Office Workers Advice

Office Workers Advice: returning to work following the holidays

Have you started to experience discomfort in your neck, arms or back with returning to work following the holiday period?

Now is a great time to take a look at your work habits and address this discomfort before it becomes a bigger problem.

Our bodies are not designed to sit for long periods of time, hold our arms in one position for too long or complete repetitive tasks such as typing or mouse work for prolonged periods.

So what can you do to avoid this occurring:

  • Task variation: where possible vary your tasks as often as you can as this can alter your work position e.g. vary between hand written work, typing, mouse work, phone calls and meetings where possible
  • Regular rest breaks: Ensure that you take all standard rest breaks and don’t get into the habit of eating at your desk. Time away from your desk and computer work station gives your muscles time to recover from the work that they have been doing.
  • Micropauses: it is recommended that at least once every hour (ideally every 15 minutes) for 5-10 seconds you should STOP what you are doing, DROP your arms down by your side and gently SHAKE them to relax your muscles and help restore normal circulation
  • Postural variation: take any opportunity to get up from your desk such as walk to the printer to collect your own printing, or go next door to discuss matters with your colleague rather than phoning or emailing
  • Stretches: completing neck, arm and back stretches prior to your day starting and regularly throughout the day helps to prevent or reduce any muscle tension that may cause discomfort. Refer to for a range of appropriate exercises.

It is also important to ensure that your workstation is set up to suit your individual needs. Even the slightest adjustment to your chair, screen height, or desk layout can make a difference to your posture and any discomfort. If you require any assistance don’t hesitate to contact the team at Accelerate Physiotherapy to discuss the situation or arrange for an onsite ergonomic workstation assessment with your Physiotherapist.


Merry Christmas

Wow, another year has come to an end and preparations for Christmas are under way.  Seeing as we had a few new additions to the Accelerate family over the past year, we opted for a lunch time Christmas party this year which was held at Alana’s beautiful home in Otatara.

As with any Christmas party, there was always mountains of food and our eyes continue to assume that we haven’t eaten in weeks and it is inevitable that our plates end up overflowing with delicious food.  The boys were in control of the BBQ this year and the steak was cooked to perfection… cheers Matt.  We enjoyed meeting wee Leo for the first time (Lena’s wee bundle of joy) and it was  a pleasure to see Elliot (Sarah’s beautiful baby) again as well as catching up with these two Mumma’s who are currently on maternity leave.  The older children all seemed to enjoy running around Alana’s lovely big lawn.

We also had the pleasure of meeting and greeting our newest physio Tessa and her partner before she started work on the Wednesday following the party.

Everyone had a lovely time and ate like kings and needless to say we had plenty of nibbles for the next couple of days at work!

More recently we had a Secret Santa at work where everyone brought a gift along.  The game starts where you get to choose a gift out of the box and decide whether you want to steal someone else’s gift that they have already opened, swapping with your unopened gift, or you could open yours.  It turns out everyone was being far too nice and choosing to open theirs instead of stealing, so Dariel and Lucy shook things up a bit and stole from some of the other staff – in saying this the calibre of the gifts was very high this year so all the gifts were lovely even if you had your original gift stolen.

So in closing this wee blog, here at Accelerate Physio we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year


Accelerate Physiotherapy Celebrates Success

FB_IMG_1445913563928 20150925_195917_LLS FB_IMG_1445906451104In recent months Accelerate has celebrated with being selected as a finalist in the Westpac  Southland Business Excellence  Awards in the Crowe Horwath Business (under 15FTE) category.

As Sarah Hannan CEO, of the Southland Chamber of Commerce, stated;

“The awards were introduced in 2013 and are held bi-annually. This year there were double the number entries from the inaugural event and the high calibre of entries made judging particularly difficult, with only a few points between finalists in many categories.

Southland Chamber of Commerce CEO Sarah Hannan, said there has been a depth and breadth of talent shown across a range of business sectors. “The awards are the regions platform to showcase and celebrate business excellence in all its forms.”

