Written by Kathryn Anderson

When it’s time to get out of the holding pattern

Hi! Kath here.

How are you doing?

I mean really doing?

How is your body going at the moment.

Is it feeling strong?

By strong, I don’t mean can you lift 100kg on a barbell, but rather do you feel your body provides enough support throughout the day so that you don’t feel physically tired in your muscles and joints by evening?

Does your body feel light and easy when you walk upstairs, or reach down to pick up groceries?

At the clinic at the moment, we are seeing a lot of what we call “mechanical injuries”, injuries to shoulders, hips and lower backs that accumulate slowly, have no specifically recountable incident and lead to a build-up of pain and subsequent injury. I myself was guilty of having one of these in the early lockdown of 2020 when my daily load moved abruptly from a mostly physical job to one that required a lot more computer work.

In 2008 in their paper “What is Mechanical Back Pain and How Best To Treat It”, Chien and Bajwa cited that mechanical back pain makes up 97% of all presentations of back pain. It’s super common! In fact, the Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Health Care have cited that 70-90% of people will experience back pain at some stage in their lives.

Now this is where I think things get interesting. What I’ve seen time and time again in my 20 years of experience as a physiotherapist is that many people just accept that back, neck and shoulder pain are a fact of life. I commonly hear from my clients that, because they have experienced stiffness in their necks since their early 20’s, it’s just something they have to accept as a part of their everyday life.

I also commonly consult with clients who concede that needing a weekly massage or adjustment is part of getting through their daily tasks. And while it’s lovely to get a weekly massage if it makes you feel relaxed, centred and mentally well, it’s tough if that weekly massage is what your body relies on to get through.

These issues are the biggest reasons I have intentionally crafted the Viva Services in the way that you see them today. My primary goal is to help people feel good, to fall in love with movement and to have a body that feels free and easy, ready for any challenge that life throws at them. The feeling of being able to withstand the normal forces that are required for you to get through a day becomes our gift. If you’d like to read more about the process we use to help recovery and beyond, you can read Jess’ blog explaining our Relieve, Restore and Perform Process.

And so, back to the idea of the holding pattern. Our physical bodies thrive on change, adaptation and challenge. And part of what we here at Viva describe as the Perform phase is all about challenging your body to be stronger, to resist force and to adapt. In many ways, this is the missing piece of the puzzle to prevent injury and reduce our reliance on hands-on treatment.

One of the reasons many of us miss this part, or don’t get to this part is because we’re scared about whether our body will be resilient enough to be challenged. And so our perform phase classes are all about this – Therapeutic Yoga to improve your core, Viva Strong for all over body strength and resistance, Runner’s Strength to gradually and accurately add plyometric loading or our Outdoor Running Group if you just need motivation to get up and actually run.

So if you feel as though you’re in the holding pattern I’d challenge you to think about how you may bring some strength and resistance training into your weekly timetable. And within weeks you’ll notice that the weekly massage that you previously relied on becomes a monthly massage that you do entirely for enjoyment. And if you’re scared, concerned or would like physio-specific advice on how strength impacts on your body, have a chat to us, or jump into one of our intentionally-crafted classes – you’ll be surprised at just what your body can do!

See you soon!


Therapeutic Yoga – 12:15pm Monday and 6:45pm Thursday online
Viva Strong – 5:30pm Monday in studio and 5:30pm Wednesday online
Runner’s Strength – 5:30pm Monday online
Outdoor Running Group – 7am Friday online

Or you can see our full Timetable Here.


1. James J Chien and Zahid H Bajwa, “What is mechanical back pain and how to best treat it,” Curr Pain Headache Rep 12,6 (2008); 406-11.
2. “Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard,” Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, published April 2021. https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/standards/clinical-care-standards/low-back-pain-clinical-care-standard