Oct 13

How Candy Crush Is Killing You

Okay, the title may have been a tad dramatic. Candy Crush isn’t killing you but it is destroying your posture. Our bodies were designed for moving, not a sedentary lifestyle. Our ancestors would hunt mammoth and toil the fields, not play Candy Crush or sit in front of a computer for hours on end. Our muscles are made to be active and move, not lazy and still.

Too often do people complain of chronic injuries “reappearing” months, even years, after the healing has completed. The moment of resurgence is known to happened after, “a long day of work (at a computer), or for reasons unknown. It may be true that after a muscle strain unnamed.144417there is remaining scar tissue in the area (it’s your muscle’s band aid, it has to be there) but it’s your self-inflicted contributions that aggravate the area. This is why your Registered Massage Therapist is constantly reminding you to correct your posture and ergonomics, and sending you to your Physiotherapist when you haven’t done your exercise homework.

Let’s use laptops, computers, and cellphones for examples. We all hunch forward to be able to type on or view the screens of these devices. This rounds our shoulders forward and lowers our neck/head, causing tight Pectorals and anterior neck muscles while over stretching and straining our upper back and posterior neck muscles. This is what leads to that “tightshoulder and neck pain. We may not feel muscle pain or headaches at the exact moment of using these devices, but we will at the end of the day, while we sleep, or even months down the road, therefore not being able to pinpoint the exact cause or blaming it on an old injury which has already healed.

shutterstock_191728364-people-texting.144455An example of a delayed response to our horrible technology posture is, “I don’t know what I did. I just woke up and couldn’t move my neck.” Holding yourself in the exact same posture every day, hours at a time, contracts the same muscle over and over, meaning they are constantly shortening and remaining in that posture state. If you sleep on your side, or are the dreaded stomach sleeper, you are twisting those tight/shortened muscles while you sleep, forcing them into yet another shortened position. The second you then move that muscle as you toss and turn in your sleep, your stretching it from that shortened position too quickly and bam, muscle strain.

Postural correction is key to preventing this domino effect. Be consistent with your massage therapy appointments and stretching routines to ensure your muscles remain in a relaxed, elongated state. Strengthen those muscles to pull your posture back into a corrected, proper position. All to aid in muscle strain, tension headaches, and muscle pain prevention.

– Serena Dixon, RMT

Do you want to encourage a loved one to become healthier? Consider a gift certificate. We offer gift certificates for both massage therapy and physiotherapy. They also make gifts!

For more information about our services, see our website at: www.findyourbalance.ca

Aug 31

Improve Your Golf Game With Physiotherapy

With the warm weather around the corner, I promise it is around the corner, many people are itchy to get their golf clubs out.

Common injuries that affect golfers are back problems, neck problems, knee problems, rotator cuff tendonitis, golfers’ elbow, tennis elbow, and plantar fasciitis.

Let me explain four reasons these problems occur.

1. Golf involves a lot of rotation. Many of the joints in our body do not respond to the torsion through them and react with pain or injury.

2. Not all but many golfers are in the age category where arthritis starts to occur. This makes that joints vulnerable to inflammation and injury but does not mean that they have to stay painful or that you have to stop golfing.

3. The other factor as we age is that our muscles become less elastic. As a result, they can be more prone to tearing.

4. Gripping of the golf club.

Therefore, the two most important things about golfing include warming up the muscles and stretching the muscles before we start golfing. It is best to do the light warm up before you start stretching to make your muscles more pliable.
Warm muscles are more pliable and therefore are more elastic and less likely to tear. Stretching before golf should involve all of the major muscle groups. I will give you a few ideas of things you can do to stretch/warm up before golf.

What to do to stretch/warm up before golf:

1. Squat up and down 30 times to warm up the muscles of the legs.

2. Do large and small arm circles (30 of each) to warm up the arms.

3. Hold your golf club behind your upper back horizontally and twist back and forth in each direction 30 times.golf.122033

4. Hold your arm out straight to the front with elbow out straight and palm up. Then take your other hand and bend your fingers down towards the ground. Hold 15-30 seconds and repeat 2 times on each side.

5. Then hold your arm out straight with elbow out straight and palm to the ground. Then take your other hand and bend your fingers down to the ground. Hold 15-30 seconds and repeat 2 times on each side.

6. Stretch your head to your shoulder and hold 15-30 seconds on each side.

7. Bend forward and touch your toes and then extend your back backwards as far as is comfortable and repeat 10 times in each direction.

8. March on the spot for 30 seconds.

9. Take some practice swings.

In conclusion….

Golf is a wonderful way to stay in shape. Walking opposed to taking a cart will help to keep golfpicture.122656your muscles warm and pliable between strokes. To find out stretches that are more specific to you and the way that your body restricts your golf game, see your physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist can also teach you how to strengthen areas that you are having difficulty with. Improving your flexibility and strength will improve your golf game and prevent injury!

– Jennifer Smith, PT

Do you want to encourage a loved one to become healthier? Consider a gift certificate. We offer gift certificates for both massage therapy and physiotherapy. They also make gifts!


Aug 31

What Are You Waiting For?

