Still working from home? We can help!

We’re nearing a full year since COVID-19 restrictions were set in place. For many this meant a transition to working from home. For many this remains the case.  

Early in lock-down we featured a blog post on tips for ergonomically setting up your home workstation. I hope many have found this useful, and if you haven’t had the chance to read this post you can Find it here 

Over the past year, my practice has seen an increase in the amount of people with non-specific neck; upper and lower back pain with no known mechanism of injury. In cases such as this, with no trauma (trip, fall, or accident) we often look for changes to daily routine or leisure activities to help establish our clinical impression and guide our treatment plan.  

There has been a common theme over the past 12 months, and it is that more people are working from home. For many, this has meant setting up a ‘temporary’ workstation at the kitchen or dining room table. Who would have thought that your ‘temporary’ workstation would still be where you go to work 12 months later? 

For those of you who are able to make adjustments to your workstation, I hope you follow our recommendations and see benefit. For those who unfortunately are not, or those who are about to spend x-amount of $ on a new chair or desk, try this first: 

Set yourself a recurring alarm on your phone, computer, watch, or kitchen timer for every 30-60 minutes. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to get up! Spend 1-2 minutes standing at your desk, getting a drink of water, walking around your chair or desk, or even doing some exercises like heel raises or squats up and down from your chair!   

Truthfully – even those with “textbook” ergonomic setups should be making better habits of getting out of their chair more often throughout the day. We are built to move, and after all “motion is lotion”.

 If you find yourself more uncomfortable, stiff, or experiencing new and/or old pains let us help. For many it may be implementing a simple set of exercises to help them get through the day. For others it may be about getting a better understanding of their discomfort.  

Give us a call at 506 738-8299, we would be happy to help! 

Trevor Watson, PT

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

Level ORANGE Update to Fitness Centre Protocols

Dear Fitness Centre Members, 
Due to the announcement by GNB we are moving to Level ORANGE on January 27 at 5 am. We can remain open at this time with some increased precautions. 

  • When arriving at the fitness centre you MUST read the Screening Questions and answer NO to all. By swiping your key to enter, you are confirming that you have done so.
  • As usual, EVERY INDIVIDUAL MEMBER must scan their own key. You cannot bring anyone in who does not have a membership and their key with them.
  • It is MANDATORY that you wear your mask AT ALL TIMES in the facility.
  • The showers will be OUT OF SERVICE during the orange phase and the washrooms are for using the bathroom and handwashing only. 
  • 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.
  • You MUST thoroughly wipe down each piece of equipment as you finish using it.

 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.  

Questions or comments please Contact Us.

Exercise, the New Year and Covid-19

To say that the start of 2021 is unlike any other would be an understatement. January is when we would typically make our New Year Resolutions. We take stalk of what worked last year and what didn’t work so well. We revise our plan, our resolutions and get to work.

Often those resolutions involve our eating habits, sleep habits and our physical fitness. All of these things have been affected by Covid-19 but I’d like to talk mostly about the physical fitness aspect.

We are social creatures by nature and so we love to exercise with friends and in groups. Covid-19 has made that very difficult this year but not entirely impossible. We have to reframe our idea of fun workouts and exercise routines. Going to the gym has been challenging during this time but not impossible. Yes, we’ve had to close for a period of time. Yes, we’ve had to make some big changes to our protocols. Rest assured that it is safe and still fun to go to the gym. We are not able to gather in large groups and offer a large class but you can still arrange to work out with a friend or two. We continue to offer guidance with personal training. We’ve changed our routines a little to accommodate space and equipment restrictions but it doesn’t stop us from getting our workout in. We laugh and socialize as we always did. We might have to wear a mask but we can still tell stories and joke as we always did. We clean more than ever now in the gym, wiping equipment before and after use but it just adds to the workout. I have to say, we’ve had very few members out sick with the typical cold and flus we would usually see. I guess we take the good with the inconvenience of Covid-19.

