Tendon problem – Is rest always helpful?

Have you been resting an injury, and your symptoms are worse or not improving? This can happen if you have an injury to a tendon. An injured tendon is typically a result of over-using the tendon or doing “too much, too soon”. The tendon can become irritated because it does not have the tolerance for the activity. The irritation to the tendon can be what is causing the symptoms.  

Research is indicating that rest can limit the tendons ability to heal. The tendon needs to be used to promote healing and for symptoms to improve; however, the activity needs to be modified to stay within the tendon’s tolerance. A tendon can typically handle an activity if it causes less than 3/10 pain during the activity, and the symptoms resolve quickly afterwards. For example, an Achilles tendinitis may develop when progressing a 5 km walking program too quickly.  The Achilles tendon doesn’t have a tolerance to 5km, so it creates heel pain. A 2 km program may be more appropriate until the tendon can tolerate a longer walk. 

So, if you are struggling with an injury that isn’t improving with rest, then you should try moving! If you’re unsure on how much you should be doing, then it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with a physiotherapist!  Need help with a tendon problem?  We can help with your specific exercise design. Contact us at 738-8299.

Mairi Simonds -Forster, PT

Mairi is a physiotherapist at the Human Performance Centre. You can contact her at 738-8299.

Physiotherapy in a World of Covid-19

In the November 2018 edition of the HPC Newsletter, Earle Burrows, PT, highlighted how the formation of the physiotherapy profession was in response to the need to improve the physical function of WWI soldiers (which interestingly, in 1918, was followed by the Spanish Flu Pandemic). This role extended into WWII, evolving again during the 1950’s polio epidemic in Canada, but serving a different population, children rather than soldiers. The profession continued to evolve through the changing needs of public health, from a solely disease driven mission, to one of prevention, research based practice and providing streamlined and timely services locally and remotely. 

Now, as in the youth of our profession, we are forced to evolve the physiotherapy profession to address our changing world, dealing with another pandemic, Covid-19.We are providing the same evidence-based services in a new, and streamlined environment, through tele-health (virtual appointments), with new procedures for the safety of all, during ‘face-to-face’ appointments. 

Through time and research, scientists and medical professionals are understanding more about Covid-19. Patients may be hospitalised for extended periods of time due to respiratory illness, resulting in a significant loss of muscle mass, and therefore loss of strength and balance. As well, their cardiac system may be compromised. These are the known short-term effects of this virus, for which physiotherapy has a role to again improve the physical function of Canadians. The long-term effects of Covid-19 are now being monitored through research, with which the physiotherapy profession will be involved. 

New Brunswick, fortunately, has had fewer cases of Covid-19 than the majority of Canada. Physiotherapists in the hospital system have been using their already well established skill-sets to treat patients, with rehabilitation continuing in the hospital and private sector, to soften the impact of Covid-19 on society. Yes, We Can Help.

Patricia Sennett, PT

Patricia is a physiotherapist at the Human Performance Centre.  She has an interest in female pelvic floor problems. You can contact her at 738-8299.


Get Those Hips Moving…We Can Help!

Often overlooked, but an important step in understanding how our bodies move is the ability to dissociate between lumbar spine and hip movement. For some this comes intuitively, but for others it requires practice.

Why is it important to dissociate between lumbar spine and hip movement?

  1. For a healthy individual, variety of movement is important. Dissociatingbetween lumbar spine and hip movement gives us another way to move our bodies. It can break up periods of repetitive bending from your spine, which will help reduce your likelihood of injury.
  2. For an individual with acute low back pain it provides a safer means to continue performing everyday tasks when recovering from an injury.

Oftentimes during a spell of acute low back pain, people are encouraged to stop lifting; to stop bending; to stop slouching, yet many of our essential daily tasks require us to do some form of the above. For example, how are we to pick up our house keys after dropping them on the floor, if we are not supposed to bend?

A quick and easy exercise to practice, for those with and without low back pain, is called a ‘hip-hinge’. Take a large stick (I often use a broomstick) and place it against your back. The stick should run the length of your spine. Hold the stick to your spine with one hand behind your head and the other below your tailbone. The stick should touch your body in 3 different places: 1) your pelvis 2) between your shoulder blades, and 3) the back of your head. Feet shoulder-width apart and allow for a soft bend in your knees. Maintain the three points of contact and try bending forwards from your hips. It should feel as though you are sticking your buttocks backwards, and you may feel a stretch in the back of your thighs. If you lose any point of contact, stop and try again. Repeat this up to 10-15 repetitions, 2-3 times a day. If you’re experiencing any discomfort, stop.

