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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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Power Shift

Posted by on 9:38 am in Awareness, Pain Management, Physiotherapy | 0 comments

Power Shift

As health care professionals we have transitioned into a collaborative team with our own specialized areas to help the patient/client become their best self. However, among all the medical jargon and expert advice/opinions, sometimes it is lost in translation that YOU are part of this team, and ultimately the most important member. That means it is best for you to become specialized in knowing your body, because you live in it, we do not. How do you become that specialist? As Gary Ward, author of ‘What the Foot’ states “don’t change your body, challenge it.  Our society is finally coming to the realization that we are not static creatures, we are movers, and in order to move without pain, we need to have a better understanding of our bodies. There are approximately 360 joints and 700 muscles in the human body (among many other things), and you possibly have pain in one or more of them. Simple right? Focus on my knee since my knee hurts. It makes sense because that’s where the pain is, but sometimes you need to take a step back, or even two, to grasp the entire picture. I’ve just started working at One to One and have engulfed myself in reading books that examine this idea of meaningful movement where the entire body is involved. The idea behind this is that when you squat down to pick something up or are taking a leisurely stroll in the park, all 360 joints and 700 muscles have a role to play in helping those movements occur, not one. So if your therapist starts assessing your ankle, or neck for that hip or low back pain, don’t panic, they are beginning to look for those middle pieces of that 1000+ piece puzzle we call our bodies. I challenge you to start this exploration process to better understand your body as more likely than not this has not occurred since you were first learning these movements as a toddler. Next time you are walking, move slow and try thinking about all the things that are going on to allow you to move forward. How does your ankle move? How does your hip move? Now break it down even further, where are you putting weight through your feet, feel where you are experiencing tension and tightness. Know what your body likes and dislikes, then challenge it. Why are you stopping me here? How come my pain starts when I do this but not this? It goes on and on, but the more you do this, the more you get to know your body, the more control you have over those 360 joints, and the better you will feel. Ultimately, this post is to encourage you to put the power back into your hands. The best thing you can do is explore your body’s movements, what feels right, what does not and you will become that specialist. As well, this is meant to give you insight to ask your health care professionals to take a look at the entire system, especially if you’ve had multiple treatments with no results, or if you keep going back with the same issue time and time again. Ask them, if they think the way you walk or that stiff foot you’ve had for years...

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Hurt Versus Harm

Posted by on 9:47 am in Injury, Pain Management, Physiotherapy | 0 comments

Most people that book an initial physiotherapy assessment are in pain. Quite often they do not have mechanism of injury that is apparent to them. It is common to hear, “I’m so sore but I didn’t do anything that I can think of to feel this way”. Not knowing what made them sore in the first place adds fear into the equation. When I ask them what their goals are by seeking help from physiotherapy, they often reply, “I don’t want to do anymore damage or permanent damage so I want to know what is going on”. When people are afraid of doing damage they decrease many of their favourite activities. Therefore, it is our goal to get you back to doing what you like to do as soon as possible. The first step to doing this is educating people about pain mechanisms. To simplify things, I like to divide pain into one of two categories.  The first is INJURY where there is tissue damage. This includes sprains, strains and fractures. Injuries have an apparent mechanism, and while the tissues heal you may do HARM if you load the tissues too much. This is why these injuries may require splinting or bracing as they heal. The second category is PERSISTENT PAIN where the main mechanism is a guarded nervous system rather than a tissue problem. If we do something our nervous system is uncomfortable with, it will start to guard and then it will begin to let us know we are exceeding the tolerance limit by HURTING. We are programmed to avoid pain, so by causing hurt our nervous system is trying to control or change our actions. If we are sore after doing an activity in this instance, we have not done damage to something. Rather we have upset our nervous system that is monitoring and processing all forms of sensory input that is coming at it. Why is your nervous system upset? The main reason….OXYGEN. More specifically, a lack of oxygen. The metabolism of cells is dependent on oxygen which is carried via blood flow. If blood flow to a tissue is restricted, metabolism in that area is compromised and the nervous system registers this as a possible threat. When this scenario happens often enough or it builds to a significant level, then your body hurts. This usually causes us to change our actions in one of two ways: move or fidget to return blood flow to the area, or restrict activity to minimize loading the tissues. When your nervous system gets irritated and starts to protect, it keeps some muscles turned on continuously to splint movement to try to minimize strain on structures. However, this continuous muscle tone can later become problematic by partially compressing blood supply thus registering as a threat to the nervous system and causing hurt. Treatment of persistent pain I boil down to two main factors: Reduce muscle guarding. Improve blood flow to tissues. Teaching people how to do this as well as helping them to identify their aggravating factors allows them to stay active while addressing the problem. Knowing that you may experience some soreness after an activity without doing harm allows you to maintain a certain level of activity until things can return to normal. Your body has the capability to...

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Walking: An Exercise or Activity?

Posted by on 12:49 pm in Activity, Fitness, Healthy Aging, Injury, Strength Training | 0 comments

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

Posted by on 5:57 pm in Awareness, Breathing, Fitness, Healthy Aging, Massage, Strength Training | 0 comments

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 one or two high-intensity strength training sessions per week, along with other gentle exercise on intermittent days, such as yoga, swimming, skating, or cycling. These activities not only promote cardiovascular health, they also help you to produce “feel good” hormones, such as endorphins and oxytocin. These hormones not only reduce perception of pain, but enhance the immune response. Diet That old cliché, “You are what you eat” couldn’t be any...

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