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Pre-Surgery Checklist

Check out these guidelines and give yourself the best chance to recover optimally. Rehab is pretty straight forward. As long as you have a plan.

One of the regular conversations we have with our greater athletic family is how to prepare for an upcoming surgery. For most athletes, a surgical event essentially represents a temporary alien invasion level disruption to their lives. And honestly, this analogy isn’t far from the truth. Besides dropping headlong into a medical system that can pretty much strip people of their loci of control, serious injury is disruptive to family, nutrition, training, sleep, stress levels, etc.

Check out these guidelines and give yourself the best chance to recover optimally. Rehab is pretty straight forward. As long as you have a plan.

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3 Things You Can Do Every Day To Hurt Your Neck…

3 ways to hurt your neck.

Or, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Let’s take a real quick quiz that might help you live with less neck pain…

(And if you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions… read on!)

When you’re relaxing at home, do you find yourself looking up at the TV screen because it’s hung up high on the wall?
When you’re out and about do you carry your bag on one shoulder? Or hold your heavy briefcase in one hand?
When you sleep at night, do you find yourself sleeping on your stomach? Or with more than one pillow in a twisted position?
When you’re relaxing at home, do you find yourself looking up at the TV screen because it’s hung up high on the wall?
When you’re out and about do you carry your bag on one shoulder? Or hold your heavy briefcase in one hand?
When you sleep at night, do you find yourself sleeping on your stomach? Or with more than one pillow in a twisted position?
Chances are, you’ve answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions.

I may be wrong, your bag might not be heavy, and you might sleep with just the one pillow, but the reason why I guessed you’d answered ‘yes’ to one of these questions is because over the years, almost every patient that walks into my clinic who has been suffering from neck pain, has been doing one of these things. (though more recently, “computer” or “smartphone” has started to become a major source of neck pain as well!—more on that later).

So it’s no surprise that during my time as a PT that one of the most regular injuries I see is ‘neck pain’.

And without even realizing it, things that we do every day can cause it.

So let’s take a look at 3 of the most common everyday mistakes I’ve found my patients doing that cause their ‘neck pain’…

Watching TV
Watching TV is a habit – not saying it’s good or bad! But, the real issue with watching TV is HOW you watch it! Are you doing it the way I see most of my friends and family watch it… With the TV hung above the fireplace high on the wall, kicked back with your feet up (and neck!), while watching your favorite TV show or sporting event? (or Soap Opera?).

Even though you might think it’s comfortable and relaxing…. the truth is, there could be a problem waiting for you! If you’re watching TV like this it can be strenuous for your neck and head. A lot of people make the same mistake — they don’t realize that the position they have it in, can actually affect their body and health.

Anyway, how to fix it? There’s a reason why TV stands are almost always the same height, and any decent one will mean that if you’re sitting on the sofa watching TV, the TV will be at eye level. SO, watch TV so your head isn’t looking upwards, or reaching out, and this should help you avoid headaches, eye trouble, and muscle tension.

Your Bag
Carrying your bag on one shoulder, or holding a heavy briefcase in one hand is something most of us are guilty of doing, but did you know that’s also one of the main causes of aches and pains in your neck and shoulders?

You see, since all of the weight of your bag is on one shoulder, or on one side of the body, it can throw your muscles and posture off balance, which is why you sometimes see people with one shoulder higher than the other!

Another thing — the way we carry our bag(s) can cause our muscles to become stiff too. So, the way to solve this problem is to reduce the weight of your bag and to periodically switch up the side you carry it.

Switching your bag to the opposite side will help to balance out the way your body carries the weight, relieving any tension built up in your muscles, and solving posture problems too! Switch it up every 10 minutes, or every time you walk past two streets.

How We Sleep
Another daily habit that brings on neck pain is the way we sleep. You see, if you sleep with your head propped up on more than one pillow, your neck, and back aren’t going to be nicely in-line – meaning more pressure on your muscles and spine.

And, if you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, your head is most likely going to be turned on to the side – meaning your body is in a twisted position for hours at a time! Now, can you see why you might wake up with a bit of a sore neck, or the infamous “crick” in the neck?

Although your neck is built to rotate from side to side, it’s not designed to stay in that position for hours on end. So, if you choose to sleep on your side, use a pillow that doesn’t prop your head too high up, but in-line with your shoulder instead. And, if you choose to sleep on your back, sleep with one thin pillow so your neck and spine are nicely straight.

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Gluteal Tendinopathy

Telma Grant, P.T. Private & OHIP physiotherapy and Chiropractic. If you're in pain, call us. We can help.

What is Gluteal Tendinopathy?

When tendons are repeatedly placed under more tension than they can deal with, they can have a failed healing response. This can cause changes to the structure of the tendon and is known as a tendinopathy. When this occurs in the tendons of the gluteal muscles it is referred to as gluteal tendinopathy.