If heading to a fitness centre to work on that New Year’s resolution just doesn’t sit well with you, there are so many other options available. Revisit the idea of outdoor activities like walking, skiing, snowshoeing, winter biking or skating. There is also an opportunity to set yourself up with some home exercise options (and if you need some guidance we can still offer in-home personal training or set you up with home exercises). Many of us are working from home and a home exercise routine may work great. Going to the gym may be just the break you need to get out of the house as well. The message I’m hoping to send is where there is a will there is a way. So find a mode of exercise that is fun, safe and effective and make the most of this crazy year ahead.

Sarah Estabrooks, Kinesiologist

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

Congested sinuses? We can help!

It’s 7am, you can feel the swelling around your eyes, pressure in your cheeks, and as you inhale through your mouth and attempt to swallow, you feel the sticky dryness all the way into your throat.  You close your eyes and realize how much you need to go brush the funk off your teeth because YOUR BREATH, well it’s rather distinctive.      

*  BAD BREATH * SNORING* EARACHES * SNEEZING * TOOTHACHES *EYE PAIN * DIZZINESS* HEADACHES * FATIGUE *  

All the lovely symptoms of congested sinuses. Our skull is remarkably strong yet lightweight, and if we didn’t have sinus cavities within our skull, we wouldn’t be able to lift our head off our pillow.   

Our skull has eight major sinus cavities, these cavities give us the ability to turn, roll, look up and down. Our sinuses are open cavities in our head, but they are not bare bones.   

Each sinus cavity has a lining that allows very slow ventilation in and out of the sinus. The slow ventilation allows the space in the sinus cavity to be filled with air, as its function is to trap the germs and moisturize the air before it moves into our throat and lungs. When our sinuses are congested, they lack their ability to perform their job protecting our airway, aka respiratory tract from germs.  

FUN FACTS : 

Even though our mouth provides us with a larger cavity to inhale, once we plug our nose, we feel remarkably uncomfortable when trying to breathe. (it’s because our nose is our # 1 passageway to our sinuses) 

Did you know that nasal breathing is critical in newborns since they breathe through their nose almost all the time! It’s a unique feature related to the design of their throats.   Nose breathing allows babies to breath and suckle at the same time without choking. 

 Did you know children & adults must stop breathing to swallow!  

It’s important to understand that sinus congestion is usually caused by something. That is, there’s an underlying cause resulting in the congestion … common cold, flu, allergies etc….   

Based on personal experience, no standalone massage treatment will ever provide permanent relief.  BUT a proper massage regiment from a massage therapist will be able to provide you with temporary relief!   

Did you know you cannot breathe through your nose when you’re smiling?Ahhhh made you smile! 

Christina Randell RMT

Christina is a Registered Massage Therapist at the Human Performance Centre. You can contact her at 738-8299.

RETURN TO LEVEL YELLOW

Dear Fitness Centre Members, 
We are moving back to Level Yellow!!!!

  • When arriving at the fitness centre you MUST read the Screening Questions and answer NO to all. By swiping your key to enter, you are confirming that you have done so.
  • As usual, EVERY INDIVIDUAL MEMBER must scan their own key. You cannot bring anyone in who does not have a membership and their key with them.
  • You must wear your mask everywhere except while exercising on a piece of equipment or at your station. Please wear your mask when moving around the fitness centre.
  • The showers and change rooms will be available for use if necessary. If you can avoid using them please do.
  • Continue to be prompt 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 still have a maximum of 10 members and have reached that a few times lately. Mon – Friday, 9:30am – 11am is the busiest time of day.

 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.  

Orange Level Changes

  • MASKS MANDATORY AT ALL TIMES INCLUDING ON EQUIPMENT
  • Change rooms and showers are closed. Washrooms are for toilet use and hand washing.

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to email sarah.hpcphysio@gmail.com. Check our facebook page or website often to stay up to date as the situation may change frequently.  

Level ORANGE Update to Fitness Centre Protocols

Dear Fitness Centre Members, 
Due to the announcement by GNB today we are moving to Level ORANGE. We can remain open at this time with some increased precautions. Once again, we ask that you have patience and understanding as this is difficult for all of us. We will not be able to offer extended hours if we cannot follow these precautions. 

