physiotherapy exercises

Physiotherapy Exercises: Balance, Range of Motion and Strengthening

Whether you are seeing a physiotherapist for help in regaining leg strength after a hip replacement or to build up some aerobic capacity after heart surgery, your visit will have one commonality: physiotherapy exercises will be involved. After all, physiotherapy can be defined as a treatment method that focuses on the science of movement and helps people to restore, maintain and maximize their physical strength, function, motion and overall well-being. It’s all about learning to make the proper moves.

The Most Common Physiotherapy Exercises Explained

Although each patient’s physiotherapy program is unique and tailored to the nature of their physical issues, there are three types of physiotherapy exercises commonly included in rehabilitation programs:

  • Balance
  • Range of Motion
  • Strengthening

Balance Exercises

Physiotherapy can explore both static and dynamic balance. Static balance refers to control of your stationary body, while dynamic balance refers to the control you have over your body while it’s moving. Deep core stability and hip and leg muscle control are essential for good balance.

Without good static balance, you may be prone to falls and their unpleasant consequences: fractures. As people age, their bones are more fragile and hips and pelvises are more vulnerable.

When your dynamic balance is impaired, you end up with poor muscle and joint control that can lead to instability-related conditions such as back pain, sciatica, hip pain, bursitis or knee pain. Poor dynamic balance also affects your sporting pursuits, because you are not working from a stable platform.

Balance exercises work to improve both balance and proprioception, or awareness of joint position. They help you to adjust and maintain as your centre of gravity shifts. Five minutes a day of balance exercises is a good start, and your exercises should not cause symptoms or increase them.

Possible balance exercises include:

  • Single Leg Balance: Stand on one leg with arms extended and attempt to maintain your balance for a minute.
  • Single Leg Pillow Balance: Stand on one leg on a pillow with arms extended, maintaining your balance for a minute.
  • Heel-Toe Walk: Slowly walk in a straight line, carefully placing one foot down and bringing the other foot in front, touching the heel of the front foot to the toe of the rear foot.

Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion refers to the movement of a joint from its fully flexed position to its fully extended position. Although each joint has a normal range of motion, the amount of joint movement varies from person to person.

There are three types of range of motion exercises: passive, active-assistive and active.

  • Passive range of motion exercises: As you remain still, the physiotherapist will move your limb along the joint range; it is often done if you are unable to move a limb yourself.
  • Active-assistance exercises: Although the patient can move the limb, the physiotherapist helps complete the motion along the joint range or until the point that pain kicks in.
  • Active exercises: The patient performs the movement without any assistance from the physiotherapist.

Here is a sample of range of motion exercises for various body parts:

  • Neck: Head tilts, forward and back: Bow your head gently and try to touch your chin to your chest. Now, move your head back to the starting position. Next, tilt your head back as far as possible so you are looking at the ceiling; return your head to the starting position.
  • Shoulder: Shoulder rotation: Raise your shoulders up toward your ears, as if you were shrugging. Lower them to the starting position, and relax. Pull your shoulders back. Then relax them again. Roll your shoulders forward in a smooth circle; reverse direction and roll your shoulders smoothly backward.
  • Legs: Leg lifts: Lie on your back and raise your leg so that it is 15 to 31 centimetres off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to the floor. Repeat.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises are done to ensure that your muscles have normal strength, in order to prevent future injury. In situations where your muscles have not moved for a while due to injury, strengthening is essential.

Exercises to increase muscle strength fall somewhere in type between the high repetitions and low resistance of endurance training programs and the fewer repetitions and high weight load of the programs designed to increase muscle size.

Here is a sample of strengthening exercises for core stability:

  • Transverse Abdominus: This muscle is a key stabilizing muscle in the abdomen. Lie on your back and slowly draw the section of your abdomen situated below your belly button upwards and inwards away from the line of your belt and breathe normally. Keep your rib cage relaxed and not elevated. Practise holding this muscle at 20 to 30 per cent of a maximum contraction for 10 seconds; repeat 10 times.
  • Plank or Prone Hold: Lie down on your stomach. Prop yourself up on your elbows and toes and hold for as long as possible.

Ideally, you should see a physiotherapist for an exercise program that is tailored to your needs. Remember, physiotherapy exercises can be preventive as well as rehabilitative.

Looking for a TAILORED exercise program?


What is Physiotherapy

What is Physiotherapy?

A common question for people that have never visited a physiotherapist is the very basic question of “What is Physiotherapy?”. Physiotherapy encompasses rehabilitation, injury prevention and health promotion/fitness. The profession employs a holistic approach to treatment, looking at the patient’s lifestyle and engaging them in their own treatment.

Physiotherapy Definition

Physiotherapy can be defined as a treatment method that focuses on the science of movement and helps people to restore, maintain and maximize their physical strength, function, motion and overall well-being by addressing the underlying physical issues.

