Frequently Asked Questions

What conditions do musculoskeletal physiotherapists treat?

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists are experts in assessing and treating movement-related injuries and pain. Physiotherapy treatment enhances recovery from injuries, rapidly eliminates pain, and prevents recurrence of injury.

Our goal is to most rapidly maximize your movement ability and control your pain in joints, muscles, bones and nerves.

Some of the various conditions we treat include:

  • Spinal Pain: low back, upper back and neck
  • Sports: specific injuries - e.g. running, rowing, tennis, volleyball, rugby, swimming and gym injuries
  • Traumatic injuries: whiplash, ankle sprains, shoulder/knee joint dislocations

The breadth of physiotherapy treatment allows for complete rehabilitation from injury. Techniques we employ improve joint motion, retrain muscle control, and improve nerve function.

By ensuring ALL facets of the problem are normalised, we maximize your long lasting results using the Ridgway Method.

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Massage or physiotherapist: what do I need?

We highly recommend massage therapy for many muscle, circulation, flexibility, performance enhancement and stress relief problems.  This is an important part of a holistic injury prevention program.

We regularly refer to massage therapy for the reasons.  

Solving the underlying cause of musculoskeletal problem is different:

Our physiotherapists have the Ridgway Method to rapidly solve the underlying reason for your problem.  Whether it’s muscle, joint, nerve or bony related condition (or a combination). For most rapid solutions to problems try a good physiotherapist first and continue with massage therapy for assisting with ongoing prevention.

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Podiatry or physiotherapy: what do I need?

With relation to the foot and lower limb Physiotherapy and Podiatry have some roles that are completely separate and some overlapping.

A podiatrist has exclusive roles such as nail surgery, foot skin care, nail cutting and treats any disease, dysfunctions or ailment of the foot of the feet. A good podiatrist is skilled at making supports for your feet (orthotics) and modifying footwear to suit your condition.

A good physiotherapist will solve how much of a foot/ankle condition is related to body parts such as joints, muscles and nerves of the back, hip, leg, knee, shin, ankle and foot. In the conditions where treatment to these areas is required you will gain the most rapid solutions with a good physiotherapist.

Many conditions resolve most rapidly with a combination of care!

No problem if you are unsure who to book in with first, either way you will learn of the best care for your condition. Feel free to inquire about you condition for our recommendation.

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Do physiotherapists read x-rays?

Yes. Physiotherapists have training in reading x-rays and other scans and relating the presenting condition to these investigations.

Physiotherapists do also rely on the radiologist report for an accurate summary of all scans. In general, there are often aspects that show on a scan that are not significant enough to be reported on by a radiologist, but are helpful for a good physiotherapist’s understanding of a condition, so bring your scans along to your appointment.  Please note that scans are not necessary before attending our appointments.

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What is the difference between a physiotherapist and a chiropractor?

With relation to musculoskeletal conditions we perceive* there are some distinct roles and some overlapping roles when comparing a musculoskeletal physiotherapist with a chiropractor.

Distinct roles:

Generally speaking, one style of chiropractic care primarily focus treatment on spinal joints and nerve with the reasoning that this will facilitate an automatic optimal function of all aspects of the body. Another style of chiropractic is to use a similar reasoning and also add treatments to any related body parts, sometimes with exercises.  Chiropractors have a broad focus on being alternative care to doctors with aiming to preventing and fix all kinds of ailments e.g. asthma, organ problems, diseases and illnesses etc.

Physiotherapy involves all aspects of all joints, muscles, nerves and bones for every body part, including facilitating optimal muscle activation with advanced therapeutic exercises, releasing inhibiting structures, and promoting rapid healing and increased independence with long term results.

As physiotherapists, if we do not receive an immediate effect with treatment, then we would not continue and we would help you find the practitioner who will help you.

Overlapping roles:
Many chiropractors perform spinal adjustments the same as a good physiotherapist trained with these techniques would do, and aim to resolve musculoskeletal pain and enhance recovery from injury.


Generally speaking, the chiropractic philosophy is about long-term care and the physiotherapy philosophy is about achieving and teaching self-maintenance and independence.

*NOTE: This information has been collected over many years with contribution by multiple chiropractors and physiotherapists; including the author interviewing with the chairperson of the chiropractic association of Queensland and regularly attending a chiropractor for health care for ten months. We are happy to share ideas, communication skills with clients that attend both physiotherapy and chiropractic care.

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What is the difference between a sports and a musculoskeletal physiotherapist?

At the higher levels of qualifications for these fields of physiotherapy there are aspects that are overlapping and aspects that are separate.