If you’re struggling with low back pain and eager to learn more about it and the things you could be doing to help, contact us at (506) 738-8299 to book an assessment.

Trevor Watson , PT

Trevor is a physiotherapist at the Human Performance Centre. You can contact him at 738-8299.

Physiotherapy and Massage and the Fitness Centre are open!

Please call us at 738-8299 or email reception.hpcphysio@gmail.com to book an appointment for Physiotherapy or massage. Our Gym is open, call 738-3554 or email sarah.hpcphysio@gmail.com for inquiries.

Fitness Centre to open June 8th, 8am

Dear Fitness Centre Members, 
We have exciting news that we will begin our phased re-opening of the fitness centre on Monday, June 8th. It has been challenging to orchestrate a plan that we feel will allow us to open our facility safely and efficiently for both you and our staff. There’s just one thing……we are going to need your help in order to make this work. Here are some details that you need to know. We ask that you have patience and understanding as this is difficult for all of us. If we can all follow these guidelines things should roll out smoothly. 

  • We will begin with Phase 1 hours as Monday – Thursday 8am to 8pm and Friday 8am to 4pm. There will be no unstaffed hours and no hours on the weekend. 
  • It is MANDATORY that you have your own mask to wear as you pass through the hallway to enter into and exit out of the fitness centre. You will not be allowed in without one. We encourage you to wear it while exercising if you are able. We ask that you respect all members and physical distancing guidelines as you move around the facility (look for the markings on the floor).
  • We will be limiting the number of members at any one time to 10 on a first come first serve basis.  
  • The water fountain, lockers and showers will be out of service.  
  • We ask that you arrive in your exercise attire to avoid using the change rooms unless for the toilet and for hand washing.  
  • We ask that you be as prompt as possible with your workout and avoid any unnecessary time in the facility. We don’t want to set a time limit if we don’t have to.
  • We ask that you wash your hands for 20 seconds with either soap and water or hand sanitizer before and after your workout. 
  • You MUST thoroughly wipe down each piece of equipment as you finish using it. 
  • There will be some equipment removed that cannot be properly disinfected. 
  • There will be some equipment put out of service to assist with physical distancing measures. 

 It is unclear how long each phase of re-opening will last and may be changed or modified as we see fit. We are hopeful phase one won’t have to be too long and also that we won’t have to move back and forth through these phases. Together, we can all do our part to ensure everyone’s health, safety and wellness and move forward to a more normal Human Performance Centre.  If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to email sarah.estabrooks@humanperformancecentre.ca. Check our facebook page or website often to stay up to date as the situation may change frequently.  
We look forward to seeing everyone soon. 

Working from a home office? We can help!

When our work suddenly gets shifted from our workplace office to a home location not everyone has the space or equipment needed to ensure proper ergonomics. Here are a few important tips to remember no matter where you are completing your computer work.

We can decrease our risk of overuse injuries, especially if our temporary workstation conditions are not ideal, by sharing our time between sitting and standing workstations. The time at each does not have to be strict so long as you are not at either for too long. 60 minutes at one and 30 minutes at the other or any time frame close to this would be fine. The idea is to shift the pressures and stresses from one area of the body to another.

Also, taking adequate rest breaks from computer tasks is very important. Every 45 to 60 minutes take 30 seconds or a minute to take a short walk, use the washroom, get a drink, do a few stretches or anything that gives you a microbreak from the computer.

Vary your work tasks whenever possible so you are not spending too much time on any particular task. If your work requires you to spend some time typing or data entry, time internet researching, reading documents for review and time spent on the phone try to divide your time spent on these tasks to vary the activity you are doing. You can also vary the position you are in when completing the tasks (I.e. stand for telephone use or sustained reading and then sitting for typing and data entry tasks).

The last important key is to know that small changes are a good thing. If something doesn’t feel quite right then move it around slightly. Sometimes something will feel good one day but the next day feel a bit too low or a bit too high, then move it slightly. These recommendations are only guidelines and any position for too long is not good for us.

Sitting workstation

  • Ideal to have elbows and knees at 90-degree angles where the hip is level with the knee or slightly above and the forearms are level with the work surface or slightly above.
  • Ensure good support for the lower back with a proper chair and provide additional support with a pillow or rolled up towel if necessary.
  • Provide support for the feet so they are not hanging and placing pressure on the back of the thigh.
  • Monitor should be placed at arms length or further away so long as you can read the font without struggling. Try to estimate the 15-degree angle position (as indicated in the picture below). Also, angle the monitor away slightly.
  • If working from a laptop, use a wireless keyboard and mouse whenever possible and elevate the laptop to achieve a better monitor position. Angle the laptop screen away to better align the head and neck.

