Physiotherapy Clinic in Ville-Saint-Laurent

Benefits & Risks of Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing is one of Canada’s most popular winter sports, with about 2.6 million people taking part annually. It has the double benefit of being both incredibly exhilarating and excellent exercise. It does come with risks though, so if you’re a regular skier, or considering taking up the sport, here’s what you need to know:

Benefits of Alpine Skiing

1. A mix of exercise types

Skiing is a great way to get some exercise, in particular because it combines both endurance and resistance training. This means that, compared to other sports, it packs more punch for the time spent; and it doesn’t even feel like work!

2. Boosts healthy heart

Research by cardiologists shows that alpine skiing is equivalent to cycling or rowing in terms of its benefits to heart health. A leisurely descent on a smooth run may not have quite the same impact as a heart-thumping hop through deep powder, but in either case you are helping your body to improve insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, lower blood pressure and lipids, and improve body composition.

3. Strengthens bones and joints

Skiing means bearing your weight on your legs, and using your knees to turn and move. This strengthens the larger muscles in the lower part of the body and the bones and joints in your legs, knees and hips. This can decrease the risk of osteoporosis and knee damage in the future.

4. Improves balance and coordination

Skiing is all about balance, and learning how to remain upright by using your core strength is a great way to retain your sense of balance as you advance in years – which can help you avoid falls. You also get to practice coordination and flexibility as you ski, which allows you to avoid strains and sprains more effectively too.

5. Boosts mood and improves sleep

Spending the day outside in the sunshine, breathing in the crisp air and experiencing the thrill of alpine skiing is sure to put a smile on your face. And the natural fatigue that comes after such exercise improves sleep duration and quality. Research shows that engaging in alpine skiing is also a great indicator of a generally active, healthy lifestyle.

Risks of Alpine Skiing

There is obviously a risk of injury when engaging in any type of skiing (or indeed any sport), but the risks can be significantly ameliorated by:

 

  1. Proper use of equipment
  2. Staying within your ability levels
  3. Consideration of the conditions

 

Changing weather, uncertain snow or ice conditions, busy slopes, or the presence of obstacles all make injury more likely and potentially more severe. It’s advisable, if you are a new skier, to take things slowly, remember to warm up beforehand and to stretch afterwards, and if possible seek the help of an instructor to ensure your form is designed to protect your body. Falling need not be injurious, as long as you know how to do it safely!

Fall in the elderly: causes and prevention

The population of Quebec, like the vast majority of Western countries, is aging. The evolution of our society allows older people today to have a more active lifestyle than before. To this effect, we place a high value on autonomy and home care. Nevertheless, a simple fall can turn an independent life into a dependent one. In Quebec, there are 14,000 hospitalizations following a fall of adults aged 65 and over each year. 20% of people in this age bracket who have suffered a hip fracture as a result of a fall, die within one year. 

 

Causes

It is known that between 30% and 50% of falls are related to environmental factors. Researchers have identified a number of hazards, at home and in public places, that contribute to falls. Tripping objects, poor lighting, slippery or uneven surfaces or stairs are common risk factors. 

 

The weakening of the body due to age can be accentuated by poor life habits. A sedentary lifestyle, a diet low in protein and calcium, as well as alcohol, all have consequences for the health of our bones. These habits make older populations even more vulnerable and increase the probability that a fall will occur and the resulting consequences will be serious (fracture). 

 

Biological and medical risk factors are also important. The aging of a person is accompanied by changes in the body (decreased muscle mass, increased fat and weakened bones). To these effects can be added a slowing down of reflexes, a decrease in eyesight, in mobility and in balance. Getting around then becomes more demanding and difficult. 

 

Prevention 

Physical activity is still the best way to reduce the risk of falling. Active people are in better shape and are more alert mentally. All the reasons are good to move: social activities, sports, clubs of all kinds. 20 minutes of daily exercise or at least three times a week, can greatly help with physical maintenance. In fact, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65  Years & Older) is an excellent source of information with suggestions for staying active and healthy. 

