Ways to Reduce Neck Pain

Neck pain can range from being a mild annoyance to becoming an inhibiting factor in daily life. Most people at some point in their lives will experience, to some degree, a bit of discomfort in their neck muscles, which are always working hard to keep your head up against gravity. What causes neck pain, and how can we reduce it?

Causes of Neck Pain

Bad posture, poor sleep, a sudden jerky movement, or overwhelming stress are all factors that can contribute and cause neck pain, either directly or indirectly. Everyone is familiar with that awkward and disjointed feeling you get after spending an entire night sleeping in a strange pose. If this seems to occur frequently, consider investing in a new pillow, or assess how you sleep at night.  While sitting in chairs, make sure you keep a straight back and don’t spend too long frozen in a twisted position, which is something many of us do when browsing the web or watching a movie. A small amount of fidgeting and adjustment can really help relieve strain. Finally, take some time to for yourself to relax! Life gets very busy with all that’s going on, and it becomes hard to just take a second and breathe. Don’t feel as though you are wasting any relaxation time; relieving stress will only come back to help you!

What Can I Do About it?

Finding the root of the problem is the most effective way to solve neck pain. That being said, however, it isn’t always clear exactly what that might be. Neck pain is most commonly due to strain placed on the soft tissues of the neck, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. For most people, it’s an accumulation of small things that quickly add up to become an issue, With some small tweaks to your daily routine, much of the problem might be able to be eliminated. For example, changing to sleep on your back can be an excellent place to start, and is a very easy change to make. When working at a monitor, sit comfortably and straight-backed, while keeping the screen at eye level so you don’t crane your head up or down. Regularly stretch out your neck and do small exercises to keep the muscles loose. While walking or running, carry your weight equally on both sides of your body, taking care to not lean heavily on one side or the other.

Neck pain, for most people, is a common minor discomfort that can be easily fixed with some simple stretches and changes. However, if your pain doesn’t go away or has gotten to the point where it’s disrupting your ability to go about your day, make sure you talk to your physician about t! Starget Physio is always happy to see new clients. Call us today at (403)452-2721.

Experiencing Dizziness and Balance Issues?

Feeling like the world is, quite literally, moving around you way too fast? It could just be due to the 20 upcoming deadlines that you are required to meet, in which case we wish you good luck! However, your dizziness and balance issues might be related to something more physical.

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is the feeling of perpetual dizziness and feeling like things are moving when they are in fact not. There are many different types and classifications, but generally they all refer to inaccurately perceived motion, and accompanying symptoms usually include nausea and vomiting.  Vertigo can be caused by a variety of things, from relatively simple motion sickness to serious neurological diseases. Prolonged periods of dizziness that last for more than a day can be a serious detriment to your quality of life, and should be looked at by a healthcare professional.

Why are my Ears Involved?

Your sense of balance and perception of where things are in relation to you spatially is handled by specialized structures in your inner ear. Air vibrations are transformed into small waves of energy that are processed by tiny hairs in fluid filled canals. Your brain then interprets these waves as sounds, but these structures do more than just let you hear. If the fluid is suddenly agitated, your sense of balance will also be thrown off track. Consequently, inner ear infections are a common cause of vertigo and dizziness.

What Can I Do About it?

Vertigo itself is often due to problems elsewhere, and is treated by correcting that other said problem. However, it can often be difficult trying to pinpoint the exact cause. A multitude of antihistamines and drugs are available to treat issues that stem from neurological diseases or infections. However, for many people it is unlikely to reach that degree of severity. If you’re prone to experiencing short periods of dizziness, simple techniques can help alleviate the discomfort. Speaking to your physician is the best way to be sure what treatment works best. Stargate Physio is always happy to take on new clients! Call us today at (403)452-2721!

Lifestyle Changes for Sustainable Health

Your health is the most important aspect of your life, governing and affecting all other areas. It is what you carry over day to day, and will always remain with you. As such, it is of utmost important to take care of your health and value it above all else. Change starts with you at this very moment!

