News from

Reform Physiotherapy and Pilates Malahide

Exercise and pregnancy – the current research

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

There are so many old wives tales about what you should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy! We see pregnant women every day in the clinic, and a lot are uncertain if they should be exercising or not, or what type of exercise they should be doing.


At Reform Physiotherapy, we try our best to follow the most up to date evidence to guide us as health professionals. This is what the evidence currently says about exercising during pregnancy:

  • NICE guidelines show that:
  • Pregnant women should begin or continue a moderate course of exercise during pregnancy, and it is not associated with adverse outcomes, but should not do ‘contact sports, high‑impact sports and vigorous racquet sports that may involve the risk of abdominal trauma, falls or excessive joint stress, and scuba diving, which may result in fetal birth defects and fetal decompression disease’.recreational exercise such as swimming or brisk
  • Walking and strength conditioning exercise is safe and beneficial with aim of recreational exercise is to stay fit, rather than to reach peak fitness.
  • If women have not exercised routinely they should begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, three times per week, increasing gradually to daily 30-minute sessions women exercised regularly before pregnancy, they should be able to continue with no adverse effects.
  • It is important not to be sedentary, as far as possible. Start walking and to build physical activity into daily life, for example, by taking the stairs instead of the lift, rather than sitting for long periods.


Other evidence from the literature shows that exercise:

  • May reduce pregnancy-related low-back pain and reduces sick leave more than usual prenatal care.
  • Can help prevent pelvic floor urinary incontinence after having your baby.
  • Reduce the risk of maternal weight gain.
  • Reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
  • Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.
  • May help with a faster recovery from labour and birth.



In summary, pregnant women are advised to try exercise x 30mins atleast 3 time a week at a moderate intensity exercise in an uncomplicated pregnancy. If the pregnant woman isn’t used to exercising before they fall pregnant, they should start off slowyl doing 15mins x 3/week and building it up slowly.

Examples of exercise that pregnant women should participate in are:

  • Walking (brisk)
  • Light jogging
  • Swimming
  • Pre natal exercise classes such as pilates/yoga
  • Resistance exercise with weights (should be supervised to ensure correct technique). Also aim for lower weights and higher reps.

If you would like any more information on this, or would like to book an appointment to get a pre-natal exercise plan, call 086 3582911. Anne :)

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Why do we feel pain? The science behind it….

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

We used to think pain was a measure of tissue damage, but thanks to a lot of research in this area over the past decade we now know that is not true. Pain scientists are  agreed that pain is an unpleasant feeling in our body that makes us want to stop and change our behaviour. Pain is a complex and highly sophisticated protective mechanism.


What is really interesting about pain is the context in which we feel it! Pain depends upon the brain evaluating a massive amount of information, including perception of danger, but also cognitive data (for example expectations, previous exposure, cultural and social norms, beliefs. Therefore, the context is critical, and other sensory data input (for example that from vision).



We now know that pain can be turned on, or up, by anything at all that provides the brain with credible evidence that the body is in danger and needs protecting such as fear or visual feedback that is scary (such as blood). So, if the brain’s evaluation of all available information leads it to conclude that things are truly dangerous, then sensitivity of spinal nociceptors increases (i.e. you feel more pain). If the brain concludes things are not truly dangerous, then sensitivity of spinal nociceptors decreases (you feel less pain).


In chronic pain, all the above applies but with one very significant caveat: the hardware (the biological structures involved in conveying and processing danger messages and in integrating other threatening cues) increases its sensitivity. This is one significant reason that recovery from persistent pain is seldom a quick fix, but requires a journey of patience, persistence and good coaching. Our efforts focus on decreasing sensitivity in the system and training it, gradually over time, to be less protective.


In Reform Physiotherapy we see people with chronic pain every day. We have had great results with educating people that pain does not always mean tissue damage. Therefore, pain does not correlate with damage/danger to the body. Once this is accepted, and fear of pain is reduced, we can start focusing on functional goals and over time the pain is reduced or well managed.

