Kira Sernoskie, RMT
If you have had any sort of health care, you probably have been given home care at the end of your treatment. Dentists will want you to floss, and we at Choice Health Centre will often suggest stretches, strengthening exercises, mobility exercises or even foam rolling, ice or heat. Unfortunately, as health care providers when we ask a patient, “Have you been doing your home care?” the answer is too often “…“I was too busy”, “It was sore and hard to do so I didn’t do it” or the plain old “I forgot.”
Why Do We Prescribe Home Care & Why Is It Important?
The person who spends the most amount of time with you is YOU! You control your daily activities, your food intake, your posture… everything! It is your actions that form the person you are and the types of aches and pains you feel day-to-day. When you visit a healthcare practitioner- be it Massage Therapy, Chiropractic, Physiotherapy or Naturopathy- they are helping you become the best you can be. Your healthcare team works their absolute hardest to help alleviate your pain, increase your range of motion, better your posture, etc. However, your practitioners only see you for a very small fraction of your life. Your one hour massage every 4 weeks will not counteract the 8 hours a day, 5 days a week you are sitting at a computer. This is why home care is important!
Home care is designed to give YOU the ability to help change what ails you, YOU are an integral member of your own health care team. Believe me, if we could fix everything for you ourselves, we would. If you want to get better, you need to do some of the work on your own.
My Home Care Hurts So I Stopped Doing It.
Home care SHOULD NOT HURT. Discomfort and difficulty are very different from pain. If you are in pain with your home care, STOP! Then promptly talk to your healthcare practitioner about it. If you are struggling with your home care it probably means you are either doing it incorrectly or it is too much for you in this stage of your treatment. Your practitioner will go over it with you again or give you an appropriate modification.
I Feel Better So I Stopped Doing My Home Care.
The most common injuries to muscles, nerves and joints in our practice are those that are caused by day-to-day repetitive tasks. For example, someone may come in with neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches. They have never had a major injury before but they work at a computer 8 hours a day. Most likely, the pain comes from a multitude of issues caused by working posture so they seek the help of massage therapy, physiotherapy and chiropractic care. After their treatment plan concludes, they feel better. 6 months later they are back in the clinic with pain again- why? Well, what has changed in this person’s life after treatment? Most likely they are still doing their same job and have not changed anything else in their daily routine.
"You can’t simply say you drank water for 6 weeks straight and now you don’t need it. Home care counteracts what you do to your body on a daily basis; therefore it is essential to maintain the positive gains you made while in therapy."
We can help put you on the right track to living a better, healthier life but you need to do work at home. Ask your team what they think you should do after your treatment plan has concluded. What sorts of exercise should you do every day? Should you join a yoga class? Pilates? Incorporate some free weights? Life is busy but if you do not have your health, what do you have? You live with your body every day and it is the most important house you will ever live in. Take care of it by doing your home care!
To learn more or to book an appointment with Kira Sernoskie, RMT or another health care professional, call Choice Health Centre at 902-404-3668 or an book an assessment online.
Dr. Anna D'Intino, ND
I'm very excited to be joining the Choice Health Centre team at the Halifax & Dartmouth locations! Since this is my first month working at Choice Health Centre, I wanted to introduce myself and explain a little bit about what Naturopathic Medicine is and what I do as a Naturopathic Doctor.
Naturopathic medicine blends current scientific research with traditional and natural forms of medicine, such as nutrition, botanical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy and infusion therapy (IV therapy). Naturopathic medicine supports and stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself and can be used to treat and prevent a wide range of acute and chronic health conditions.
Naturopathic doctors treat each individual person, not their illness. We do an extensive intake to listen carefully to your concerns, and then proceed with an evidence-based treatment plan that is suitable for you and allows you to take control of your health. Here are some frequently asked questions that I get:
Who Can Benefit From Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine can treat all forms of health concerns from acute or chronic conditions, and all ages from pediatric patients to geriatric patients.
Here are some of the patients that might benefit from naturopathic medicine:
- Patients looking for disease prevention
- Patients interested in strategies to become healthier
- Patients with a range of symptoms that they cannot address themselves
- Patients with chronic conditions, looking for new or different treatment options
- Patients hoping for a natural treatment options appropriate to combine with their current conventional treatments
What Conditions Do You Commonly Treat?