  • When arriving at the fitness centre you MUST read the Screening Questions and answer NO to all. By swiping your key to enter, you are confirming that you have done so.
  • As usual, EVERY INDIVIDUAL MEMBER must scan their own key. You cannot bring anyone in who does not have a membership and their key with them.
  • It is MANDATORY that you wear your mask at all times.
  • The showers will be OUT OF SERVICE during the orange phase and the washrooms are for using the bathroom and handwashing only. 
  • 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.
  • You MUST thoroughly wipe down each piece of equipment as you finish using it.

 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.  

Questions or comments please Contact Us.

Fad Diets – do they work?

The number of fad diets you can find on the internet is endless. They range from the ridiculous to the extremely dangerous. Despite our better judgement, many of us are still lured by the appeal of a quick fix. There are plenty of self-proclaimed experts who want to convince us that they know the perfect diet for weight loss and better health. The result is a multi-billion dollar industry, that can end up causing people to gain more weight and feel worse about themselves. 

How Do You Know if it’s a Fad Diet?

Fad diets make claims that sound unrealistic or controversial. They use pseudo-science by throwing out impressive medical terms without actually applying the science correctly. Many of today’s fad diets are pushed by people with no education in health or science, who just want to create a following. A popular way to attract an audience is to promote conspiracy theories and dismiss the guidance of health professionals or researchers. Some of these diets are based on clinical diets that were at one time used for people with serious conditions, and could lead to health issues and nutrient deficiencies if followed without medical care. Fad diets tend to categorize foods as good and bad, which can create an unhealthy relationship with food and begin a cycle of yo-yo dieting.  

Pros and Cons of Fad Dieting

Chances are excellent that you will lose weight very quickly on most fad diets…but also temporarily. Over the short-term, if a person is in good health, a fad diet may not be dangerous; but if followed long-term, it can to lead to nutrient deficiencies. Examples of some possible consequences include: lack of energy, impaired mental and physical performance, gastrointestinal discomforts, eating disorders, decreased immune function, and osteoporosis. In other words, a fad diet that promises to improve your health and cure you of diseases can make you sick. Fortunately most people aren’t able to stick to this type of diet long enough to harm their health. For people who continuously try to follow diets and fail, it can damage their sense of self-worth. It’s important to realize it’s the diets that are failing them, not them failing at dieting. 

Orthorexia Nervosa

If someone succeeds in following a strict fad diet long enough to harm their health, they may be suffering form Orthorexia Nervosa. It’s a condition in which a person starts dieting, not for the purpose of weight loss, but to be healthier. They develop an unhealthy obsession with eating only “clean” foods and gradually eliminate more and more foods. They develop a fear of eating foods that aren’t permitted on their diet. This extreme focus on dieting negatively affects a person’s mental health as well as their physical health. They’re sometimes encouraged by people who admire their dedication to clean eating and who don’t realize that this level of restriction isn’t healthy. 

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is not about dietary restrictions and weight loss. It involves making healthy food and beverage choices on a regular basis, following healthy eating habits, and limiting highly processed foods. Healthy eating over the long-term can reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, overweight and obesity and cardiovascular disease. If you’re looking to make changes to your eating habits, some evidence-based recommendations include: eating more whole foods, including lots of vegetables and fruit; trying to include more plant-based proteins; replacing foods high in saturated fats with unsaturated fat alternatives; cutting back on foods and drinks high in sugar; and drinking plenty of water. If you feel like you really need to follow a “diet”, take a look at the Mediterranean Diet that incorporates all of these habits and has a lot of science to back it up.  

Be kind to yourself by abandoning the dream of a quick fix. Learn about more positive approaches like mindful eating, intuitive eating, and health at any size. Focus on gradually incorporating more healthy eating habits, enjoying regular physical activity, and appreciating the body you have. Choose nutritious foods most of the time, and allow yourself to mindfully enjoy less healthy choices once in a while, without guilt. Maybe you’ll lose some extra weight and maybe you won’t, but you’ll be healthier and happier.