How to Become a Physiotherapist - Physiotherapy Canada

The healthcare professionals who provide physiotherapy are called physiotherapist. They are highly trained, with master’s degrees in physiotherapy, and are skilled at pinpointing the root causes of an injury, as well as treating them. Often, a problem originates in a completely different part of the body than the spot where the pain is centralized.

Physiotherapy is a registered profession in Canada. The Canadian Physiotherapy Association notes that physiotherapists:

  • Have met national entry-level education and practice standards;
  • Have successfully passed a standardized physiotherapy competence examination; and
  • Are registered with the college of physiotherapists in their province/territory.

Once they are certified and registered, physiotherapists can pursue the designation of clinical specialist. This program, run by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, “certifies physiotherapists who have focused their careers and can demonstrate advanced clinical competence, leadership, continuing professional development and involvement in research in a specific area of practice.”

Candidates for the clinical specialist designation must have a minimum of five years of applied clinical experience and a minimum of 300 clinical contact hours per year for the past five years in the clinical specialty area.

Physiotherapists work in concert with other healthcare professionals, and physicians may recommend a course of physiotherapy after an injury, surgery (e.g., hip replacements) or such health issues as heart attacks or strokes.

Physiotherapy Treatment: What Conditions do Physiotherapists Treat?

As professionals, physiotherapists are experts at providing physiotherapy treatment for:

  • Preventing injury and disability;
  • Managing acute and chronic conditions;
  • Improving and maintaining optimal physical performance;
  • Rehabilitating injury and the effects of disease or disability;
  • Educating patients to prevent re-occurrence of an injury.

Patients may be referred to or seek assistance from a physiotherapist for a variety of health issues and receive valuable assistance.

Physiotherapists offer treatments relating to the following conditions:

  • Cardiorespiratory: providing support, prevention and rehabilitation for people suffering from diseases and injuries that affect the heart and lungs, such as asthma.
  • Cancer, palliative care and lymphedema: treating, managing or preventing fatigue, pain, muscle and joint stiffness, and deconditioning.
  • Incontinence: managing and preventing incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction.
  • Women’s health concerns: addressing health issues surrounding pregnancy, birth, post-partum care, breastfeeding, menopause, bedwetting, prolapsed, loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Musculoskeletal: preventing and treating clients with musculoskeletal conditions such as neck and back pain.
  • Neurological: promoting movement and quality of life in patients who have had severe brain or spinal cord damage from trauma, or who suffer from neurological diseases such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
  • Orthopedic: helping patients prevent or manage acute or chronic orthopedic conditions such as arthritis and amputations.
  • Pain: managing or preventing pain and its impact on function in patients.

Physiotherapy Techniques: What Techniques do Physiotherapists Use?

Physiotherapists employ a variety of techniques, depending on the nature of the injury or problem they are treating. The most common physiotherapy techniques are:

  • Manual manipulation: Moving joints and soft tissue helps to improve circulation, drain fluid from the body, and relax overly tight or muscles with spasms.
  • Electrical nerve stimulation: Small electrical currents delivered to affected areas helps to suppress and block pain signals to the brain.
  • Acupuncture: Needles stimulate the nervous system and work to dull pain, release muscles, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions.
  • Demonstration: Teaching proper movement patterns allows patients to help heal themselves.
  • Functional testing: Testing a patient to assess his/her physical abilities.
  • Device provision: Prescription, fabrication and application of assistive, adaptive, supportive and protective devices and equipment.

What to expect from a visit?

Each session with a physiotherapist is unique, because it depends on the client’s health issues and needs. However, a visit to a physiotherapist generally includes:

  • Learning about the patient’s medical history;
  • Assessing and diagnosing the patient’s condition and needs;
  • Helping the patient set and reach physical goals;
  • Creating a treatment plan that accounts for patient’s health, lifestyle and activities;
  • Prescribing a course of exercises and necessary devices.

If you are experiencing issues with movement or function or are just seeking to optimize your health, why not check out a trusted resource like a professional physiotherapist.

Having issues with your MOVEMENT?


Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

What is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

How can you shoulder your burdens properly if you are suffering from shoulder impingement syndrome?!

All kidding aside, if your shoulder hurts when you try to reach behind your back or retrieve an object from a high shelf, you should see your physician. Since the shoulder comprises a number of bones, muscles and tendons that allow for a range of motion in your arm, it is vulnerable to a variety of complaints.

Shoulder impingement syndrome, also known colloquially as swimmer’s syndrome or thrower’s syndrome, is the irritation of the tendons in your shoulder caused by rubbing against bone. To understand how it happens, let’s first discuss how the shoulder operates.

Impingement Syndrome Shoulder

A Bit of Anatomy and Physiology

Three major bones comprise your shoulder: your upper arm bone (the humerus), the collarbone (the clavicle) and the shoulder blade, or scapula. The latter two bones create a socket for the humerus, which is protected at the top by muscles and tendons that hold your arm in place. These are called your rotator cuff.

