Posted on

HEAT? Really? Stay Hydrated Winnipeg when exercising this Summer

We Winnipeggers wait so long for summer to arrive that some of us overdo it a when exercising outdoors, especially during unexpected heat and humidity early in the season.

‘Global warming’ is changing the prairie climate, the old models are unpredictable and ‘stormy weather’ is dominating the news.

It takes a while for our bodies to become acclimatized to warmer temperatures and our bodies regulate heat more slowly during hot, humid weather, causing us to overheat that much easier.

Before you head outdoors this summer, take a moment to understand the potential health risks of being active outdoors in extreme heat.

While being physically active has many health benefits, it can increase your risk for heat illness, especially in those with breathing difficulties, heart problems, a mental illness such as depression, hypertension or kidney problems. Even those without any chronic health conditions can be at risk without proper precautions.

In my day, Canada’s ‘food guide’ recommended 8 glasses of water for men and 10, 8 oz glasses for women. Now take into account the daily diuretics we all enjoy, coffee and alcohol, and you must add 2 more glasses for each one of those habits.

Get informed:

• Ask your sports organization or trainer if they have a plan for extreme heat.

• Ask a friend or buddy to watch you during extreme heat; if you suffer from asthma, carry your inhaler with you and make others aware of your condition.

• Modify or reschedule your activities.

• Work out early in the day or in an air-conditioned facility.

• Check the Air Quality Index for air quality conditions.

• Check local weather forecasts so you can plan accordingly.

Keep yourself safe:

• Stay hydrated by drinking fluids and eating raw fruits and vegetables.

• Wear sunscreen and insect repellant.

• Allow your body to recover from heat exposure by sitting in the shade or heading to an air conditioned area.

• Watch for signs of heat exhaustion such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat and extreme thirst.

• Heat illnesses can lead to long-term health problems and even death. These illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, swelling of hands, feet and ankles, heat rash, heat cramps and dehydration.

• The most serious heat illness is heat stroke, which can be fatal. Symptoms include a core body temperature of 40.5ºC/105º F, confusion, lack of sweat and unconsciousness. Call 911 immediately if you see someone with these symptoms.

• If you see someone going into shock from heat stroke, move them to a cool place, apply cold water to large areas of their skin and clothing and fan them as much as possible.

More tips for staying safe in the heat can be found at

http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/sun.

Stay hydrated Winnipeg, yourPhysio has the healthcare experience you need.

Posted on

Shovelling in Winnipeg’s Extremes; know your Biomechanics, your limitations and your Physio

A great bulletin from the Heart and Stroke Foundation; Snow shovelling may be dangerous for some hearts

Snow shovelling may be dangerous for some hearts. Reports have linked snow shovelling in extreme cold weather to an increased risk of hospitalization or death due to heart attacks. The Heart and Stroke Foundation advises taking extra precautions when snow shovelling during extreme cold alerts, particularly for individuals with a pre-existing heart condition or who are at high risk of heart disease.

Research shows that physical activity helps protect against heart disease, stroke and many other health conditions. It is also an important part of cardiac rehabilitation programs and an important way for heart patients to keep their cardiovascular system strong and resilient.

Extreme weather conditions, such as very high temperatures and humidity in the summer, smog, and cold winter days, can make physical activity more strenuous. Both strenuous exercise and extreme weather independently increase blood pressure, push the heart rate up, and increase blood concentration of fibrinogen, a protein involved in blood clotting. All of these factors contribute to increased heart attack risk.

The Foundation recommends approaching physical activity in extreme weather with caution if you have been diagnosed with heart or blood vessel disease (including stroke, previous heart surgery, and uncontrolled high blood pressure) or if you are at increased risk of a cardiac event because of high cholesterol levels, an inactive lifestyle being overweight, or obese or other risk factors. Speak to your doctor about what is acceptable for your health.

The risks become even greater when vigorous exercise and extreme weather are combined, such as when shovelling snow in sub-zero weather conditions. Studies show that in most people who have died shovelling snow or carrying out some other form of vigorous physical activity in extreme weather conditions, the plaque inside their blood vessels ruptured and travelled to the heart causing a heart attack. The rupture may be caused by increases in blood pressure or changes in vascular tone associated with physical exertion. Plaque is a sticky, yellow substance made up of fatty substances such as cholesterol, calcium, and waste products from your cells.

