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Texting while Driving? But your Neck, Back, Elbow, Thumb are screaming foul too!

New Texting Laws; but did you forget about the pain in your Neck?

As our Manitoba penalties change for texting and driving, we seem to have forgotten about the load we place on our neck and spine upon texting.

Occipital neuralgias; those annoying aches, often chronic headaches are more than likely due to your cellular phone use. Tablet users, voracious readers in bed and exam time students are no longer the only ones experiencing this pain. Looking down at your phone can increase the force on the spine by 6x!

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Avoid those constant tension trigger points; plan your time, get a headset and use your vehicle bluetooth to avoid these wicked postures…know your ergonomics at work, rest and play!

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Redeem this iPhone Pass in Passbook or Google Wallet for next day physiotherapy service in Winnipeg

yourPhysio Pass

Walking via the indoor walkway, through Winnipeg Square, under the Portage & Main Concourse, into TD Centre (201 Portage), keep going through the Exchange District Parkade, up to ground level Albert Street…and you’ve stayed warm, indoors to my door!

Download this iPhone Pass to your Passbook app or to Google Wallet;

please bring it to your first, assessment appointment and

maintain it in your app for 2015;

we’ll make it yourPhysio ‘health spending account’… for next day service options, direct billing, guaranteed appointment times, lunch hour appointments and there is no waiting room.

you can even ‘air drop’ it to friends to share your experience and service at Concourse Physiotherapy, always much appreciated.

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Kick start your core; Kegels, Diaphragm, Winnipeg Physio?

Did you go to your pre-natal course? Victoria General, Seven Oaks, Health Sciences centre, Saint Boniface hospital, Winnipeg?

Have you heard of ‘kegel’ exercises or ‘diaphragmatic’ breathing? Both, can help you perform better, sit better and improve your ‘core’ strength; whether it be hockey at Canlan, senior volleyball or Downtown Winnipeg computer work.

Women, and men have a supportive ‘bowl’ of muscles in the pelvis; by contracting them, tightening your gut, stopping the flow of urine…you are kegeling! Sitting, standing, lying on the couch; do your kegels to initiate your core workouts.

When you breathe deeply, into your gut, you are pushing down with your diaphragm; expanding your thorax and pushing the air into the lower lungs. These lower lobes of the lungs contain the richest areas of oxygen-blood exchange. Train better, expand your belly and control your breathing effort…again, using part of your core!

Enjoy yourPhysio

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Glucosamine, Chondroitin supplements for Joint Pain in Downtown Winnipeg

If you work in Downtown Winnipeg, you experience the ‘hardness’ of your daily commute. It is a ‘concrete jungle’, and the impact on your feet, knees, hips and back can be felt on a daily basis.

We all know someone who takes ‘vitamins’, or some kind of ‘supplement’ with the latest health benefit.

I get asked almost everyday about ‘glucosamine supplements’ for arthritis, joint pain, etc. Those ‘horse pills almost choked me’ exclaimed one patient, ‘how much do I need to take to even notice a difference in my knee pain?’, ‘where can I get those pills that supposedly help my joints?…are common questions in Downtown Winnipeg.

In a 2010 British Medical Journal, one of the most reputable of all scientific journals; an article published this conclusion:

“Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged.”

So is it fair to conclude that it’s not worth taking glucosamine, and/or chondroitin supplements?

Maybe.

May I present the evidence to people to let them make an informed decision. I have seen patients describe dramatic reductions in pain after taking G&C. If the supplement helps your symptoms it may be worth continuing it, especially if stopping taking it causes an increase in pain. I’ve also seen many report no change and complain about the ongoing cost. 1 or 2 have reported occasional side effects, although these supplements are generally considered fairly safe to take.

Other studies have shown more promising results, with Bruyere et al. (2008) concluding G&C may reduce the need for total joint replacement. It’s worth noting however, that in terms of quality of evidence, a systematic review of multiple research papers is usually considered better evidence than an isolated study. A recent analysis by Lee et al 2010 did show that G&C may slow progression of osteoarthritis (as measured by X-ray change) although it required taking it daily over 2-3 years.