A lubricating sac, or bursa, forms a protective covering between the rotator cuff and the upper bones of the shoulder. The lubrication allows the rotator cuff tendons to glide freely through the bridge created by these upper bones.

Shoulder impingement syndrome results when bone rubs on the bursa and tendons and irritates them. Eventually, it can lead to inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons (tendinitis) and bursa (bursitis).

Treatment for shoulder impingement syndrome is important; otherwise, the tendons may start to thin out and tear. We’ve all heard stories about professional baseball players needing to rehabilitate a torn rotator cuff.

Impingement Syndrome Shoulder – Who Is Susceptible?

Rotator cuff pain, including impingement syndrome shoulder, is common among both young athletes and middle-aged adults. Athletes who repetitively raise their arms overhead, such as swimmers, tennis players and baseball players are particularly susceptible. Among adults, those who repeatedly lift things overhead, such as construction workers or painters, are also at risk.

Impingement Shoulder Syndrome

Types of Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is classified as either internal or external.

External impingement refers to a structural abnormality or interference with the proper operation of the rotator cuff. Primary impingement is generally due to the abnormally shaped arch in the shoulder bones or to bone spurs that come with degeneration of the bone. Secondary impingement usually results from poor shoulder blade stabilization that changes the position of the arch and causes rubbing; it can also be a consequence of tendons weakened from overuse.

Internal impingement generally occurs in athletes whose sports focus on throwing, such as javelin or baseball. The underside of the rotator cuff tendons rubs against a different bone (glenoid labrum) to cause pain at both the back and front of the shoulder.

Ouch, It Hurts!

Initially, symptoms from shoulder impingement syndrome can be mild and sufferers may not immediately seek treatment. Athletes may have pain when throwing or serving a tennis ball, while others may experience sudden pain when they reach or lift. Pain may radiate from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm. There may be minor pain both during activity and while at rest.

As the impingement becomes more severe, there will be pain at night and loss of strength and motion. Activities, such as zipping a zipper, that require an arm to reach behind the back will become difficult. When this happens, it’s definitely time to seek medical attention.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Diagnosis of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

When your doctor examines you, he or she will test your shoulder for range of motion. You may also be required to undergo an MRI test, since they are useful for soft tissue injuries and may show the inflammation. An X-ray may be taken if bone spurs are the suspected cause of the impingement.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome Treatment

Shoulder impingement syndrome treatment will generally begin with non-surgical options, including rest from activities that are suspected causes; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce swelling and pain; and physiotherapy.

Your physiotherapist will work with you towards restoring the normal range of motion. Shoulder impingement syndrome exercises may include stretching exercises to relieve pain and improve motion. Once the pain in your shoulder begins to subside, your physiotherapist can work with you on strengthening your rotator cuff muscles so the shoulder impingement syndrome doesn’t recur.

If this course of shoulder impingement syndrome treatment doesn’t alleviate your pain, you make receive a shot of the steroid cortisone, since it is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

When all else fails, surgery may be necessary to create more space in your body for the rotator cuff. Generally, the surgeon will remove the inflamed portion of your bursa and may also remove a piece of the arch bone that rubs against the rotator cuff.

If surgery is required, you will probably need to wear a sling for a period of time to support the shoulder as it heals. Physiotherapy will then assist you in regaining motion and strength.

Remember, don’t ignore pain in your shoulder, because your body is signalling that something is wrong.

Suffering from SHOULDER PAIN?


Soft tissue injuries

What is a Soft Tissue Injury?

Coping with a soft tissue injury can be hard, depending on its severity. For active people, it can mean being out of commission for six weeks or more. Without giving rest and recovery their proper due, however, soft tissue injuries can easily recur.

Soft Tissues and Soft Tissue Injury Explained

The term soft tissues refers to muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia, the connective tissues that bind the body together. Injuries to these tissues are generally tears, pulls or contusions and may occur as the result of a one-time incident, such as a misstep; though repeated use over time, such a work-related injury; or through overuse of fatigued muscles, such as running too soon after a marathon.

Soft tissue injuries are categorized into three grades:

Grade 1: Mild. Usually involves no more than 10 per cent of the muscle or ligament and will heal in a week or two.

Grade 2: Moderate. Involves 10 to 90 per cent of the tissue structure. Healing takes several weeks.

Grade 3: Severe. Severe tears; complete rupture of muscle or ligament. Will require physiotherapy over time to rehabilitate.

Common Soft Tissue Injuries

Some common soft tissue injuries include:

  • Back strains and sprains
  • Ankle strains and sprains
  • Torn ligaments in the knees, shoulders and ankles
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis

Soft tissue injury back

How Bad Is It?

If any of these conditions apply to your injury, you should have it assessed by a physician:

  • You are unable to put any weight on the injured area
  • The injured area now has an unusual shape or looks deformed
  • You heard a pop or crack when the injury occurred
  • Any of the surrounding bones feel painful
  • You feel numbness or pins and needles around the injury or anywhere else

Soft Tissue Injury Treatment: First Steps to Recovery

If you injure yourself, you want to contain the damage and start the healing process as soon as possible. During this acute phase of the soft tissue injury, while the swelling, bleeding and pain are at their height, you want to protect yourself from further injury.