Aisha Khedheri , RD

Aisha Khedheri is a Registered Dietician at the Human Performance Center. You can contact her at 738-8299.

Will a sports (analgesic) cream fix my painful knee?

We get asked this question a lot in the clinic and the answer is not a simple yes or no.  Yearly sales of pain-relieving creams and gels are over a quarter of a billion dollars in North America.  The TV and social media advertisements will have you believe that they get help decrease pain brought on by arthritis, muscle and joint injuries and overuse.  Some feel hot, some feel cold, some smell bad and others “kinda “smell good (subject to individual preference of course).  I’m not sure if any of the companies have ever used the tag line “if it smells this bad it’s got to work” but I’m sure some of us have had that thought go through our minds as we are using it. 

The research remains inconclusive and there are no gold standard studies proving that they work.  Some suggest the feeling causes a counter irritant (you feel the burning or tingling instead of your normal pain) and others conclude that the relief is a placebo affect (you believe it works so you brain shuts the pain message off… at least for a while).  

Other than skin irritation and potential allergic reactions there does not seem to be any harm in using most products but it’s always a good idea to check with your GP or pharmacist to insure the ingredients do not negatively interact with a medication you are taking (some of the rubs have a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug  NSAID as an active ingredient).  Another active ingredient found in a lot of the “hot” rubs is capsaicin which is the chemical that makes chilli peppers hot.  

Analgesic creams/gels help with short term pain relief for some people but to truly fix the problem causing the pain you should consult a physiotherapist to help identify the source and determine a viable plan of care.  

Earle Burrows, PT

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

My Return to Health – by Gina Spear-Burrows

                                    Edited by Eleanor Austin March 2019

I’m starting to feel like myself again. 

Since last summer, my life felt like it was stuck ‘on hold’. 

I’m sharing my story; in hope I can help another overcome a very difficult period. 

By October 2018, I confronted truth I’d been suspecting. I was no longer in control. I was unable to live the life I’ve always chosen.  

The problem? Torturous pain. 

A herniated disc pressing on a spinal nerve root caused never-ending pain shooting down my right leg. The simple tasks of daily life became extremely difficult, if not impossible. 

I’ve always enjoyed being independent, in control of my physical training, setting daily exercise goals to achieve what I cared to dream. But for the 1st time that freedom; to be in control of my day, of my life, was gone. Nerve pain is unlike any other I’ve experienced, even as a competitive athlete for more than 40 years. This pain was unyielding. It took control. It dictated everything I could or could not do. I could not work for 5 months. This was also difficult as I am someone who rarely uses sick days (5 in 15- 20 yrs).

Each day took tremendous focus and determination, just to pass the hours. Whenever I had an opportunity to move or walk, I grabbed it. Some days this meant being up for as little as 3-minutes/hour to move about in the house. On better days, I went outside, attempting to walk as far as the house next door. 

I lost muscle mass, my appetite, I fought back tears daily. I worked hard to prevent depression. 

I tried the nerve pain drug, Lyrica, prescribed by my doctor on two separate occasions, but for me, there wasn’t enough benefit to outweigh the negative side effects of constipation, dizziness, and inability to focus. 

I practiced deep breathing, meditation, any distraction to take my mind off the pain. I forced myself most days to get up when it was still dark, to go to the pool to swim during the early few hrs of the day when I could tolerate the pain after some sleep. It wasn’t a work out. It was for my mental wellbeing. I was beginning to get depressed. The pain was wearing me down. My athletic self’s inability to move was depleting all my inner resources. I remember telling my husband, “nerve pain: 10; Gina: 0”. Unrelenting torture is the only way I can describe it. Some days, I wanted to cut my leg off.

My functional ability was so limited. I couldn’t bend far enough to shave my legs or cut my toenails. My active life seemed so far away.

I was sinking yet had to dig even deeper to find strength I didn’t know I had.  Pushing my body and mind in an Ironman competition felt like a breeze compared to the energy required to keep my mind strong. I continually told myself, “you can do this, you can stay positive, you can get through this”. Yet, I kept finding a new rock bottom to hit. I wanted to give up.

