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Posted by on 3:47 pm in Activity, Awareness, Breathing, Events, Healthy Aging, Pain Management, Physiotherapy, Strength Training | 0 comments

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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Technology may be hurting your kids

Posted by on 4:11 pm in Awareness, Fitness, Physiotherapy | 0 comments

My inspiration for this blog article comes from a recent visit I had this weekend at my sister in-law’s house. They are dealing with an issue that many North American families have to deal with….kids that spend way too much time using electronic devices. She was upset because on a sunny day, her son spent 6 straight hours playing X-box. In addition to that, he spent time on the computer on MSN, Youtube, Facebook, and numerous other websites. Don’t forget television as well. This trend is growing at a ridiculous rate, and as a physiotherapist I get to see the physical effects. RSI, or Repetitive Strain Injury, is a collective term for syndromes characterized by discomfort, impairment and loss of muscle strength and function. RSI often affects the neck, the back and particularly the arms and hands. It is found primarily in adults who perform repeated movements such as those involved in typing or playing musical instruments. It is commonly named according to the part of the body affected, e.g. tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, golfer’s elbow. We are starting to see RSI turn up in younger and younger patients which is rather alarming. In addition to computers and gaming devices, there has been a substantial increase in the amount of time teenagers spend on their cellular phones sending text messages, thereby potentially affecting the prevalence of RSI in this group (2). The increased frequency of texting is leading to a condition popularly termed “Blackberry Thumb”, or “teen texting tendonitis”. This occurs because these devices rely almost solely on the use of your thumbs (not all of your fingers) for typing. Any device that relies on the thumbs for typing can cause this type of injury because the thumbs simply weren’t designed for such use (1,3). Repetitive mechanical loading of the thumb, combined with inactivity, and prolonged slouched postures resulting in increased neural tension results in increased risk of developing RSI. Symptoms of “Blackberry thumb” include pain and numbness in the thumbs and joints of the hand (1). But there are also other bodily symptoms: Pain and numbness at the base of the thumb Tingling and numbness in hand, including joints Pain in elbow Shoulder, neck pain during computer use Tired, achy fingers and cramping It is estimated that teenagers sending and receiving an average of 80 text messages each day may be vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries of the thumb (4). If you think this is a high number and unlikely, consider these statistics: About 75 percent of 12-17 year-olds in America now own a cell phone (4). Half of those teenagers send 50 or more text messages a day (4). One-third of teens send more than 100 text messages daily (4). If you think my sister in-law’s son is a minority, then guess again. Here is another interesting statistic: Americans between ages 8 and 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using an electronic device, be it a computer, cellular phone, or television (4). If this sounds like your child, or one you know, then consider these tips to avoid developing these repetitive strain conditions: Alternate the fingers and hand used for texting. Restrict the length of time using the electronic device. Pacing: take frequent breaks from the continuous activity, even if only for a...

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Mysterious knee pain and/or swelling?

Posted by on 3:48 pm in Awareness, Injury, Pain Management, Physiotherapy | 0 comments