Here are some tips from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Take the time to do a few minutes of warm-up activity like walking to increase your heart rate slowly and prepare you for the activity

Build in frequent breaks from extreme weather activities so your body doesn’t become too strained

Ask for help from family, friends or neighbours if you need to do an urgent task, such as clearing snow, in bad weather;

Wear appropriate clothing and keep water nearby to replace fluids lost through perspiration

Plan ahead. Watch your local weather forecast for smog, humidity, heat and extreme cold alerts and plan for enough time or get help with major tasks like snow shovelling, on those days.

Stop your activity if you experience sudden shortness of breath, discomfort in the chest, lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, or severe headache and immediately seek medical attention

Snow shovelling in very cold weather has specific risks. Here are some additional tips to help you stay safe during this particular activity:

Don’t continue shovelling just to get the driveway cleared in a hurry. If you’re tired, quit;

Don’t shovel or do any other vigorous activity directly after eating a meal. Your body is working hard enough just to digest the meal; adding vigorous activity on top of that could put too much strain on your heart;

Don’t stoop to pick up the snow; bend at the knees to avoid back problems.

Find out if your community offers programs or assistance for snow shovelling or snow removal (particularly for older adults or those with existing heart conditions)

Play safe Winnipeg; your your biomechanics, your limits and your Physio…

Posted on

How people choose a Physio, a Doctor, a Chiro, in Winnipeg…for back pain, for health advice, for whiplash

Thanks again to my fellow members at the Winnipeg Executives Association, for the positive feedback and referrals following my 2012 Business Profile presentation; How do you choose your Healthcare Providers? Based on the US pre-election survey by INC magazine…

In reverse order of importance, the top five were:

#5 a great Receptionist.

Oooops, if you have been to my clinical location in the formerly TD Centre, at Portage & Main, you would know that I have been a ‘sole proprietor’ since 1991. Clients know that when they call for an appointment or have any kind of question, that they are going to speak directly with me, the Physiotherapist. Whether it be by phone, text, email or video-chat; I do not hesitate to educate you on the spot and answer the greatest concern in real-time!

#4 your Insurance Coverage.

In Manitoba, you do not need a doctor’s referral to see a Physiotherapist. But, you may need one to be covered by your particular insurance coverage. Manitoba Health only covers physiotherapy treatment if obtained in hospital, and WCB, and MPI, only cover a specific number of treatment sessions. So, beware of your coverage and be proactive in your rehab!

I DO direct bill to most insurance plans, if they do allow this to occur as some plans prefer that the client do it by mail or online, such as Sun Life or ManuLife. Healthcare Spending Accounts are becoming more of the norm with ‘flex’ benefit plans. These accounts are excellent ways to be proactive in your health plan by applying these funds to ergonomic assessment or exercise programs.

Like some other providers, I typically do NOT charge for ‘tray fees’, ‘chart maintenance’, exercise tubing or even for Doctor’s notes.

#3 convenient Parking.

Well…again, we are located in Downtown Winnipeg’s most secure parking complex; the Exchange District Parkade, off Albert Street at #35…my entry is at ground level, directly across from Winnipeg’s best kept secret, parking meters inside a parkade entrance.

#2 convenient Office Hours.

For the approximate 60,000 people working within a 5 minute walk of Portage & Main, the most requested appointment time is between 10am and 2pm, with a normal treatment day from 845am to 530pm in the clinical location.

My research begins at the home office, and ergonomic assessments take me onsite to clients’ work places; from garbage trucks to police cruisers, from bus depots to gold mines, from military helicopters to postal distribution centres, from bank tellers to executive offices, from lumber plants to product warehouses, from grocery clerks to sports professionals, from grain elevators to your cottage kitchen…I’ve worked the day and night shifts, and experienced a huge variety of task conditions.

#1 my Location.

Do you know anyone that works within walking distance of Portage & Main?

Do you know anyone who works in an office connected through the Winnipeg ‘W’ walkway system?

Do you know anyone with a schedule that demands a guaranteed appointment time? …there is no waiting room

I invite you to refer them to our services, for healthcare that may not always be what they expected or even be the best in town, but I will always move them in a direction to make it right for them. Thanks.