Please call 0863582911 if you would like to book an appointment. Anne :)

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Brighter evening tempting you out running….

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Brighter evening tempting you out running….great! But do not make the mistake of many of scale up too fast causing an injury and leaving you feeling deflated for trying to be healthy! Follow this infographic on increasing your running load gradually in order to avoid overload injuries:


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Stiff hips? Try these 5 simple exercises at home…

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

A common complaint we see regularly is people feeling their hips are ‘tight’ or ‘stiff’. Often people can get cramps/stiffness feelings in their hips due to weakness, inactivity or an injury. Also, more and more people are sitting for a long proportion of their day-this in itself can contribute to hips feeling tight. Try limit the amount of time you sit daily, giving yourself short breaks or trying to use a sit-to-stand desk where possible.


Try these simple stretches at home every day to see if they alleviate your symptoms over 2 weeks. If your symptoms persist, attend a Chartered Physiotherapist for a thorough assessment.


1. Glut stretch:

Lying on your back, put your left foot over your right knee. Put your hands behind your right thigh and pull it up towards your chest. Pull up until you feel a deep stretch in your left buttock (gluts). Breathe so that you relax into stretch. Hold for 30 secs and do x2 each side.



2. Adductor stretch:

Sitting up, bring the soles of your feet together and pull them in towards your groin. Let your knees fall out to the side or push them outwards with your elbows. Lean forward into the stretch to make it stronger. You should feel this in your groin/inner thighs. Hold for 30 secs and repeat x 2.




3. Hip flexor stretch:

In a kneeling lunge position, stay upright and lean forward on front leg. Try tuck your bum in under to tilt your pelvis back.  Make this as wide as possible and stay upright. Hold x 30 secs and do x2 each side.





4.  Hip internal rotation:

Lying on your front, with your knees together and bent up so feet are in the air. Let your ankles drop out towards the floor. Try relax to let them drop out as far as possible. You can ask someone to apply light pressure on your ankles to encourage them out a bit more. Hold x 1-2 mins.



5. Pigeon stretch:

On your front, tuck one leg in under you with the foot up as close to your stomach as possible. Stretch the other leg out behind you and lean down onto it. You can stay on your forearms, or let your head rest down towards the floor to make it a stronger stretch. Hold x 1-2 mins.




Enjoy your stretching! Anne :)

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How to manage back pain

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

This is a nice information leaflet on how to manage your back pain:



Book in for a Physiotherapy consultation if your back pain is persisting, oh 0863582911 :)

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Muscle spasms-what to do when they happen?!

Monday, January 15th, 2018

If anyone has ever had a muscle go into spasm, they will know how painful it can be! Although muscles spasms can be common, many people do not know why they have the spasm or what to do when it happens.




Muscles can go into spasms and cramp for several different reasons- fatigue, dehydration, over loading the muscle, stress or even fear of a movement/activity can cause your muscle to spasm painfully. You can get a spasm anywhere in your body-in your back, neck, legs, arms or feet! I have seen many patients over the years that find it hard to believe that their pain is due to a muscle spasm and feel they must have ‘damaged something’ or ‘broken something’ due to the severity of the pain. It is important to understand, that muscular pain can be very severe, take your breath away on occasion and even refer pain into other areas of your body!


So how do you treat a muscle spasm? Follow these steps:


  • DO NOT PANIC! Panicking and stressing about the source of pain will cause you to subconsciously tense up more which will increase the muscle spasm.
  • Breath and focus on relaxing the muscle. Doing slow deep breathing can help stop the muscle tensing. Consciously try to relax the muscle whilst doing your deep breathing.
  • Use heat- a hot water bottle or a heat pack or even a hot shower can have an immediate effect of reducing the muscle spasm. Use for 10mins at a time. You can also get heat patches to wear during the day if you find them beneficial.
  • Keep moving! It is important not to take to one position and stay there. Moving as normally as possible will help your muscle normalise and stop it cramping. Resting for a prolonged period may feel good at the time but will be lead to a slower recovery.
  • Seek advise from your Physiotherapist if your pain is not reducing after doing all the above for a few days.


