Easing back into Fitness Tips…

Dr Matthew Franz, Osteopath at City Osteopathy


Often when there is a change in environment, exercise is one component that gets modified and people lose sight of the short and long term benefits. For those that are adjusting to the new changes here are some tips to ease you back into working out training programs. 


Working out your fitness base and modifying your goals: 

Often with training and getting back into it, people set their training goals high however find after 4-6 weeks their body starts to break down. In most cases the body tissue capacity can’t meet the training load/intensity that is placed on it, which results in a trip to your favorited osteopath! So before you do any form of training, it is crucial to work out your base of training and go from there, this can be done on the many home based apps that are available on your phone such as RunKeeper or Nike Training Club.


Working out a balanced training plan around your life and work schedule:

This is one area where it is really important to get right if you want to continue to exercise well and work productively from home. Continuing to review the type of training and your training load that you are doing throughout the week and how it makes your body feel is crucial. Your training plan needs to be balanced with enough recovery and doesn’t impact life/work commitments.


A balanced mix of high-benefit workouts that have specific purposes: 

In the current climate, try to aim to do a different form of exercise, however the biggest thing to address is the intensity. Try to aim for two to three high intensity works outs they can be in the forms of running, cycling, work or home based exercise.

It is crucial that these days are followed up with recovery and stretching days as breaks inbetween. So a potential plan could be Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the high intensity workout sessions while Tuesday and Thursday can be recovery days that may include stretches, slow jogs/walks or cycles, these recovery days allow your body to adapt to the physiological changes that occur as result of exercise.


Training Zones:

Once you start to develop and build up your training, it’s important that we are training at the right intensity. This is to ensure that the body has the ability to adapt and improve. Often this can done by determining your max heart rate and then using a percentage of your max heart rate to meet the training zone. 


For example: if your max heart rate while training is 190bpm you could start off training making sure to stay within 65-75% of this, depending on the type of race. If you struggle to find the right zone, the internet provides a great resource to get a better understanding. In order to improve, it’s important we are gradually progress the training intensity so as to adapt in the best possible way



The key with exercise and setting long term goals especially with everything that is going on, is that we need to break it down into a few key components and setting the right exercise goals involves:

  • Finding something that you a passionate about and something that you enjoy doing, whether it be walking/cycling or even aiming to prepare the body for a big race within the next 6 months.
  • It’s attainable within a timeframe that works for you and is measurable within the right parameters. Having fitness tracking apps play a big part in working out these parameters. 
  • The goals have to suit you, are able to motivate you and you need to care about them.
  • Once you start formulating these goals – observe what behaviours change and use that as motivation to continue to achieve these goals.


All in all, go enjoy it and look after yourself!

Dr Matthew Franz.

What Should You Expect During a Visit to City Osteopathy?

Close up top view of osteopath doing healing treatment on female shoulder blade, Image by city osteopathy

If you are curious about what to expect during an osteopath visit, this article will be extremely helpful when scheduling an appointment with a trusted osteopath in Melbourne.


So what really happens during an osteopathy clinic visit? But before we discuss that, here is what you need to remember before you schedule an appointment:

  • Make sure that the osteopathy clinic is a duly registered business and the osteopaths are suitably qualified. You can check all licenses and registration online.
  • An osteopathy clinic in Melbourne should be able to provide sufficient information about the services they offer as well as the cost of available treatments. It is important to know these things before your appointment so you understand all costs involved.
  • Osteopaths should be able to give you details of their license and registration. You can verify this information with the Osteopathy Board of Australia.


During a visit, here are the common steps that you will encounter:

The initial consultation with an osteopath will be primarily focused on learning about the patient and his or her condition. Your first visit will last approximately 30minutes.


It consists of the following activities:

  • The osteopath will ask questions about your general health, previous and existing medical conditions, medications, and other information that may be pertinent to providing suitable treatment.
  • Comprehensive examination by the osteopath. You will be asked to perform certain movements and stretches to assess your posture and mobility.
  • Manual examination of joints, tissues, and ligaments through palpation.
  • If the osteopath detects serious condition beyond the scope of his or her practice, you will then be referred to other members of the healthcare team.