Soft tissue injury treatment

The first step of your soft tissue injury treatment is to stop the activity you were doing when the soft tissue injury occurred and following the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Rest: Take any load off the injured body structure. Avoid all activities that cause pain and allow yourself time to recover.

Ice: Reduce the pain and swelling by applying ice to the injured area in the form of cubes or crushed ice wrapped in a towel; frozen peas – they mould nicely to the injured body part; or a sports ice pack. Ice for 20 minutes every two to three hours while you’re awake.

Compression: Wrap with a bandage that doesn’t obstruct blood flow or cause additional pain. This helps keep the area stable.

Elevation: To reduce pain and swelling, raise the injured area above the level of your heart, supporting it with pillows or a sling, as needed.

During the acute phase of injury, it’s also important to avoid HARM: heat, alcohol, running and massage. You don’t want to increase the blood flow too soon – it will only increase damage. This phase, during which the soft tissue injury settles, generally lasts a day or two.

Moving Toward Full Recovery

Once your soft tissue injury has stabilized, your body will enter the sub-acute phase, repairing itself by laying down new tissue that strengthens over time, reducing the need to protect the injury. During this phase, a physiotherapist will usually assess your soft tissue injury and oversee your soft tissue injury treatment.

Soft tissue injury

You will likely be given a mix of passive treatments, hands-on mobilization, rehabilitative exercises and support. Rehabilitation time depends on the severity of the injury, your own physical health and your age.

Passive treatments stimulate the injured area to promote the healing response by increasing energy to the site using electrical stimulation, ultrasound, magnetic field therapy or laser stimulation. Your physiotherapist may also manipulate your joints and will assign you exercises designed to help return your body to normal functioning. You may need to wear a brace or strap your injury to provide it with additional support as it heals.

Remodelling Yourself – Soft Tissue Injury Healing Time

Six weeks after injury, your body enters what is often termed the remodeling phase. Your new tissue is fairly strong, but it hasn’t stop regenerating. If the tissue isn’t strong enough to handle the level of activity you require, it will continue to stimulate the growth of more tissue so that your body can support you properly.

Remember: your treatment and soft tissue injury healing time depends on your injury, your age and your body. Don’t measure your progress against anyone else’s because everyone’s body is unique. Follow the advice of your physician and your physiotherapist and your body should return to its recognizable self.

Think you have a SOFT TISSUE INJURY?


frozen shoulder

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

It’s understandable if the thought of a frozen shoulder sends a chill down your spine, because it is a condition that equates to loss of mobility, something no one wants to experience. Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition resulting when there is injury and inflammation in the soft tissues surrounding the shoulder.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, and the head of the upper arm bone, the humerus, fits into a cavity created by the shoulder bone, the scapula. The inflammation in this capsule makes movement more difficult and painful. The joint may also lose some of the synovial fluid that lubricates it.

However, reduced movement causes capsule to thicken and contract, leaving less room for the shoulder joint to move around, so it is actually a vicious cycle: the shoulder is painful, so you move it less often, but the less you move it, the more likely the capsule is to contract. In advanced cases, scar tissue can form between the upper arm bone and the capsule.

What is the main cause of Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder often occurs when a person doesn’t undergo therapy after an injury or a bout of tendinitis. It can also happen following a period of enforced immobility, such as being bedridden after a stroke or heart attack, or occur following a fall or an automobile accident.

Adults over 40 are most susceptible to frozen shoulder, and more women experience it than men. Diabetics are also susceptible. The condition may appear without any obvious injury or inflammation.

Frozen Shoulder Stages: A Three-Stage Concern

The development and healing of frozen shoulder is generally divided into three stages: the freezing stage, the frozen stage and the thawing/healing stage.

During the freezing stage, the inflammation has occurred. The shoulder stiffens and hurts and movement becomes challenging. The pain is generally worse at night. There are five symptoms generally associated with inflammation: pain, swelling, heat, redness and loss of function.

Once the shoulder is frozen, the inflammation begins to subside, because the shoulder capsule has thickened and reduced range of motion.

“Thawing” a frozen shoulder refers to eradicating the conditions that caused it, allowing for movement and disappearance of pain. Once inflammation has subsided, it is possible to move the shoulder more; this action allows for the lubricating synovial fluid to being flowing again and work its way into the shoulder capsule. As the shoulder moves more, scar tissue begins to break up and becomes reabsorbed by the body.

Frozen Shoulder Diagnosis

After discussing the symptoms with you, your physician will test your range of motion to see where the limitations in movement occur and assess the pain you are feeling. Frozen shoulder doesn’t allow for a great range of motion, either passively – when someone else moves your shoulder – or actively – when you move your own shoulder.

frozen shoulder exercises

X-rays or magnetic resonance images (MRIs) may be used to rule out other potential causes of your pain and restricted movement, such as arthritis or a torn rotator cuff.

