NeuroFocus Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic
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It’s Never Too Late!

Hello everyone! Today is March 1st and that means that Spring is just right around the corner! This is just a friendly reminder that it is never too late to start on the fitness goals that you set earlier this year! If anything, this beautiful weather that we will have coming up should motivate you even more!

As the sun starts to come around and as temperature start to cool you should consider going for a run or taking a hike out in our beautiful backyard of British Columbia!

Grab a basketball or your tennis racket and play outside for some sunshine!

Remember, all of us at Neurofocus is cheering you on as you strive for a healthier lifestyle!

Got Sore Neck?

Did you wake up this morning with a sore neck? Does it feel stiff and tight? Is it painful to look to your left and to your right?

Whether or not you’ve bene sleeping in an awkward position or may have done something strenuous last night, stiff necks are always an inconvenience.

Here are three tips to help you soothe the pain!

1) Massage and Stretch your neck:

You want to find the sore spot(s) and try your best to massage and relieve the muscle. IF you have a tennis ball laying around, you can push yourself up agains the wall with the ball and massage the sore muscle.

You can stretch your neck by bringing your ear to your shoulder or looking up at the ceiling. It is important to stop any of these stretches or massages if you begin to feel more pain or feel dizzy.

2) Utilize heat and cold:

You want to relieve the muscles by applying some heat in the forms of a hotpack or cold through ice/icepacks. The cold will help numb the pain and relieve any tension. The heat will help with promoting further blood circulation to the muscle.

3) Take medication:

IF the pain is unbearable and if it persists, it is recommended that you take some over the counter medicines to help relax and relieve the sore and tight muscles. This should be a last resort after you have tried the top two tips!

If the pain grows unusual and these three tips do not help, it is always good to consider seeing your family doctor in case there are any other complications.

Stay Safe!

Unfortunately, many falls and injuries occur in the comfort one’s own home. More often than not, your home may require you to go up and down a few steps in order to get around. This is a task that many individuals find difficult and have anxiety doing so. In addition, stairs become more difficult when you are recovery from an injury or illness. Here are a few tips to help you be more confident and safe when navigating through stairs in your home or outside in your community.

GOING UP:

If your set of stairs has handrails we advise you to use them! There is an important adage that is used when going up the stairs. Remember the phrase “UP WITH THE GOOD” when going up stairs. You want to lead up with your stronger leg and carry your other leg as you go up. This ensure that your strong leg takes all the weight and keeps you safe as you ascend.

You want to make sure that you stay upright, engage your core muscles and activate the glute to help bring your strong leg up.

GOING DOWN:

Once again if there are handrails, please use them as they will provide solid support. Building off the adage we mentioned earlier, when going down you want to remember the phrase “DOWN WITH THE BAD”. When you go down with the bad, it prevents you from putting all the weight on that weaker leg and use your stronger one for support. Once again, ensure that your core is engaged and that you stay upright.

Remember this is a simple rule that can help you out when going up down stairs within your home or in your community. However, there may be other factors involved such as gait aids or different styles of stairs/handrails. Also, if you need support to go up and down stairs, do not hesitate to ask a friend or family member! It is important that you always consult with your physiotherapist or occupational therapist in order to stay safe.

Do You Use a Walker?

Depending on your current condition, you may find yourself using need to use a walker to help you stay steady and balanced! Walkers are a great tool to help promote stabilization and safe walking.

Unfortunately, walkers can become a hindrance when used incorrectly. Here is are some tips to make sure that you are using your walker safely and correctly!

1) Make sure it is the right height!

Whether you have 4 wheeled walker or a 2 wheeled walker you want to make sure that the walker is not too high nor too low. A high walker can cause balance problems as you body may tilt back due to the extra height. A lower walker will have you slouch and will cause pain in your back and tension around your neck when you are walker.

If there is a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist around, they should be your first option in adjusting your walker as they know what will be correct for you.

However, if you need to figure it out on your own this is what you do:

Relax shoulders and have arm dangle down comfortably. The top of the walker should be the same height as the crease in your wrist.

2) Do not pull on your walker!

When you are standing up from a chair or from your bed, refrain from pulling up on the walker. The walker is not stable enough on the ground and when you pull on the walker, there is a risk of you losing your balance as you fall backwards. Instead, push up form the handles or from the bed when standing up.

Moreover, when sitting down, you want to back up into the chair or bed and make sure the back of your knees touch the surface. Once it is safe, reach back for the chair or bed to sit.

3) Do not pick up your walker!

Many times, people will pick up the walker as they walk forward. This removes the walker from the picture for a moment and increases the risk of you losing your balance. Keep the walker on the floor as you push it around.

These are a few tips to keep you safe with your walker! Remember that practice makes perfect and if you have any questions, it is best to ask your therapist.

