation of the nervous system. It is typically caused by a known injury or illness, but sometimes the cause of the pain can be unknown.

Most of us will experience acute pain from time to time. It often occurs following surgery, trauma, or short-term illness and usually lasts for a short time before the body heals and the pain goes away.

Chronic or persistent pain is pain that lasts for more than three months, or in many cases, beyond normal healing time.

Chronic pain can be a symptom of a known illness or injury it can also exist without a clear reason at all. Sometimes the long-term nature of the pain is not indicating ongoing disease or damage.

- Chronic Pain Australia 2021

The Stats

  • 1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain - including adolescents and children.
  • This includes 1 in 3 people over the age of 65.
  • 1 in 5 GP consultations involve a patient with chronic pain and almost 5% report severe, disabling chronic pain.
  • The prevalence of chronic pain is projected to increase as Australia's population ages-from around 3.2 million in 2007 to 5 million by 2050.

Connection is Key

⁠National Pain Week 2021 aims to remind friends, family, and professionals that connection is key to addressing the social isolation that pain can create.

People living with chronic pain often feel isolated by their pain. ⁠Hence, encouraging connection is a key way for those suffering from chronic pain to seek support and advice. This is to help sufferers not ignore their pain and suffering in silence. ⁠

Many people live with chronic pain 24/7. It is debilitating, exhausting, and has an impact on all parts of a person’s life. Living like this takes courage and strength and could be referred to as “putting up with” the pain. The pain is in control and unpredictable.⁠

How we can Help

⁠There are many different treatments available for people trying to manage their pain, and different people will respond to these in different ways. ⁠At Sports & Spinal we have a range of Allied Health professionals including Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists, Podiatrists, Dietitians, and Psychologists that can assist you throughout your pain journey.

Call your nearest clinic to see how we can help💙⁠


Dietitian cutting fruit and talking with a patient

National Diabetes Week 2021

Dietitian showing patient fruit and Vegetables

Between July 11-17th it is National Diabetes Week. Throughout all of this week, awareness is raised about the impact diabetes has on Australians health and wellbeing.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious complex condition that can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self-care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. There is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing it.

There are different types of diabetes; all types are complex and serious. The three main types of diabetes are type 1type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Heads Up Campaign

For this year's campaign, Diabetes Australia is continuing its Heads Up campaign which focuses on the mental and emotional health of people living with diabetes. This year, the spotlight is on diabetes stigma and mental health.

Did you know: ⁠

⚫ More than 4 in 5 people with diabetes have experienced diabetes stigma. ⁠

⚫ Nearly 50% of people with diabetes have experienced mental health challenges in the last 12 months. ⁠

Stigma affects all aspects of life for people with diabetes, including their mental health and wellbeing. ⁠

People experience diabetes stigma when they are blamed for having diabetes while managing diabetes such as injecting insulin in public and when they experience the effects and complications of diabetes such as low blood sugar. ⁠

This National Diabetes Week, let’s have a conversation about the real impact diabetes stigma can have on a person’s mental and emotional wellbeing!⁠

At Sports & Spinal we have many experienced health professionals such as Exercise Physiologist, Dietitians, and Podiatrist that have special interests in helping those with Diabetes, contact us today or head to our website to find out more information. We are here to help 💚⁠

#NDW2021 #headsupdiabetes

Adolescent Overuse Injuries

Two teenage girls playing basketball in the park

With winter sports well underway and with summer sports ever-looming, it is important to keep an eye on our young ones. With the combination of school sport and club sport (usually playing different codes), kids can start to run into an array of different problems.

Unfortunately, adolescent overuse conditions like Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), Osgood Schlatter’s, and Sever's Disease can develop. These conditions usually occur following increased bouts of exercise or repeated high exposure to training loads.

As a result of these conditions, pain tends to occur around or below the knee and the heel of the foot, respectively.

We think that these issues might be related to abnormal musculoskeletal growth changes, lower limb tightness, and weaknesses, changes in biomechanics, and high training loads.

The good news is that these conditions can be easily treated by your Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, or Podiatrist.

