Physical Activity

High- and Low-Impact Activities

We can avoid and manage musculoskeletal injuries by being physically active. For instance, we can participate in  high- and low-impact activities.

High-impact activities are more intense and use more energy. They can strengthen our heart and lungs, help burn more calories, improve bone density, and improve our stability, balance, and coordination. However, there is a greater chance of getting the ankle, knee, hip, or back injured if an individual is not prepared. Therefore, it is important to warm up first before beginning any high-impact exercises. Examples of high-impact exercises include jumping rope, plyometric exercises, running, and jogging.

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Low-impact exercises are less intense and less jarring on our body and joints. Beginners, people who have arthritis or osteoporosis, older adults, and people with bone, joint, or connective tissue injuries should do low-impact exercises. For example, working out on an elliptical machine, walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing.

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that help hold the ankle bones together are forced beyond their normal range of motion.  The ligaments on the outer side of the ankle are usually stretched, teared partially, or teared completely. Rolling, twisting, or turning your ankle in an awkward way can lead to an ankle sprain. It can be caused from walking or exercising on an uneven surface or from falling. Someone who has injured their ankle before or wears improper shoes increases their chance of a sprained ankle. It is also a very common sports injury, especially in soccer, tennis, and basketball because these sports involve jumping, cutting action, or twisting of the foot.

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Depending on how severe the sprain is, the signs and symptoms include tenderness when the ankle is palpated, pain when weight is applied on the affected foot, swelling, bruising, limited range of motion, ankle instability, or popping sound heard at the time of injury.

Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E.) can be done to treat the sprained ankle for the first 2-3 days and the pain can be treated with pain relievers. Depending on the severity, sports tape or an ankle support brace can be used for stabilizing the ankle. In order to avoid an ankle sprain, one should warm up before exercising or playing sports, work on muscle strength and flexibility, and perform balancing exercises.

Stretching and Flexibility

Posted on August 7, 2018 by

As we get older our muscles become stiffer and we would start to notice our flexibility declining. The muscles will decrease in length if we don’t stretch our muscles. Shortened muscles could increase our risk for falling and one might find it difficult to perform activities that require flexibility, such as going up the stairs. In addition, using a shortened muscle for activity could also lead to muscle damage, strains, and joint pain.

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Stretching can help us become more flexible and it is the key to preventing injury and disability. It can increase our range of motion and reduce joint and back pain. Moreover, it can decrease the risk of falling by improving our balance and can also improve our posture. Lastly, it can reduce the risk for muscle and joint injury.

It is important to warm up before we stretch the muscles. We can warm up by doing 2 to 5 minutes of dynamic stretching, such as lifting our knees and rolling our shoulders. This type of stretch involves moving a joint repeatedly through its available range of motion and does not involve holding a position. Static stretches can then be held for 10 to 30 seconds in order to regain flexibility and should be performed after a workout.

Ankle Rehabilitation

Posted on June 6, 2018 by

Ankle sprains are a common injury that can lead to severe pain and weakness. We can work on various rehabilitation exercises to help our ankle heal and prevent future injuries.

After the injury has occurred, it is important to perform partial weight bearing to prevent muscle atrophy. When you are able to walk again without limping, you can work on full weight bearing. You should begin with range of motion exercises, such as plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, and eversion. You should not feel pain when you perform these ankle movements. You can then practice writing the alphabet with your toe and work on towel assisted stretches with the same ankle movements.

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Next, you can do strengthening exercises, such as performing the ankle movements against the wall or using a rubber tubing looped around your feet for resistance. After, you can move on to balance exercises on a wobble board by doing a double leg stand with eyes opened and then closed. Then, standing on your injured foot with eyes opened and then closed. 

By following these rehabilitation steps, you can help strengthen the ankle and prevent an injury from occurring again.

Shoveling and Low Back Pain

December is approaching and snowy weathers could be coming your way! With every snowfall, comes with shoveling and keeping your street free from snow turning into ice and avoiding others to fall on the street. If you are helping others preventing injuries, shouldn’t you be taking care of yourself as well?

Shoveling can put a lot of strain on your back muscles so you may need to take caution of how much stress you are actually applying to these muscles. Here are 4 tips you can follow to reduce your chances of injuring your lower back.

  1. Warm up your muscles first. Try to do some stretches  as warming up your muscles can be less susceptible to injury.
  2. The method you use to shovel. Bending at the knees and hips and using your leg muscles instead of your back, it can relieve stress off your back muscles and reduces risks of straining them.
  3. If you are already experiencing low back pain, avoid the job. Try and see if it’s possible to find another volunteer, who doesn’t have back pain, to shovel the snow.
  4. Use a different shovel. Try a shovel with a curved handle which provides you with an upright stance with adjustable length.