What is the best treatment for a Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder doesn’t heal overnight, so patience is required; full recovery can take up to three years. Many patients respond to simple treatments to control pain and restore motion. The goal of treatment is to alleviate pain and restore motion with the help of physical therapy.

Initially, assistance comes in the form of pain management. Your physician will probably suggest a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pill that is available over the counter: Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Gentle massage may also be useful.

If you don’t respond to the non-prescription painkillers, your doctor may inject a corticosteroid into the shoulder joint or the surrounding tissue.

Concurrently, you should be working with a physical therapist to stretch the joint capsule and, later, to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Physiotherapy is a major key to recovery; your physiotherapist will determine how far you can push yourself and teach you frozen shoulder exercises that you can ultimately practise at home, including both stretches and range of motion exercises for frozen shoulder. Sometimes, heat is applied to loosen the shoulder prior to exercise.

Surgery for Frozen Shoulder

In extreme cases, surgery may be required to loosen the shoulder capsule. This most commonly means either manipulation under anesthesia or arthroscopic surgery or a combination. During manipulation, the doctor forces shoulder movement, tearing scar tissue and allowing healing to begin. Arthroscopy requires small incisions to cut through the joint capsule to loosen it. Post-op rehab physical therapy is necessary after frozen shoulder surgery to maintain the gains that it achieved.

If you suspect that you are suffering from frozen shoulder, consult with your physician so that the proper course of treatment can be followed. After all, it’s no fun to ask for help in reaching objects on a high shelf or putting on your coat.

Suffering from a FROZEN SHOULDER INJURY?


Intimidated by the Gym?

Working out at a gym is a normal, and often even daily route for many Canadians. Some go to the gym to maintain a healthy exercise routine, others work on strengthening and toning their muscles, enhancing their endurance on a treadmill or exercise bike, or head do the gym as part of a weight-loss program. Many tend to the gym to perform their exercise routines that have been put together for them by their physiotherapist to treat certain conditions.

For those that go to a gym regularly, it seems very natural, and they are completely at ease with the gym environment and how to use the equipment. However, a recent Ipsos Reid Poll shows that many Canadians are actually intimidated by the gym, amongst those, many British Columbians. While some are afraid other people will watch them, others feel too overweight to go to the gym.

Find out more in our “Intimidated by the Gym?” Infographic:

Intimidated by the gym

Feeling intimidated about an EXERCISE PROGRAM?


infographic 15 interesting foot facts_ft

15 Interesting Foot Facts

Look down at your feet, and, most likely, what you’ll see is 10 toes wriggling or flexing. Now, if you had X-ray vision like Superman, you’d soon realize that there’s much more to your feet than meets the naked eye.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, your feet are a marvel of engineering that, as a pair, contain more than 50 bones – about one quarter of all the bones in your entire body! Working together with those bones are 60 joints and more than 200 muscles, tendons and ligaments that allow your feet to move.

Given their complexity, it’s not surprising that your feet can give you trouble. After all, they have a tough job. Foot pain and a sore back are very common conditions!

An average day of walking around pounds your feet with hundreds of tons of force – and that’s not taking into account your exercise regimen, whether your job requires you to stand all day or whether you’ve squashed your feet into shoes that are a bit too small because they look stylish.

See our infographic for 15 surprising and interesting foot facts:
infographic 15 interesting foot facts

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Suffering from FOOT PAIN or a SORE BACK?


Improve your posture

How to Improve Posture - Seven Tips

Everyday activities such as sitting on office chairs, standing, sleeping or carrying a bag on the same shoulder can cause poor posture. Poor posture can create pain issues in your neck, back, and shoulders. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to improve your posture. By making a few adjustments, you can address poor posture and eliminate the pain caused by it.

How to make posture a good habit

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1. Keep your body aligned while sitting and standing

Sit up straight while in a chair, keep your hips, shoulders and ears aligned in one vertical line. Try to avoid crossing your legs, hunching shoulders or looking down at your screen. Sitting on a balance ball can help improve your posture by using your natural balance. When standing, distribute your body weight evenly between the front, back and sides of the feet. Being aware of how you are holding your body and taking the time to adjust throughout the day will help keep your posture in check.

2. Utilize posture friendly props and chairs

  • Minimize back strain by using bags or backpacks that are designed to evenly distribute weight and reduce back strain.
  • Avoid straining your neck with proper placement of your computer screen. Purchasing a monitor shelf that raises the screen to eye level will help reduce strain on your neck.
  • Using lumbar back pillows when sitting or driving can create ergonomic support for your lower back and ease the strain on your overall body.

3. Take a break and move!

Slouching is a result of your muscles tiring and is where poor posture becomes more likely, resulting in extra pressure on the neck and back. Take a break every 30 minutes for two minutes and stretch, stand or walk.