I commonly see a range of hormonal conditions, autoimmune diseases, and digestive conditions. Some of the things you might see an ND for include:
- Hormonal conditions like PMS, heavy or painful periods, endometriosis, PCOS, fertility support, menopause support
- Thyroid conditions- hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
- Fatigue and chronic stress management
- Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Celiac’s disease, IBS
- Hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes
- Anxiety and depression
What Kind of Training Do Naturopathic Doctors Receive?
Naturopathic Doctors complete 4 years of pre-medical sciences in university prior to applying to the 4-year full-time Naturopathic Medicine program from one of five accredited naturopathic colleges in North America. The program includes over 4200 hours of classroom training, over 1200 hours of supervised clinical training, plus over 300 hours of preceptoring and studies inbio-medical sciences; clinical sciences; clinical education; and naturopathic sciences. In order to practice in Nova Scotia, graduates have to successfully complete two sets of standardized North American exams. Naturopathic Doctors then need to obtain yearly continuing medical education credits to maintain their license in good standing.
Can You Explain Each Treatment Modality You Use?
Clinical nutrition/Nutritional counselling - Diet changes are going to be seen in most treatment plans, even if they are just mild. These might include substitutions for healthier foods or more sustainable options and adding in functional and therapeutic foods. It could also mean a total diet modification (ie. Paleo, Ketogenic, FODMAP, elimination, dairy-free, etc.) or changes totarget food intolerances or nutrient deficiencies.
Naturopathic doctors are also expertly trained in the use of nutritional supplements, and can advise you on which ones you should be taking, as well as the proper forms required for your particular condition (All supplements are NOT created equal!)
Botanical Medicine - This is the use of herbal tinctures, capsules of standardized extracts of herbs or herbal teas to treat a variety of concerns.
Injection and Infusion therapy - Injections and infusions can be used to quickly and efficiently correct common nutrient deficiencies by providing a high dose of nutrients delivered into the muscle or intravenously. B12 injections can be used to support mental health and neurological health, to boost energy, and aid in sleep problems. Magnesium can be commonly depleted in highly stressed individuals. It can help treat tight muscles, restless leg syndrome, high blood pressure, and a host of other concerns. IV infusions of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C administered intravenously are used to increase blood concentrations of several nutrients faster and more efficiently than what is achieved by oral supplementation. IV therapy is a great treatment option for those suffering from GI disorders such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, chronic pain conditions and fibromyalgia, stress and fatigue, immune support, or even optimizing athletic performance.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture - Acupuncture uses small needles that are inserted into the musculature of the body along different meridians in order to treat certain conditions. It is commonly used to manage pain and treat muscle tension, for fertility concerns and to regulate digestion and hormones. We use the principles of traditional Chinese medicine in order to determine which points need to be needled, and may add in herbs or diet changes based on the philosophy to complete the treatment plan.
Lifestyle counselling - This involves working with patients to help them live healthier lives. Along with the dietary counselling mentioned above, patients are also educated on proper ways to exercise, relax, set goals, and cope with the stressors of day to day life.
Hydrotherapy - Hydrotherapy focuses around the principle of water cure. Naturopathic doctors use the principle of water cure to harness the healing powers of water to reduce inflammation and detoxify the body. Some treatments that work with these principles are steam inhalation, body wraps, infrared saunas, peat baths, steam showers, and many others to address both acute and chronic complaints.
Prolotherapy- Perineural injection treatment, sometimes known as subcutaneous prolotherapy or neural prolotherapy, is a new and effective form of pain treatment for painful knees, shoulders, neck, hips, low back and ribs. It is also great for tennis elbow, sciatica, tendonitis, fibromyalgia and many more conditions! This is a safe and effective treatment for painful conditions that was developed by Dr. John Lyftoft, a sports medicine doctor who focuses on the treatment of pain.
If you are looking to feel better and start the Fall off on the right foot, you can find me at Choice Health Centre. To learn more or to book an appointment with Anna D'Intino, ND or another health care professional, call Choice Health Centre at 902-404-3668 or an book an assessment online.
