Spring has spRUNg

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Well, almost anyway. If you’re crazy brave enough to run out-of-doors you’ll notice the number of people joining you has increased. Maybe it’s just 5 others running along the canal instead of 1, but there’s no doubt the slight rise in temperature means running season is just around the corner. 

Most people take to spring running to help shed the pounds gained from a winter of hibernating, but there are a multitude of other benefits. Increased cardiovascular health, decreased stress, increased energy, prevention of bone/muscle loss and the increased ability to survive during a zombie apocalypse are just a few. Oh, and stomping your time from last year’s Ottawa Race Weekend is a good reason to lace up the trainers sooner rather than later. So let’s get to it, shall we? 

No matter if your past running experience is 20 marathons or 20 minutes, the best thing you can do for yourself now is to START SLOW. After 4 months of sitting around (conveniently the span of the worst parts of an Ottawa winter), you’ve lost enough endurance to merit starting out at a beginner level. Don’t think all that snowboarding counts either – running is a different ball game, using different muscles in different ways. Your lungs and heart might be in good shape, but we want to keep your joints and tendons like that too. 

So how do you start running slowly? Try 20 to 30 minutes at low intensity, two or three times a week. Low intensity is different for everyone, so listen to your body. Once you’ve got 30 minutes down no problem, start increasing the time in 5 minute intervals, or increasing the intensity by about 5%. It might seem slow, but d’you know what else is slow? An injured runner. 

Will starting slowly guarantee you won’t be injured? Unfortunately not, but it’s a great place to start. Another great way to detour around injury town is to partake in a running evaluation. Performed at any of our three clinics, it’s spread over two sessions. The first is a clinical evaluation, which delves into your previous running/injury history, takes a good look at your current level/goals, and identifies any physical factors that may impact your running biomechanics. 

The second session is a running evaluation, where your technique is assessed on an outdoor track. Based on your movement patterns, recommendations are made to make you the best runner you can be, while minimizing injury. If this is the year you want to have your fastest time, the detailed training plan we’ll provide will certainly get you there. This isn’t a generic week-to-week program! Running is a highly technical sport and a personalized plan will definitely help bring out your best.

You can schedule a running evaluation by calling the Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office of Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics. Now go get running! Race Weekend is only 9 weeks away!

WOD: Physiotherapy for Crossfit

crossfit

You Crossfit. We get it. You don’t need to define AMRAPs or WODs to us. We know an injury keeping you out of the box just isn’t going to cut it. Whether you’ve hurt yourself on your very first kettlebell swing or have been to the Crossfit Games (like the team at Physics Crossfit who we’re very proud to be treating), we’re here to help.

Crossfit gets a bad rep for being injury prone, but it doesn’t have to be. People get injured because they don’t do the following:

1. Listen to your coach – This is a biggie. You want to get more reps in, lift heavier, go harder, so you won’t slow down or stop to fix up your technique. Let something slide in the beginning and it can lead to big problems as you advance in the sport. Want to get more reps in, lift heavier, go harder? Listen to your coach.

2. Perfect your technique BEFORE increasing your load – yes, we’re making this point again, it is THAT important to avoid injury. Better to do your WOD with a lower weight but perfect technique than increase the weight but do even one with poor technique. When are you going to get hurt? It’s during that one rep where your technique sucks. You’ll get to that higher weight much faster if you don’t have to take time off for an injury. Honest.

3. Listen to your body – Something hurts? Feels weird? Sort it out now. Give us a call and we can set you up with a mobility and stability program that’ll keep anything giving you trouble from getting any worse.

How will we help you stay sorted? It depends on your situation, but we’ll include the following in your physiotherapy sessions:

1. Biomechanical assessment looking for weakness, asymmetry or loss of mobility.
2. Hands on manual therapy for immediate symptom relief and restoration of mobility if you’re already injured, including diagnosis and management guidelines.
3. A personalised rehabilitation program designed and progressed while communicating with you and your trainer.
4. Education on how your body works, what you did to cause the injury/pain and how to prevent further episodes. We’ll also teach you stretching and release/rolling techniques to help with injury prevention.

You’re welcome to come into any of our clinics without a referral, but we do encourage a referral from your trainer so we can all work together to approach your injury prevention or rehabilitation. We want to keep you training, with modifications if required! If you do need to take a break, we want to get you back to the box in the shortest time possible!

