How to find the best physio on the Northern beaches for you

Finding the best physio on the Northern Beaches for your recovery from an injury could be the difference between a reaching a positive outcome and living with unnecessary pain.

If you’ve just started your research you’ve probably noticed that registered Physiotherapists in Australia all have unique training, expertise and abilities. Sifting through the different physiotherapists might make you feel like finding the perfect physio is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Relevant experience matters

When you have an injury or are in pain, it is important to make sure you are getting the best care for YOU. Have you ever felt like you were just assigned a Doctor or Physio because they matched up with your timeslot rather than your ailment?

All physiotherapists are skilled and highly trained, but just as you wouldn’t ask an electrician to do your plumbing, it’s important to have the right physio for your needs.

That’s why at Fixio, we have a team with diverse skills and interests. Our team have experience and expertise in the following areas and more:

  • Musculoskeletal and sports injuries
  • Occupational health
  • Pain management
  • Sports injuries and prevention
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity
  • Stroke and other neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer, palliative care and lymphoedema

Make sure you’ll be seeing YOUR physio every time

Some physiotherapists will run through the first session with you and then let an assistant run your program while they drop in every now and then to observe. Because most physiotherapy is ongoing, at Fixio we believe it’s important to establish a good and trusting working dynamic to get the most out of each session.

Do they have flexible booking options and appointments?

Recovering from an injury is hard work enough without COVID wreaking havoc on planning everything else.

If you’re finding it hard to make the time to give someone a call to have a chat about an ongoing or new pain, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page so that we can learn a little more about you to tailor the advice that we give you.

Find a physio that takes some of the difficulty out of recovery

At Fixio:

  • Private healthcare customers are able to claim part of the service fees on the spot. We have a HICAPS terminal on site, which means we can simply swipe your private health care card in the clinic and you will only have to pay the gap.
  • WorkCover claims are accepted provided you have a valid WorkCover claim number.
  • CTPclaims are accepted provided you have a valid CTP claim number. Fixio will bill the insurance company directly and you will not have to pay anything at the time of the consultation. Please read
  • Medicare Chronic Disease Management Plans (formerly Enhanced Primary Care) referrals are accepted.
  • DVA claims are accepted. Provided you have your DVA card and a valid referral from your General Practitioner, Fixio will bill DVA directly and you will not have to pay anything at the time of the consultation.

Finding the best physio on the Northern Beaches doesn’t have to be a daunting mission. Give us a call on (02) 8964 4086 or send an email to to experience the Fixio difference today.


How to recognise and get treated for an iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Up to 50% of people worldwide have an iron deficiency.[1] This is partly because iron is not synthesised in the body and has to be consumed in our diets which aren’t always balanced.

Iron deficiencies are more common in females and Long-term exercisers compared to non-athletes.[2]

Iron deficiency is a diagnosis to be made by your doctor, but the signs and symptoms are seen almost daily in my Dee Why Physio office.

I had a patient just the other week that was complaining of a decline in her running performance and increased fatigue over the last month or so prior to our appointment. Because she was increasing her overall running kilometres per week, she assumed this was the cause of her fatigue and mentioned it only in passing. She had a few other symptoms that piqued my interest and I suggested she head down to the Doctor for a blood test.

Turns out it was an iron deficiency.

What does iron do in the body?

Iron is an essential trace element and serves critical functions in the body even though the human body contains only a few grams of it. Iron binds oxygen in lung capillaries and delivers it to all the cells and muscles in the body that require oxygen to perform their functions.

Stages and symptoms of iron deficiency[3]
If you don’t consume enough iron in your diet consistently, your body’s iron stores get lower over time.
This can cause:

  • Iron depletion – when haemoglobin (carries oxygen to cells from the lungs) levels are normal, but your body only has a small amount of stored iron, which will soon run out. This stage usually has no obvious symptoms.
  • Iron deficiency – Your stored iron levels are low and your haemoglobin levels have dropped below normal. This is likely when your early symptoms start to show, most commonly tiredness.
  • Iron deficiency anaemia –Your haemoglobin levels are now so low that your blood is unable to deliver enough oxygen to your cells. People with iron deficiency anaemia may look very pale and suffer from breathlessness, dizziness and fatigue.