Osteopathic Treatment and Diagnosis

An osteopath specialises in the assessment, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and other related medical conditions. After a thorough examination and assessment, your osteopath should be able to provide you with a clear explanation of your condition and discuss the best treatment plan. The benefits and risks of actions taken will be discussed as well as other pertinent information such as frequency, expectations during the procedures, and the associated costs of treatments.

Treatment and management interventions will involve hands-on or manual manipulation of the intended joints, muscles and soft tissues. During treatments, an osteopath should be able to explain what they are doing to you, too. You are free to ask your osteopath if you have any concerns before, during, and after treatments.


Book your initial consultation with the best osteopath in Melbourne. Call our direct line on 03 9663 5450 today.


Jan (not real name) came in to City Osteopathy after complaining of right shoulder weakness of 3 months duration.  She could not lift her arm above 80 degrees due to complete loss of muscular strength, her arm was basically paralysed above that range with little prospect it would recover.

This issue came on basically over a day, she had done the Oxfam walk and a few days later she woke in 10/10 pain in her right shoulder and arm.  She could not use her arm.  She went to hospital, they did a scan which was clear and sent her home with ENDONE (VERY powerful pain killer), and a sling.  Basically she was in all sorts.  She then went to her GP, who sent her to a Physio.  Some treatments did nothing.  She then went to a surgeon with the same outcome.  Her son then discovered that her shoulder blade was winging badly so she went back to GP, then to a Neurologist who diagnosed a Long Thoracic Nerve Palsy.  Treatment options were pain killers, nerve pain medicines, and more or less suck it up, you cannot do anything  Not a good diagnosis for a patient!!

Her pain had reduced but her paralysis was still the same.  After 3 treatments with a Melbourne Osteopath in our clinic, doing gentle osteopathic treatment to focus on getting her shoulder blade, upper back, shoulder and neck all looser and working more optimally, plus specific home rehabilitation exercises over  two months time she now has FULL shoulder mobility, NO pain, and NO winging of the shoulder blade.  Her Melbourne GP cannot believe it, neither can that patient, but then again a different approach can work wonders with a little bit of luck mixed in!

Introducing our Amazing Pilates Instructors

Hoda – Over the years she has been an active promoter of well-being and healthy life-style and has helped dozens of people in their Pilates journey. Her goal is to inspire, motivate and improve the overall health of her clients.  As a dedicated instructor, she will maintain a keen eye on the finer details encouraging you to reach your fitness and health long-term goals with a holistic approach, whether you want to feel stronger, flexible, pain-free, improve your sports performance, or improve your quality of life.

Clair –  Clair has a particular interest in chronic pain, and strives to be the health professional to break its cycle. For this reason, she is very passionate when it comes to identifying lifestyle factors that are contributing to a client’s condition, and formulating a management plan that addresses these through education, ergonomic advice and rehabilitation.

Nia – Nia is an active person, and a lover of the outdoors, and brings an interest in natural movement and a broad understanding of health to her work.  Driven to provide best care across a wide spectrum of client complaints and lifestyles, Nia adapts an individualized approach and care to each person.   

Bronwyn – Bronwyn has a nutrition and rehabilitation background and has worked with many sporting teams over the last 10 years. She understands the biomechanics of movement, posture and lifestyle on health and wellbeing.  Bronwyn likes to incorporate Pilates into every day, be in balance exercises or challenging coordination as well as flexibility and strength training whilst tailoring specific exercises to each individual.

FLU VACCINE, some info from your Osteopaths…..

FLU vaccine. When should you get it? Why should you get it? Who should get it? How do you get the flu?!
Flu is front and centre at this time of the year. Each year there seems to be more and more strident calls that its going to be the worst flu year, that the strains are hyper virulent.