Entering the awards involved submitting an entry that included the clinics vision and plan, a review of the business’ strengths and what differentiates us in the community, risk management, community work as well as financial information over the past two years.

By doing this it gave us a good opportunity to review the business processes, strengths and weakness along with identification of possible opportunities for business development.

To celebrate being a finalist we took all our staff to the awards gala dinner on September 25th at Ascot Park Hotel. Our team had a great night and enjoyed sharing in the success the business achieved as it couldn’t have been achieved without the great team we have working at Accelerate.

Our second celebration of success was at the Sunrise Rotary Club of Invercargill where Judy Wheeler was presented with a Pride of Workmanship Award on Friday 16th October.

Judy’s nomination recognised the 13 years she has been with the company, her courteous and friendly manner that is an excellent first impression of the business,  attention to detail and the fact that she is accurate and conscientious with all her work tasks ensuring they are completed on time, even if it means working extra hours. Over-all Judy puts her all into her role and is a great asset to the business.

Gardening and back pain

It has been a long, cold, wet winter, but it’s not long now until spring.  I’m starting to think about my garden, which fortunately has needed very little attention this winter but it won’t be long until I start to get my vege patch ready and I’m sure there will be plenty of weeding to do as the days get warmer, sunnier and probably still wet!,

With all the digging, bending, lifting, pulling, shovelling to come, it is a good time to remind ourselves of some basic back care. I look after my back when gardening by just following a few simple rules:

  1. Task variation

Mix it up.  Don’t get stuck doing one job for hours on end.  Ideally change your jobs every half an hour and have regular breaks, even if it’s just to grab a drink of water or use the toilet.

  1. Stretch it out

If you have been doing lots of bending, make sure you take the opportunity to arch backwards, if you’ve been doing a lot of reaching up high and leaning backwards, then lie on your back on the ground and hug your knees in towards your chest

  1. Work those legs

Give your back a break from all the bending and bend your knees instead to reach the ground

  1. Core

Engage those deep tummy muscles to help support your back, especially when you’re bending, lifting and tugging on those pesky weeds!  And to further protect your back make sure your keep that armful of weeds or potting mix in nice and close to your body


And don’t forget, if you do get in trouble, you’re friendly physios are always happy to get you back on track!


Does physiotherapy help with headaches?

In some cases yes – if your headaches are due to a problem in the top 3 vertebrae of your neck or if there is a problem with the neck muscles or your posture.

How can you tell?

Generally if your headaches are related to your neck you will also be experiencing neck pain and/or stiffness or muscle tension in the neck.

Your posture may also be affected.

Why does the neck cause the headache?

The muscle and joints of the neck can refer pain into the head a bit like back pain can cause leg pain.

What can you do to help yourself?

Make sure you keep good posture when you are sitting, standing and working. Aim to change your position regularly.

Warm heat can help ease muscle tension as well as gentle neck stretches.

What can physiotherapists do to treat neck pain?

Physiotherapists first assess to see if the neck could be a contributor to the headache and then assess what structures are causing the pain. The physiotherapist can then discuss what treatment would work the best. Treatment could include

  • postural exercises
  • strengthening exercises
  • massage
  • mobilisation
  • manipulation
  • acupuncture.

Developmental dysplasia of the hips

DDH, or ‘clicky hips’ as most people know it as, is a structural abnormality in the development of baby’s hip. Some babies are born with the defect which can be picked up at a hip check. However some, like Lily, get missed initially and don’t get picked up till later in their lives. Often it is picked up when children start to walk, and parents notice that the child has a limp or the child walks later in life than expected.

Luckily, sort of, I had concerns with Lily’s ability to jump in her jolly jumper and thought her legs were a different length when she was 4 months old. We were sent for an ultrasound at the hospital, and was told her left leg was permanently dislocated and therefore her hip hadn’t formed properly.