Treatment Is Usually Aimed Around:

  • Addressing loading/ Training errors: Sometimes too much too soon runs the risk of aggravating these issues.
  • Implementing exercises to address any weakness, restrictions in range of motion, or control.
  • Advice and education.
  • Hands-on treatment to help reduce symptoms, improve range of motion.
  • Taping and/ or orthotics

Prevention is always the best cure - Jacob Payne, TRS Physiotherapist

Try and implement the following tips to reduce the risk of these injuries occurring:

Load Management

Easing into a new season or training program can prevent overload. Doubling up on big training sessions and not allowing your body to recover is a risk factor for overload, resulting in injuries.

Prehab: Warm-up & Warm down

Spending 10-15 mins pre-training/ games starting with mobility and slowly building higher intensity drills, leading to sports-specific drills, has been shown to reduce injury risk and improve performance.

Warm down following training and games is a nice way to reduce your heart rate, cool tissue, and work on maintaining joint and muscle mobility. You can also combine with a gentle stretch for 3-5 minutes.

Strength and Range of Motion

Maintaining joint range of motion and muscular strength can be a great wait to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. The idea is that you improve your strength enough that you are able to tolerate and deal with the stressors or loads placed on your body.

Consulting your physio or exercise physiologist is a great way to develop a program you can implement into your training routine.

Rest or Relative Rest

Plenty of sleep, good nutrition, and rest periods are all good ways to make sure your body has recovered and ready to exercise again.

Rest or Relative Rest (performing another lighter task/ exercise) is important for tissue recovery and adaptation to occur to muscles and tendons. 1-2 days between higher intensity exercises can be enough.

Still, experiencing problems?

If you have tried some of the above tips and your child is still experiencing symptoms, it would a good idea to consult your allied health specialist, They can help to formulate a specific management plan. It is important to not make your child exercise through pain.


Written by Total Rehab Solutions Physiotherapist, Jacob Payne

Exercise Right Week 24-30 May

Man running in the hills. Blog header titled 'Exercise Right Week.'

From May 24 to 30 it is Exercise Right Week! Exercise Right Week aims at raising awareness of the benefits that exercise has for both your health and wellbeing. The campaign also looks to help Australian's better understand how to get the 'right' advice for their individual health needs.

So, with exercise being the theme of this week it seems fitting to talk all things Exercise Physiologists (EP's) and how they can help you.

EP's , Who and What are They?

Exercise Physiologists (EPs) are experts in delivering exercise and lifestyle modification programs that help to improve people’s health. For these guys, exercise is medicine! ⁠

EPs are university qualified allied health professionals. They are equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions.

Such exercise interventions are developed for people with acute, subacute or chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities. Exercise Physiologists are commonly confused with personal trainers but there are key differences between them!

👉 EPs are university qualified. ⁠

👉 They are subject to strict accreditation requirements. ⁠

👉 EPs know how to set goals and maintain motivation. ⁠

👉 They can treat and work with all types of people. ⁠

Who Do EP's Treat?

EPs treat conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular & Metabolic
  • Neurological & Musculoskeletal
  • Oncology & Kidney
  • Respiratory & Pulmonary
  • Chronic pain & Women’s & men’s health
  • Bone health & balance mental health
  • Disabilities, and many more

EPs tend to use a more A “hands off” approach with more of a focus of long term rehabilitation/later stage of rehab. Prescribe safe, tailored, effective & clinically justified exercise interventions.

Sports and Spinal EP's are your go-to service providers when it comes to the prescription of exercise. If you want to take charge of your health and exercise routine call your nearest Sports and Spinal clinic to see how we can help. Or head on over to our website to learn more.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Mental Health Awareness Blog

This week between May 10-16 it is Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental Health Awareness Week creates an opportunity for people to have an open conversation about all aspects of mental health. The week takes a strong focus on providing heal and advice for those who are struggling with their mental health and for those supporting those around them.

Nature and Mental Health

The theme for this years Mental Health Awareness Month is Nature. But, why nature? The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) chose nature as it's known to be a great way to tackle mental health problems as well as protecting your mental wellbeing.

The MHF is looking to increase awareness of the importance of nature and the benefits it can provide for sustaining good mental health.

Particularly, after experiencing a pandemic it seemed proving to utilise nature as an effective coping mechanism. Research shows that nature is one of the most popular ways for people to sustain good mental wellbeing.

Nature is an Untapped Resource

It is clear that nature is an effective way to help manage mental health and wellbeing. But, nature is not a luxury, and for some it is hard to access and enjoy. That's why it is so important to try and take the time to try and access nature as regularly as possible.