4. Wear supportive footwear when standing

High-heeled shoes change the body’s centre of gravity and negatively affect back support and posture. Choose supportive shoes when you know you will be standing for extended periods of time. For those in jobs that require standing for an entire shift, supportive orthotics may be necessary.

5. Think good posture when lifting

When lifting, maintain good back posture to avoid injury. Good back posture includes looking forward, bending at the knee and keeping your back straight. Back injuries are commonly caused by twisting or lifting and occur during awkward movements.

6. Keep good posture while sleeping

If you are waking with a sore back or neck, there are many things to consider posture-wise while sleeping that could help:

  • Choose a firm mattress for the best back support
  • Sleeping on your side or back is better on your spine than stomach sleeping
  • If you sleep on your side, placing a flat pillow in between your knees will keep your spine straight
  • Use a pillow that provides proper alignment. You don’t want your head to be tilted upwards or downwards but in a neutral position.

7. Try and adopt an overall relaxed posture

There is such a thing as trying too hard. Keeping your body in a stiff, unnatural position to maintain good posture can create more pain as tense muscles put your body out of alignment. Keeping your body relaxed will lead to less stiffness over time.

There are many ways to help yourself when it comes to improving your posture. If you find you need assistance, your physiotherapist can design a customized treatment plan for you to get your body properly aligned again.

Suffering from INJURY due to poor posture?


physiotherapy in pregnancy

Why Women Should Do Physiotherapy in Pregnancy

Visiting a physiotherapist while prenatal, pregnant or postpartum can help both with the prevention and treatment of pain and pelvic issues caused by pregnancy as well as aid in recovery after childbirth.

Physiotherapy in Pregnancy

Here are some of the reasons why women should visit a physiotherapist in pregnancy:

Physiotherapy for Pregnant Women
Physiotherapists can work with women to help them prepare their bodies for pregnancy including ensuring the body is aligned and ready to carry a baby. If your body is already compensating for previous injuries, pregnancy can add further strain and pain. Physiotherapy can also teach pregnant women how to correctly perform Kegel exercises which will help strengthen the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth.

Kegel exercise consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Physiotherapy Assists with Posture Changes during Pregnancy
Pregnancy puts a huge strain on a woman’s body. The physiological changes that come with pregnancy include an increase in body mass, retention of fluid and laxity in supporting structures.

These changes cause postural adaptations such as an alteration in the loading and alignment of the spine and weight-bearing joints that often cause back pain and pelvic pain that is associated with pregnancy.

Core stability training with a physiotherapist is one way to help prevent and treat back pain during and following pregnancy.

You Learn How to Push Correctly During Labour
Using their knowledge of the pelvic floor, physiotherapists can help teach women how to push effectively during childbirth. Pushing correctly will reduce the chances of pelvic floor trauma and subsequent problems.

Physiotherapy Assists with Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
Throughout pregnancy and labour, a women’s pelvic health can be compromised. Physiotherapists have specific training to assess the muscles, connective tissues and nerves in the pelvic floor.

Some conditions that can arise from trauma to a woman’s pelvic floor include incontinence, pain during intercourse, and pelvic organ relapse.

After a woman has had a baby, an assessment and a plan for rehabilitation will assist in the recovery of her pelvic floor.

Want help preparing your body for PREGNANCY?


Car Crash

What To Do Following a Car Crash

Being the victim of a car crash can be a jarring and frightening experience. Whether it is a minor fender bender or a major motor vehicle accident, it is a scary and inconvenient occurrence, often leaving you with a feeling of “what now?”

Why Motor Vehicle Accidents Happen

Car accidents can happen due to several combining factors:

  • Speed: speed kills, period. There are posted limits on all roads in BC for a reason; sadly not everyone abides by these limits. Speeding is one of the leading causes of car crash fatalities in the province. You can practice safe driving by slowing down, passing with care and keeping a safe distance between other cars.
  • High-risk driving, such as pulling into traffic without giving yourself enough time or space, tailgating, or failing to yield, are all high-risk driving behaviours
  • Distracted driving: Texting, talking on your phone without a hands-free device is distracting and contributes to accidents.
  • Impaired driving: This is not only dangerous but also illegal. Always plan a safe ride home if you’ve been drinking. You’ll be helping to keep our roads safer for everyone.

What To Do Following a Car Crash?

Although you may be feeling frightened after a car crash, it’s important to stay calm and follow the protocol listed below. Ensure that you or anyone else involved in the accident does not require immediate medical attention. If anyone does require immediate medical attention, dial 9-1-1 for assistance.

If immediate medical attention is not required, usually emergency responders (such as police, fire and paramedics) will not attend the scene.