Laura Gfeller, PT
Running. One of the simplest ways to keep fit. There are no rules, no specific equipment is required, and you don’t even need a gym membership. All you need is a pair of shoes and off you go! That is until it comes time to put a training plan together:
“How long should I run? How far, how fast, and how often?”
Maritime Race Weekend is just around the corner and Choice Health Centre is a proud sponsor of this amazing event. Fittingly, this month’s newsletter is all about running. As a clinician with special training in running injury prevention, I see a lot of training mistakes made by well-intentioned runners. So often the training program that they trusted to prevent injury and produce a fast race is perhaps not the fool-proof plan they were expecting. Unfortunately, many of us compare training plans to mathematical equations: one formula, one result. By that comparison, many believe that if they follow the plan to the letter, success is the only possible outcome. But running is really more like baking a cake. You can have a recipe, and all of the ingredients but the result may still produce an undercooked marathon time, or worse --an injury. And with that, the simplest way to keep fit just got a lot more complicated. Below, I present some of the lesser known but incredibly common training errors I see among runners.
3 Most Common Training Mistakes for Runners:
1. You Are Not Running Enough
The body has an amazing ability to adapt to the loads and the stresses that you place on it, as long as you increase loads and stresses gradually and allow for proper recovery. Running frequency is a crucial variable in this equation. In order for the body to adapt to the stresses of race day, you need to run a lot. In terms of injury prevention, a 2012 study by Rasmussen et al. found that runners with a weekly training volume of less than 30 km were more than twice as likely to develop a running-related injury during marathon training compared to those with a volume of 30 to 60 km or even those who ran greater than 60 km per week. Another common misconception is that running three days per week is enough to improve running fitness and form, while simultaneously reducing injury risk with more recovery time. This statement is the basis for many amateur one-size-fits-all training plans. While it may be tempting to think that training for a 10k, half marathon, or even full marathon in only three days per week is doable, it just isn’t realistic to the prevention of injuries. Studies have shown that runners who train four to six times per week have less injuries than those who train only three. Often, clients are disappointed to hear this. In a world where time is precious and non-renewable, it can be hard to fit four or more runs into the week. But the truth is that your body needs the consistency in order to make the adaptations required to run long on race day. Pounding through the joints, stress on the tendons, and repetitive forces through the muscles need to occur frequently in order to develop the structural tolerance and physiological adaptations required for race day. I like to recommend that all of my running clients run at least four days per week. If this sounds impossible, I encourage them to get out for even just ten or fifteen minutes the fourth day, for the sole purpose of injury prevention. Your body will thank you later.
2. You Are Running Too Fast
Any good coach will tell you not to run too hard on your easy days. Let’s consider that there are two types of stress when it comes to running: physiological stress, and mechanical stress. Physiological stress will include the stress on the heart, lungs, and other systems of the body.Mechanical stress is the pure impact of running, ie repetitively loading of the joints, and muscles. Running too fast on your ‘slow’ runs increases both of these stresses unnecessarily, which leads to poor running form, and lessens the quality of your workout. While it is good to go fast sometimes, if you are always running at or near your race pace, you are just going to make yourself tired, and injured.
As a rule of thumb, 80% of your mileage should be performed at a low intensity. The concept of 80/20 training was first introduced by Dr. Stephen Seiler, an exercise physiologist from the University of Agder in Norway and then popularized by author and running coach Matt Fitzgerald in his 2014 book of the same title.
Running slow has its own set of benefits. It aids in building endurance, and improves cardiovascular performance. Most importantly, running slow reduces physiological and mechanical stress on the body, which allows you to build mileage at a lower injury risk. It also aids in fat adaptation, meaning that at lower intensities, your body is better able to tap into fat stores as a source of fuel, rather than carbohydrates. Not only is this handy for weight loss, (if that is a goal of yours) but more importantly, it teaches your body to be more fuel-efficient in race situations. This decreases the chances of “hitting the wall” --the sudden loss of pace and energy that occurs when the body is depleted of glycogen stores.