But Sawitzke et al. 2010 found “no clinically important difference in pain or function” when compared to placebo. The Cochrane Review (2009) – Glucosamine Therapy for Treating Osteoarthritis had somewhat mixed results but concluded it may reduce pain and improve function.

Prices of G&C vary a great deal. Most clients speak of Costco having ‘bulk’ prices, while Walmart still has the edge on discount pricing for ‘reasonable amounts’. But physicians I have questioned here in Winnipeg, some at our best sportsmedicine centres, still recommend greater than 1600 mgs per day, over greater than an initial 6 week period to judge the supps usage.

Personally, I have recommended our local Winnipeg stores, like Guerrilla Jacks and Sunrise Health; as there is still nothing like more opinions and education about your health.

So the question you need to ask yourself is, am I willing to spend that much on a treatment that might help or may make no difference to my pain or the progression of arthritis?

Words of caution: If you are planning to take supplements to treat arthritis or other conditions discuss this with your GP or Pharmacist.

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yourErgonomics at Work can mess with your Sleep Winnipeg

Alert: Winnipeg management, human resources, if all the employees at your company aren’t sleeping well, your office ergonomics might have something to do with it; thereby productivity too.

Most people spend a significant amount of time at their workplace, often about half their waking day or more. It’s only logical that an environment where people spend so much of their time can have an affect, and sleeping habits are one particular area of interest.

While sleep is not often a top priority for management or businesses in office environments, how fatigued or well-rested employees feel can have a big impact on their motivation, creativity and performance.

Yet why should sleep be a concern to managers and entrepreneurs? Isn’t how much or little people rest on their own time their own problem?

Well, research indicates that certain environmental and cultural factors within a company could affect employees’ (and an entrepreneur’s) sleep, for better or worse.

Make natural lighting a focal point.

Lighting can play a role. Humans’ internal sleep-wake clocks control when they feel tired or alert. This biological function is partially regulated by sunlight exposure, which can be scarce in many offices.

Researchers for a 2012 Swiss study found natural light exposure boosts productivity, and another recent study at Northwestern University found that the type of light in workspaces can affect people’s natural rhythms.

Workers whose offices had windows received more natural sunlight (“white light”) slept longer, obtained better quality sleep and had a superior quality of life, compared with those who had little natural sunlight exposure.

To maximize advantages, the researchers suggested placing employee workstations within 20 to 25 feet of windows. In offices with few or no windows, managers could consider creating outdoor break spaces or otherwise incorporating natural sunlight, particularly in the morning.

Encourage staff to take regular breaks.

Winnipeg office work these days usually revolves around computers, but hours in front of a screen can also affect rest. A 2007 study by Japanese researchers found that workers who spent more than six hours in front of computer screens were more likely to have insomnia, shorter sleep and daytime fatigue.

In many jobs, extended computer time is simply unavoidable, but allowing or encouraging frequent breaks for stepping away from the screen, stretching or taking a minute outside could help minimize effects.

Another factor to consider is activity levels. In many offices, people are sedentary most of the day working on computers or other desk-bound chores. But, extended sedentary activity has been linked to daytime sleepiness in people with sleep apnea — not to mention health problem.

One way to counteract this would be to provide standing work spaces or encourage periodic breaks to move around and stretch. Even a quick walk or short bursts of activity during the day can help.

Can you reposition a company’s sleep culture.

A company’s culture can show that it values or devalues rest and healthy-living matters.

Some corporate cultures encourage water cooler bragging about who is most sleep deprived and late nights in pursuit of deadlines. But is that really the ideal philosophy for a company in the long run?

Promoting healthy habits can help keep employees mentally fresh, creative and motivated, avoiding the burnout and fatigue that comes with long-term sleep deprivation.