If you would like more information or want to book an appointment, call 0863582911 :)



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Getting Ski ready!

Monday, January 8th, 2018

If you have a ski trip planned, it is time to start thinking about how physically ready you are to tackle the slopes! Skiing is great fun, but unfortunately we see injuries every winter from people returning from skiing holidays with injuries that have put a dampener on their trip. Obviously falls are almost an inevitability of skiing, but the more physically prepared you are for skiing, the less likely you are to get non-traumatic injuries such as muscle strains/tendinopathies, and the more capable you will be to push yourself on the slopes.


Skiing can be a physically demanding exercise, especially if you haven’t used some of the muscle groups needed in a long time! So what is required physically to be a good skier? Gluts (buttocks muscles),quads (front of thigh), adductors (inner thigh), and core muscles are some of the most important muscle groups needed to keep you stable whilst skiing. Here are a few exercises below to get prepared for your skiing holiday.

1.Crab walk with resistance band:

With a resistance band around your ankles/above knees, have the feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Pretend you are about to sit back in a chair and squat down. Make sure your knees are in line with your ankles, and you can see your feet. Maintaining this position, step to the right with your right foot x approx 10cm, then step to the right x 10cm with your left foot. Repeat x 10 to the right and then change direction and step to the left. Spend 3 mins doing this x 5. You should feel it in your gluts if you are doing it right.

crab walk

2. Toe taps:

Holding a neutral back position, engage your deep core muscles. Bring one leg up to table top at a time. Maintain neutral and tap one foot down to the mat. Return to table top and repeat with other leg. Do slowly and make sure your back and other leg don’t move.
Do x 20 x 2-3 sets.

toe taps


3. Arabesque:

Standing on one leg with the knee soft but not bending, lift your other leg up and try to straighten it out behind you, leaning forward keeping your back straight as in picture. Do slowly x 20 times on each leg. Repeat x 3 sets.


4. Remember to foam roll!

FR montage


Remember to ease yourself into your skiing holiday, and a nice soak in the hot tub at night is great for easing out tired muscles! If you would like any specific advice on pre-skiing prep, or injury prevention, we do Clinical Pilates classes and Physiotherapy treatments in our Clinic in Malahide village. Call at 086 358 2911 if you would like more info!

Anne :)

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Make your exercise count!

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

A lot of Irish people consider ‘walking’ their main form of exercise. Walking can be excellent exercise for many people-it is free, most people can do it, it is easily accessible and can be incorporated readily into your lifestyle. However, one person’s idea of going for walk can be very different to another person’s idea of walking- is it a 10 minute stroll you are going for, or a 45 minute power walk? My advice, is make your exercise count! If you go to the effort of going for walk-you have already done the hard bit! Make sure you make the most out of your walk to benefit your body-here are some simple ways of doing this:


1. Increase the pace!

Time your normal walk, and then the next time you do the same walk-aim to do 10% faster. Each time you go out for the same walk, aim to knock a few seconds off your last time. This will keep you focused, and will ensure you are getting a better cardiovascular workout from your walk.

2. Go further!

Try go a little bit longer each time you go out walking. Again follow the 10% rule. Add on 10% extra distance a week to your walking routine. Map out your walk on before you go out so you have a plan and stick to it!

3. Add in some extra exercises!

A great way of making more out of your walk, is to add in some non-walking exercises along the way. This could be stopping at a step and doing 20 step ups, doing the monkey bars in Malahide castle, coming home and doing 20 squats/20 sits up/20 press ups etc. Plan on doing 10% of your walking time being non-walking exercise. This can help increase strength, and increase calorie burning!

4. Stretch!

To improve your flexibility, and suppleness,  do 2 mins of stretching pre and post walking. Target the legs, back and arms separately.