Mental Health Awareness Week serves a fantastic initiative to not only speak up for those experiencing mental health problems but to also speak up for those who cannot access nature as readily as they should. Some of the best ways to address this issue can be through:

  • Having an open conversation
  • Scheduling days to be with nature
  • Bring nature inside the home (veggie garden, indoor plants)

"Nature is our great untapped resource for a mentally healthy future." - Mark Rowland, Mental Health Foundation CEO

Ways to Connect With Nature

There are numerous ways to connect with nature, the hardest part is making a habit of it. Below are some simple yet effective ways to truly connect with nature everyday:

  1. Stop and listen to native animals and birds
  2. Smell the freshly cut grass
  3. Take care of a house plant
  4. Notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby
  5. Take a moment to appreciate these connections

If anything in this blog has brought something up for you be sure to use the links below to speak with a professional:

Lifeline & Beyond Blue Contact Details

Carrot cake sliced and on chopping board

Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot cake sliced and on chopping board

Just because Easter is over doesn't mean you can't enjoy a slice of carrot cake! But, are you worried about the calories? Well, there is no need because our resident Dietitian, Ricki-Lee Driver has a healthy carrot cake recipe that tastes like any classic carrot cake should...Amazing!

Cooking Time: 60min

Preparation Time: 10min


For Cake: 

  • 500g grated carrots
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 350g almond meal
  • 80 ml avocado oil or olive oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

For Icing:

  • 180g fresh ricotta
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • rind from 1/2 small lemon


  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C fan forced.
  2. Combine carrot, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond meal, oil, honey, soaked raisins and baking powder.
  3. Mix well until combined.
  4. Pour mixture into a prepared 20cm baking tin.
  5. Bake cake for 60 minutes or until cooked through and cool.
  6. For the frosting - combine ricotta, lemon rind, maple syrup and vanilla and smooth over cake once cooled.
  7. Enjoy 🧡


Written by Dietitian, Ricki-Lee Driver

Ricki-lee is passionate about supporting and empowering clients to achieve their health-related goals. Ricki-lee graduated with an Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Private hospitals, aged care facilities, private practice, and specialist teams are just some of the areas Rick-lee has gained experience from. A patient-centered approach is applied by Ricki-Lee to enable clients to overcome health barriers and facilitate diet and lifestyle independence. Ricki-lee has special interests in adult and childhood obesity, bariatrics and disability.

Outside of work, Ricki-lee enjoys rock climbing, spending time with family and friends and experimenting in the kitchen.

Ricki-Lee is available for Dietitian appointments at our BuderimNambourMaroochydore and Coolum locations.

“Clumsy” or Tripping Child? Our Expert Podiatrist Explains

Children playing with train tracks and toys

It is normal for children to appear clumsy when they initially reach their walking milestone. At the 12-month mark children will begin to learn to master a brand new, and very important skill!

Over time walking becomes a developed skill with coordination and balance finding stabilisation in their gait by 3 years old.

For some children, a delay in refining gross motor skills for walking can become challenging, which is frustrating for children and often upsetting for parents.

A delay in development reduces independence and increases occurrences of injury.


  • Regular tripping, falling, unable to walk in the same direction, uneven steps, unable to maintain balance
  • Difficulty with motor skills; decreased coordination – struggling with brushing teeth, doing buttons on clothing, struggling with climbing etc

As podiatrists we assess the contributing factors to why your child may be walking with a ‘clumsy’ gait pattern.

We check for:

  • Developmental milestones – checking to see that these have been met to ensure there’s no other clinical history that is relevant.
  • Limb length differences, which can make it harder for ground clearance when walking, making your child’s walking pattern appear clumsy, and increases their chances of tripping
  • Neurological assessment; checking reflexes, contractures and assessing for signs of foot drop
  • Muscle strength, symmetry, developmental coordination and gross motor skill assessment

Based on the outcome of your child’s assessment this will determine the best treatment pathway for your child. Through understanding the causes, we make clinical decisions on your child’s treatment, to achieve the best outcome for your child.

In some instances, monitoring behaviours and gait patterns with a few exercises can be enough to help your child reach developmental milestones into their childhood without delay.