Run as fast as you can. Seriously!

The Ottawa Race Weekend has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean running season is over. The river pathways are packed with people trudging along, all in the name of health and PRs. Trying to get faster? Want to run without injury for the rest of your days? Then a running evaluation might just be the thing for you.

A running evaluation starts with an hour long assessment in the clinic. One of our physiotherapists will give you a head-to-toe assessment to find out if you’ve got any tightness, stiffness or weakness. They’ll also get an idea of what your running style is. You’ll get exercises to make sure your muscles are where they need to be, so we can teach you how to use them properly when you run.

The next step is going off to the track, where the magic’s really going to happen. As far as we know, we’re the only clinic in the greater Ottawa area to take you outdoors as part of a running evaluation. We obviously want to take advantage of the nice weather, but more importantly, running drills are almost impossible to do on a treadmill. Some of them will cause you to fall right off, and we don’t want any of that: this is about getting you to run without injury. You also run differently on a treadmill than you do outdoors, since the treadmill helps you run. You time on the track will be spent running you through a series of drills (pun intended), and tweaking your running style based on YOUR body.

Why would you want this? Well, because we can get you running more efficiently. By the time your track session is up, you’ll be running with better form and less effort. That means it won’t take you as much energy to run, so technically you should be able to run longer and/or faster. We can almost guarantee that you will.

Everybody can run, but not everybody can run properly. For most people the differences between the two are some simple technique scenarios that just need to be tweaked. Our physiotherapists are more than happy to do the tweaking.

Don’t get shut out: preventing groin strain

With the Winter Olympics now in full swing, almost everyone in the country is thinking about one thing: HOCKEY! We know offsides and icing are common in hockey, but unfortunately so are groin strains.Whether you are a back yard rink rat or a 2018 hopeful here are some tips to keep you on the ice and off the injury reserve:

WARM UP: this is most often on the injury prevention list because it is SO important! Make sure to warm up completely, including dynamic or movement stretches. If you aren’t sure what that means, ask next time you’re in and your physiotherapist would be happy to explain these to you.
STRETCH THIGHS DAILY: stretch both the inner thigh and outer thigh muscles daily. While tight groin muscles can lead up to a strain, you should also stretch your hamstrings to keep your muscles balanced.
REGULAR MASSAGE & MANUAL THERAPY: regular massages from a massage therapist and regular manual therapy from your physiotherapist helps to keep your muscles flexible. They also help to break down old scar tissue and help with trigger points that could lead to injuries later on.
PRACTICE SPORT-SPECIFIC DRILLS: sudden changes of motion during play can cause groin strains, but practising the movements helps your muscles adapt and become stronger while doing them. Based on the sport your play, and the condition you are in, our physiotherapists can assign exercises specific to your needs. 
WORK ON CORE STABILITY: a strong core is a stable base for the movements you’ll be doing no matter the sport, and can reduce the chance of straining your adductor.
IMPROVE YOUR PROPRIOCEPTION: proprioception is your body’s ability to know what part of it is doing without looking at that part. That seems a bit confusing, but it’s how you can walk up stairs without looking at your feet, or put food in your mouth without a mirror. That seems like the sort of thing you might not be able to improve, but it’s based on balance, coordination and agility. Balance and sport-specific movement work improve your proprioception, improve your stability and all that helps to avoid injury.
STRENGTHEN THIGH & HIP MUSCLES: strengthening the muscles involved in the movement responsible for an injury increases your stability in that area. It is important for preventing injury, but especially for preventing a reoccurrence if you’ve already been injured. Your physiotherapist can determine where your muscle imbalances are, and assign exercises specific to your needs.
REST: make sure you rest! Over training leads to fatigue, which most definitely increases your risk of injury. Use it as your excuse to watch some of the games! Go Canada!

OPTSC Presents: Andrew!

Since we’re all about the personal touch here at OPTSC, it’s only appropriate that we help you get to know our team, personally. Our 6’2″ physiotherapist Andrew Dings likes long walks on the beach…
That’s Andrew!

C’mon, of course that’s not what we meant. We are going to tell you a bit about Andrew though. First off, we’re going to tell you why he decided to enter the world of physiotherapy. Funnily enough, it’s because he wanted to teach. That might make you wonder why he didn’t just become a teacher. Well, turns out the only class he really liked in high school was exercise science. Go figure.That led him to thinkin’ he might want to teach it himself when he grew up.