The gluteal muscles are three large muscles located at the back of the pelvis that provide most of the muscle bulk of buttock region. These muscles work together to keep your pelvis level when standing and are responsible for many movements of the hip. They play an important role in standing, walking and running.

The two deepest gluteal muscles, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, attach from the center of the pelvis (the sacrum) and insert into the bony outer region of the upper thigh, called the greater trochanter via the gluteal tendons.

What causes tendons to develop tendinopathy?

Tendons, like muscles, skin, and bones are living tissues and their strength and elasticity is influenced by a variety of factors, including hormones, age, how often and how much they are used. Rapid changes in activity levels or simply performing the same tasks too often can place a tendon under more stress than it can tolerate and it begins to break town.

Recently it has been shown that tendon health is also negatively affected by compressive forces, which can occur from blunt trauma or even habits such as crossing the legs or sleeping on your side on a hard mattress.

What are the symptoms of Gluteal Tendinopathy?

When gluteal tendons are affected by tendinopathy, a typical pattern of sharp pain at the outside of the hip with specific movements is present. The pain is usually worse with walking, going up and down stairs and running.  The pain can become quite severe, and eventually can impact day-to-day activities.

How can physiotherapy help?

A thorough assessment is required for an accurate diagnosis and once gluteal tendinopathy is confirmed, your physiotherapist will be able to identify which factors have contributed to your condition and help to address these. It has been shown that specific loading exercises and muscular retraining can stimulate the tendon to heal and remodel the collagen fibers into a more organized pattern again. Your physiotherapist can investigate any postural habits or activities are contributing and address these as required.

 

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10 Facts About Tendons

Tendons.

Tendons are found all over the body and while you may know a little about them, you might be surprised to learn a few of these facts.

  1. Tendons can be found at the ends of muscles. Tendons are simply connective tissues that attach muscles to bone and help them move our joints when they contract.
  2. Tendons come in many shapes and sizes. While the most recognizable shape is the long thin kind (such as the Achilles tendon), they can also be flat and thin or very thick, depending on the shape of the muscle and attachment of the bone. A thin flat tendon is also known by the name aponeurosis.
  3. Tendons are able to act like elastic bands, they can stretch and bounce back into shape. Like elastic bands, if too much force is applied they can stretch or tear.
  4. Unlike elastic bands, tendons are living tissue and their properties are affected by many different factors. Seemingly unrelated things such as hormonal changes, autoimmune disorders, and nutrition can all affect a tendon’s ability to withstand load.
  5. Tendons don’t only attach muscles to bone, they can attach to other structures as well such as the eyeball.
  6. Tendons can tear, however; more often they are injured through overuse. Healing of tendons can be quite slow as they have less blood supply than other tissues of the body, such as muscles.
  7. Tendons are mostly made of organized collagen fibers. Areas of tendon degeneration have been shown to have collagen fibers that are disorganized, with this area having less strength and elasticity.
  8. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body. This connects the large calf muscles to the back of the heel to point the ankle away from the body. Most tendons are simply named for the muscle they attach to, however, the Achilles has it’s own name, named after the mythical Greek character who’s heel was his only point of weakness.
  9. The smallest tendon is located in the inner ear, attaching to the smallest muscle in the body.
  10. Tendons and muscles work together to move your joints and are called a contractile unit.
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Lymphedema

Physiotherapy for lymphedema. Telma Grant, P.T. Private & OHIP physiotherapy and Chiropractic. If you're in pain, call us. We can help.

What is lymphedema?

Lymph is a high-protein fluid in the body which flows between soft tissues. Edema is the scientific term for swelling. Lymphedema, therefore, is a high-protein swelling resulting from fluid build-up in soft tissues, which then forms a solid mass.

How common is this condition?

The overall incidence of chronic lymphedema is estimated at 0.13 to 2% worldwide. There are two types: primary and secondary lymphedema. The former occurs from birth; the latter can occur after surgery for removal of lymph nodes, after radiation therapy for the treatment of certain cancers or after parasitic infections.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of lymphedema include heavy, tight and achy limbs, with swelling and decreased movement around the affected joints. The skin in the area becomes hard and thickened.

What treatments are available?

Physiotherapy can be useful for the management of lymphedema; techniques include laser therapy, therapeutic massage, compression garments, manual lymph drainage and specific exercises. Your physiotherapist is also able to assist with advice to help manage the condition.

How can you help yourself?

  • Educate yourself on the condition: look up as much information as you can in order to better inform yourself of what you can expect. However, be wary of those selling products as their information may be biased. Unregulated industries also have fewer restrictions on what they are allowed to say or promise when promoting their products.
  • Look after the affected limb: make sure the skin is kept clean and dry, with breathable clothing and ventilation.
  • Get regular exercise: daily exercise is important to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and maintain adequate hydration levels.
  • Surround yourself with people you are comfortable with. None of the information in this newsletter is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual condition.
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How to Add Exercise to Your Cleaning Routine

OHIP Physio after Hospital. Orthitcs and knee braces at Telma Grant, P.T. Telma Grant, P.T. Private & OHIP physiotherapy and Chiropractic. If you're in pain, call us. We can help.