Without any thorough examination, you may have been given the diagnosis of osteoarthritis and be expected to just live with it. However, you may be experiencing Saphenous Nerve Entrapment. Saphenous nerve entrapment is a frequently overlooked cause of persistent medial (inner) knee pain. I chose to write about it because I saw 2 cases of random knee pain and swelling recently. Nerve entrapment is often the cause of pain when you cannot recall a mechanism of injury. This condition can result from low grade irritation over a long period of time from sustained postures or repetitive activities, or perhaps resulting from guarding mechanisms that never fully resolved from a previous injury. Symptoms can be episodic (come and go), may come on randomly, and may resolve randomly as well. The saphenous nerve is the longest branch of the femoral nerve. It travels from the groin, down the front of the inner thigh, past the inner knee, and into the inner lower leg. Because of its long course, it can become entrapped in multiple locations from the thigh to the lower leg. The saphenous nerve is often entrapped by connective tissues where it pierces the muscles of the inner thigh, or where it takes a sharp turn at the inner knee. The nerve can also be injured as a result of an improperly protected knee during surgeries or activity that puts pressure on the nerve (kneeling). It is a pure sensory nerve, meaning it is responsible for sensation and not muscle contraction. As this is a purely sensory nerve, weakness should not be noted with an isolated injury or entrapment of this nerve. Some mild weakness may be present because of guarding from pain, but no significant direct weakness will result from the nerve impingement. Symptoms of entrapment: may include swelling of the knee, a deep aching sensation in the thigh, knee pain, tenderness along the nerve pathway, and altered sensation in the knee and lower leg such as numbness, tingling, pins and needles, reduced sensitivity to heat or cold, reduced vibration sense, and dullness to touch. The main diagnostic features of this condition are altered sensation (vibration sense is usually the first to be affected), and reproduction of symptoms during a femoral/saphenous nerve neurodynamic test. Other diagnoses given for this condition may be arthritis, bursitis, patella femoral pain syndrome, or chondromalacia patella. Treatment to resolve this issue may be as simple as learning to do some gentle nerve gliding exercises. Effective treatment may also involve soft tissue release (via massage or physio); and gentle manual mobilization techniques that reduce mechanical forces on the nerve, improve nerve mobility, reduce muscle guarding, and restore blood flow to the affected nerve. It may not be arthritis, and you may not have to just live with...

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Chair Ergonomics

Posted by on 11:39 am in Awareness, Physiotherapy, Wellness | 0 comments

In industrialized countries, many people sit for most of the time that they are awake. They sit while having breakfast, while going to work in cars or buses, in school classrooms, in meetings, in offices, during dinner, and at home while watching television. Many people also sit at work operating machines which new technology has developed to replace manual work. Although sitting requires less physical effort than standing or walking, it puts a lot of stress on lumbar area. Combined effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and a job that requires sitting can lead to many health problems. The selection of a suitable chair is a critical step in preventing health problems in people who work in a sitting position. However, you do not have to spend a lot of money to find a proper ergonomic chair. A good ergonomic chair will have basic adjustability features. The features that should be considered include: Seat height adjustability: Adjustability is a must – feet should rest comfortably on the floor without pressure on the back of the thighs. When seated, your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. To achieve proper height with respect to your desk or keyboard tray height, you may need a foot rest. Seat depth adjustability: The depth of the seat is important in order to reduce pressure on the back of your thighs or calves. If the seat puts pressure on the back of the knee, or mid posterior thigh, this will reduce circulation and cause a pooling of blood in the extremities. This can lead to varicose veins, painful conditions, and also blood pressure issues over time. Proper seat depth will allow for a 2-3 finger width distance from the back of the knee to the edge of the chair. Armrests (height adjustable): To reduce strain on your neck and upper extremities, your armrest height should be as follows: with the arm relaxed and bent while seated, the arm rest should be a 2 finger width higher than the bottom of the bent elbow. Armrests set too high will cause compression of your thoracic outlet. Armrests set too low will cause traction on your neck. The length of the armrests may need to be considered as well so they do not prevent you from pulling in close to your desk or keyboard tray. Armrests set approximately 15cm back from the edge of the chair should be adequate. Back rest height: A mid back or high back chair offers more support and will reduce lumbar strain. A low back chair is not recommended if you spend a fair amount of time sitting. Regarding shape of the back rest, do not get hung up on molded forms and fancy adjustable parts. The most important factor in reducing back discomfort while sitting is the ability to move around frequently. A chair should not lock you into a position and restrict your movement. Many of the features described here allow a chair to adjust to a given posture or body size, but it is important to remember the importance of posture change. Adjustability features should allow, rather than inhibit, free posture change. Sitting increases the mechanical force applied on your body. Stationary postures cause tonic muscle contraction which means they are constantly contracted. This does not allow for the...