3. You Are Running Too Slow
Yes, you read that correctly. Too many athletes fall into the trap of running too hard for their easy workouts, and too easy for their hard ones. Don’t be one of those athletes. Of course, in order to go fast on race day, you need to train fast at least some of the time (~20% actually if we follow the advice of Dr. Seiler as above). The fact is, if you are not running fast in training, how can you expect to go fast on race day? Not only are you at risk for injury during your event, but you are also not going to meet your goals and realize your potential. Running fast taxes the body in different ways. This is the reason we see differences in common injuries among sprinters, compared to marathon runners. For example, achilles tendon rupture is more common among explosive sprinters, than iliotibial band syndrome, which is more common among those who run long and slow. If you want avoid these injuries, you need to prepare your joints, tendons, and muscles for fast running on race day.
When I’m talking about running fast, I mean running FAST. In order to get the most benefit out of your training with regard to muscle, structural, and neural adaptations, your runs should be significantly faster than race pace for races 10 km or longer. It is generally important to keep these workouts short --less than 10 minutes of really hard running, (heavy, uncontrolled breathing but NOT a sprint). Be sure to also include an easy warm up, cool down, and active rest intervals between sets of really hard running. Even with rest intervals, this will be your shortest workout of the week. I often see training plans with multiple speed work intervals, that take 90 minutes or more to complete. Instead, the fitness benefits will be greater, and the injury risk will be much lower if the workout included less intervals at a much faster pace.Remember: quality over quantity for speed work.
Run often, run slow, and run fast: the recipe for injury-free running, and your next best performance. While not as simple as it seems, perhaps this article has given you some food for thought about what may or may not be working in your current running plan. After all, running is an individual sport, and it really is all about discovering what works for you.
To learn more or to book an appointment with Laura Gfeller, PT or another health care professional, call Choice Health Centre at 902-404-3668 ext. 1 or an book an assessment online.
Teresa Noye, RMT
When talking about low back and/or hip pain, a structure that often comes up is the hip flexors. These muscles are deep inside your core, and are responsible for- you guessed it!- flexing the hips, or bringing your knee towards your chest. In particular, the psoas and iliacus muscles form the iliopsoas complex, and are a major contributor to hip dysfunction and low back pain.
The psoas portion originates from the frontal aspect of your spine, in behind your stomach and intestines, and is joined by the iliacus portion as it passes the iliac bones of your pelvis. Together, they attach to a bony lump on the inside of your upper femur (called the lesser trochanter). These muscles cross the hip joint, which is where they have their primary function (hip flexion).
Why Hip Flexors May Cause Low Back & Hip Pain?
Problems arise when these muscles become hypertonic, or when they carry too much tension passively. When this happens it changes the resting position of your hips and low back when resting or in a weight bearing position.
The psoas attaches, as I said, to the front aspect of your spine. It arises from the main bodies and transverse processes of several vertebrae in your lumbar spine. When they are in a lengthened position (when your hips are extended straight out), that extra tension is going to add strain on the joints between the vertebrae of the low back, basically pulling them forward and increasing the curve in your lumbar spine. This causes jamming between the facet joints, irregular pressure on the intervertebral discs (IVDs), and changes the way your pelvis and hips orient themselves, leading to muscular compensation, altered biomechanics, and often pain or discomfort. If it happens on one side, it can also lead to spinal torsion, making it easier to injure the ligaments in your lumbar spine.
What is Often Involved In An Assessment?
There are several ways to assess hip flexor dysfunction. Muscle strength and length testing, or how powerful the contraction of a muscle and how far it can stretch, are the primary way to isolate these muscles, but your practitioner may also perform a postural and/or gait assessment.
How Are These Muscles Treated?
Treating them can be difficult, due to their deep position in the body, but generally involvesaccessing the belly of the muscle by pushing into the abdomen between the navel and hip. It's not the most pleasant thing to experience, but it makes a huge impact on theresting tension in these muscles.
What Can You Do For Rehabilitation?
There are also things you can do at home to help lengthen and treat these muscles. Stretching is important, though sometimes this area can be hard to target. Deep lunges are great, and another option is to lie on your back on the very edge of your bed and let your outer leg hang off it. To intensify either stretch, you can raise the arm on the same side of the body above your head. It's important to hold stretches for longer than 30 seconds, and make sure they feel good! Stretching shouldn't hurt.