Exercise

The benefits of exercise are well studied and are constantly being drilled into us. Surveys from Statistics Canada show that regular physical activity can lower the risk of developing chronic conditions leading to a premature death by as much as 50%. However, the majority of Canadians still do not get enough exercise. Another survey found that an average Canadian adult (aged 18 to 79) spent just over 4 hours a day being active, though the majority of that time the activity was classified as “light.” 4 hours may sound like a lot, but that’s 12 hours of sedentary time every day, assuming 8 hours are spent sleeping each night. Exercise doesn’t need to come in the form of a visit to the gym or fitness centre, and getting enough doesn’t mean you need to spend 4 hours running. A short burst of moderate physical activity added on top of the regular “light” activities will go a long way.

Diet

The research on what is considered a “healthy” diet is ever changing and always being debated. However, it is generally agreed upon that foods high in complex carbohydrates and vitamins are essential for a healthier lifestyle. Where do we find such foods? Listen now to your mother’s voice, echoing in your head, telling you to eat your fruits and veggies! Statistics Canada shows that fruit and vegetable consumption has decreased in recent years, and only around 50% of Canadians consume fruits and vegetables five or more times a day!  Here in Alberta, the average sits even lower, at around 40%. Fruits and vegetables are an easy way to get the vitamins and nutrients we require, and should not be neglected in a healthy diet.

Be Proactive!

No one else but you is going to tell you how to be healthy. Don’t let excuses pull you down. There is no better time than the present to act. Stargate Physio is more than happy to discuss your health with you and make plans for the future. Call us today at (403)452-2721!

Is Your Child Gearing up for Sports in the Spring?

The impending arrival of spring means warmer weather (soon hopefully!) and the start of the outdoor sports season. As children everywhere get excited about joining the community soccer or lacrosse team, parents begin to feel a nagging worry at the back of their mind. Here’s a look at some ways you can ensure your child’s safety while still allowing them to enjoy whatever sport they are partaking in.

Know Your Sprains

If your child has managed to injure themselves, it’s nice to be able to have a general idea of what the injury might be. This will allow you to judge the relative severity and can better inform you of what to do during the interim period between the time of injury and the doctor’s office. For example, we often hear of a sprained foot or ankle. Specifically, a sprain refers to any injury to a muscle or a tendon. While muscle injuries are fairly self-explanatory, tendon injuries may be less so. The purpose of tendons in the body is to provide muscle attachment and to prevent excessive or sudden movements. A tendon can tear if it is strained by being pulled or pushed the wrong way. Ankle sprains are very common due to the amount of running and demand on tendons and muscles in the area in most sports.

Stress Fractures

Besides muscles and tendons, bones can also be damaged during physical activity. A stress fracture is a hairline fracture of the bone that is caused by excessive repetitive motion, or by overworking the muscles attached to the bone. These injuries are often tricky because they don’t always show up on x-rays and can be very painful. Resting the injured area and applying ice are the best ways to deal with the symptoms while you consult with a doctor on the best method of treatment.

Prevention and Treatment

Knowing about injuries great, but fairly irrelevant without knowing how to best treat them. As with many other risks, the best treatment is prevention! Before enrolling your child in any organized sports team, double check that the necessary safeguards against injuries are in place. Coaches should be trained in basic first aid and should know what to do in an emergency situation. Ensure that you’ve provided proper gear for the sport your child is participating in. A good pair of runners can really help reduce ankle strain. Look and see that proper warm ups and cool down exercises are included before and after the main sporting event. Finally, always bring water to keep you child well hydrated. Snacks for after the game are always appreciated!

Joining the community team can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your child’s early years. Make sure it’s a memorable but safe one by knowing what the common kinds of injuries are and how to respond to them. If in doubt always check with a doctor or certified professional!