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How to know when I need some help

Posted by on 11:31 am in Awareness, Injury, Physiotherapy | 0 comments

How to know when I need some help for my pain: We trip, hurt our knee.  Twist a little too far, your back spasms.  That ache in your elbow that used to only be a problem when playing tennis is now bothering you at work and even just reading a book.  Checking my blind spot is nearly impossible now without turning my whole body.     When is it ok to just let things heal in their own time and when do you need to get a professional opinion? The best way to approach this questions is knowing what “acute” versus “chronic” means.  Acute injury symptoms are what the body presents in the first 24-48 hours on the initial onset of pain (ranging from pain that can be dull or sharp, redness, swelling, bruising, difficulty moving the affected area, pain-related weakness, avoidance of activity through protective movement mechanisms).  Chronic pain is when pain continues well after healing should be complete (3-6 weeks) with similar as well as very different symptoms (less swelling, more dull instead of sharp but perhaps increased pain even a rest, better movement range but perhaps still decreased, weakness in affected and perhaps increased locations, and protective movements can increase creating other areas that become sore). Chronic pain is much more complicated to resolve. When we get injured, you should remember the rule of “FIDA”, for Frequency, Intensity, and Duration, Activity.  If you tripped, twisted your ankle, and immediately have pain, or maybe not much pain until the next day (when your body has had some time to begin the inflammatory response).  Pain could be very severe, even at rest, range of motion extremely decreased, and it could hurt just to have your foot on the floor.  The normal healing process should see incremental improvements of frequency (how often it hurts as well as how large of an area affected), intensity (how much it hurts), duration (does it recovery quicker with a movement that normally bothers it) and activity (are you starting to go back more normal activity levels and actions required of daily living).    My general rule is that if all of these FIDA areas are not incrementally improving within a week, I would get a professional to look at them to make sure that you are doing the right things, avoiding the wrong thing, and that things are not more serious that your originally thought. With an injury, there are three stages to recovery. 1. Avoid further injury.. Action: avoid repeating the same thing again, cease current movement, make the “danger” stop. Protect the area.  Action: Move only so as to not continue to hurt yourself, whatever compensations required, take medication if required, heat or ice, rest further. Healed, move on. Action: realize enough time has passed to be out of danger, get back to normal movement and pain free life. Sometimes there was no specific “injury” and your symptoms just seemed to crop up out of the blue or slowly over time.  Interestingly enough, even without the apparent “danger” signal to the brain, our bodies will still follow the same stages of recovery because of some action that we keep repeating (or lack of an important action) that leads to the brain reacting as if there were an injury. A lot of non-serious injuries will...

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Curiosity killed the habit

Posted by on 10:56 am in Awareness, Fitness, Healthy Aging, Physiotherapy, Wellness | 0 comments

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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Physio treatments for Dizziness (Vestibular System)