  

Strength and balance contribute to stability. It is therefore important to strengthen the legs to reduce the risk of falling, due to loss of balance. There are also many activities that help improve balance. Walking is a good example. When performed with walking sticks, this activity becomes much more stable, while increasing physical activity. Swimming is also a very good choice, as is cycling and golf. 

 

It is also possible to reduce the use of medications by taking on a healthier lifestyle. Good nutrition, lots of omega-3s, good sleep habits and exercise are the ingredients for maintaining good health. It is recommended that you have your prescription medications validated every year to make sure that you have the correct dose. This will help to try to reduce the amount of medication necessary. 

 

If you feel less and less stable when you are standing, do not hesitate to contact us to evaluate your strength, stability and balance. Our team of therapists will provide you with advice on exercise, nutrition and prevention. Do not let a fall put you down! 

 

Main tips for preventing falls 

  • In your home, reduce clutter and avoid loose carpets;
  • Make sure you have easy access to the bath or shower; 
  • Wear non-slip shoes and slippers with good support;
  • Have your vision and hearing checked every year;
  • Have your prescription medications validated regularly.

 

 

 

4 tips to fight seasonal depression

Autumn is truly in full effect with the end of daylight savings time reminding us of the dark winter months ahead. But the start of the cold weather is also synonymous with seasonal depression for a large number of people. Indeed, many persons suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and envision the next 4 months as a true nightmare. Generally triggered by poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, as well as a lack of light, this disorder can affect anybody.

SAD is not a myth and should be taken seriously, as it affects many people across the country, not just in Quebec. It is a mood disorder fueled by chronic fatigue that is in itself  a symptom of an imbalance in your health. Thankfully, there are natural remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of this affliction.

 

The symptoms

Seasonal depression is very similar to clinical depression. Indeed, its symptoms are virtually the same but what differentiates the two, is that in order to have a clear diagnosis of seasonal depression, these symptoms must be felt for at least two consecutive winters. Normally, thes effects of seasonal depression start at the beginning of October and disappear completely around the month of April.

In terms of symptoms more specifically, those affected will tend to isolate themselves, have a significant decrease in energy and will experience a lot of anxiety and irritability. Furthermore, those affected will tend to gain weight and suffer from hypersomnia (excessive tiredness).  In general, people with seasonal depression will also have a depressive mood throughout the day, which in extreme cases, can lead to suicidal thoughts.

 

Tips to reduce the effects of seasonal depression

1. Change your diet

With the cold weather on its way, our lifestyle will change, and this affects our diet in many cases. In the summer, all the markets are accessible: a great amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in season are offered to us, so it is easier to include them in our diet. However, when the cold weather arrives, we tend to become more sedentary and thus quietly neglect our nutrition by prioritizing refined and processed products. By adopting a healthier diet during this difficult time, you help your body to respond better to this lack of light.

Here are some key nutrients to adopt in order to help you regain your spirits:

  • Omega 3s: These contribute to the increase in production of serotonin. Omega 3 is responsible for mood management and is associated with a general state of happiness. You can find omega-3 in oily fish, linseed and chia seeds, walnuts, etc.
  • B Vitamins: several studies suggest that people with vitamin B2, B6, B9 and B12 deficiencies often have symptoms of depression. This vitamin is found in many foods such as: green vegetables, lentils, seeds, brewer’s yeast, wheat germs, oranges, etc. Do some research on recipes to help include them more often in your diet.
  • Avoid refined and processed products during this time of the year. Of course, it is impossible to eliminate them completely but it is important to watch your consumption. It may tempt you to consume more refined and packaged foods during winter time since these often represent quick and uncomplicated meals, but remember that they will not better your symptoms. Make a habit of meal prepping that will serve as pre-prepared meals for the week.

2. Get moving!

There is no point in trying to stick to an elaborate Olympian training plan, but adding simple physical activity to your routine will reduce your sedentary level. Physical activity allows the production of endorphins and neurotransmitters associated with feelings of well-being and pleasure. For example, if you normally take the bus to the metro, why not go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air instead? In addition, if your physical activities are done outside, you will enjoy the sun’s vitamin D and this is excellent for your mood!