In some cases, treatment may involve:

  • Exercise’s therapy – to improve specific muscle adaptation
  • Footwear recommendations and changes to improve gait
  • Orthoses – custom foot orthoses to stabilise and improve gait efficiency
  • Braces +/- splinting: with a drop foot your child may benefit from an Ankle Foot Orthoses
  • Gait retraining – improve motor patterning

Depending on the outcome of your child’s assessment referral onwards to physiotherapy may be beneficial, the great thing about Sports and Spinal is that we have multiple allied health professions under the same roof to ensure your child feels comfortable in their surroundings and continuity of care is key.


If you think podiatry is a suitable treatment for your child call your nearest clinic to book your next appointment or feel free to simply ask some questions to learn more.


Written By Podiatrist, Gabi Bogatko

Gabi is experienced in all facets of Podiatry including musculoskeletal conditions of the feet and legs, video gait analysis, biomechanical assessment, paediatric foot/leg assessment, lower limb acupuncture/ dry needling and orthotic therapy. In addition to Bachelors of Podiatry Gabi also holds a Diploma in Football Medicine through the FIFA Medical Network which has created an excellent platform to connect with world-leading experts internationally

Gabi has a good knack for building relationships with paediatric patients having great outcomes treating rheumatological, musculoskeletal, inflammatory disorders and juvenile arthritis.
With extensive knowledge working with the top running shoe brands and passionate about shoe technology and advances in footwear, Gabi is well across finding the fit for your foot.

With a great passion for improving mobility and patient goals whether it be in the sporting field or day to day mobility she is proficient and passionate about all aspects of her profession and looks forward to greeting you with a smile in the clinic.

Gabi is available at our Caloundra and Sippy Downs clinic.

Photo of young man and podiatrist looking at foot figure

What Is Sever's Disease?

Photo of young man and podiatrist looking at foot figure

School is well and truly back! The last thing you want is your child to be in pain as they start the new year. Has your child complained about pain in their heels especially after a big day of sport or after a Phys Ed class?

They could be suffering from a common condition called Sever’s Disease.

What is Sever's?

One of the most common causes of heel pain in children is calcaneal apophysitis more commonly known as Sever’s. Typically, this condition affects children aged between 8 and 15 tending towards the more athletic/ active children with a recorded incidence rate of 3.7/1000 patients.

Sever’s generally presents with pain and inflammation at the back of one or both heels with pain aggravated during activity usually involving running or jumping.

Pain sometimes persisting for some time following activity. If not treated the pain levels can be quite high and uncomfortable sometimes preventing the participation in sport or activities of daily living.

Anatomy of the heel in Sever's

Figure 1: Anatomy of Severs
Figure 1: Anatomy of Severs

The bones in Children's feet are not completely fused together when they are born, many in 2 or 3 sections.

Over the years as the child grows these sections fuse together to form one bone.

At the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon inserts into the bone, there is one of these areas known as an apophysis.

This is an open growth plate not closing completely until around the age of 14.

Irritation and stress especially with a tight Achilles tendon pulling on this on this growth plate is the main cause of the inflammation and pain experienced.

Causes of Sever's

The main theory behind the cause of Sever’s is due to mechanical overuse while the growth plate is still open. This can be due to increased or high levels of activity causing repetitive stress and the development of inflammation.

Obesity can also play a role as this puts more stress through the legs and feet. Patients often have no specific injury history when presenting with pain however tend to have poor dorsiflexion through their ankles leading to a tighter pull on the growth plate of the calcaneus.


In most cases the general treatment for Sever’s is conservative.

Man performing an Achilles stretch
Figure 2: Man performing an Achilles stretch

These treatment options include;

  • Ice therapy,
  • Modifying current activity levels,
  • Exercises and stretching to reduce tension on the Achilles tendon,
  • Anti-inflammatory medications,
  • Taping the heel and arch,
  • Shoe inserts including gel heel cups for extra cushioning and shock absorption.

There is also the option to use an immobilization boot in severe cases or where the patients may not be too compliant with other treatment options.

This boot would be used in conjunction with other therapies. Recovery time for Sever’s will vary among children. The younger the child is when diagnosed the longer the recovery period may be.

Treatment compliance and the amount of activity reduction will also play a role in the recovery time. Generally full recovery will occur at the age of skeletal maturity where the calcaneus bone is fully fused.