As the warmer summer months beckon and time spent outdoors starts to increase, it’s the perfect excuse to de-clutter your surroundings, be it at home or at work. A clean environment helps to maintain a clear head, and the act of cleaning can be therapeutic in itself. Vigorous cleaning can burn up to 90 calories per fifteen minutes; that’s up to 360 calories per hour!

Vacuum cleaning, sweeping and mopping the floor raise the heart rate and can be incorporated into a cardiovascular workout. Lifting and moving heavy objects such as furniture can be incorporated into your strength training while cleaning windows, hanging curtains and washing walls all have a stretching component. However, with vigorous cleaning comes the risk of over-exertion; necks and backs are particularly at risk of injury.

Make sure to maintain good alignment while doing all of these exercises in order to minimize your chances of injury.

Step-ups:

These are a great low-impact exercise to activate the gluteal muscles and core and can be done while vacuuming the staircase. Keep your knees no further forward than your toes, and bend from the hips as you push up onto the standing leg by squeezing your backside muscles.

Squat twists:

Keep your knees bent and core engaged while you use your oblique muscles to rotate your body from the waist while mopping the floor.

Single-leg standing obliques: while washing the windows, engage the lateral abdominal muscles to pull the arms down to the side of the body as you balance on one leg.

Lunges:

Keep your back straight and front knee above your ankle while lunge walking as you sweep the floor. Try to lunge as low as possible while keeping a good technique.

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Running Tips For Beginners

Telma Grant, P.T. Private & OHIP physiotherapy and Chiropractic. If you're in pain, call us. We can help.

If you’ve just taken up running, you probably think that getting started is simple – you just run as far as you can and then run further the next time. Like most things, the reality is a little more complicated. Here are some tips to make the most of your running program and avoid injury.

  • Don’t overdo it.

Rest is actually a big part of a training program. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild muscle. Not giving yourself adequate time to rest leads to greater risk of injury and you won’t improve as quickly as you might think. Aim to run three times a week.

  • Don’t forget strength training.

Even if you’re trying to improve endurance, surprisingly, increasing strength can make a big difference. Particularly if you focus on specific muscles that may be weaker on one side of the body. This is also an important part of injury prevention. Your physiotherapists can help you to identify any weak muscles and develop a strengthening program.

  • Your shoes and running surface matter.

Running on hard or uneven surfaces leads to a greater risk of injury than running on grass, which allows for a more natural distribution of forces through your foot. Having shoes that fit your foot properly and also provide necessary support is an essential part of your injury prevention plan.

  • Listen to your body.

As you improve and push your abilities forward there will be many aches and pains. Most will only last for a day or two and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is a normal if not annoying part of getting stronger. However, if pain feels more serious, lasts for more than 48 hours or is preventing you from running speak to a professional as soon as possible. Running injuries do happen and can take a while to resolve. Early treatment is the best option for good outcomes.

Speak to your physiotherapist for more practical tips on how to improve your running and prevent injuries.

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Common Running Injuries

Telma Grant, P.T. Private & OHIP physiotherapy and Chiropractic. If you're in pain, call us. We can help.

Running is a great way to stay in shape, manage stress and increase your overall wellbeing; however, it’s not without its drawbacks. While being a low-risk activity, there are a few injuries that commonly affect runners. As running is a repetitive impact activity, most running injuries develop slowly and can be difficult to treat. Here are three of the most common conditions faced by runners.

  1. Runner’s Knee:

Runner’s knee is a persistent pain on the inside of the knee caused by the dysfunctional movement of the kneecap during movement. The kneecap ideally sits in the centre of the knee and glides smoothly up and down as the knee bends and straightens, in a process described as tracking. If something causes the kneecap to track abnormally, the surface underneath can become worn, irritated and painful. The pain might be small to start with, however, left untreated, runner’s knee can make running too painful to continue.

  1. Shin Splints:

Shin splints is a common condition characterized by a recurring pain at the inside of the shin. While the cause of this condition is not always clear, it is usually due to repeated stress where the calf muscles attach to the tibia (shin bone). Why this becomes painful is likely due to a combination of factors that can be identified by your physiotherapist to help you get back on track as soon as possible.

  1. Achilles Tendonitis:

The Achilles tendon is the thick tendon at the back of the ankle that attaches to the calf muscles. The amount of force that this tendon can absorb is impressive and is vital in providing the propulsive force needed for running. If the stresses placed on the tendon exceed its strength, the tendon begins to break down and become painful.