 

Keep in mind that seasonal depression is largely caused by lack of light during this time of year. Try to make the most of the sun as much as you can. Make sure to dress warmly and enjoy the beautiful winter of Quebec; you will feel much better after.

 

3. Surround yourself with loved ones

As we all know, emotional and social bonds are essential to happiness. With the winter season coming, many tend to lock themselves indoors and avoid social contact. Keep in mind that it is important for you, and especially during this time of the year, to continue to be social as this allows you to relieve pressure and stress.

 

4. Adopt a fixed sleep schedule

Figure out the right amount of hours of sleep that are necessary for you, and try to respect it. One trick could be to establish a sleep routine that you repeat every night so that your body gets used to it, which will help reduce your sleep problems. When a person suffers from seasonal depression, taking naps may seem like an option to get through their day. But by getting your body to sleep for a long part of the day, it can actually exacerbate your seasonal depression by making you feel groggy and will not improve your symptoms.

 

We hope this article has given you some tips for getting through this difficult season. Know that it can also be beneficial to use our services if you think you suffer from seasonal depression. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on the subject!

4 tips for avoiding injuries during your fall chores

With the falling leaves and Halloween on our doorstep, autumn is already in full effect. During this time of year, many of us are busy preparing our homes for winter. These outdoor activities can become very challenging if you work too quickly, or perform the wrong moves and do not take the time to warm up. Here are our tips for avoiding injuries during your fall chores.

To prevent injuries :

1. The golden rule

The golden rule to avoid hurting your spine is never to exceed the length of your arms in your movements. Indeed, if you go beyond this personal threshold, it is your spine that will suffer the repercussions. Whether you prune trees, rake leaves or clean the exterior of your home; always follow this rule. Do not forget to use a stepladder to be at the appropriate height.

 

2. Pick up the leaves without pain

Raking leaves on the ground can be a very effective activity to stay fit. On the other hand, it is important to use the right technique and the right tools. Opt for a rake with flexible blades with a fan-like shape. The task might take a little longer, but will be more enjoyable and less difficult for your arms. Decrease the tension on your back by placing one leg forward and the other behind. Alternate your legs and hands from time to time. In this way, you will always keep your center of gravity in the right place. Finally, avoid picking up leaves during rainy weather. Their weight increases considerably and exercise becomes much more difficult physically.

With its pickup bag, your lawn mower can also be a very effective method for picking up dead leaves. You only have to adjust the levers to the appropriate height for mowing. This way, you will pick up the leaves without mowing the grass. This method is much less demanding on your body, but just as effective.

 

3. Moving heavy objects without injury

Fall is also the time to put away your hoses, close the pool, store your BBQ and install your snow shelters. These activities may require you to lift and move heavier objects. It is important to follow the basic rules to lift these loads carefully.

First, approach the object and put your feet at the same width as your shoulders. Your feet and head should point to the object to be lifted. With your knees bent and your back straight, use the muscles of your legs and arms to lift the load while keeping it close to your body. To remove the load, bend your knees first, then maintain control while you unload.

 

4. Warm up and appropriate stretching

Remember to gradually warm up and stretch your muscles at regular intervals throughout your workday. A general warm-up of 5 minutes is also required to prepare the body by raising the temperature of the muscles, joints and tendons. If a warm-up is important at the beginning, it is also recommended to stretch at the end of the day. Do not hesitate to consult your health professional. They will be able to detect and help prevent many ailments.

Finally, to avoid hurting yourself, work progressively. Also take breaks as often as possible and don’t rush to finish the work before the first snowfall.

 

Fun tips

  • Use your fallen leaves to fill up garbage bags designed for Halloween decor. Why not? We can have fun while working!
  • Take a break in an orchard near you to handpick apples from Quebec. You are all aware of the proverb: an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

4 ergonomic tips for a return to work without injury

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for our clients to report having difficulty working because they feel that their work environment does not support their recovery. Indeed, the majority of the population has a job that requires sitting in front of a computer all day, which can be very harmful in the long run.

Pain due to bad working posture can go from neck pain, to tendonitis or capsulitis in the shoulder, back pain or hand numbness. To help you heal or simply to avoid injury, here are four ergonomic tips to help you get your workstation in order.