For my husband, it was becoming extremely difficult to be my 24-hour physical therapist, so I sought counsel from one of Earle’s physiotherapy colleagues at the Human Performance Centre. I was taught how to use breathing to calm the pain, positions to help alleviate the pain when nothing else helped – not sitting, not standing, nor lying down. Mostly, these were methods to help me cope. I needed mental support as much as physio care. At this point, I had to accept that it was OK to ask for help. This was very difficult for me, and for Earle. We’re used to being caregivers not receivers. Only a few friends and family really knew what I was going through initially. Others just thought I had an unhappy back.  

Once I allowed my circle of support to grow, it took the pressure off Earle.  These friends and family became my rocks; checking in on me daily with visits, food, support and distraction. It was what I needed to get through my days.

In November I started some nerve training to get the nerve in my leg working properly. When a nerve is stuck, it’s not able to glide normally through the surrounding sheath, causing sharp pain.

I progressed through many exercises to get the nerve moving correctly again. 

I’ve learned that nerves do not like to be pushed too far. They become angry. 

Now as I’m nearing the end of my recovery, I’m discovering another hurdle. I finally feel stronger but what I’m able to do and what I want to do are two different things. I would love to be able to bike and run – but my body is not quite ready. My nerve dictates what I can do and how far I can push myself. 

I’m learning many things. Most of all, I’ve gained new respect for letting go of what I cannot control. Letting go and listening; listening to a body I used to control with such determination and sheer will, listening to a soul whose depth I never before knew or needed to plumb, not even during my MOST difficult moments competing against the best in the world: I was 45, racing in the hot sunshine; 38 degrees Celsius, in a continuous 10 hour, 52 minute and one second Ironman competition combining three sports: ocean swimming 3.8 kilometers, cycling 180 kilometers, and running 42.2 kilometers to successfully achieve my personal best, winning a place on the podium, 4th among all women 45-49  from around the planet, in the Hawaii Ironman World Championship. 

Incredibly, that was easy, by comparison. 

That day and the training preparing for that size of win were easier.

True. 

Throughout four decades of competing, I could depend on my strength. When I needed more, I did more, trained more, ran faster, cycled further, swam with more courage, refined my technique, built muscle, lung capacity, and endurance, to relentlessly pursue and achieve bigger, bolder goals. 

That demanded strength. 

But the strength required for this challenge is completely different, the polar opposite. This is about finding strength to let go. Strength to trust – trust my body will return one day in spite of muscle melting from my frame, trust people who will help me heal while I face my biggest challenge, the kind of challenge that can overwhelm, break, and drive a person to extremes – including the two things I resolved not to seek: surgery, given the risk of not recovering, and opiates – given the risk of addiction. 

Just as in training, I kept having to trust that I will eventually get past the pain so the long-term goal will be worth it. This kind of strength builds a new type of muscle. 

There’s a quote – that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. I had to persevere like never before, the character that was being developed I had never seen, and the hope – I’m still holding onto. A stronger body is taking shape; my spine is beginning to bend and straighten at will, but not always. My right leg and foot are beginning to behave at will, but not always. 

In competition, I became more of who I am capable of being. 

While I never imagined this kind of personal trial, I am now becoming a person I’ve never been. 

As a mother, wife, sister, friend, oncology nurse, I have compassion for others. Giving compassion, I knew. Receiving, I now know. 

Throughout these past months, I continued to work on physical goals – they were just different than before – and I came to realize I needed to nourish my mental strength daily, too. Now I’m now feeling more like the Gina I knew. I’m also becoming and embracing this new Gina.

I developed a new Mission Statement, to guide the life I will lead. 

I’m sharing it here in case it offers strength for you, too. 

My Mission is: 

I am a focused and determined woman who leads a healthy, productive, and purposeful life. 

I am grateful for many things: family, friends, health, movement, the outdoors, fresh air, sunshine, travel, adventure, competition, exercise, riding my bike, endorphins, helping others achieve their goals, making people feel good and gifting heart-inspired compliments. 

Receiving is nice but giving is better. 

Simply being the best I can be.