Andrew aptly decided to start with an undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa…where the only thing he liked was physio. So he decided to roll with it, figuring he could teach people about health and well being through physiotherapy. He enrolled in the Masters of Physiotherapy at UofO and was so keen on it he started working reception in the clinic before his Masters had even started. He’s been a part of OPTSC ever since.

If you’ve ever had a treatment with Andrew, you’ll realize he’s a natural teacher. To make sure you’re clear about his methods, he explains everything while he’s doing it. You’ll appreciate knowing what’s going on, especially if he’s doing manual therapy (one of his favourite types of treatment, where he helps to get joint surfaces moving against one another in the way they should be moving). He’s super laid back, so don’t be shy if you’ve got any questions; Andrew is straightforward and thorough with his answers. His favourite injuries to treat? Lower back. Good thing, since low back and neck pain are the things he treats most often.

Like to curl? Run? Volley? So does Andrew. In his youth he was quite the curler, although he doesn’t do much of it now. He gets his sports fix through volleyball, and of course with those long legs he’s a runner. A distance runner though, and he’s training for his second 1/2 marathon this May. He also snowboards, cross country skis, plays soccer, plays ultimate frisbee…the list goes on. On top of sports, and helping old ladies cross the street, Andrew volunteers as a medical trainer with the Myers Jr. Riders of the Quebec Junior Football League. So he’s obviously knowledgeable about MANY different injuries, but if you’re looking for someone who won’t judge you for dislocating your shoulder throwing a “biter,” he’s your guy.

Andrew diving in Honduras
If you want to talk about something other than injuries or sports during a treatment, try travel! Andrew loves it, and has been to: Ireland, France, Cuba, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Honduras. Don’t worry though, he won’t brag all through your appointment. On top of everything else, Andrew’s nothing other than professional.

Andrew Dings works primarily out of our Westboro location. To book an appointment with him, please call: 613-728-4160

I’m Sorry, a What of Health Professionals?

A smattering folks. OPTSC houses a smattering of health professionals. With a name like Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinic you might think:

a. We’ve got physiotherapists
b. We probably have people who know something about sports
c. Physiotherapists know something about sports

You my friend, are correct, but we’ve got so much more!  While physiotherapists can perform a multitude of services, we’ve also got some specialized professionals on deck to help those of you who are injured get back to your lifestyle pain free, and keep those of you who are healthy right there.

DIETICIAN SERVICES:
Getting your body to a happy, healthy point is about more than just doing your physio exercises. You are what you eat isn’t just a saying. You might not think of OPTSC when pondering how to lower your cholesterol or lose weight but you should! Registered Dietitian Meghan Barnes works out of our Westboro clinic, and she can help you with both of those things. She can also help with your food allergies, get your diet tuned up for optimal sports performance, or just get you on the healthy eating train in general.

It’s $90.00 for the initial one-on-one consultation, where you’ll go through a nutritional assessment, discuss goals and develop an eating plan. 30 minute follow-up visits to keep you on track are $45, or you can opt for a package at $260 (initial consultation + 5 follow-ups)

MASSAGE THERAPY:
Nope, spas aren’t the only place to get a relaxing massage. Registered Massage Therapist Jason Walsh will take you from stressed to blissed in a matter of minutes. Stress is bad news, and has been linked to negative moods, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss, and decreased immune function. Not things you’d find in a healthy body.

If you’ve suffered an injury you’ll know massage makes a big difference not only with pain management, but also the healing process. If you’re injured and haven’t tried massage, ask your physiotherapist if it might be appropriate for your situation.

Massage is also beneficial for the un-stressed, un-injured yet active person. The first ski³bike³kayak of the season often leaves you with aching muscles, and massage is great to help loosen you right up. By keeping muscles mobile and healthy you not only feel less like a rusty joint, but are way less prone to injury. It improves circulation, helps with flexibility, and reduces après workout recovery time. Go massage!

Massage sessions start at 30 minutes for $51, and go up in 15 minute increments. 45 minutes is $68, 60 minutes costs $85, and if you’re lucky enough to have the time a 90 minute massage is $125.

So those are a couple of non-physiotherapy services we offer, but as you can see there are many, many more. Curious about anything in particular? Ask us next time you’re in, or feel free to send an e-mail if you’d like to see it on the blog: info@optsc.com