Research on sleep deprivation places people at greater risk for developing certain illnesses. Drowsiness reduces learning, memory, problem solving skills, reaction time. Sleepy workers are also more likely to make errors on the job and are at increased risk for automobile accidents.

Back to kindergarten class, break out the mats and allow for regulated nap time

While it might seem initially counterproductive to encourage employees to take a snooze, quick naps are supported quite well by science.

Numerous studies show that napping improves alertness, learning and problem solving while reducing fatigue and stress. Naps of 10 to 30 minutes are thought to be best at improving alertness without causing sleep inertia.

In light of mounting research showing the multifaceted importance of sleep, several progressive companies have started to encourage positive sleep habits, including naps during the day.

Google actively promotes private nap spaces and positive sleep break philosophies, as do a diverse range of businesses and organizations, including The Huffington Post, Ben & Jerry’s, Nike, even NASA.

Some mattress companies suggest a nap room should seem like a natural fit for the office. They should encourage their employees to take a quick break if they think it will help them feel recharged. For me personally, I know a 10- or 20-minute afternoon nap provides a helpful boost when I have a busy schedule…even just quiet time; set of noise-cancelling headphones and a bit of meditation.

While not every office has the extra space or budget to dedicate to a nap room, Winnipeg managers could still create a nap-friendly environment by making it clear that it is OK to rest within cubicles or other designated areas during break times or whenever it makes sense for the office.

By promoting habits like taking frequent computer breaks and putting sleep on the agenda, Winnipeg business owners, managers and employees alike can create a healthier work environment more supportive of better sleep and long-term productivity.

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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.

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Seasonal Back Pain during Golf? Physiotherapy Winnipeg yourPhysio.com

Again? that seasonal back pain is back…and consecutive golf games are impossible, not to mention your regular league match at any of the golf courses in Winnipeg. One likely culprit; your hip flexors! Yeah, those muscles that lift your knee towards your chest are connected to your back, specifically your lower lumbar spine and pelvis.

During the downswing, the obliques and hip flexors are highly activated, creating a crunch-like position as your hips extend and your pelvis tilts (your belt buckle stays level, pointing forwards) while your chest remains over the ball.

The hip flexors are an important part of your core, working to maintain posture, generate power, stabilize the body, and to decelerate the lower body for efficient energy transfer coming into impact.

Maintaining the quality and function of your hip flexors is very important for maintaining posture through the downswing and impact, especially with the longer clubs, where the greater length of the club’s shaft increases the forces that must be absorbed by the body.

Your hip flexors attach from your spine to your legs.  When they are weak, they are not able to withstand the high forces of the longer clubs and are unable to hold your spine angle.  This results in early extension (loss of spine angle) as the hip flexors lengthen under high loads, resulting in a loss of spinal posture before impact.

 

The Foam Roller Hip Flexor Exercise is a great self-massage exercise that will give your hip flexor muscles (in the front of your hips) a deep and effective sports massage, thus improving the health and quality of your muscle tissue and helping you to perform better.  It will also alleviate soreness and make your muscles feel better.

The foam roller is available at most yoga studios or medical supply stores in Winnipeg; you may even get it covered by insurance! The movement over the roller overloads the muscle tissues through compression, causing your nerves to relax, signalling muscle spasms to shut off, pumping blood and and getting your lymphatic system flowing, to help muscle recovery and regeneration.  You’ll work out those knots (muscle adhesions) in your muscles caused either by inactivity, by the repetitive strain of the golf swing, or by walking a tough golf course.  This will enable you to stretch the muscles back out to their original length, making them more pliable and functional.

Be careful! if the back pain is acute, do not attempt this exercise without first talking to yourPhysio; exercises can be modified and tailored to your injury, and reduce your pain.

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Finally Spring in Winnipeg; Running outdoors? Marathon training? know yourPhysio Physiotherapy Winnipeg

Spring has finally sprung; first double digit day of 2014! Patios will be open, new potholes are waiting and the runners will be out in force…one almost ran into my Jeep in Charleswood…share the Road Winnipeg!

Nearly 60 percent of runners will experience injury in a calendar year.