1. Your seat

First of all, we believe that adjusting your seat is the basis of good office posture. Make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor when you sit down and your feet are on the floor. You should not feel uncomfortable pressure under your thighs.

The depth of the seat is a point often forgotten, but very important. In fact, adequate depth of your seat is when it supports the thigh over its entire length without trapping the back of the knee. Check that there is no pressure on the back of the knees when your feet are well supported and your back is leaned into the back of your chair. If you feel discomfort behind your knees, it means your seat is too deep.

As for the back of your chair, it is supposed to help you keep the natural curvature of your back at the lumbar level. In fact, make sure that the height of it is positioned to support the hollow part of the back. It is also suggested to tilt the back of your chair slightly so that the weight of your upper body is partially supported to lighten the work of your back muscles.

As for the armrests, these are not mandatory if your elbows stay as close to the body as possible and your shoulders remain relaxed. However, if your armrests are well adjusted, they can still offer support to your arms and shoulders. Adjust them so that, once supported, your arms are parallel to your body and your shoulders are relaxed. Keep in mind that your armrests should not stop you from getting closer to your work surface.

2. The keyboard

In order to determine if your keyboard is in the right position, first you must make sure that when you are in your working position, your forearms are roughly parallel to the floor and your elbows are close to your body. As mentioned earlier, your shoulders and neck should be relaxed. If you cannot adjust the height of your keyboard, it is necessary to change the height of your chair to respect the aforementioned position of your forearms. Also, your wrists should stay straight; think of them as the extension of your forearms.

3. The screen

First of all, it is important that your screen is placed in front of you and not to the left or right of your field of vision. This could cause you to have eyestrain in addition to neck, shoulder and back pain. The height at which the screen should be varies and depends on your personal comfort. However, we suggest as a benchmark that your eyes be at the same level as the top of the glass part of the screen. Regarding the distance at which the screen should be, we suggest the approximate measure of one arm. On the other hand, the distance can vary according to the one of each individual.

4. Your office supplies

Place the items you use most often near your arms. For example, your phone should be easily accessible when you are sitting in front of your computer. Also, make sure there are no loose objects under your desk that encourage an unnatural posture. Do not hesitate to keep your work environment as organized as possible in order to adapt it to your needs.

We hope that these tips will help make your return to work easier this fall. Do not hesitate to contact us to make an appointment if you have questions!

Benefits of massage therapy

Our clinic now offers a service of massage therapy with Tony Huynh a massage therapist and kinesiologist. This treatment approach was considered as an alternative approach for a long time but is now growing in demand since a couple years. We are really proud of adding massage therapy to our service offer since we know that this practice could be beneficial for a lot of people. This form of therapy involves hands-on techniques that are extremely beneficial. Here are 5 benefits of massage therapy:

1. It is relaxing and can help reduce stress

It is proven that when the body is tense and under stress, it automatically produces cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol can contribute to a lot of health problems as weight gain, insomnia, digestive problems and headaches. Massage therapy is a good option to decrease the cortisol level in your body because it helps the body to enter a recovery mode that lead to a lasting feeling of relaxation, an improved mood and a reduced stress level.

 

2. It reduces muscle pain

If you are a person that suffers from a lot of muscle pain, massage therapy could be the solution for you. In fact, massage increases and improves circulation which lead to an elimination of tense muscles, an increase of your flexibility and it provides relaxation to your tense muscles as well as your body as a whole.

 

3. It improves sleep

Massage encourages a restful sleep since it fully relaxes your body. It also helps those who can’t otherwise comfortably rest. A massage loosens your muscles and reduces your stress level, which leads your mind quiet enough to slip into a deep sleep. Moreover, you will find yourself more rested and energized in the morning.

 

4. It helps with anxiety and depression

There are many reasons why the way the body relaxation response from a massage could be beneficial for people suffering with anxiety and depression. A human touch in a safe and professional context can be really therapeutically for some people. Moreover, a massage can actually increase serotonin and dopamine, hormones that are known to increase the feeling of happiness and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.

