Learning Opportunities

Many thanks to those who came to our seminar series “Understanding and Overcoming Persistent Pain” at the Halifax Library. It was great to help people gain more knowledge about treating and, more importantly, preventing pain. Based on our experience, we know there is a gap in people’s understanding of pain. We wanted to let people know that (1) that they are not alone, (2) that help is available and (3) that it’s possible to regain control over that aspect of life. Our passion stems from helping people who are suffering with persistent pain live more fulfilled lives. Education, movement, and exercise are key to achieving this. We are firm believers that knowledge is power and it is the first step in gaining freedom from persistent pain. We were very pleased with the turnout for the last series of workshops and recognize that people want help managing their pain or a loved one’s pain. Here are some upcoming opportunities to learn more: April 27th at One to One Wellness: “Health Empowerment: 4 Steps for Shifting From Pain to Performance” June Seminar Series at the Halifax Library: “Strengthen Your Health” Monday, June 5, 7:00pm:  Expressing Authentic Movement Monday, June 12, 7:00pm:  Strength Training for Managing Chronic Conditions Monday, June 19, 7:00pm:  What the Foot: A Game-Changing Philosophy of Human Movement Monday, June 26, 7:00pm: From Pain to Performance  We will explore different wellness principles and how putting all the pieces together helps to not only overcome pain, but to optimize performance as well. Please come along and bring a friend. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to...

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Curiosity killed the habit

Every hour you sit after the age of 25 takes 21.8 minutes off your life. That’s a pretty eye opening statistic considering the majority of us are sedentary workers and/or enjoy sitting back and watching our TV shows. Suddenly binge watching a Netflix series doesn’t sound so fun (4 seasons of Ray Donovan just took a toll on me). I feel a lot of this comes down to habit and routine. Most people go to work (sitting), drive home (sitting), eat supper (sitting), then relax (sitting). Sitting is a habit that is now blueprinted into our routine and according to this study is slowly taking time off our life. Breaking habits and routines is central to what physiotherapists do, and it is arguably the hardest part of the job. We need to educate on why it is important to break these habits and form new, healthier ones to not only combat and prevent pain, but to prolong life. So how do we get people to break them? I recently watched an interesting TEDtalk about how curiosity might be the key to breaking these bad habits. Although the main focus of this was on smoking and eating, their concept of curiosity, I felt could be translated quite well into time sitting. The gist of it is quite simple; you need to become curious to make you more aware of the impact of your habit. Could I feel better if did more in standing? Would I feel better if I went for a walk instead of watching TV? Do I hurt more after watching TV? Is this worth the 21.8 minutes? Their success rate was high for smoking, and I am curious to see if it would be similar across the board with most habits. I hope that the statistic alone intrigues your inner Curious George about what it would feel like to go for a walk, get back into the gym or do more work while standing. Life is too short to be subtracting...

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Walking: An Exercise or Activity?

I’m often asked “Is walking good for you?” In short, the answer is YES but the rewards and drawbacks of ‘walking for exercise’ depends heavily on the individual. For example, are you are free of injuries or impairments that would cause you to walk with a correction? Do you have a sore heel causing you to put more weight on one leg? Do you experience pain while walking or after? Do you have poor balance and at times worried you might fall? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s important that you minimize risk. Injury will take the benefit out of any workout. What are the primary benefits of walking? For me, walking is an activity that can be fun (who doesn’t love a social walk with a friend on the waterfront.) Walking gets the body moving. Increases blood flow which contributes to a healthy heart and brings greater fluidity to lower body joints. Walking challenges your weight bearing bones to help fight osteoporosis. In general walking is a low-impact activity that has minimal “wear and tear” on your joints. Walking is free, can be done most anywhere and is one of the best things for your mind & body. The downside to walking: it won’t on its own build muscle. Walking gives you a great cardiovascular boost but offers little improvement in muscle strength. As we age (after the age of 25) we start to lose muscle mass, this is called “sarcopenia”. It becomes fairly critical that we continue to build muscle mass as we age. Walking alone will not give you everything you need to be fit for the long run. I like to think of walking as an “activity” rather than “exercise”. I think any type of sport or recreational movements are in the same column. Activity in my opinion still has many benefits (physical, as well as psychological and social) but if you really want to play or engage in an activity with less chances for injury or “wear and tear” on your joints, then you need to do the fundamental work called “exercise”. I highly suggest weight training using machines or free weights, yoga, pilates, and body-weight training movements (squats, push ups, planks). Exercise is the hard work, and activity is the fun! In summary, walking is great. It’s just not the “be all and end all” of a complete fitness program. If walking is the one thing you do, good for you. You are moving! That’s better than a lot of people! If you are keen to experience the benefits of true fitness try adding exercises that build muscle. You will soon discover an ability to enjoy all types of physical activity safely and with greater...