When Lily was 6 months old, she went into a spica cast – a cast from her nipples to her ankles. But, Lily quickly adapted and hasn’t minded being restricted. She is now 10 months and coming to the end of her spica journey. Lily’s hip has formed well and the specialist has said Lily shouldn’t need any further treatment. But she will be followed up until her adolescence. This is relatively minor compared to other children who have had numerous surgeries and casts. Also, if children are older when the deformity gets picked up, the children can be more upset as they can’t crawl, stand, or walk anymore.

Signs and risk factors for DDH include family history of DDH, first born, female, breech birth, leg length discrepancy, and uneven skinfolds on the legs or buttocks. If you have any concerns, make sure you talk to your plunket nurse or GP. If the deformity is picked up soon enough, the treatment is far easier on the child (and parents).IMG_1195

Physio for western southland

Lucy is the lucky physiotherapist who gets to travel through the beautiful Southland countryside out to Tuatapere twice a week, and once per fortnight on a Tuesday morning through to Ohai.

We have regular clinics in the Western Southland area to serve the farming and industry community and we are located in the medical centre in Tuatapere and Ohai. As we are situated in the medical centre, we are able to work in close contact with the medical staff to provide a holistic approach to health care.

The weather is usually kind to us and very rarely do we not make it out to Tuatapere.

Our usual hours in Tuatapere are 9.00-4.30 Tuesday and Thursday, and 9.30am onwards every second Tuesday in Ohai.

If you need any physiotherapy treatment or advice you can make an appointment through Accelerate Physiotherapy on 03 2186583 or by contacting Tuatapere Medical Centre on 03 2266123



At this time of year with all the stress that is surrounding us, we can easily get caught up in it. As the tension builds our shoulders start to migrate towards our ears, we develop tightness and pain in our shoulders as well as our neck, our breathing gets faster and we feel our shoulders heaving as we breathe. It is also important to take some time each day to stop and wind down.  Let your mind relax, let your shoulders relax and let that breath move down into the bottom of your lungs.

Occasionally you can get caught up in a cycle of stress and poor breathing and find it difficult to break this cycle.  You might find that you start to feel all sorts of worrying symptoms. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Chest pain
  • physical tension
  • blurred vision
  • feeling confused
  • faster, deeper breathing
  • short of breath
  • tight feelings in your chest
  • bloated feeling in stomach
  • tingling fingers
  • unable to breathe deeply
  • stiff fingers or arms
  • tight feelings around the mouth
  • cold hands or feet
  • racing heart
  • feelings of anxiety

These symptoms can all be linked to a poor breathing pattern.  If you are having any of these symptoms it is especially important to take the time to relax and correct your breathing pattern.

If you are having trouble getting back on top of things and you would like some extra help, come in and see Lena, our certified BradCliff practitioner for breathing pattern disorders.

PINC Next Steps

A new programme that will begin in July at Accelerate Physiotherapy is the PINC Next Steps. This is a group exercise programme for women who have finished their main cancer treatment and want to take the ‘next steps’ on their road to recovery. The programme runs for one hour per week for ten weeks, and is specifically designed to help women affected by breast cancer. Next Steps combines Pilates, Yoga, and cardiovascular exercises plus some relaxation which will help rebuild strength, flexibility, and stamina following cancer treatments. PINC physiotherapist, Alana Malcolm, will run the class on her return from maternity leave. As an added incentive, the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation will fund the first programme for ten eligible women. Accelerate Physiotherapy is the only Physio clinic in the Southland area who provide specific care for cancer survivors. If you are interested, head to for more information, and to register.

Pilates Equipment Classes

Once a week we run a 1 hour Pilates Equipment Class. This is limited to 4 people per class to provide heaps of one on one attention! The class has been running for the past 3 terms and is an alternative to the mat classes we already run. Participants need to have had some Pilates experience before going into the class preferably attending a level 1 or above mat class. Pilates equipment used for the class includes Pilates reformer, Trapeze Table and Exochair. The equipment uses springs to provide muscle resistance and develop core strength and flexibility. Exercises can be tailored for individual needs and work on specific areas that the participant would like to target.