Separate roles:
Typically a sports physiotherapist is highly trained in on-field management, supervising sports as they are played, managing the overall care of sporting teams, traveling with athletes and teams to care for them ‘on the road’ etc.
Typically a musculoskeletal physiotherapist is highly trained at solving the more complex and chronic muscle, joint, bone and nerve conditions that are often related to the spine. A simplified wording that is often used is that a musculoskeletal specialist is a ‘spinal expert’, although we do also often apply our advanced problem solving skills on all body parts.

Overlapping roles:
Many common conditions are well cared for by either a musculoskeletal or sports physiotherapist. Many musculoskeletal physiotherapists apply their skills to athletes and many sports physiotherapists also treat spinal related conditions.
We find the most important factor is that you experience a very rapid solution to your problems. No matter who the practitioner is, if you are not experiencing significant results in just a few sessions then we recommend a second opinion.

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Is sitting up straight good for you?

The answer may surprise you!
NO, sitting up straight is not ideal for your spine. The way most people automatically sit up straight is to straighten the spine like a rod and this places excessive, abnormal forces at each joint between the spinal vertebrae which creates accumulative strain over time.
No wonder 80% of us suffer spinal pain in our lifetimes.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and it’s never too late to make the right changes.
The spine has three [flexible] curves that are the optimal posture to be maintained when sitting.
When done well, the correct deep stability muscles [core stability] activate to get the spine into its ideal curves and other deep stability muscles activate to provide additional support in position.
Baroona Physiotherapists thrive on teaching people the optimal methods for ideal sitting, self-management strategies and how to achieve this for the long term.
To experience this for yourself book in today.
If you can’t make it to Brisbane book in for a remote consultation via phone or Skype.

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What are the factors that are most important for spinal health?

The fact is that about 80% of us experience significant spinal pain in our lifetimes. This tells us that a lot of us are doing things that contribute to the onset of back pain. The vast majority of back pain is caused from accumulative strain, i.e. strain that built up over a long time, even if the onset of the pain was sudden.
The factors that most of us do most of the time to cause back pain are:

  1. Poor postural (deep stability) muscle control
  2. Poor flexibility and stiff joint movement
  3. Lacking cardiovascular fitness 
  4. Mental stress maintained over long periods

The great news is that these factors are changeable. To get you on track Baroona Physios are experts at getting you back in shape ready to rapidly recover from pain or to prevent spinal pain occurring.

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What type of physiotherapist should I be seeing?

There are many different categories of physiotherapy specialties, some are listed:

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Sports
  • Ergonomics
  • Pediatrics (children)
  • Orthopedics (rehab from joint/ligament/bone surgeries)
  • Neurology (recovering from strokes and head injuries)
  • Cardiothoracic (recovery from heart and lungs illnesses)
  • Hands (often after surgeries)
  • Aquatic physiotherapy (physiotherapy in 34° temperature water)
  • Women’s health (often pregnancy and continence related)
  • Acute Medical/ICU (hospital wards)
  • Animal

You can find the type of physiotherapist you need at ‘find a physio’ on the APA web site. If you are not sure what kind of physiotherapist your condition requires then contact us.

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A question received about shin splints. 

Good Afternoon,

I was just enquiring about shin splints. I have just started running again and I am starting to really enjoy it, but I am struggling with bad shin splints. I have all the traits of bad splints, tender on specific spots on the inner side of the lower shin about 2 to 3 inches above the ankle, bumpy shin bones and pain, more so during running toward the end of a 5-7klm run. I do notice back stiffness.

I know you would have to have a look at me to suggest what treatment I will need. I really want to keep running and get fit, I know that I can do this through other exercise, like cycling but as I keep saying I really am enjoying my running.

Look forward to hearing your response.

Anthony B


Hi Anthony,

Thank you for your enquiry.

The problems you mention are common and one we treat very successfully. There are many possible factors that cause what you are describing. In some people with your symptoms the primary contributing factor is back strain (even without pain in the back) and nerve irritation that leads to the calf muscles overworking and gradually causing the pain you mentioned.

Other times it is the ankle biomechanics that are most influential and the limiting factors causing this need to be address to solve the problems.
The fastest and longest lasting result is obtained by us assessing each of the possible contributing factors and for us to treat these accordingly to resolve the underlying cause of the problem – the symptoms then quickly settle.

We understand the importance of running as your main form of training and will endeavor to everything possible to ensure you are able return to this quickly.  We have many techniques we can teach you to fine tune your running style with the aim of preventing recurrence of your shin splints, and you'll be pleasantly surprised that these techniques also increase your efficiency and speed.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Michael Ridgway.

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*If you have any comments or questions about any material on this page (or anywhere on this site) please do not hesitate to write to us; contact us and we will be only too happy to read of your point of view or suggestions and include appropriate material on this page.

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