 

5. It helps to increase your immune system

It is proven that people that experience high levels of stress are more vulnerable to illness and injury. Stress is usually combined with sleep deprivation and poor nutrition, which impact directly the immune system. Massage helps stimulating the lymphatic system that is connected with the body’s defense system. A regular massage session will not only help you reduce your stress level but also boost your immune system.

 

These 5 benefits of massage therapy are only the beginning. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information about our new services or if you want to make an appointment with Tony Huynh a massage therapist and kinesiologist.

How To Prevent Pain When Moving House

Everyone knows that moving house is a hectic, stressful experience. But it’s also potentially dangerous. Back injuries, muscle strains, harm to fingers and toes, and even hernias are all common but avoidable afflictions when moving. Stay safe and avoid pain when you move by following these simple rules:

 

1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

A rushed move is far more likely to result in avoidable accidents as you scramble to get everything done. Similarly, trying to do too much on one day is far more likely to cause a muscle fatigue that could be leading to an injury. Pace yourself – try packing a little each day, rather than attempting to do everything at once.

 

2. Plan Ahead

Try to arrange it so your move is as easy as possible. For example, moving during the winter is more dangerous, as the risk of slipping is greater. Asking for help from friends and family in advance will help you avoid becoming over-stretched and rushed. And keeping pets and children out of the way will reduce the chances of them or you having an accident.

 

3. Pack Sensibly

It’s tempting when moving to fill every box to the brim and maximize packing efficiency, but consider your own lifting capacity before doing this. A full box may be too heavy for you to carry without causing a back injury. A general rule for box weight should restricted around 10-15% of your body weight. It’s also important to use proper packing materials to wrap dangerous or sharp objects, such as kitchen knives, so you don’t inadvertently hurt yourself.

 

4. Use Proper Equipment and Clothing

The equipment you use during your move can help reduce the risk of pain and injury. Wherever possible, take advantage of moving dollies, furniture pads and straps. Closed-toe, flat shoes, thick gloves, and comfortable fitted clothing all also help to keep your body safe by preventing trips and protecting your extremities.

 

5. Tidy the Clutter

It’s normal for a house to be in disarray as you prepare for your move, but tripping – especially when carrying boxes or furniture – can cause real harm. Keep pathways clear at all times, both inside and outside, and always watch where you’re going.

 

6. Take Care of Yourself

It’s important to take care of yourself throughout the moving process. This includes getting plenty of sleep, hydrating, eating, taking breaks, warming-up before any heavy lifting to keep muscles warm, and using proper lifting techniques. When carrying anything heavy, bend your knees and lift with your legs. Move slowly and steadily, putting the object down the moment you feel tired to avoid back strain. Know your own body’s limits, and stop if you have to.

 

Moving is difficult enough without adding physical pain to the mix, so bear these tips in mind to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible.

Benefits of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is not just for one-off, serious injuries, and it’s not a form of alternative medicine either. Many people mistakenly assume physiotherapy is not for them, when in fact it is one of the most effective tools in relieving everyday aches and pains. There are many ways in which physiotherapy can help with a range of injuries and illnesses; here are some of the most significant:

1. Back Pain

Back pain has many causes, from injury to poor posture, and up to 85% of Canadians will experience it at some point in their lives. Physiotherapy treatment depends on the root cause of the pain, but in general it relies on strengthening the affected and surrounding muscles, improving posture and mobility, and reducing stress on the area. An experienced physiotherapist will also be able to provide guidance on how to avoid future back issues.

2. Knee Pain

Physiotherapy and medication have been found to be as effective as surgery for combating knee pain. Knee pain can be caused by muscle tightness, arthritis, specific injury or obesity, and can severely restrict mobility. Treatment focuses on identifying and treating the source of the pain, thereby relieving the aches that come with normal everyday use.

3. Obesity

Obesity is a major source of discomfort, as it puts enormous pressure on many of the joints. But exercising when obese, and when your joints already hurt, is incredibly difficult, making this a self-reinforcing problem. Physiotherapists are able to help patients develop exercise routines that don’t stress their joints but still allow them to make meaningful progress towards weight loss and increased mobility, which in turn relieves the aches and pains of overworked joints.