If you are you suffering from a combination of these symptoms, you may have an iron deficiency:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Poor appetite

What foods are high in iron?

There are two types of iron that you can get from foods. Iron from animal sources is known as haem iron and iron from plant-based sources is called as non-haem iron.[4]


How is Iron Deficiency Anaemia Treated?

You can usually correct iron deficiency anaemia with iron supplementation. Sometimes additional tests or treatments for iron deficiency anaemia will be carried out, especially if your doctor suspects that you’re bleeding internally or there could be another cause.

It’s important to find the underlying cause and treat it. You doctor may give you an oral iron supplement to restore the haemoglobin level to normal and replace the body’s iron stores

Don’t self-diagnose an iron deficiency

Since iron supplements are available without a prescription, it can be tempting to self-treat, but this is not recommended at all. Iron supplements won’t help the symptoms if iron deficiency isn’t the problem and you could be spending money on tablets you don’t need.

Having too much iron in your body can actually be toxic and even fatal.

Fatigue, dizziness and paleness are also symptoms of many other health conditions, not just iron deficiency. Some of these conditions are serious.

Always visit your GP if you think you could be iron deficient.

[1] McClung JP. Iron status and the female athlete. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2012;26:124-126.

[2] Bear J, Tobin B. Iron status and exercise. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:594-597.

[3] Miller JL. Iron deficiency anemia: a common and curable disease. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2013;3(7):a011866. Published 2013 Jul 1. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a011866

[4] Produced by Nutrition Australia Victorian Division, October 2014. The Australian Nutrition Foundation (Victoria.


Muscle cramps and what you can do to help relieve them

Most of us know that feeling – the sudden, involuntary, painful contraction of a muscle and hard knotting that hits when you least expect and disappears within seconds to minutes. You might have felt it deep into the 2nd half of a tough footy game, or woken up in the middle of the night to your toes and calves tearing themselves apart.

Cramp is notoriously unpredictable and a common issue I get asked about in the office and out and about at different sporting events on the Northern Beaches.

Every muscle in the body is capable of suffering from a cramp, although it’s your legs that are far more likely to experience them.

What causes cramps?

This is where it gets complicated. Cramps can have a number of causes and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to be able to say 100% what caused an individual cramp.

However, most benign cramps are caused by one, or a combination of:

  • Dehydration/perspiration – “heat cramps”
  • Fatigue – fatigued and dehydration during warm-weather sports is a recipe for muscle cramps.
  • Overuse – Muscles that are overused can become fatigued, which can lead to a cramp during physical activity that may be a protective mechanism to prevent further damage to the area.
  • Mineral depletion –Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium are contributors to leg cramps.
  • Pregnancy – Muscle cramps also are common during pregnancy. The third trimester of pregnancy is associated with leg cramps in up to 30% of women.[1]
  • Tense or stiff muscles – Warm up and warm down!
  • Medical conditions.You might be at higher risk of muscle cramps if you have diabetes, or nerve, liver or thyroid disorders.
  • Nerve compression in your spine (lumbar stenosis) can cause cramp-like pain in your legs.
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Age

Cramps that occur during or soon after a bout of physical activity are called exercise-associated muscle cramps, and these are commonly experienced as a “painful, spasmodic contraction of the skeletal muscle that occurs during or immediately after muscular exercise”.[2]

Exercise related muscle cramps in the quads, hamstrings and calves are common in Northern Beaches athletes who compete in multi-day, endurance & long distance events, and high intensity sports like footy, volleyball, soccer and tennis.

Have you ever heard the saying – Prevention is the best medicine?