Avoiding Injuries During Workouts

This time of the year, we often get many clients who come in sporting a workout-related injury. Pledging to join a gym is a common new year’s resolution, and those who are inexperienced and don’t take the time to learn the best way to use the gym equipment are our most common patients. Don’t be discouraged, however! Here are some tips to help you avoid injuring yourself during your next workout session.

Pre-Workout

Muscles and joints need to be loosened up before being put under great stress. (in this case, stress comes in the form of weights) A proper warm up gets blood flowing to the areas of the body that need it the most, not only supplying it with extra nutrients but also expediting waste removal. When your muscles stretch, they build up a ton of chemical waste products and carbon dioxide, which causes cramps if left to build up. More blood flow to that area can help prevent cramping because of a higher rate of waste removal. This important benefit of stretching is often overlooked by many. Don’t just focus on stretching the muscles and parts that you think you will use the most. Spend an equal amount of time on all muscles, as everything needs to work together, despite that might be stated on the equipment.

During Your Workout

Muscles demand oxygen constantly, and they require it in order to continue functioning. In high stress situations, like during a workout, the rate of oxygen consumption goes through the roof, driving up your heart rate and breathing as your body desperately tries to keep your muscles supplied. Don’t fight this! Many people tend to forget about rhythmical breathing during sets, or don’t breathe properly when running. Its crucial to focus and breathe consistently and rhythmically for best results. If you listen to music while working out, pick some tracks that you can easily synchronize your breathing to. Your muscles will thank you for it, and you’ll thank yourself the following day when you realize you aren’t so sore!

Post-Workout

After a workout session, don’t immediately sit down in front of a computer and start surfing away. A proper cool down is just as important as a proper warm up. Without a cool down session, your muscles will stay in their stressed and alert state, which means waste products continue to be produced and oxygen consumption remains high, leading to cramps and potential injuries. Stretch out your muscles afterwards, or slow down to a walk for a few minutes at least to encourage your blood rate to lower back down to normal and to give your body a well deserved break! Finally, replenish lost minerals and nutrients by drinking something rich in electrolytes.

Injuries happen, but proper education and preparation can help reduce their rate and severity. Stargate Physio is here to help! Give us call at 403-452-2721 today.

Avoiding Injuries at the Workplace

Workplace injuries are plagued by losses to both employer and employee, medical expenses, and potentially even legal troubles. The best way to avoid all that is the prevent an injury from happening in the first place.

Proper Preparation

A safe workplace, quite literally, starts with a strong foundation. Never head to work without the proper protective equipment, and don’t slack off when it comes to safety! Check with your supervisor or manager about what kinds of personal protective equipment is available. Scout out dangers during your first few days on the job and keep a lookout for dangerous behaviors and hazards. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or last day at a workplace; the same attention to safety should be observed!

Be Knowledgeable

Workplaces that involve dangerous work are required to have proper training and mentoring tools in place in order to ensure that all employees know what to do in various scenarios. Review the resources available at your workplace to familiarize yourself with them, and ask questions to clarify anything you still aren’t sure about. If you’re just starting out at a new place, pay close attention during your training days and don’t brush off safety precautions. If you find that the training does a poor job of emphasizing potential dangers, let someone know so something can be done about it.

Use Common Sense!

Humans come equipped with five senses and survival instincts. Make use of these! All safety rules and precautions are in place for a reason. Ask yourself why a specific rule is in place, and follow a logical thought process. This can help you identify the root causes of dangers and make you better aware of them. Remember, if you aren’t comfortable with where you are or with doing a certain task, don’t do it! There is no shame in asking for help or assistance, and it’ll be safer for everyone. Better to learn more and ensure you have the knowledge necessary to carry out a dangerous task safely then fumble through it and risk is health of both yourself and those around you.

Stargate Physio is happiest when you are at your healthiest. If something happens despite your best efforts, we’re here to help you make a speedy and full recovery. Visit us at http://www.stargatephysio.com/ or call us at (403)452-2721 to find out more.