Posted by on 11:50 am in Awareness, Physiotherapy | 0 comments

Do you ever get dizzy when you turn your head?  Light-headed when move too fast getting up or down?  Avoid shopping at the grocery store because sometimes it makes you feel nauseated?  Do you ever feel like your head is spinning but the room is staying still? Are you afraid of falling because you can’t always tell where your feet are?  Do objects look blurry, but your optometrist says your eyes are fine?   Do you avoid sitting in the back seat of a car in case you get sick? Does it ever sound like you are underwater or do you ever have ringing in your ears but you haven’t been anywhere with loud noises? If you have answered YES to any of these questions it may be because of malfunctioning vestibular system.  The vestibular system, otherwise known as the “balance center” in our heads, takes information from our movements, or rather where our body is in space, using our eyes, our muscles and joints, and little inner ear sensory organs and combines all that information in the brain. The brain then processes that information and reacts accordingly; either to move your body to keep you upright while the head moves, or vice versa, move your eyes to keep focused on objects, and make your muscles move your joints to where they need to be to keep gravity from taking over so you don’t fall.    Here is a diagram to help you understand how these systems work together: Brain output to the body Normally, when the information from your eyes, your body, and your inner ear organs all match up, we are able to move our heads and bodies as we please without getting uncomfortable symptoms such as: dizziness, vertigo (room spinning), light-headedness, disorientation, blurry vision, motion sensitivity, balance loss, ringing in the ears, changes in hearing, or migraines.  But when there is one component  (or more) of this system that is/are not functioning correctly, the brain is going to rely more on the other senses to keep your body in balance. Sometimes that is enough to keep you functioning at a low level as you adjust your lifestyle to avoid making yourself feel symptomatic.  But to do higher level activities, even including quick head turns, focusing on small letters, laying down quickly in bed, it can be too much for the brain to handle and then you get symptoms of dizziness, blurry vision, nausea, etc. The good news is that our brains are able to learn and change how it reacts so that that even if you have suffered for a few days or many years from vertigo or dizziness you can be treated and get back to a more functional activity level.  Imagine being able to take a cruise without the fear of constant nausea, or able to lie down in bed and turn over without your head spinning, or even try to watch a 3-D movie again! If you or someone you know has had or are still suffering from vertigo, dizziness, risks of falls, etc… then you should talk to physiotherapist that works in vestibular rehabilitation.  A physiotherapist can treat inner ear issues sometimes within as little as 1-2 treatments and will give you exercises to “strengthen” your brain and vestibular system so it will work...

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You Fix You

Posted by on 3:46 pm in Awareness, Pain Management, Physiotherapy | 0 comments

You Fix You

You Fix You. “I am not going to fix you”. A powerful, but necessary message for someone who is looking to be “fixed” by their rehabilitation specialist. A study out of Alberta showed that individuals who took a passive coping strategy to their whiplash injury (i.e., relying on others for pain management) had a slower recovery rate than those who took a more active coping strategy1. What I gather from this is if you are depending on your health professional to fix you, you are in for a long road of recovery. The good news is that if you are depending on your health professional to provide you with the tools to fix yourself, the road will be much shorter. A simple but important mindset switch can make all the difference. So instead of asking “Can you fix me?” try “ What do I have to do to fix myself?”. We don’t have magical hands that can fix; we have knowledge and understanding of how pain mechanisms and the body works. Our job is to provide you with this knowledge in a way that you can understand and provide you with tools that give you the power to fix yourself. Think about this. You get out of bed and your back hurts and you have no idea why. Not a great way to start your day. Well now imagine if you knew the pain mechanisms and the structures that are affected and what they do. The more you know about your condition, the more it normalizes. Things are not random anymore, they are occurring for a reason; a reason that you now understand. Knowing that already gives you insight and a better sense of control.  Now you can wake up in the morning and know if you move a different way you can start your day with less pain. That is what we can do for you; insight, knowledge, and understanding. Now, how we do this is up to you. You need to be active in your recovery. Ask questions, do your own research, exercise, continue to do your day to day activities, use the advice given to you to empower yourself. Instead of asking ‘what can you do to help me recover’, ask ‘what can I do to help me recover’. We will give you our best and everything we have to offer, but we will not fix you. We will help you fix you. Carroll LJ, Ferrari R, Cassidy DJ, Cote P. Coping and recovery in whiplash-associated disorders: Early use of passive strategies is associated with slower recovery of neck pain and pain related disability. Clin J Pain, 2014; 30(1):...

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Chronic Pain Clinic- HFX Library Dec.9th

Posted by on 10:39 am in Events | 0 comments

Join Physiotherapists Keltie Cheney and Tyler Dillman, on December 9th, 2016 10:00 am to 11:00 am for a free seminar on Understanding & Overcoming Chronic...

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121 Partners in the Wellness Community of Halifax

Posted by on 11:44 am in 121 Partners, Uncategorized | 0 comments

One to One Wellness is pleased to welcome Sante Dental as a featured partner. Conveniently located in City Centre Atlantic, on Dresden Row in Halifax, the dental clinic is known for hygiene services and restorative dentistry. Both Dr. Fredette and Dr. Chiasson are long standing members of both Canadian and Nova Scotian Dental...

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