Though that number is quite high, simple strategies can help most runners avoid injury. Running injuries are often related to training errors, such as increasing mileage too quickly, poor shoe break-in period or fit, and just being physically not ready for the season. Additionally, a structured strengthening and stretching routine can prevent the typical muscle imbalances that lead to injury from occurring.

 


Do

Do cross train

A runner will benefit from doing more than just running. Many running injuries relate to overuse, so taking days off from running to bike or swim will reduce the pounding stresses of running on the body. Plan for a beginner triathlon, take the kids for a longer walk or bike ride…yourPhysio can help with cross training if you are looking for different activities and workouts.

Do focus on weaknesses

YourPhysio can help to identify areas of weakness in a runner so a specific routine can be developed to address these potential areas of breakdown. It is best to consult with a physical therapist or trainer that has the experience and knowledge to identify and also get you on a workout routine that will help eliminate your weaknesses. Running isn’t just about your lower body strength. You must know how to breathe, how to kegel; and address the core muscles.

Do have a leg and core strengthening routine

Most running injuries occur because of muscle imbalance. Running does not strengthen the key stabilizing muscles needed to prevent the most common injuries. Thus, having a routine to strengthen these areas is crucial.

Do take time to recover

It is important to take time off from running to allow the muscles and tissues of the legs to recuperate. Rest days allow the body a break from the stress of running and prepare it for the next day of training. Sleep is a huge part of recovery, so be sure to get adequate rest.

Do seek out an expert

Past injuries often predict future injury. If you are chronically experiencing injury, consider seeking out an expert, such as a physical therapist, to help identify why you are vulnerable and to provide you with a corrective plan.

 


Don’t

Do not try to push through pain

The body gives us warning signals that something is not right. A great example of this is pain. Listen to the body and react to what it is telling you. Pain is usually a sign that an imbalance of strength or flexibility is stressing local tissues. YourPhysio can help you correct these problems. Rest is a good first step, but it usually does not correct the actual problem.

Do not run with a limp

If a runner can’t run without a limp they should not be running. Even a slight limp will most likely lead to other areas of the body being overly stressed. This scenario often results in having two painful areas instead of one.

Do not forget about stretching

Running requires the joints of our legs to move through dynamic ranges of motion. Leg muscles often need consistent stretching to be able to lengthen adequately for the sport of running. Stretching is especially important for runners who sit at a desk all day as these postures often tighten the leg muscles.

Do not forget about running form

YourPhysio can analyze your running form to correct inefficiencies that can lead to injury. Subtle changes to posture and form can have a profound impact on reducing the amount of stress placed on the body while running.

Do not try to rush things

It can take months to build up your running tolerance. Overuse injuries usually result from trying to increase mileage or intensity of training to quickly. Slowly progress all aspects of training to avoid the common pitfalls of training errors.

 


Summary

Preventing injuries while running is all about knowing your limits, adequate stretching, and cross training to help strengthen areas of your body that support you while running, like your core muscles. YourPhysio can be very beneficial to you if you are running either as a sport or just as a workout to build your cardio.

The Physio FitRun is May 10th! Entry forms are available at yourPhysio or at most private clinics in Winnipeg…and remember May is Physiotherapy Month in Canada…know yourPhysio!

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Canada’s Growing Demand for Ergonomics in Kitchens…for Aging in Winnipeg Place, for the disabled and the post Surgical

As the first Boomers move into their later 60’s, their growing demand for services, for activity and for health has spurred the demand for ergonomics in kitchen design.

Aging in place is a term used to describe a person living in the residence of their choice, for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes being able to have any services (or other support) they might need over time as their needs change.

To be clear: the act of aging in place takes place during a period of time in an elderly person’s life where they can have the things that they need in their daily life, while maintaining their quality of life.

The reason this distinction is important is because many people think aging in place will fix the problems they have in their lives. The only problems that can be fixed while aging in place are the ones that a person has planned for (i.e. finances, health, personal or health care, etc.).

