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The Physiotherapy Guide to Surviving the HSC

Once again, NSW students are preparing to sit the higher school certificate exams. For many students, this time of year is the most stressful that they may have ever experienced as many students feel extreme pressure to achieve good marks and a high atar. However, it is important to understand that the level of pressure that students may place on themselves can have negative impacts not only on their mental status but also their physical health.

It is common within the following month that we see a high influx of students visiting the clinic due to neck, wrist, and back injuries that may prevent them from studying or properly sitting the exams. While physiotherapy is a significant way to ease these pains and allow students to get back on track, prevention is the most powerful way in ensuring that students can perform to their full potential during this pressuring time.


Although we know that there is no way to prevent students from stressing, we believe that these three easy steps may be able to reduce the side effects that overstudying and pre-exam anxiety may deliver.

Having a Designated Study Area While it may seem simple, there has been an increase of students who have reported back and neck pain due to prolonged periods of studying in bed or on the couch. We agree, it is much more comfortable to tuck in under a blanket, but this creates an unnatural curve in the spine that can lead to immense long term pains.

We recommend setting up a desk, where your feet can rest flat on the floor and your back and neck will remain upright. For more information on how to properly set up your office/study station, check this out.


Alternatively, if you do not have the space for such equipment, many local libraries are constructed for the purpose of a long-term study. In this, they will generally have seating arrangements that provide support to the neck, back, legs and shoulders.

Exercise Regularly We know, you've probably heard it a thousand times before from your teachers, family and past HSC students, but it is detrimental to good study. Through taking small breaks and exercising, factors such as focus and mental processing can be significantly enhanced. And don't worry, this exercise does not need to be highly intensive. It can be as simple as walking to the kitchen to get a drink or taking the dog for a small walk around the block. As well, actions as simple as stretching can boost your focus significantly as it allows you to momentarily clear your mind of the many equations, quotes, and references that you will be trying to cram.

Take Time Away from the Screen Many people don't notice, but whilst studying, watching movies, or playing games on mobile, tablet devices, desktops and laptops, there is is a poor culture of posture in action. This is because individuals will begin to slouch and fall into unnatural seating positions as fatigue builds. Taking time away from the screen, even just to walk a small lap around the house, means that such pains can be prevented.

As well, excessive use of screens is the leading cause of headaches that we see in the clinic. Many students that we speak to who are experiencing neck or shoulder pain often quote that they have spent over twelve hours a day in front of a computer device to study. However, this type of activity can put immense strain on the eyes, causing headaches that can result in dizziness, tiredness and in extreme cases, neck and eye pain.




We at Bankstown Physiotherapy know how it is, the HSC exams are not an easy time, however, we know that taking care of your body is a simple way of easing the pressures that may be caused by stress and anxiety. From all of us, we wish all the year 12's good luck in their exams.

For more information, or to book a consultation, visit https://www.bankstownphysiotherapy.com.au/ or contact us at 97933119.

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