Muscle cramps are definitely an area where this is true. While we can’t prevent cramps 100%, we can take steps to reduce the chances of getting them. With multiple theories on how muscle cramps occur, it’s best to tackle the issue from multiple angles prevention strategies such as:

  • Avoiding dehydrationDrink plenty of liquids every day and on activity day, replenish those fluids at regular intervals, and continue drinking water or other fluids after you’re finished.
  • Stretch your musclesStretch before and after physical activity. If you tend to get leg cramps at night, try stretching before you go to be.
  • Give you body carbohydrates The body loves carbs. Making sure your muscles are supplied with good usable energy is a great way to combat cramps. Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source of the body for exercise, and one major storage area is within the muscle as glycogen.Have a small carbohydrate-based snack 1hr prior to exercise such as a piece of fruit  and If you’re exercising for a long period top up your carb stores each hour with additional fruit, gels, or lollies to help prevent premature muscle fatigue and cramps.
  • Stopping exercise at the onset of the cramp
  • Massage therapy

The general theme in preventing and combating cramps is to try and keep your body’s mineral and movement systems balanced.

If you would like to chat with Damien about your personal performance needs, go ahead and book your consultation here.

[1] Zhou  K, West  HM, Zhang  J, Xu  L, Li  W. Interventions for leg cramps in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD010655. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010655.pub2. Accessed 12 February 2021.

[2] Schwellnus MP, Derman EW, Noakes TD. Aetiology of skeletal muscle “cramps” during exercise: a novel hypothesis. J Sports Sci. 1997;15:277–85.


How do I know if or when my core is activated?

A question that gets asked by 90% of people who walk through the door.

In order to understand if your core is activated or how to activate it, a foundational knowledge of what it is and what its main role is needed.

What is my core and what does it do?

Your core is comprised of the muscles between your diaphragm and your pelvic floor. It wraps around your torso adding stability and protection to your lumbar spine/ lower back.

Coke can analogy:

If we have 2 cans, we open one and keep the other closed and then stand on them both, one collapses, and one maintains its structure. The closed can is what we want your core to be like. It has a top, bottom, sides and a seam down the back.

The top is your diaphragm, the bottom your pelvic floor, the sides your transverse abdominus and multifidus and the seam if your spine.


               When we add load to the can the pressure within increases to enable it to maintain its shape. Likewise, when we add load by contracting one of the components of your core the intra-abdominal pressure (pressure within your abdomen) increases as the sides contract and push in, this stabilises your torso and protects your lower back especially as external load and more complex movements are applied.

How do I activate my core?

Everyone will have their own spin on how they teach this but one way that goes back to the foundations and allows people to start with the basics and feel confident moving forward is learning how to find neutral spine.

Finding the neutral spine position is important when learning to activate the core because studies have found that your transverse abdominus and pelvic floor muscles activate the easiest when in this position. [1]

Neutral Spine:

  1. Start lying on your back
  2. Feet flat on the mat, hip width apart.
  3. In this position rock the pelvic back and forth allowing your lower back to arch and flatten into the mat.
  4. Find the middle point where your lower back has a little gap under it. In this position your hip bones at the front and your pubic bone should all sit level with one another and horizontal to the floor, if you are tilted too far one way, your pubic bone may sit higher than your hip bones or your hip bones may sit higher than your pubic bones.
  5. Sink the back of your ribcage into the mat by imagining a heavy stack of books sitting on your chest and pushing you flat against the floor.
  6. Shoulder placement is found but reaching the hands, arms and shoulders towards the ceiling. You should feel the shoulder blades gently glide around the sides of the ribcage from under the mat.
  7. Gently nod the chin towards the chest keeping your jaw relaxed. To allow this, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and keep the jaw slightly open.


Engaging the musculature of the core whilst maintaining neutral spine.

This can be found through abdominal activation or through using your pelvic floor.

  1. Abdominal activation: starting in the neutral spine position and hovering the arms by the sides of the hips, pulse the arms up and down 5 x per inhale and 5 x per exhale.
  2. Pelvic floor: starting in neutral spine position practicing. Engage the pelvic floor by lifting the muscular sling running from the public bone to the tail bone (similar feeling to holding in a wee). There should be a gentle tightening of the lower abdominals and not a bulging. Once engaged, take a few breaths maintaining the contraction and then relax.

Try both methods and find which works best for you, then keep practicing!

What next?