The kitchen has always been a place for family and socializing. Making changes for aging in place in the kitchen space can greatly increase its usability and the safety of those that live there. With home modification, people will no longer have to spend less time in the kitchen as they age.

In a growing trend observed by the brand Smeg, European consumers are opting for compact appliances to give their kitchens a homogenous look and more efficient arrangement of appliances. Will this trend make it to Canada? to the USA?

One of the most popular trends in kitchen design is the demand for ergonomics with more and more consumers choosing a linear look for the placement of their appliances. Smeg, a leading Italian home appliance manufacturer, has observed this trend with a significant growth in the sales of its compact appliance range.

Smeg is the only brand to offer its appliances in two design styles – the classic stainless steel look and the linear look in stainless steel with glass. Both design styles are made in standard sizes and have matching aesthetics to ensure the kitchen gets a clean and homogenous look.

All standard compact appliances are 600mm wide and 450mm high and designed to be easily installed in a bank at midway level (chest or eye level) or under the bench. Smeg’s current range includes convection ovens with microwave, combination/steam convection ovens, dedicated steam ovens, microwave ovens with grill function and built-in coffee machines.

Appliances play a major role in a person’s ability to use and work in the kitchen safely and efficiently. Appliances that do not incorporate universal design, or that are placed improperly, can inhibit this. Select appliances that display information clearly, have convenient functions and are easy to use. Many appliance makers are incorporating universal design principles in their designs, which allow consumers to get a variety of more functional appliances. You should also consider investing in energy saving appliances, which will help you save money. Currently, the most popular placement of any appliance or storage cabinet is at the midway level since it ensures easy and safe access to a range of appliances without the need to bend or stoop.

As in lifting or reaching mechanics, the placement of load or where you interact with that load is of key importance.

Beware of your biomechanics. Know your Ergonomics.

Know yourPhysio Winnipeg!

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Consider your back, shoulders, hips when buying your next mattress Winnipeg…some tips from yourPhysio

Many people complain of back pain soon after they get out of the bed. Whether it be a combination of tight muscles, stiff joints or general aches, this is a common complaint at any age in Winnipeg.
Although, many fail to sense the link between the back pain and the bedding that they use, research has shown the influence the bedding can have on causing as well as relieving the stress from a persons back. When we go in search for bedding, we can see lot of varieties which are made in many different ways. Adding to this variety is our personal preference. The mattress should also match the framework of the bed. With all these considerations, the value we give to our health is probably low down in the list or not in the list at all.
The link between the bedding and back pain is associated with the malalignment of our body structures away from its natural alignment. When the spine is kept straight, which is the optimal shape to minimize stress towards the lower back, we can see that the ear, shoulder tip and the hip joint are in a straight line. Even when a person sleeps, this would be the optimal positioning for better stress distribution. In overly soft mattresses as well as in old mattresses, we can see certain body parts sinking more into the mattress than other parts of the body. This will upset the alignment and would either direct more stress towards the back or would not facilitate already stressed back muscles as well as the spine. Therefore, in order to avoid such back pains linked to your bedding, you can do the following:
1. If appropriate, the old rule was to place a piece of plywood to make the mattress more firm
2. Do shopping and choose a mattress which is soft as well as firm; many of the new ‘pillow-tops does this for you
3. Can sleep on the floor or on a firm surface with a soft covering to relieve pressure to the bony points.
4. Make use of a water or air filled mattress which could sooth the existing pain as well as relieve the stress in the whole body.
5. Do gentle exercises or stretching before getting out of the bed. Contact yourPhysio for appropriate exercise plans
6. Do not place extra pillows under your head, some may used behind the back, between or under your legs.
7. Position your bed at a adequate level to ease the work related to getting out of the bed.
When considering the link between bedding and the back pain, simple measures would go a long way in relieving this chronic problem. Therefore, the money that you spend for a perfect mattress would definitely be worthwhile when considering the suffering, the loss of productivity as well as the time you spend on your bed.