New Year! New You!

In 2017, a survey revealed findings that in Canada, 33% stated that their New Year’s resolution was revolved around improving their fitness.

It is an amazing resolution to have! There are many ways to improve our fitness and health. You can eat healthier, exercise more, improve your sleeping habits and even strengthen healthy relationships! These are all great things but the number one thing that sticks out when improving healthy is going to the gym!

The gym is an excellent place to build muscle, improve cardio and relieve stress but it is also a place where injuries can occur. There are many machines and many ways to do workouts and one wrong more or a misuse of a machine can cause unnecessary injury!

As you venture into your new resolution of getting healthier and hitting the gym, consider these tips to keep you safe as you work out!

1) Ask for help! If there is a workout that you are unfamiliar with more often than not, there will be people around who may help you. Depending on the gym that you go to, there may be trainers and employees there who will be more than willing to help! 

2) Bring a friend! 

Bringing a friend to the gym not only makes it fun and bearable at times, but a friend can help spot you and assist you as you begin to lift heavier. Also, just like the last tipm your friend may have some experience and some tips to share.

3) Practice proper technique/mechanics!

This can also tie in with the first 2 tips as it is important to have feedback when practicing certain lifts such as the bench press, squat, deadlift to name a few. Always remember that form is way more important than how heavy the lift is. It is important that you stay aware of your form and body mechanics when going through workouts! Once again, feedback and help from others is important!

Body mechanics also helps when returning weights or moving equipment around. It is good gym etiquette to always return your weights and equipment so that the space is tidy and that the risk of injury is reduced. However, more often than not, we tend to move things around with bad body mechanics. We forget that we are still lifting things in the process and may injure ourselves when putting back weights or moving benches.

4) Have proper gym gear!

The right shoes and right clothes will definitely keep you safe in the gym. You wouldn’t wear high heels or steel toed boots to the gym right? Good shoes with support will help you maintain balance and even strength as you complete your workouts. Clothes that are not restricting/loose will help as well with lifts and reduce the risk of injury.

5) Stay hydrated!

If there is one tip that you do not forget, it is this. It is important to stay hydrated as you workout to reduce the risk of injury! Water helps fuel our bodies when working out and help remove the toxins in the process. Less water will make you feel tired and less energized to finish your workouts. No matter what you do, do NOT forget to hydrate!

Stay active during the Holiday Season!

During this busy and hectic time of the year, you may find yourself struggling just to find time to stay active and exercise! After all, this it is important to end of strong on whatever goal you have set!

Here are a few quick tips to help you squeeze in a workout amidst the holiday craziness!

1) Pack your gym clothes!

This is a relevant tip despite what season we are in! However, during these winter days, days are shorter and the gloomy weather outside may discourage you from heading to the gym. Try packing your gym clothes in your trunk so that you don’t have to go home before heading out to the gym. This way, you can go straight from work and avoid the temptation of sitting on your couch or “taking a rest” before going to your workout!

2) Take the stairs! 

Check this. In one minute, a 150 pound person can burn up to 10 calories walking up the stairs opposed to 1.5 calories when taking the elevator! Try taking the stairs a couple times a day instead of opting for the elevator and you may find yourself having to catch your breath sometime!

3) Stay up to day with Community programs!

Take a trip down to your local community centre and explore what programs and drop ins they have available! Squeezing in one day a week to play some drop in volleyball, basketball or some indoor soccer can go a long way! There are also fun dance classes or yoga classes as well!

4) Park further away! 

Just like taking the stairs during work or school, parking further away forces you to squeeze exercise in your day! Walking the extra few meters throughout the week can really add up!

5) Cleaning! 

As the year comes to a close, I’m sure you want to get rid of things and start of the new year fresh! Cleaning your home can be a workout in itself! Lifting boxes, squatting down to pick up things and walking throughout your home are all movements that can be counted as exercise! You also, kill two birds with one stone here as you can get your place ready for the holiday festivities!

It is important to understand that the little things can have a big impact in the end. A decision to take the stairs can keep your legs in shape and keep up your cardio. Being prepared by packing your clothes can help you get into the mindset of going to the gym after work. It is these little details that make an impact! The holidays will always be a crazy time but it is also important to take care of yourself and find ways to stay active!

What is posture?

Posture is a term coined to describe the way you sit or stand. Throughout the day, we are continually going from sitting to standing and at the end of the day we may find that our bodies ache and are in pain. Our posture, the way we stand and sit throughout the day can contribute to our discomfort.

Having poor posture can contribute to many things:

– Back and neck pain
– Poor balance
– Difficulty breathing

Poor posture comes from the weakness in your core and in the spine. There are muscles that help you stay upright throughout the day. When these muscles are weak, they lose the ability to hold you up and therefore you may slouch. These muscled become weak when one lives sedentary lifestyles and neglect exercising these muscles.