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Sleep, Exercise, Eat, and Relax Your Way to a Stronger Immune System

By Tara Patriquin, RMT Staying healthy is a balancing act between immune boosters and immunity drainers. After all, we’re surrounded by things that compromise our immune system on a daily basis, whether it’s pollution, questionable lifestyle choices, or viruses, to name a few. It seems that at no time do we hear more about “immune boosters” than in the winter. The common cold is one of the leading reasons for medical visits during the winter. But, building a healthy immune system is a year-round job. It is big business to sell products designed to strengthen your immune system. You can Google any number of lists offering the best immune boosters, with everything from the now mainstream Echinacea to the little known Graviola extract. But I’ve never been the most compliant with a supplement regimen, and I’m a simple girl after a simple approach. I keep my immune boosters old school: sleep, exercise, diet, and manual therapy. After all, these are the pillars of health and you always have them at your disposal; no hunting for rare ingredients required! Sleep The most basic and important thing to understand about sleep is that this is when many of our critical metabolic processes do their best work, like regulating body temperature, hormone levels, heart rate and other vital body functions. In other words, when we sleep we heal. In fact, a Chronobiology International publication as recent as August 2013 explores the link between the circadian clock and the body’s natural biological clock that regulates our immune cells and activity. The researchers discovered that the crosstalk between these clocks had potentially grave consequences on a person’s overall health in states of sleep deprivation. One of my favourite bedtime routines is to practice some Pranayama: the art of mindful breathing. The extra oxygen that you will take in will not only help to alleviate muscle tension, but it will relax the mind too. The rhythmic pattern of breathing can also be calming and meditative. And since stress can interfere with the immune system, a little meditation can go a long way. I’ve written more in-depth on the science of Pranayama. Exercise You don’t need to be a genius to know that exercise, particularly strength-training exercise, is the best support to our musculoskeletal health. Did you know that it is also an incredible immune-booster? However, the trick is in finding the amount of exercise that is right for you and your immune system. The biggest risk is in chronic overtraining. The idea that we need to sweat it out for an hour at the gym 5 days a week is rapidly falling by the wayside. Just as we heal in our sleep, we rebuild our exhausted muscles during our rest days. Remember that building tissue is a metabolic process that requires the right combination of stimulation, nutrients, and rest. The most beneficial exercise approach is...

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Shoveling Tips From A Halifax Physiotherapist

Safety tips from Jamie Turnbull, Physiotherapist! Being a physiotherapist in Halifax, Nova Scotia means you see a lot of patients who injure their back shoveling. After experiencing an unusual warm Christmas day, we are now faced with reality… winter is officially here. There is snow on the ground and we will be confronted with having to shovel our driveways on a regular basis. It is this time of year when we will see many people come in with shoulder or back pain from shovelling. While Physiotherapy is an excellent choice of therapy for these types of problems (and we’re happy to help!), the key message here is that a lot of these issues could be avoided with a little extra care and attention. Likely, a self-propelling snow blower is the best solution, but for most of us this is not an option, nor does it clear all snow covered areas. Thus we must grab our shovels and be mindful and cautious of our movement. So, here are a few tips to avoid these flare ups. ALTERNATE. Do not spend the whole time pushing, lifting, and tossing in one direction. After 5 passes at most, alternate your hands and go the other way. Too much repetition one way accumulates and causes repetitive strain. PACE YOURSELF. Bending forward for a long period causes prolonged contraction of back muscles. If you do not allow muscles to relax intermittently they begin to burn and ache. Therefore take intermittent breaks before feeling symptoms. Move in the opposite direction: hands on your hips and bend backwards a few times, next roll the shoulders back a few times, then resume your activity. BEND THOSE KNEES. When lifting the snow, lift with your legs not just with your arms or back. Get close to the shovel head to reduce the torque on your back, the closer you grab toward the shovel head the easier it is to lift. TAKE YOUR TIME. We often hurt ourselves when we move fast or are in a rush. Give yourself adequate time to get the task done. If you follow these general guidelines, you are less likely to aggravate something this winter – we’re pretty sure simply having to shovel is aggravating enough! Stay safe!...

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Does what you eat affect how you feel?

By Dave Lee, Physiotherapist   Is there a connection between what you eat and your pain? Well here is a potential answer. An in depth look at gut bacteria and its anatomical/physiological connection to the nervous system and the brain. A “Gut” Feeling: How What You Eat May Affect Your Perception of...

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