Try and experiment with these tips and your back muscles will definitely thank you!

Tips on Preventing Falls

As leaves are falling and rainy weathers are coming to Vancouver, these factors can become a hazard and lead to slipping and falling. Here are tips on how to prevent or reduce your chances of falling this autumn and winter!

First of all, if you wear reading glasses frequently, make sure they are off when you are walking down the stairs or along the slippery street. The shoes you are wearing are important since some footwear are more prone to falling. If heels are not required for your work attire, then try to avoid wearing them as much as possible especially during wet and rainy weathers. Physical activity in general is important as it keeps your muscle moving and maintaining strength which is important for reducing the chances of falling since your muscles can provide more support. If you are at home, try your best to avoid leaving items on the ground and making sure the floor is dry to prevent slipping and injuring yourself. When possible, watch out for assertive devices such as rails on the stairs, or carry a flashlight to help reduce the risks of slipping while travelling.

There are many other tips to follow other than the ones listed above but the main concept to remember is to stay safe and be careful.

What Can We Do About Low Back Pain?

Low back pain can affect how your performance is, whether you are at work or at school. Most of us like to resort to pain killers to relieve our discomfort or pain but should we actually take medication to help with our back pain?

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NSAIDs can be very harmful and lead to other health problems such as ulcers, stroke, and heart attacks. Studies suggest that medications help minimally in relieving pain and cause a lot of harm instead. 

What should you do when you are experiencing low back pain?

If the back pain isn’t linked to anything dangerous, then let your back take a rest for a day or two with minimal stretching and exercising. If needed, physical therapy can be applied as well after a day of resting. However, if the back pain worsens or does not improve, it is always safer to contact a practitioner and figure out what could be the cause of the low back pain.

With a new case of low back pain, having rest and applying heat is important for the first few days. As the pain continues to linger, you can try a massage, acupuncture or spinal manipulation. If the pain continues, you can mention to your general practitioner about the issue and they could suggest a MRI to eliminate any serious issues.

Every individual experience low back pain at a different level so if you feel that you cannot handle the pain, it is best to see your local chiropractor or practitioner for more help.

It’s Never too Late to Set SMART Goals

For many of us, today is the first day back to school! Have you considered setting new SMART goals for the start of the school year? It is common to set SMART goals for yourself in the new year however it is not too late to create new goals in September!

Haven’t heard of SMART goals before? They are goals that are more specific and are more measurable throughout your progress. How do you know if your goals are SMART?

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Specific: Create detailed, concise and clear goals of what needs to be achieved with a fully constructed result.

Measurable: How will you be able to keep track of your progress?

Achievable: Is this goal realistic? Are you able to attain this goal within the reasonable amount of time mentioned in the goal?

Relevant: Is there a purpose along with the goal you have made? Is it the right time to set this goal and are you able to continue going through with the goal?

Timely: How soon or long will it take to complete your goals? Is it a reasonable period of time for you to attain them?

 

Following these criteria can create detailed goals and tracking your process can become a lot easier as you allow yourself a set time to accomplish these goals!

 

Tips for Back to School

School is approaching faster than we expected. How should we help our children protect their health as they go back to school?

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Choosing the Right Backpack

First you should consider the backpack your child currently has. Does it seem like it is time for a new one? Here are some tips you may use to help your child find the right backpack without harming your child’s back.

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How do you Know if it Fits

Now that you have considered the aspects of the backpack, how would you know if it is actually good for your child? It is time to ask them some questions.

Keeping the Same Level of Exercise 

With school comes homework and assignments. This can mean that your child will be inside and sitting more often. Encourage them to play sports with their friends, especially on a sunny day. If not, remind them to take a rest after an hour of sitting or laying down to walk around the house and do some stretches. Try to recommend these different levels of physical activity for your child’s active life. The 3 different types are: moderate aerobic exercise, vigorous aerobic exercise, and strengthening activities.

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If you and your child follow these suggested tips, it can keep your lifestyle bad-posture free and healthy.

 

 

 

Tips for Neck Pain

We all experience a little bit of neck pain from time to time but there are many easy ways to avoid having that neck pain.

Neck pain can occur when the neck muscles are strained due to poor sitting posture and sleeping posture. Most neck pains gradually leave on their own but in rare cases, it can lead to numbness or pain that radiates down your arm, which is quite severe and you should seek medical care. Experiencing neck pain can mean your body is indicating that you are performing movements that is straining on the muscles.

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One common problem associated with neck pain is when you constantly look down on your cell phone. This is known as “text neck“. As you spend so much time looking down at your phone, your neck starts to bent forward and can lead to more problems such as pain on the shoulders and back.

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Here are some tips you can try to ease your neck pain:

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If these tips are not helpful, it is always safer to see a practitioner about your recurring neck pain!