Stretching: Preparation and Recovery for Game Day

Unfortunately most of us just can’t move around like we used to when we were kids.  Remember the days of running around like a headless chook without so much as a stiff back or a tight muscle?  Sadly, ageing takes its toll.  Our bodies just don’t bounce back the way they once did.  Therefore, the importance of a proper warm up and cool down is crucial to avoiding sports injuries. 

This article is particularly timely given the start of the winter sports season is upon us.  At Pakenham Osteopathy, we want to keep you active and enjoying the sports you love!

In this first 3 part series we’ll explore:

PART 1: Understanding dynamic vs static stretching

PART 2: Warming Up

PART 3: Recovery


Most of us have stretched at some point in our lives and nearly all of us have been told we are not doing it enough! You may have heard about two main types of stretching, dynamic and static, and with scientific research into athletic performance forever evolving, the timing of when to use each of these is frequently spoken about.

So before we jump into part 2 and 3 of the series explaining what we should include in our warm up and recovery protocols, we need to understand the difference between these two categories of stretching.


Think back to primary school when your PE teacher would take you through a couple of stretches before or after activity. You’d stretch your hamstrings by bending over to touch your toes, hold it for 30 seconds, and compete with your mates to see who could reach the furthest. This type of stretching where you hold yourself in a position for an extended period of time is what we call static stretching. The goal… to elongate your muscles to allow for greater flexibility.


06 June 2001: Jason Akermanis (left) of the Lions performs stretching exercises with teamates during a team training session held at the Brisbane Lions Training ground, Brisbane, Australia. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Wood/ALLSPORT


Picture your favourite AFL team warming up before their big game, holding on to a teammates shoulder and swinging their legs back and forth. This is what we call dynamic stretching which requires active movement, taking our joints through its full range of motion with the goal of getting the body prepared for the type of movements specific to that particular sport.






    • Day to day flexibility
    • Cool down and recovery
    • Warm ups
    • Active recovery

I hope the information above helps you prepare for and recover on game day. 

For the upcoming 2nd part of this series, we’ll drill down on the warm up and how you can best prepare for your chosen sport.

The Shoulder – This Joint Can Move!!!

“Osteopathy… that’s bones right?”


Contrary to popular belief, Osteopath’s treat more than just bones. As allied health care professionals, we treat a vast range of conditions in the field of the musculoskeletal system, the shoulder joint being one of them.


Now the shoulder joint is a complex joint, with one main point to bear in mind. This joint can move! The shoulder joint is the equivalent to the breakdancing joint of your body – it can move in ways your other joints cannot. In comparison, the hip joint is a weight bearing joint and is engineered to have more stability to be able to withstand heavy loads. The shoulder joint on the other hand (bad pun intended) has a greater range of motion, which it incurs at the cost of stability.


As always with break dancers, they are prone to injury. Having that level of mobility comes at certain costs.


Stability vs mobility. A joint with a great amount of mobility relies and is dependant on the surrounding muscles to provide dynamic stability. This is where things becomes unstuck. The muscles surrounding the shoulder joint provide stability and support, this in turn makes them susceptible to injury. When a muscle is injured, the ligaments within the shoulder are exposed to injury as well due to now having a greater load placed on them without the support of the surrounding muscles.


Other factors that come into play are congruency of the joint which is affected by posture, overworked muscles, weakened surrounding muscles, neck movements and older injuries. As osteopath’s we look at a number of different ways to help aide in your recovery process once injured and get your shoulder dynamics back on track through a complex screening system which takes into account these factors and more.


If you’re having trouble with your movement, please make an appointment online today by clicking here. Or call the clinic directly on 5941-4157.

Thanks for reading!


Breanna Kerr

5 Common Misconceptions About Low Back Pain

Approximately 90% of Australians will experience low back pain in their lifetime.  With the numbers so high it’s no wonder it gets so much attention. However often people don’t manage it well due to the sheer volume of information – and not all of it is correct!  There are a lot of unhelpful myths about what low back pain actually is and what we should do about it. This blog aims to debunk some of the common misconceptions about low back pain.


Myth 1: “I’m in heaps of pain so I must have really damaged my spine!”

As a general rule, there is little correlation between the intensity of back pain an individual is experiencing and the degree of tissue injury. Each individual’s experience of pain is unique and we all have different pain thresholds. Patients may report significant pain levels with minimal tissue damage, or alternatively feel very little discomfort with a severe injury. Often, patients experiencing very intense pain will have a significant decrease in their pain levels once their body understands it is no longer under threat.


Myth 2: “I should rest completely to let my back heal”

Whilst it may feel better to rest and do nothing, this can be one of the least beneficial things to do when experiencing back pain. In fact, prolonged sitting or immobility may worsen symptoms.

During acute back pain, it is best for you to keep mobile within pain free limits. This could include walking around the house every 20 minutes or simply changing positions frequently while you’re resting.

Recent studies are also showing exercise is an effective therapy for reducing chronic lower back pain and improving function.

Motion is lotion! It may help to improve healing, increase blood flow, lubricate joints and reduce muscular weakness associated with immobility.


Myth 3: “I need to get an Xray or scan to diagnose what is wrong”

Osteopath’s can typically develop a diagnosis based on the patient’s presentation so imaging is not always necessary. Imaging can be indicated when there is no improvement with treatment, to clarify the degree of injury or to rule out underlying conditions if suspected.

Commonly when patients undergo imaging, it reports very little significant findings relative to the patient’s back pain. Alternatively, some patients can experience no lower back pain but have incidental findings on imaging, for example, disc bulges.


Myth 4: “I should apply a heat pack to my back when it is painful”

For acute injuries, it is best to apply ice to the area of discomfort. As a general rule, do this for 10-20 minutes, 4 times per day within the first 24-48 hrs of injury. This acts as an anti-inflammatory measure, therefore may reduce pain and improve recovery.

Heat is generally more effective for chronic conditions that haven’t involved a specific injury, particularly muscular tightness. This helps increase the blood flow and nutrients to the area which may promote healing and reduce tightness.


Myth 5: “I have ‘put my back out’ and ‘need to see someone to put my back in’”

This is a very common myth! When our joints go “out” this refers to a dislocation which would indicate a medical emergency. More accurately, what is actually happening in an episode of back pain, is that a spinal joint become immobile.  There are various causes for this including muscular strain or spasm, joint sprain or inflammation of the underlying tissues just to name a few.

Osteopaths work to release muscle tightness and improve joint mobility to relieve pain.


Hopefully this blog has shed light on some of the common misconceptions surrounding back pain.  Should you be experiencing back pain or if you have any questions regarding this article, please email us on .  We’d love to hear your feedback!

Thanks for reading!

Rebecca Kurrle (Osteopath)


Dreisinger, T. E. (2014). Exercise in the Management of Chronic Back Pain. The Ochsner Journal, 14(1), 101–107.