When the vehicles have been pulled over to a safe spot, or emergency personnel have secured the scene, and it is safe to do so, you will need to exchange the following information with the other party involved in the accident:

  1. The license plate number and the year, make, and model of each vehicle involved
  2. Your personal information, including your name, address, and driver’s license number
  3. The names and address of the owners of the vehicles (if you’re not the owner)
  4. The name of your insurance company
  5. Your phone number, if necessary

If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names and any necessary contact information, such as phone number, email or address. Further, if the police are on the scene, be sure to ask for the police file number for your reference.

If you have a camera (e.g. on your cell phone), and if it is safe to do so, you should take pictures of the accident scene and surrounding area. Include the intersection or area of the road, any skid marks on the pavement, damage to all vehicles involved, and any visible injuries to yourself that have appeared (bruises or lacerations).

Once the scene has been secured and you are finished with all involved parties (witnesses and drivers) and emergency responders, you should seek medical attention to have your injuries assessed and documented by a medical professional. If possible, you may want to get a friend or family member to take you to the hospital, your doctor or a walk-in clinic.

Finally, after you have received the appropriate medical attention, contact your insurance company. If you get your insurance through ICBC, call the Dial-a-Claim service at 604-520-8222 (Lower Mainland) or 1-800-910-4222 outside of the Lower Mainland.

During this phone call, you will report the accident by giving the pertinent details about the accident, as well as a description of how the accident occurred. You will be assigned an ICBC claim number and an appointment to meet with an ICBC estimator and adjuster. The estimator will assess the damage to your vehicle while the bodily injury adjuster will discuss your injury claim with you.

Have you been INJURED in a car accident?


Preventing falls in seniors

How to Prevent Falls in Seniors

Falls in elderly Canadians are one of the main causes of moderate to severe injuries, including sprains, fractures, and head traumas. According to research, one in three elderly Canadians fall each year, and often the result is an injury that can permanently reduce their mobility and independence.

The fear of falling can be detrimental to the social, physical and cognitive health of a senior. Normal activities that come from leaving the home and venturing out to participate in social events help maintain a senior’s health, muscle strength, and balance, among other benefits.

How to Prevent Falls in Seniors

The truth is that falls in seniors are preventable. Modifying the home and reducing hazards outside the home in the community can greatly reduce falls. It is also important to identify and be mindful of other risk factors, such as side effects of medication or physical weakness.

A physiotherapist can help to improve the physical components related to fall prevention and rehabilitation. Physiotherapists can assist the elderly in maintaining their muscle strength, coordination and flexibility to recover from injuries and in preventing falls in seniors from occurring.

An added benefit is their ability to educate seniors on hazards that may contribute to falls, as well as work with them to build and strengthen muscle tone and coordination. By reviewing a senior’s medical history, assessing their current physical condition, and doing a series of tests that measure strength and flexibility, the physiotherapist can create a comprehensive program that will improve the senior’s physical function.

Tips for Preventing Falls in Seniors

  • Wear a solid, well-made pair of shoes that provide support and cushioning that is necessary for movement and walking
  • Avoid any shoes that may be unstable or slippery, such as those with an open-toe or with high-heels or slippers
  • Make sure areas of movement, such as stairwells and hallways, are well lit
  • Use a walking aid, such as a cane or walker – and view them as a source of aid and strength, not weakness or embarrassment
  • Ensure that the tips on canes and walkers are not worn and in good working order
  • Sit, rather than stand, while getting dressed
  • Rise slowly from sitting to standing or lying down to sitting to reduce possible dizziness or instability.
  • Install handrails, if necessary, in bathrooms or hallways.
  • Wipe up floor spills immediately.
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks by standing on furniture or putting yourself into an unsafe situations; wait for help or use a secure stepladder.
  • Ensure feet are well planted on the ground when getting out of a vehicle.
  • Put everyday items at eye level so you aren’t reaching up to grab things.
  • Be mindful around small children or pets, which can easily get underfoot and cause a fall.

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preventing winter sport injuries

Preventing Winter Sport Injuries

During the winter months, people from all over the world participate in the popular winter sports of skiing and snowboarding. They are both fun and exciting winter activities, but each can also put you at risk for injury. There are many things that you can do for preventing winter sport injuries this winter season and maximize your time on the slopes.

Common Risk Factors for Winter Sport Injuries

In both sports, there are some common risk factors that can contribute to winter sport injuries:

  • Fatigue due to skiing/snowboarding without rest
  • Skiing/snowboarding above your ability level
  • Improper/faulty equipment
  • Dehydration/fatigue
  • Skiing/snowboarding in out-of-bounds areas
  • Failure to adhere to posted warning signs
  • Not maintaining proper code of conduct/safe practices

In skiers, the most common winter sport injuries include:

  • Knee injuries, including MCL and ACL, strains or tears
  • Knee sprains
  • Shoulder injuries from falls
  • Broken leg
  • Thumb or wrist injuries, also from falls
  • Head or neck injuries (less common)

In snowboarders, the most common winter sport injuries include:

  • Wrist and hand injuries due to the nature of falling while strapped into a snowboard
  • Collarbone and shoulder injuries
  • Head and neck injuries