Standing workstation

  • If you have the option of alternating between a sitting workstation and standing workstation.
  • Try to mimic the same upper body positioning at your standing station; elbows level with work surface, wireless keyboard and mouse, laptop propped up and angled away slightly.
  • Try to avoid prolonged standing on a hard surface without support under your feet. Using a floor mat or wearing a pair of shoes or sneakers can help fight fatigue in the legs and back and take pressure off the feet.
  • Keep in mind that your monitor can be closer than arms length at your standing station if it feels more comfortable to be closer. It may also feel more comfortable for the monitor to be slightly higher than when in sitting.
Sarah Estabrooks, Kinesiologist
Sarah Estabrooks is a Kinesiologist and runs the Fitness Centre at the Human Performance Centre.
She can be contacted at 738-3554

Feeling stiff? When stretching may not be the right answer…

Feeling stiff? When stretching may not be the right answer…

Have you ever been told that you should stretch your tight hamstring? Wondering why your daily stretching routine hasn’t helped? Discouraged due to recurring injuries despite your effort in a proper warm-up stretching routine? Unfortunately, managing that tight hamstring may not be as simple as stretching alone, and this applies to every muscle in your body.

Stretching is often used as an effective way to help treat a muscle that has undergone physiological change causing it to shorten. A truly shortened muscle is able to fully relax; yet it remains short. This typically affects your flexibility and is most noticeable during specific activities.

When stretching becomes ineffective is when we try to stretch a muscle that feels tight, but has not truly shortened physiologically. A muscle that is tight but not “short” is often a muscle that is unable to fully relax due to some underlying cause. Rather than stretching this muscle, the most appropriate way to treat it is to find the reason why it is unable to relax.

The reason for why a muscle will not relax may vary person to person. It may be due to a previous injury to the muscle or tendon. It may be protecting other areas from further harm. It may be due to weakness within the muscle itself.

If you find yourself frequently stretching with no success, visit us at the Human Performance Centre for a personalized treatment approach to get you back feeling the way you deserve.

Trevor Watson is a physiotherapist at the Human Performance Center. You can contact him at 738-8299

Physiotherapist needed! Click for information.

Are You Prepared for the Change of Season? We can help!

Every year, this time of year, I begin to get anxious and dread the darkness and dreariness of late fall. I love fall and I also love winter but I really struggle with the time in between. The very short daylight hours, the cold wet rains and lack of bright sunshine and time spent outside really impact my mood, my activity level and my productiveness……I really think I was meant to hibernate.

Knowing that I can’t curl up in a ball on the couch and suffer through these next two months has me thinking ahead with a game plan of how to address these hurdles.

1. If there is a glimpse of sunshine I get outside. I try to go for a walk, go for a drive, sit out in a lawn chair or anything else I can think of to get me in the sunshine.

2. I choose to sleep more. I try to go to bed a bit earlier since the evenings are so long and really stay on top of my rest. This helps me feel rested and more motivated to exercise.

3. Exercise…..yes, I purposely plan my exercise routine as I would be very likely to skip it if it is rainy, dark or cold; even if I was planning to exercise inside. This helps to kick start those exercise endorphins and boost mood.

4. I participate in a hobby that requires very good lighting. I enjoy knitting, card making and reading. These all require me to focus for an hour or so with very good lighting tricking me into thinking I’m exposed to more light as well as feeling more productive.

5. Even if the skies are dark but clear and especially if the moon is bright I enjoy stargazing. If it is going to be dark I might as well take in some of the beauty in the night’s sky. I particularly enjoy the full moon over water so I may go to the local beach to take it in.

6. I take comfort in knowing that December 21st is the shortest day of the year and that the bright snow and longer days in January and February signal the turn of the corner.

If the weather this time of year begins to impact your desire to get active, we can offer you a fun, bright, dryplace in our fitness centre. Visit us to see our facility during staffed hours and pick up a free day pass.

Sarah Estabrooks, Kinesiologist

Sarah Estabrooks is a kinesiologist and runs the Fitness Centre at the Human Performance Centre. She can be contacted at 738-3554.

Could Reflexology be the answer? Christina Can Help!