The flu vaccine is working at its peak in your body about TWO weeks after your vaccination. But the vaccine effects slowly reduce over time unfortunately, in particular it seems after a few months. Peak flu season in Melbourne is July, August and into September. Hence for your own protection, its best to have your vaccine working well in these months. We believe its best then to get your vaccine later than April and probably best in late May.
Those who are younger, or older than 65 yrs, immuno compromised, or in contact with these people should get vaccinated.
People forget how dangerous the flu can be! Its the greatest cause of death for a disease that has a vaccine! Spanish flu, bird flu etc were all communicable diseases. And we get different flu strains every year. Best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands regularly, avoid densely packed space like trains, keep exercising, sleep well. Natural products we have heard great things from patients are Olive Leaf Extract, Vitamin C, and Echinacea. Do they work? We dont know, but our patients believe they do!
Osteopathy may also play an indirect role. Moving fluids, keeping you loose and pain free. Why wouldn’t it!?

Dr Shane Heslop

Melbourne Osteopath

City Osteopathy

Patients beliefs about their Low Back Pain. Dr Matthew Franz, Osteopath, delves deeper into the science behind pain…

LET’S TALK…. People’s beliefs about their back pain and what is actually happening

Dr Matthew Franz, Melbourne Osteoapth @ City Osteopathy


In today’s society, lower back pain is often described as a result of issues built up over time with a direct cause. Sometimes this can be the case, however it’s the way we interpret our back pain and the pain science behind it that has recently come into a more prominent view point.

Louis Giffords Mature Organism Model via NOIjam.com

Have I lost you yet?

Well to break things down a little, the word ‘pain science’ can be described as “ The nervous system’s processing of their injury, in conjunction with various psychosocial aspects, determines their pain experience”. (Louw et al., 2011) The way I look at pain science myself, is the way we interpret our own pain. It can be the way we recognise it and then construct it in our mind, which then determines the way our body reacts to it, as seen above.

For example you will notice that every time you have a sore back, you won’t bend down as it tends to hurt. However over time your brain has associated this action with pain and interprets it as harmful to the body. So you don’t perform that movement to the best of your ability, which in turn develops a feedback loop.

It is crazy how many times people describe their back pain as being caused by a slipped disc or weak core. They have been conditioned to think that these are the issues that have caused their back pain. It might play a factor however its the health professionals that influence them into thinking they need constant treatment in order to feel better.


I’m bursting the bubble and telling you that back pain is normal thing! It is how we manage your back pain that makes the difference.

What are you trying to get at then?

A systematic literature review of MRI findings on people with spinal related changes in their back WITHOUT SYMPTOMS by Brinjikje, W., Luetmer, P.H., Comstock, B., et al. found that:

  1. The study suggests that imaging findings of degenerative changes, such as disk degeneration, disk signal loss etc are generally part of the normal ageing process rather than pathologic processes requiring intervention.
  2. That >50% of asymptomatic individuals 30–39 years of age have disk degeneration, height loss, or bulging. This suggests that even in young adults, degenerative changes may be incidental and not causally related to presenting symptoms.
  3. The results from this systematic review strongly suggest that when degenerative spine findings are incidentally seen (ie, as part of imaging for an indication other than pain or an incidental disk herniation at a level other than where a patient’s pain localises), these findings should be considered as normal age-related changes rather than pathologic processes.

So what can we do about it?

My advice is to first stop worrying about the pain and look at how we can address it. Look at the the factors that may be affecting it and how can we have control over it. This allows you to gain a better understanding of what is actually going on.

I understand it may hurt and play up from time to time, however the way we view our pain will help toward healing it. This combined with proper management and treatment, staying healthy and stretching are all very important. As osteopaths we can get you to the point of feeling comfortable about your pain and hopefully get you feeling better sooner rather than later!

Dr Matthew Franz Osteopath at City Osteopathy


Brinjikji, W., Luetmer, P., Comstock, B., Bresnahan, B., Chen, L., Deyo, R., Halabi, S., Turner, J., Avins, A., James, K., Wald, J., Kallmes, D. and Jarvik, J. (2014). Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 36(4), pp.811-816.

Louw, A., Diener, I., Butler, D. and Puentedura, E. (2011). The Effect of Neuroscience Education on Pain, Disability, Anxiety, and Stress in Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92(12), pp.2041-2056.