Another thing that will greatly improve things is (unfortunately, because everyone hates it)strengthening your core and glutes. These muscles counteract the lumbar hyperextension and forward tilt of your pelvis by pulling up on the front of the pubis (the abdominal muscles), and pulling down on the posterior ilia (gluteal muscles). An assessment of your body mechanics by a certified practitioner may reveal weaknesses in the hip and abdominal region. Once these specific muscle weaknesses are diagnosed, a corrective and specific exercise regimen can be provided for your individualized case and needs.
To learn more or to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists, chiropractors or massage therapists, call Choice Health Centre at 902-404-3668 or an book an assessment online.
Justine Landry, DC
Do you have pain in your jaw? Does your mouth click every time you open it? Do you get headaches? These are questions I frequently ask my patients, yet many patients do not realize that these aches and pains are treatable, especially by chiropractors. Patients will commonly say that they grind their teeth, or always have tension in their jaw, but they have learned to live with it and it is just “one of those things”. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or jaw, as we commonly call it, and its surrounding muscles, respond very well to conservative hands-on therapy. Trained clinicians such as chiropractors and physiotherapists are able to help reduce the pain and dysfunction you may be experiencing.
The TMJ acts like a sliding hinge joint that connects your jaw bone to your skull, and is the most used joint in our body. The muscles needed for chewing surround this joint, and the motions of the jaw allows us to move our mouths open and shut, side to side, and allow us to talk. TMJ dysfunction often presents as pain in the ears, jaw, eyes, and throat, and can also cause neck pain and headaches. Many individuals with TMJ dysfunction have difficulty chewing hard foods, or may experience painful locking or catching of the jaw with movement.
"TMJ pain is more prevalent in women and is present in an estimated 15% of the population." However, only 3-7% of adults with TMJ symptoms seek help for their pain – we need to change this! Headaches are also much more common in individuals with TMJ dysfunction – up to 85% of those with jaw pain experience headaches, as opposed to 20% of the general population.
What Causes TMJ Pain?
What Can A Clinician Do?
To learn more or to book an appointment call Choice Health Centre at 902-404-3668 or an book an assessment online.
Saba Chishti, PT
May is National Physiotherapy Month AND Posture Month- coincidence? I think not!
Posture is something we hear about in the news, at the gym and throughout the office:
“I have the worst posture!”
“My posture has always been terrible!”
“I can’t help it, its just my posture!”
Everyone has a posture, regardless of whether is ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ good posture is a subjective term. Clinicians determine if someone has good posture based on normative values. However, good posture is more than just standing tall with your shoulders back and your head held high.
Over time, things affect your posture such as genetics, gravity, previous injuries, chronic immobility, and habits. There is very little we can do about some of these factors, such as gravity and genetics, however do not feel hopeless- there is a lot we can do to combat ‘bad’ posture! Before we get to that though, let’s discuss what good posture is.
Posture is your body’s natural resting position at any one moment. “Good” posture is when your position results in minimal stress and exertion to each joint and muscle. “Bad” posture is any position that causes increased stress to a joint or results in the overuse of a muscle. If that stress continues for a long period of time, the result is microtrauma to the area. A long period of microtrauma presents much the same way as a short period of activity resulting in macrotrauma. For example, consider an ankle sprain, which occurs when there is failure of the tissues around the ankle to handle the load placed on them and you are left with an injury to those same tissues. When the injury occurs as a result of the strain of poor posture, we feel it as pain, headaches, or a lack of available movement/flexibility.
People who start to experience these symptoms will often use over-the-counter pain medications. While helpful in reducing the symptoms, often these do not result in a long-term alleviation of the symptoms. This is because our bodies are constantly the trying to adapt to reduce the amount of stress being applied to the various muscles and joints involved. It does this by laying down scar tissue in the muscles or osteophytes (bone spurs) in the joints. This results in sore tight/weak muscles and potentially the beginnings of arthritis.
This should matter to you because the effects of poor posture will come to haunt you at some point, additionally the accumulation of these injuries costs us all. Low back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions account for one-third of missed work time in Canada — second only to the common cold. Also, the majority of doctors visits are due to back pain and headaches. Both which are commonly the result of numerous poor postures sustained throughout the day. These injuries are both preventable and treatable with proper education and the right treatment plan.
The good news is that the stronger or more flexible you are the more that you can combat ‘bad’ posture. This means that you can be in a less than ideal postural state longer and suffer fewer negative consequences. How do you become stronger and more flexible? This is where a trained therapist can help you. They can help you identify your movement patterns and where you may be lacking in end range mobility and strength in that range. They can then provide you with small easy-to-do exercises to target those areas.