What to do?

– BE AWARE! IT is important to check your posture throughout the day and re-adjust if needed. Stand up and stretch after sitting after a long period of time. The more mindful you are of your posture, the more you can correct it.

– EXERCISE! The core muscles need to be strengthened in order to keep you upright. Find time to go to the gym or work with a physiotherapist to help you target the muscles that need to be strengthened.

– Evaluate your work area. Our posture can tend to go bad when we are at our work stations. Jobs that require you to be sitting for an extended period of time can be a risk to your posture. Check your area and find ways in which you can change it to better facilitate good posture.

For example, a standing desk or a higher chair can help you with your workspace.

It is important that we are mindful of our bodies throughout the day. A poor posture can be the reason behind the discomfort you may be feeling. The more aware we are about our posture, the more we are capable of fixing it when needed!

Have you ever experienced low back pain?

At some point in your life, you will experience some sort of lower back pain. Back pain can hinder you from completing simple everyday tasks like taking a shower or picking up something off of the floor. Low back pain can be nonspecific which means that it is not attributed or caused by a certain disease or injury. If you are experiencing lower back pain, it is recommended to take actions such as exercise and constant movements.

Here are some quick tips to help you relieve some lower back pain:

-Move! It may seem counterproductive when you are battling pain, but it is recommended to keep moving! Walking is a great exercise to help relieve some of the back pain you may have.

-Take a break from lift any heavy objects. Your back plays a big role when carrying objects, it takes quite a bit of load. It is important not to put your back at risk when you are feeling pain.

-Take any medication prescribed/non-prescribed that can help with some pain relief.

-Utilize heat therapy to help relax some of the muscles.

-Using an ice pack can help if there is any swelling. Ensure that here is a towel between the ice pack and your skin

If your pain persists and you are finding it more difficult to manage in and around your home. Please see your family doctor or consult with a physiotherapist!

When should you use the RICE method?

When should you use the RICE method?

If you have had an injury such as a sprain or a strain you may be familiar with the RICE method. Swelling and pain are the most common symptoms that come with injuries like ankle or knee sprains.

The RICE method stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Rest – Take time to rest and protect the area that is injured. Do not take part in any activity that could further damage the area.

Ice – Ice is used to reduce any swelling that has occurred. An ice or cold pack should suffice. It is recommended to apply the ice pack 3 or 4 times a day for 10 to 20 minute intervals.

Compression – Wrapping the affected area with a bandage can also assist with the swelling. Be cautious not to wrap it too tight or it could cause more swelling in the affected area.

Elevation – It is recommended to elevate the injured area on pillows or a bolster to help relieve swelling. It will also be helpful to use ice as you elevate the injured area.

Use these tips next time you injure yourself! This will help wit the swelling and make recovery faster!

What to do before surgery?

Are you or someone you love about to have knee replacement surgery? It can be a scary thought about replacing your knee but proper education and preparation can help you or a love one recover in less time and with less pain.

What to do before surgery?

Exercising before your surgery is recommended. Exercising helps with keeping your muscles strong, controlling your pain, reduce your body weight and helps build your knowledge of how to exercise after your surgery.

What to do expect after your surgery?

Recovery can take up to 12 weeks. We will highlight some exercises and things you can do within these 12 weeks to help your recovery go smoothly.

1-3 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY:

In these first weeks, it is important that you keep your knee pain and swelling under control. Use a combination of ice and heat to help with the swelling and pain.

Some goals that you may have within these first week are being able to bend your knee at least 90 degrees and being able to straighten your knee.

Exercises that can be done:

– Seated kneed bends (this can be done with assistance, using your good leg)
– Seated knee straightening

3-12 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY

After 3 weeks, your knee should feel better and you may be able to adjust your exercise goals and make your exercises harder. You might be given new routines and workouts from your physiotherapist to improve knee strength and balance.

Some goals:

– Fully straighten your knee
– Walk up and go down stairs normally
– Be able to ride stationary bike

Exercises that can be done:

– Standing knee bend
– Calf stretches
– Mini knee bends on kitchen sink (mini squats)
– Heel toe ups

These are just basic guidelines and some education on what to do before and after your knee replacement. It is important as the recovery process can go smoother if you are well educated about what to do! As you recover, continue to exercise and maintain a good level of activity to increase the life of your joint replacement.

You may notice that your muscles may be stiff and require stretching! Once again, ask your physiotherapist if there are any stretches that can be done to help relieve this stiffness and regain your flexibility.

Everyone is different! Always double check with your physiotherapist regarding what exercises you can or cannot do. Safety is the number one rule when recovering! Happy recovery!