Blog Archives

Case Study #1: How a 34-year-old physiotherapist overcame his foot, back, hip & knee issues

I get asked by my clients all the time: ‘what made you want to be a physio?’ So I figured I would make myself Case Study #1 in a series that I am writing to help you relate to pain, injury and rehabilitation in a realistic and practical way.  My short answer to clients is usually ‘I’ve been an active athlete my whole life and have always been very good at hurting myself so I spent my fair share of time in physio.  I was quite familiar with it and always had a fascination with the human body so it was a natural progression for me after my Human Kinetics degree to go into Physiotherapy.

This article will summarize the lessons I have learned from both hurting myself repeatedly and working with people in pain every day.  I will outline the path I took to overcome some chronic issues that are very common to people of all ages and the things I try to teach to both my parents and my kids.

Brief Background …

I tend to refer to your teens and twenties as your invincible years.  You can punish your body without experiencing that much consequence because the pain, stiffness and soreness doesn’t last long enough to deter you from doing the activity again, or to change your behaviour significantly.  I was a long, lanky kid that played a lot of soccer, rugby, baseball, track & field, water-skiing, wake-boarding, basketball and volleyball.  I sprained ankles, broke my wrist, and dislocated my shoulder many times, but I kept on going.  Now at 34, after being a physiotherapist for ten years, starting a business and having three kids in three years, I have come to realize that I am the cumulative product of everything I have done up to this point and that I better take care of my body because it’s the only one I’ve got for the next 60 years (Click here for related article). Read More

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Golf: The fundamentals of movement

Austin's
Movement is a skill and skill is the key component to strength.  If you learn to move well, you will build functional strength.  If you spend time trying to get stronger and ignore movement, you will likely get functionally weaker and be prone to hurting yourself.

Golf is a game about finely controlled movement and cognitive management; two things that elude and frustrate people their whole lives, which is why golf can be so addictive.  How a person approaches a golf game reflects a lot about their personality and their physical body, and both factors tend to contribute to their consistency, power, form and ultimately the number on the scorecard after 18 holes.  It also has a lot to do with how sore they may be during or after a round.

Rotation is the obvious movement pattern that golfers need to master, but it is only one of three movement planes that exist in the golf swing and it is by far the most complex.  It is a mistake to try and address anything to do with rotation until you learn how to move in the forward-back and side-to-side planes first.  I tell my clients that they need to earn the right to rotate by first learning to squat properly and load their legs well.  You would be surprised just how poorly most people bend or squat down, but it is a key part of the address position in a golf swing.

Step 1: Learn where your hips actually are (see video playlist at bottom of post):
–    4 Point Neutral Spine Video
–    4 Point Rock backs Video

In order for your trunk to be able to rotate properly, you need the muscles in your back to be reasonably relaxed because they need to lengthen as your body turns.  The way most people bend or squat ends up creating way too much tension in their back and butt to allow them to freely rotate their trunk. 

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WTH Step 1: Awareness & Mobility Exercises

I have broken the exercise videos on this site into a 3-Step Program for you that will start by building awareness and mobility in your body, progress to higher level movement patterns and finally help you build functional strength and power without hurting yourself.  Most of the exercises can be done at home with very little equipment.

*The following is a suggested order to progress through the movements, but is not all encompassing.

WTH Step 1: Awareness & Mobility

You can search these videos under the Video Library tab
1.    WTH Step 1: a video summary of the exercises below (same as YouTube above)
2.    4 point neutral spine
3.    4 point rock backs
4.    Breathing as an exercise
5.    Rib shimmy
6.    Bridges
7.    Kneeling squats
8.    Vacuums: introduction to strong core
9.    Weight bearing tripod
10.  Ankle skewer + forward lean
11.  Standing squats
12.  Thirsty Birds
13.  Reaching up 11
14.  Air Bench Press
15.  Counter Top push ups
16.  How to Sit & How to Stand
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Pregnancy, Pain & Posture: a video progression to restore movement

As I write this post, my wife is 32 weeks pregnant with our third child in three years, so I dedicate this one to Katie….you, and your body, have endured more than most can imagine.


Our boys

I will concede right off the bat that I am not a woman and have not been pregnant, but I have worked with and treated women at all stages of pregnancy, including immediately after C-sections and women 20 years later that are still trying to get their bodies back.  From what I have seen, there is no other experience a person can go through that is both physically and mentally more challenging on your body than getting pregnant, having the baby, and making it through the first five years in one piece.

Medicine has come a long way in making sure that the mother and baby are physiologically OK from conception through to the birth, but there still remains a significant lack of proper support and education for women when it comes to pain, posture, movement and physical function both during and after pregnancy.  The most important factor to consider is that most women don’t have great posture, movement mechanics or strength before they get pregnant, so this issue it not solely created by pregnancy, but merely exposed by it.  Most women are not used to carrying 10-30lbs around all day, or having to bend and pick things up off the floor sixty times a day, or hunching over breast feeding time and time again.  These are physical demands that would be hard on anyone, but particularly hard on someone whose body has changed so dramatically in a relatively short period of time and is functioning on very little sleep.

If you haven’t already please read everything your mother taught you about posture is wrong or how to standRead More

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