If you are unable to make time to get a proper assessment, then at least make moving a priority, every day, every waking hour! Small movements made throughout the day can have a big impact on your overall bone and muscle health, resulting in increased blood circulation and reduced accumulated stress placed on your joints and muscles allowing them to recover throughout the day, preventing the build up of microtrauma.
Here are some helpful tips on how to avoid repetitive microtrauma:
I’d like to finish off by sharing some words of wisdom that have been shared with me. One of my favourite physiotherapy professors used to say "your best posture is your next posture". This again reiterates my theme throughout this blog post: movement from one position to the next is the best medicine, no posture is truly bad until you stay in it long enough or repeat it enough to cause trauma. Another gem provided to me just recently from a chiropractic colleague of mine is "the things that will change your life are often easy to do, however, they are also easy not to do. It is up to you to decide if you want to do the easy things now to avoid making things difficult later".
Take from that what you will, and if you have any more questions about posture or what you can do to do move better to prevent injuries, contact any one of our clinicians at Choice Health Centre. We take your physical health seriously and it is our mission to help you achieve your overall wellness goals.
To learn more or to book an appointment call Choice Health Centre at 902-404-3668 or an book an assessment online.
Dr. Brigitte MacPhail, DC
I am currently in my fifth year as a practicing chiropractor, and I have began to recognize a few patterns over the years when it comes to identifying particular injuries patients present to me with. This April, it was not a surprise to me when I spotted my first spring bloom (picture above) as well as my first lower back pain patient secondary to a gardening injury of the spring season in the same week. This time of year, the waiting room is often filled with patients who have injured themselves gardening and doing yard work.
Spine, muscle, and nervous system conditions are the most common cause of long-term pain and physical disability. Approximately 80% of adults will experience spine, muscle and nervous system pain at some point in their lifetime. These types of pain are generally caused by repetitive strain, overuse, and physical activity-related injuries (1). Gardening can easily be the culprit for these types of injuries, and can be one most challenging activities for your spine. It is also among the leading causes for lower back pain. Gardening is an activity that requires you to work in a bent position, which can negatively impacts your lower back mechanics. Repetitive raking, planting and digging can also leave you with shoulder, knee and hip pain. This pain can show up over night, or later on during the week even.
Here are seven back saving tips as published by the Canadian Chiropractic Association (2):
Tip #1: Warm up
After waiting all winter, it may be tempting to jump right into the spring garden cleanup. Do your future self a favour and pause to warm up your muscles before you start the work. Like any other physical activity, gardening requires preparing your body for the new movements. In fact, over the winter months, you may have become deconditioned and will require some time before you can invest yourself into a regular gardening routine.
A quality gardening warm up begins with five to ten minutes of light to moderate aerobic activity to gradually increase your heart rate. This will result in an increased body temperature in order to prepare your muscles for stretching. Some examples on how you could achieve this are by:
1. Lower Back Seated Twist: Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keep knees directly above your ankles. Then, lift your chin parallel to the floor and guide your ears back over your shoulders. Press your sit bones down and lengthen your spine as best you can. As you exhale, draw your belly button into your spine and twist to your right, holding onto the arm or back of your chair. Lengthen the spine with the inhale, and deepen the twist with the exhale. Gently unwind, and try the other side.
2. Hamstring Stretch: While sitting at the edge of a chair, straighten one leg in front of the body with the heel on the floor. Then, sit up straight and try pushing the navel towards the thigh without leaning the trunk of the body forwards. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times for each leg.
3. Chest Opener: sitting on the edge of a chair with legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart, have your palms face upwards and lift the chest up. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Perform 3-4 times throughout the day.
4. Wrist Stretch: Extend your arm with your palm facing up towards the ceiling. With your free hand, gently press your fingers down towards the floor. Gently pull your fingers back toward your body and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
5. Chin Tucks: While seated, look forward and bring your head backwards, as if you were making a double chin. Make sure not to tilt your head down. Hold this for 8 seconds. Repeat 5 times per set. Perform 3-4 sets throughout the day.