Now that you’ve got an understanding of the basics of how to activate your core, you can start progressing the exercises to add arm or leg movements or add load/ resistance.

For guidance on progression, book an appointment here or give us a call on 8964 4086.

If you’re still struggling to feel your lower abdominals and core activate, book an appointment with one of your local physios to take you through step by step, with various positions and cues that will work best for you.



  1. Lynders, C. The Critical Role of Development of the Transversus Abdominis in the Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain. 2019

How stretching can help prevent sports injuries and improve recovery Stretching

Pre-activity stretches have been shown to support increased athletic performance, decrease the likelihood of injury and minimise delayed onset muscle soreness.

It’s a simple and relatively quick activity, so why do so many people skip it?

Should I warm-up before I start stretching?

Emphatically, yes!

Rule number 1 of stretching before exercise is to at least do a short warm up beforehand. Think of your cold muscles as rubber bands that are a bit old and dry – they may snap if pushed too hard.

Warming-up prior to activity helps increase your heart rate, core temperature, respiratory rate, blood flow and ultimately delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles you are about to stretch.

But how specifically can stretching prevent sports injury?

It’s important to keep as many of your muscles as possible flexible and supple. Whether you’re playing volleyball, soccer or rugby league, all your muscles are working together and playing some part, not just a select few.

Don’t forget to stretch all major muscles and their opposing muscle groups

Take any sport that involves running for example; muscles in your upper body play a vital role in ensuring your body stays balanced during the running motion. Focusing all of your energy on your legs without stretching your biceps and shoulders could lead to imbalance and injury.

  • Stretching helps reduce fatigue

Fatigue can be an issue for anyone and a major problem for those who exercise. Fatigue causes your physical and mental performance to decline.

Stretching helps increase flexibility which can prevent the effects of fatigue setting in. For every muscle in the body there is an opposite or opposing muscle and if the opposing muscles are more flexible, the working muscles do not have to exert as much force against the opposing muscles.

When you stretch, each movement of the working muscles actually takes less effort.

  • A stretching program can help to improve muscle balance

Hamstring tears are a common injury in running sports that are often caused by strong quadriceps and weak, inflexible hamstrings. The body doesn’t like imbalance and inflexibility puts a great deal of pressure on the hamstrings and can result in a muscle tear or strain.

  • Stretching helps to increase your range of motion

By increasing your range of motion, you are increasing the distance your limbs can move before causing damage to the surrounding muscles and tendons. For example, when an AFL player kicks the ball the muscles and tendons at the back of the leg are put under huge strain. By increasing the flexibility and pliability of those muscles, the legs can travel further forward before a strain or injury happens.

Some simple stretching tips

  1. Stretch Gently and Slowly

By stretching slowly and gently you will help to relax your muscles, helping to avoid those nasty muscle tears and strains that can be caused by rapid, jerky movements.

  1. Stretching is NOT meant to be painful

I repeat, stretching is not meant to be painful. Some people will tell you that to get the most from your stretching you need to be in constant pain. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when stretching. As crazy as it sounds, stretching is actually meant to be pleasurable and relaxing.

When your muscles are stretching to the point of pain, your body uses a defence mechanism called the stretch reflex. This is your body’s way of trying to prevent serious damage occurring to your muscles, tendons and joints by contracting them.

  1. Breathe slowly and naturally while stretching

Have you ever checked yourself while you were stretching and realised that you were subconsciously holding your breath? Holding your breath creates muscular tension which in turn makes it very difficult to stretch effectively. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply during all stretching exercises, picture your muscles relaxing and feel the blood flow and increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.

Stretching after exercise has a different purpose to stretching before exercise

The purpose of stretching before exercise is to help prevent injury while stretching after exercise aids in the repair and recovery of the muscles and tendons. By working the muscles and tendons, stretching helps to prevent tight muscles and delayed muscle soreness that usually accompanies strenuous exercise.

At Fixio our goal is to help reduce the pain you’re experiencing, restore function, increase range of motion, and get you back to doing the things you love. If you’re looking to add pre and post-workout stretches into your routine and want to know which stretches would best benefit you, book in an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.

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