5. Sign up for a walk!

To keep you motivated, and give you something to focus on, sign up for a 5km walk. This could even be the ‘Park Run’ in Malahide Castle every week-you can just walk instead of run!

6. Add in some light jogging!

If you feel you have increased your walking speed and you are now a pro power walker, consider incorporating some light jogging. Start with 1 min jog every 10mins you walk and build up slowy from there. This will help increase your cardio. Remember, you are never to old to start jogging!


Malahide/Portmarnock area has so many beautiful walks so there are no excuses to get started on a walking program today!






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Why runners get injured and how to prevent it!

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

It is around this time of year we see a lot of runners coming in with a nice variety of injuries. Between the Dublin marathon fast approaching, relatively decent weather this summer, and loads of 5ks and 10ks on, the runners are out in full force and so are their injuries! Getting an injury when you are training for a race can not only be painful, but extremely frustrating and costly.

Injuries such as patellar tendinopathy, plantar fasciosis, stress fractures, achilles tendinopathy, runner’s knee, calf and hamstring strains are just some of the injuries that we see runners presenting with daily in the clinic. A clear pattern emerges time and time again when I am looking for the cause of these injuries in runners. The answer is simple: poor load management.

A loading injury occurs when training load has exceeded the bodies ability to adapt. This means that you are asking your body to do more than it is able to do. For example, if you scale up your running too quickly-jump from doing 5k x 3/week to do 10k 5/week, your body may not be able to adapt efficiently to the increased load you are putting on the muscles/tendons/joints. This is common in people training for a marathon or starting a new fitness regime.

We also see a lot of people who have good cardio, but may not have run in a while and when they return to running, they push themselves to fatigue. Even though their cardio fitness can cope, their muscles/tendons may not and they can end up with niggly injuries. Although, one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health and to lose weight is to shock the body and push yourself, this is probably one of the best ways to get an injury.

There are other elements to load too-it is not just increased distance. You can change your load through changing your speed, your running surface, your runners or your frequency of running. Therefore, theses elements all need to be monitored and considered if you are to avoid injuries.

We usually advise a 10% rule-do not increase your speed or distance more than 10% a week when you are training. Also, you need to be really consistent with your training. For example, if you are doing 5k x 3/week and then have several weeks off training, you need to build back up to 5k.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, sometimes injuries will occur. If you do get pain that is stopping you running, or going on longer than 1 week, come to see a Chartered Physiotherapist sooner rather than later-try not to let niggly injuries drag on untreated-the longer they go on the harder they can be to treat. Call us at 0863582911, if you need to make a booking!


Anne :)

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Exercise and Osteoarthritis…prevention is better than cure!

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting over 900,000 people in Ireland today. It is a condition that affects the joints, with the protective cartilage at the end of bones wearing away over time. It gradually worsens, and can cause symptoms such as pain, stiffness, a ‘grinding’ feeling, and reduced range of movement.

Unfortunately there is no cure for osteoarthritis but if it is detected early, progression may be slowed and symptoms can be treated. Often medication can be prescribed by your doctor for pain relief and to reduce swelling, and surgery may be indicated if severe enough as with a Total Knee Replacement or Total Hip Replacement.

Physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of osteoarthritis and can help to improve mobility, strength and flexibility. There is strong evidence that improving the strength of the surrounding muscles of the arthritic joint will help reduce pain and improve function of the joint. Exercise  is key to preventing osteoarthritis symptoms worsening so the sooner you start the better! Remember prevention is always better than cure so the sooner you get started on a prescribed exercise program the less likely you are to suffer from disability related to osteoarthritis.

If you have already been told you will need a hip or knee replacement, Physiotherapy becomes very important to your recovery. Often it is said that your Physiotherapy program before and after the surgery is as important as the surgery itself to get a good outcome! Following a prescribed exercise program pre and post knee/hip replacement will improve your recovery and your outcome.

If you are interested in getting Physiotherapy in the clinic or at home call us at 086 358 2911. pilates older

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