Posted on

Winnipeg weather can be dangerous too; ice, falls, car accidents, back pain…get Physiotherapy

As the remnants of Sandy linger out East, and people return to their lives, we give thanks for living in the middle, the relative center, on the Prairies. But as our fore-Fathers discovered, Winnipeg weather can be dangerous too; just today another car accident where the conditions and poor preparation cause injury.

Falls can diminish your ability to lead an active and independent life. About one third of people over the age of 65 and almost half of people over the age of 80 will fall at least once this year. There usually are several reasons for a fall. We can help you reduce your risk of falling, and better your performance through Universal design. We can assess your biomechanics at home, on the job or even during sport; like golf, running and curling.

Balance, together with ‘core’ training can enhance your ability to perform, avoid injury, especially like those from falls.

Aging is a natural process that encompasses biological changes that tend to be associated with the development of joint pain or that may limit the ability to work with joint pain.  In addition to arthritic joint degeneration, aging is associated with loss of muscle mass and muscle function.  Functional loss is influenced by changes at the cellular and molecular physiology level.  These changes may reduce joint stability and impair normal joint motion that affect the ability to tolerate specific work postures and repetitive motion.  With a loss in muscle strength, the same level of physical effort places a greater demand on an individual relative to her/his capabilities.

The relationship between aging and joint pain in the workplace is complex and influenced by a number of factors.  For example, national surveys of workers across a wide variety of occupations indicate that not all older workers (50 years and older) report a greater risk of joint pain.  Older workers at greatest risk tend to be in jobs that have high physical demands.  And once an injury has occurred, it may take longer for an older worker to return to work.  In spite of these factors, studies indicate that older workers suffer no decrease in overall job performance.

Osteoarthritis, and the pain associated with degenerative disc disease in the lower back can be alleviated with laser therapy. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact your Physio.

You can perform at your best when prepared
Posted on 2 Comments

your Shoes could be the source of your Pain…your gait and Physiotherapy Winnipeg

For almost 20 years, I have been the bearer of bad news for Winnipeg women in Downtown Winnipeg. Those with plantar fascitis, knee pain, iliotibial band syndrome, hip pain, back pain, etc…those shoes may be the ultimate source of the problem.

I used to say, “wouldn’t you rather be wearing a Bisignano?”. I guess I have had this dream of designing my own ergonomic, yet fashionable shoe line. For many of us, our shoes dictate our gait; how we walk, step, stand and adjust to the terrain. And womens’ shoes are notorious for poor design, forcing womens’ feet into contortionist postures. That can’t be good?

I know you may be thinking, “but I don’t wear high heels all the time!”…the opposite style can do just as much if not more damage…the ‘flip-flop’. Shoes with little or variable support; flip-flops, simple sandals, loose, flat shoes like ‘crocs’, do nothing for your feet. Even the flat snow boots of winter can be a biomechanical disaster. Grab some over-the-counter insoles and make them 1000% better.

Find a retailer that knows how to fit your feet, knows some basic biomechanics and will not push those $300+ Nikes on your feet. yourPhysio can identify your biomechanical fault (we all have them) and recommend the exercises and support mechanism (shoes) best for you.

Posted on

Back pain in Winnipeg, or is it just a symptom of an irritable bowel?

Middle of August, summer is coming to a close for many, as holidays end and the kids prepare for a new school year. We remember those summer foods, the bbq’s and oh, that unfortunate bout of back pain. You over did it; tubing on the lake, building a deck, moving into a new house. But these events can mimic each other…

I have had many patients complain of back pain, the purest form of mechanical back pain; a lumbar ligament sprain. Maybe some sciatica. But many have mentioned a sore side, soreness to the abdomen or even into the front pelvis.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome can include back pain as a symptom, and even mimic, many of its signs and symptoms. IBS is more affected by ‘stress’ than actual bowel distension; stress at work, home or play, it is another sign of stress that is gaining prevalence in our work-life balance.

Oh that King, fries and chocolate shake was amazing. Once a year, the ‘pilgrimage’ to the finest Winnipeg has to offer, Mrs. Mike’s on Tache.Truly, the best Winnipeg burger for years; my first in 1980!

But as we all have experienced, after a big meal it just may not sit right, and that tension we feel all around the belly can imitate what 4 out of five Canadians will experience some time in their life, back pain. Know your biomechanics, learn the preventative exercises and play safe.

Next, how bout these shoes?