You’ve been sitting at your work desk for 2 years and finally the shoulder and neck pains have become too much. Time to book your bi-annual massage. You’ve been shoveling snow, and shoveling snow…ignoring the rotator cuff and lower back pain that has creeped up. You’ll book a massage in the Spring. You’ve stood behind a cash register for 18 years, accepting lower back and leg pain as “part of the job”, so you simply pop an Advil and continue on with your day. You have decided masking the pain with medication is quick and cost effective. I ask: have any of these, or similar, solutions resulted in long term pain relief? Incrsport_massage_compression.102239eased muscle function or mobility? Are you content with living in pain? No? Then what are you waiting for?

It is sadly too common for a Registered Massage Therapist to hear from their patients, “I just couldn’t take it (the pain) anymore”, “my insurance ran out”, “I don’t have time for a massage”. You should never wait until the muscles have gotten to the breaking point – literally, they will strain (tear) – to seek treatment. Insurance is not the only way to receive a massage: save money time to time as a massage fund instead of a rainy day fund. Your health is very important and should be a priority. Ask friends and family for Massage Therapy gift certificates from your treatment clinic. Spread your insurance out to one treatment every month or two a year. Rob a bank…no, wait, don’t do that. Finally, make time for yourself and your health so your muscles do not reach the breaking point. Make this step easier by pre-booking appointments and making your health, your massage, and your muscles, a part of your regular schedule.

The more consistent you are with your massage therapy treatments the healthier and more mobile your muscles remain to help avoid muscle strains, trigger points (knots in the muscles), and pain. Using massage as a “quick fix” is less beneficial than using massage for preventing the issue in the first place. Of course unexpected strains and pains will occur even with consistent treatment (life happens) and your Massage Therapist is shutterstock_small_neck65812537.102328there for those times as well.

Remember, when an injury is recent and inflammation is still present, your Massage Therapist cannot massage directly over the area. Lighter, specific techniques can be used and surrounding areas can be massaged, but consider first booking an appointment with your Physiotherapist so she/he can help reduce pain and lessen the inflammation in the area. Wait several days (depending on injury severity) so your Registered Massage Therapist can then work through those tight muscles and any present scar tissue. Beyond unexpected injuries, keep your regular monthly to bi-monthly massage therapy treatments for injury prevention and general health.

– Serena Dixon, MT
Do you want to encourage a loved one to become healthier? Consider a gift certificate. We offer gift certificates for both massage therapy and physiotherapy. They also make gifts!

Jun 25

The Hidden Dangers of Your Favorite Pair of Flip Flops!

Capture.104816Ah, the warm days of summer have finally arrived and what does this mean? It is flippy floppy time! As good as it is to feel the air on your toes; your flip flops may cause a myriad of orthopedic conditions that might put a damper on your summer plans. When you make the sudden change from supportive boots to your flimsy flip flops, your feet, no, your whole body doesn’t have time to adapt to the new loads. Here is what happens to each part of your foot/body:

Toes: Your toes need to grip the small strip of fabric that is holding your foot in place. Over time, that repetitive gripping will lead to the overuse of muscles, which then can lead to painful inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis).  Also, the constant gripping with your toes can lead to hammer toes, which are contractures of the joints that cause the toe to bend abnormally and encourage bunion formation.

Bones: The overuse of the small structures of your feet can also lead to stress fractures in the bones.  These are caused by the repetitive trauma of walking without any cushioning to absorb the shock.

Arch/Heel: The plantar fascia is a thick band that runs from the heel to the ball of your foot, creating the arch. The lack of support in a flip flop can lead to inflammation of the plantar fascia, called plantar fasciitis. The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is a dull or sharp pain in the heel whenever you place weight on it or extend your toes. Also, open backed flip flops can promote heel pain by allowing the back of the foot to repeatedly raise off the shoe.

feet_iStock_000000510248XSm.105010Ankles and Up! When you are wearing flip flops, you are carrying your foot differently than you do in a more supportive shoe. You can actually change the way you walk! A study has shown that people who wear flip flops take shorter steps and hit their heels to the ground with less vertical force, which can throw off their natural gait. This sudden change in gait can trigger pain and problems in your ankles, knees, hip and even your low back!

Tips! Now that it finally feels like summer in Halifax, make sure to ease into wearing your flip flops. Start with wearing them for 15-20 minutes at a time to allow your feet and body to adapt to the different body mechanics. As your body gets used to this, you may start wearing them for a little longer, up to an hour. If you are planning to walk for longer, wear more supportive shoes or sandal. Here are some tips for the next pair of sandals to get:

• Find a pair that fit properly, without your toes or heels hanging (even a little) off the end.
• The Bend Test-if you can bend the flip flop right down the middle, it is too bendy! It should only bend at the ball of the foot when you need it for walking.
• Pick something that has a thicker sole and a little bump in the middle to create arch support.
Strap it in! Look for a sandal with a strap across the back or at least longer straps in the front in order to keep the foot on the shoe.
• A thicker and softer material, such as leather, will reduce blisters and provide more shock absorption.

If you found that you have moved too quickly into wearing your flip flops and now experiencing feet or ankle pain, book an appointment with a physiotherapist at Balance Physiotherapy. We can determine how to help with your pain and to get you back on your feet for the time in the sun!

– Erika Turner, PT

Do you want to encourage a loved one to become healthier? Consider a gift certificate. We offer gift certificates for both massage therapy and physiotherapy. They also make great birthday presents!

For more information about our services, see our website at: www.findyourbalance.ca