Preventing Winter Sport Injuries

Here are some safety precautions that can be taken to help prevent winter sport injuries this winter:

  1. Prepare your body by warming up beforehand. For example, do some stretching and take a brisk walk to warm up your muscles, or start out on an easy run.
  2. Ensure you have proper equipment that fits your body and skill. Make sure ski/snowboard boots fit properly, bindings are in good working order, and ski length is appropriate for your height and skill level.
  3. Wear safety gear, such as a helmet, and wrist guards if you’re snowboarding.
  4. Be sure to practice proper skiing and snowboarding techniques. If possible, take lessons to learn these techniques.
  5. Stay on marked trails: Going off trail can take you into unsafe territory with unpredictable obstacles, such as trees, rocks, and debris.
  6. Rest if you’re tired, as many injuries happen when fatigued.
  7. Stay hydrated.
  8. If you’re skiing with others, be sure to stay together.

It’s also important to understand the physiology involved in snowboarding and skiing. They are both sports that require a good deal of leg strength and core strength to be effective. There are some exercises that will help you to prepare for a season of skiing or snowboarding, and strengthen your muscles to help preventing winter sport injuries. For example:

Double Leg Squats: in this exercise, you place your feet a shoulder width apart and squat down, keeping your heels on the floor. Stick your bottom out and focus on using your gluteal muscles to lift and lower your weight. Your shins should be parallel to one another, and you should be replicating the squatting position that you remain in for most of the time you are on skis. Do this for 10-15 repetitions holding midway through the squat. This exercise will help build your gluteal and quadriceps muscles – essential for skiing.

Side-to-Side Skaters: Stand on one leg and take a wide step to the side with your other leg; next, stand on that leg and take another large step back to where you were. Keep your pelvis level and ensure that your knees don’t buckle inward. Continue this exercise for as long as you can, or up to 3 minutes. The more slowly you go, the more difficult it will become.

Want help PREVENTING WINTER INJURIES?


strains

Dealing with Strains

A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. Tendons are tissues that connect muscle to bone. A strain occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its limits during the course of everyday activities like with a sudden lift or a twist during sport or while performing a work task. Strains can happen suddenly or develop over time like in the case of repetitive strain. Back and hamstring muscle strains are common. Typically the local area is painful, swollen, red and bruised and the muscle may spasm and become weak.

Your physiotherapist can work with you to minimize the amount of damage from an injury and speed the healing process. Small and simple changes to your movements, combined with adequate muscle strength and following the Physio-4 for Strains, can prevent muscle strains in the long run and keep you moving for life.

4 Tips to Minimize Damage and Speed the Healing Process from Strains

1. Early on, relative rest is key. In the early stages of treating a strained muscle, you should be resting the muscle to ensure the small muscle fibers that have been damaged have time to heal properly. Do not stretch in the early stages. You can use heat or ice for pain management. Avoid any painful activities such as the one that originally caused the injury. After a comprehensive assessment your physiotherapist will guide you by appropriately increasing your activities in order to avoid re-injury. Your physiotherapist may also use treatments such as electrotherapy, acupuncture and manual therapy to reduce healing time.

2. Protection is sometimes necessary. The challenge of having an injury is that we still need to use the injured area with everyday life. This sometimes doesn’t allow our injury to heal so that’s when we use splinting or braces. Hand strains, for instance, can take a long time to heal since it is hard to rest this area of the body. Your physiotherapist will tape or brace just the strained area so that you can keep moving while your body heals. They will also advise when this can be discontinued to allow you to progress beyond the acute stage.

3. Move Early to Restore Normal Function. Strained structures need to be strengthened while balance and dexterity are improved, so early and limited movement is extremely important. As you heal, practice skills as simple as holding chopsticks or changing direction quickly on a soccer field. Small and simple changes to your movements, combined with adequate muscle strength, can prevent muscle strains in the long run. Your physiotherapist will educate you on how to prevent re-injury and guide you along the path back to your active lifestyle.

4. Not all strains are equal. The local area of a muscle strain is painful, swollen, red and bruised and the muscle may be weak and painful to use. Treatments for strains are individualized, based on the mechanism of injury, the degree of strain, the specific muscle at fault and the functional goals of the individual. Your physiotherapist will help you differentiate between a mild muscle strain that can be treated conservatively, versus a severe strain such as a complete tear that may require further medical attention. And your physiotherapist will correct any biomechanical issues and create an individualized exercise plan, including stretching and strengthening at the appropriate time intervals.

Physiotherapists are the rehabilitation specialists recommended most by physicians. They are university-educated health professionals who work with patients of all ages to diagnose and treat virtually any mobility issue. Physiotherapists provide care for orthopedic issues such as sport and workplace injuries, as well as cardiorespiratory and neurological conditions. As Canada’s most physically active health professionals, BC’s physiotherapists know how to keep British Columbians moving for life.

Suffering from STRAINS?