4. Pain Associated with Aging

For many seniors, chronic pain seems like a natural part of the aging process, but it need not be. Whether it’s from arthritis, nerve pain or muscular deterioration, pain associated with aging can be relieved. A quick-fix solution is not possible, but quality of life can be vastly improved with a course of physiotherapy.

Research has shown that quality of life, need for surgery, use of medications and re-occurrence of injuries are all improved with the help of a qualified physiotherapist.

Make an appointment today with one of our physiotherapists to help you relieve your pain.

Physio Proactive, 2018.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and How Physiotherapy Can Help

What is it?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, found in the arm, gets trapped and squeezed by swollen tendons as it passes through the wrist to the hand. It can be quite uncomfortable and causes numbness, pain and tingling in the thumb, index and middle finger of the affected hand. Over time, if untreated, it can lead to muscle weakness, loss of grip and chronic pain.

Who can get it?

Anyone can get carpal tunnel syndrome, but women are more at risk than men; it is most often related to work activities, including repetitive movements, but can also be due to genetics, arthritis, thyroid disease, obesity or pregnancy. It is most common for both hands to be affected and for symptoms to start gradually and worsen through the night.

What are my treatment options?

Surgery is only an option for carpal tunnel syndrome in the most severe cases. Frequently non-surgical measures such as medication and physiotherapy are more useful and practical. Steroidal injections, splints and anti-inflammatory drugs are all used to help alleviate the symptoms.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy can be instrumental in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. A physiotherapist can:

  • Assess the possible causes and educate patients about how to avoid aggravating the affected area.
  • Provide exercises to lessen pain, increase muscle strength and release the trapped nerve.
  • Provide ultrasound or TENS therapy to decrease pain.
  • Recommend additional therapies or medications, such as massage therapy or acupuncture.

How to avoid getting it?

Steps to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Being physically active.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Taking frequent breaks when performing repetitive tasks.
  • Regular hand and wrist exercises.
  • Correct form when repeatedly using hands and wrists – for example, do not grip objects too tightly for long periods of time, or stay immobile in an awkward position.

Not all factors that cause carpal tunnel can be avoided, so the key to preventing long term pain is to recognize symptoms early, and seek professional help immediately when there’s a problem.

Make an appointment today with one of our physiotherapists to help you relieve your pain.

Physio Proactive, 2018.

How to Prevent Falling in Winter

Falls are more than just embarrassing – they are the primary cause of non-fatal injuries in adults over the age of 45. Winter is full of falling hazards, so knowing how to prevent falls is crucial. Here are some tips to help you stay active, even in the coldest weather.

 

1. Appropriate Shoes

High-heeled or slick-soled shoes do not work well on ice. The best choice in winter are flat, rough or rubber-textured soles that offer plenty of grip. You can also attach temporary shoe covers with ice grips. These are inexpensive, re-usable, and readily available from sporting goods or shoe stores.

 

2. Accessories and Rails

Assistive devices such as canes and walking sticks can be modified with a spiked tip to help dig them into the ice. And for those walks around populated areas, handrails are a simple but effective way to steady your balance and stay upright. They’re there for a reason, so use them!

 

3. Look Where You’re Going

Watching your step is the number one way to avoid mishaps. You can circumvent slick patches and trip hazards if you pay attention. Often a clearer route is available, but if not, knowing the lay of the land will inform you how to proceed safely. To this end, get your eyes checked. You can’t avoid a hazard if you can’t see it!

 

4. Slow Down

Falls are significantly more likely when you’re rushing or multi-tasking. Slow down; take small careful steps. When in doubt, walk like a penguin. Looking at your phone affects your balance and increases fall likelihood, so steer clear of distracted walking.

 

5. Avoid Unnecessary Risks

Lastly, use some common sense about when it’s safest to go out. If there’s a freezing rain storm forecast, you may be better off delaying your plans to another day wherever possible.

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the winter weather and stay healthy, as long as you remember to put safety first.

 

Did you already experienced a fall and you are still feeling it on your body?

Make an appointment today with one of our physiotherapists to help you relieve your pain.

Physio Proactive, 2018.

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