Written by Podiatrist, Thomas Abraham

Areas Treated: Foot, Ankle, Knee, Toenail Care

Tom graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Podiatry. Since leaving university he has gained an interest in sports injuries, biomechanics and wound care and is always looking to learn more allowing him to provide the best treatment he can. Tom has also spent some time working with running footwear specifically ASICS.

During school and university, Tom was actively involved in playing soccer, tennis and completed in athletics up to a state-level on a few occasions. Tom is a keen traveler spending a year in Europe in and some time in Nepal volunteering and completing the Everest base camp trek. In Tom's spare time he enjoys snowboarding when he can.

Tom is available for Podiatry appointments at our ChermsideNorth Lakes and Redcliffe locations.

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Image of Minestrone Soup

For all of this week, Australia recognises it's amazing Dietitians for Dietitian Week! Has an Extraordinary Dietitian transformed your health, or the health of a loved one? Is there an APD in your family, friendship group, or team at work? Well, Dietitians Week is the perfect time to thank them!

To help celebrate Dietitians Week we have shared APD, Joel Feren's warming minestrone soup recipe. Made with the goodness of extra virgin olive oil and packed full of vegetables Joel recommends that serving it with crusty sourdough is a must!

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 35min

Preparation Time: 15min


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups spiral pasta
  • 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, leek, carrot, celery and zucchini and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Stir in stock and canned tomatoes and bring to boil.
  4. Add pasta and parsley and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
  5. Add kidney beans, stir and warm through.
  6. Divide the soup between four serving bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with crusty sourdough bread.

To serve:

Parmesan cheese
Sour cream
Salt and pepper
Sourdough bread


For more recipes from Joel Feren (A.K.A The Nutrition Guy) click here or for more recipes from the Sports & Spinal Dietitian team click here. Our team of experts can help you to better manage your health, happiness and lifestyle through nutrition. Contact your nearest Sports & Spinal clinic to see how one of our dietitians can help you today!

Pumpkin and Spinach Frittata Recipe

Pumpkin and Spinach Frittata

Sports & Spinal Dietitian, Ricki-Lee Driver knows a thing or two about whipping up healthy and nutritious meals that are full of flavour!

This week Ricki-Lee has shared her Pumpkin and Spinach Frittata. It's a perfect meal for both lunch and dinner and can be served with a variety of sides including a toss salad, steamed vegetables, and more. This recipe will also feature in Sports and Spinal's Diet, Behaviour, and Beyond Program that launches later this month. The program looks to educate you on your own habits, lifestyle choices and mindset to help you live a happier and healthier life. To learn more, contact your nearest Sports and Spinal clinic.

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 30min

Preparation Time: 15min


  • 600g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 1 cup (125g) grated reduced fat tasty cheese
  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley (or other herbs of choice)
  • Cracked black pepper, to season


  1. Place pumpkin in a shallow microwave-safe dish no more than two layers deep. Cover and microwave on High for 4-5 minutes or until almost tender. Alternatively place in steamer and steam for 10-15min until mostly tender.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil oven proof, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the pumpkin to the hot pan, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pumpkin begins to brown. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of the pan.
  4. Top the spinach and sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until well combined. Add parsley and season with pepper.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over pumpkin and spinach.
  8. Gently shake pan to allow the egg to run between the pieces. Cook for 8-10 minutes until edges are firm but the top still a little soft. Remove from the heat.
  9. Preheat a grill on medium. Place the frittata (still in the frying pan) under the grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until top is firm and light golden.
  10. Cut into wedges and serve with salad of choice.


  • Pumpkin can be substituted for sweet potato
  • Best served fresh from the oven but can be stored in the fridge for maximum 5 days
  • Freeze slices for future lunches or dinners

Written By Dietitian, Ricki-lee Driver

Ricki-lee is passionate about supporting and empowering clients to achieve their health-related goals. Ricki-lee graduated with an Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Private hospitals, aged care facilities, private practice, and specialist teams are just some of the areas Rick-lee has gained experience from. A patient-centered approach is applied by Ricki-Lee to enable clients to overcome health barriers and facilitate diet and lifestyle independence. Ricki-lee has special interests in adult and childhood obesity, bariatrics and disability.

Outside of work, Ricki-lee enjoys rock climbing, spending time with family and friends and experimenting in the kitchen.

Ricki-Lee is available for Dietitian appointments at our BuderimNambourMaroochydore and Coolum locations.