Tip #2: Take breaks
When you’re in the zone, one can lose track of time. Hungry to see results, you might just plow through the work without paying attention to your body’s cues. However, it’s wise to pace yourself instead of powering through to get the job done. Set a timer and take a break every 15-20 minutes to stand up, stretch and walk around a bit rather than staying in the same position for extended periods of time.
Tip #3: Drink water
Hydration is always important, but especially when you are physically active under the sun. Carry a bottle of water along with your garden tools. When you take your break every 15-20minutes, have a drink of water also.
Tip #4: Breathe
While you’re stretching and hydrating, take in some deep, oxygenating breaths to nourish your hard working muscles and help to improve circulation. Keep your shoulders and chest relaxed. When breathing deeply, you should see your abdomen extend out and then in calmly.
Tip #5: Listen to your body
It’s easy to get caught up in the sheer joy of getting your hands dirty. Gardening can be very meditative, in fact. However, be careful not to get so lost in the task that you ignore those sneaky aches and pains until it’s too late. As I always tell my patients, pay attention to the messages your body is sending you. If you feel a twinge, take a break or change positions.
Tip #6: Be mindful of large loads
Bags of mulch and soil or heavy potted plants come with the territory. Instead of lugging a whole bag of soil from one end of the garden to the other, consider using a wheeled cart. Divide large loads into smaller batches that are easier to handle. If you must lift something heavy, consider asking for help, or following these instructions on how to lift properly (3):
1. Place your feet shoulder width apart
2. Bend your knees and keep your back straight
3. Squat down to the level of the object and test the weight of the load
4. Ask for help if the load is too heavy or awkward
5. Use the strength of your core, leg, arm muscles (not your back) to smoothly and slowly lift the load. Try not to jerk when lifting
6. Keep the load close to your body
7. Never twist your body while turning and carrying the load
8. Pivot to turn in the direction you want to move toward
9. Bend your knees and slowly lower the load to its new location
Tip #7: Vary your tasks
Rather than concentrating on one area or job at a time, vary your tasks to ensure that you aren’t holding the same position for extended periods.
In Nova Scotia, where the summer season is slow to arrive, we all get a bit excited to spend some time in the garden, getting our hands dirty, and watching our flowers bloom and yielding those fresh veggies.
At Choice Health Centre, our chiropractors and physiotherapists are highly educated and trained in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal injuries. If you happen to find yourself with a spring injury, you should not hesitate to get it assessed and treated by one of our clinicians when you first notice that nagging pain. If it does not get looked after early, it could have the potential to follow you into the winter months.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more you can contact Dr. Brigitte MacPhail or one of our other clinicians. To book an appointment call 902-404-3668 or book online.
1. Kamloops Physiotherapy (2017). Musculoskeletal pain.
2. Canadian Chiropractic Association (2015). Seven back saving tips for gardeners.
3. Canadian Chiropractic Association (2018). Lift Right.
Kendra Brown, PT
Complete Concussion Management (CCMI) is a network of trained multidisciplinary healthcare professionals that help patients and athletes safely return to learn, work and play using an evidence-based approach for rehabilitation.
Choice Health Centre is lucky enough to have three trained practitioners including myself (Kendra Brown), Saba Chishti, both physiotherapists and Dr. Ryan Trueman, chiropractor as a part of our concussion management team.
What Is A Concussion?
A concussion is a mild form of brain injury that is caused by an acceleration/deceleration of the brain within the skull. This means you do not necessarily have to hit the head to suffer from a concussion injury, as once was commonly thought. The forces acting on the skull, result in an energy deficit that continues to drop over the initial 3-5 days, gradually returning to normal levels within the span of a few weeks. It is important to note, that even within the initial 7-10 days when symptomatically someone suffering from a concussion feels better, they have not fully recovered from the injury and are still at a higher risk for additional trauma thereafter.
Common symptoms include:
What To Do When I Have A Concussion?
During the first 24-48 hours of a concussion, relative physical and cognitive rest is recommended. During this time frame, it is also essential to monitor for any red flags that may indicate a more serious injury requiring immediate medical attention.
Following this short period of rest, a treatment and rehabilitative plan should be established by a trained professional to ensure a safe return to learn, work and play. A Complete Concussion Management practitioner can help identify the root cause of your persistent symptoms and develop an individualized treatment plan. Your plan may include exercise therapy, manual therapy of the neck, diet/nutritional information, vestibular/visual rehabilitation, and education.
Treatment Options For A Concussion
Exercise Therapy: following symptom-limited rest, using your Buffalo Treadmill Test results, a program will be established using your target heart rate to help you improve blood flow and help to resolve symptoms.
Manual Therapy: hands on treatment provided by your health care practitioner to help with pain, headaches, and concussion associated neck injuries such as whiplash.
Diet and Nutritional Intervention: introducing an anti-inflammatory diet, which includes a high intake of healthy fats, avoiding refined sugars and carbohydrates, and eating balanced meals filled with fibre, protein, and antioxidant filled fruits and vegetables.
Vestibular and Visual Rehabilitation: a vestibular-ocular motor screen is preformed and results in a rehabilitative program to help improve upon and reduce symptoms associated with balance, dizziness, visual abnormalities, concentration issues and memory problems.
Education: the most important part of any concussion rehabilitation is education and reassurance along the way. At Choice Health Centre, we take you through an individualized, guided approach to concussion management ensuring your safe return to learn, work and play, while answering all of your questions along the way.
For more information or if you would like to learn more about our Complete Concussion Management program visit here. If you have any questions, you can contact Kendra Brown, PT or one of our other concussion management practitioners. To book an appointment call 902-404-3668 or book online.
Stephanie Brown, PT
Let’s talk about sex folks. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that can be.Are you singing yet? Ok good, but let’s get real. Sex is a part of everyday life. By definition sexual intercourse means sexual contact between individuals involving penetration. Sex is often a taboo subject but I think it’s important to talk about. In the rehab world we talk about ADLs (activities of daily living). These are activities that we normally do such as eating, bathing, dressing, work, cleaning and leisure. Unfortunately we don’t usually classify sex as an ADL, but we should! Physically and emotionally it is part of what keeps us healthy for a number of reasons.
So let’s start by talking about some of the health benefits of sexual activity.
Here are some symptoms of sexual dysfunction for both sexes:
• Inability to achieve or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
• Absent or delayed ejaculation despite adequate sexual stimulation
• Inability to control the timing of ejaculation
• Inability to achieve orgasm
• Inadequate vaginal lubrication before and during intercourse
• Inability to relax the vaginal muscles enough to allow intercourse
• Lack of interest in or desire for sex
• Inability to become aroused
• Pain with intercourse (dyspareunia)
I would like to focus a little more on female dyspareunia (painful intercourse) as it’s something I see often in my practice. Dyspareunia is defined as persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse. Painful intercourse can occur for a variety of reasons ranging from structural problems to psychological concerns. Many women experience painful intercourse at some point in their lives.
Some symptoms of dyspareunia include:
• Pain on initial penetration (entry)
• Pain with every penetration, even with putting in a tampon
• New pain after previously pain-free intercourse
• Deep pain during thrusting
• Burning pain or aching pain
• Throbbing pain that lingers after intercourse
The physical causes of painful intercourse differ, depending on whether the pain occurs at entry or with deep thrusting. Emotional factors can also contribute. Some causes of entry pain may be insufficient lubrication, injury/trauma, infection, skin disorders, or a congenital abnormality. Deep pain could be caused by endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine prolapse, retroverted uterus, uterine fibroids, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids and ovarian cysts. Also certain surgeries, like a hysterectomy, or medical treatments for cancer, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can cause painful intercourse. Emotional factors are heavily intertwined with sexual activity and these can include mental health issues, stress, and a history of sexual abuse.
Fortunately there is treatment for many of these issues. Pelvic physiotherapists are specially trained to help treat the pain and dysfunction that accompanies many of these sexual problems. There are pelvic physiotherapists that treat women only but also many who treat men. If you can relate to anything mentioned in this article please don’t suffer in silence. Call and speak to our pelvic trained physiotherapist so she can help determine the best treatment for your needs.
For more information or if you would like to learn more you can contact Stephanie Brown, PT at our Halifax location. To book an appointment call 902-404-3668 ext. 2 or book online.
Choice Health Centre
A team of health care providers who believe that the best way to treat your needs is from a holistic approach.