Physiotherapy Toronto Blog

Six Steps to Reducing Low Back Pain

By ADMIN on November 20, 2017

Low Back Pain Toronto Physiotherapy

 About 80 percent of us will experience lower back pain at some point in our lives. It’s one of the most common ailments that our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists  treat in our clinics on any given day.

A lot of the fault can be laid at contemporary lifestyles in general. Most of us spend a lot of time on computers, telephones, or other electronic devices, and posture is one of the first things to suffer. We commute to work carrying laptops, large handbags, knapsacks, and more. Our bodies simply aren’t designed for the kind of abuse on a regular basis. Here are six steps to reducing low back pain that you can incorporate into your everyday lifestyle.

1. Stop carrying so much! Whether it’s a purse, a briefcase, or a laptop case, whatever you are lugging around shouldn’t come to more than 10 percent of your body weight. 

2. Carry it properly. The best design for your back is a cross body strap – something with a long enough strap that you can position it on one shoulder, letting it fall across your chest so the bag is on the opposite hip. If your strap isn’t long enough to do that, then you’ll want to switch shoulders about every 20 minutes. When carrying a laptop, use a padded shoulder strap.

3. Sleep right. Choosing the right mattress for you is up to debate and more of an individual choice. There is some evidence that softer mattresses – rather than the harder ones prescribed by many – result in less back pain.

4. Strengthen your core. Exercises that target and strengthen the core muscles of the abdomen will help you to maintain the correct posture, and support your back and other structures. Your Toronto physiotherapy or sports medicine specialist can advise you on the right exercises to add to your routine.

5. Sit up straight! Just like your mother told you, good posture is the key to reducing back pain. It can be difficult at your average desk job, or if you drive for hours at a time. Remember maintain good abdominal support, and sit with your shoulders back, and back straight.

6. Stretch. When you have to maintain the same position for hours at a time, something’s gotta give – and it’s typically your lower back. If you do have to sit all day, break it up by getting up for a short walk, and do some stretches up, to the side, and down to the floor to ease muscle strain.

It’s relatively easy to make a few changes to your lifestyle, and the results will be well worth the effort. Low back pain can arise from many different causes, but by following these steps, you’ll be eliminating many of the preventable ones.

If you suffer from chronic low back pain, an individual evaluation is the first step to helping you get back to your potential. Don’t hesitate to call one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics today for a consultation.

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Toronto Dieitian



  • ½ cup pumpkin puree with 2 tbsps of water
  • 1 scoop of Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or Honey
  • 3 tbsps brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups of rolled oats
  • ¼ cup uncooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup flax seed flour/ milled flax seed
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 egg white
  • ½-¾  cup Craisins/ Raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350oF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, water, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, allspice maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla extract and the protein powder together until well combined and smooth.  Then combine with oats, flax seed flour along with the rest of the dry ingredients.  Mix until well incorporated
  3. In a separate bowl, briskly beat egg white until foamy and pour over the granola mixture and stir evenly
  4. Spread the uncooked granola mixture on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and gently press down with a spatula or wooden spoon.  Bake for 20 minutes
  5. Remove from oven to flip the granola and break apart while being careful to not break the granola into pieces that are too small, return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the granola is nice and fragrant
  6. Remove from oven and let the granola cool (~1 hour)
  7. Once cooled, break into smaller pieces and store in an air tight container
  8. Enjoy with Milk, Yogurt or you carry it around for a delicious and portable snack


Recipe provided by Registered Dietiatian and Sports Dietitian, Ben Sit.  Find out more about the Nutrition Services available at Athlete's Care.

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What should you drink during exercise?

By ADMIN on October 20, 2017

Sports drinks tend to offer a lot of promises, and it’s one of the topics our Toronto physiotherapists and sports medicine specialists are asked about the most frequently. Should you use specialty sports drinks when you exercise, and how much is enough? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

Toronto Dietitian

First: Stay Hydrated!

The first step happens before you exercise. You should be well hydrated all the time, in other words. That means making sure you drink enough fluids on a daily basis. With many variables at play, our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic specialists can advise you on your specific needs.


Water is still the best solution to hydration when it comes to exercise, and it’s all you’ll need unless your workout lasts longer than 60 minutes. After an hour or so, your body will need more than water; it will need carbohydrates and electrolytes to function at optimum levels.

  • Coconut water contains high levels of potassium and sodium – giving it more electrolytes than Gatorade. That makes it a great alternative to water for longer workouts.
  • Fruit juices – freshly squeezed, they are carb-rich but can be used in moderation. They contain sugars that are easily digested and will therefore be used as additional fuel by your body, and add vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Veggie juices – these are typically high in sodium for electrolytes.


You don’t need an elaborate schedule in order to stay hydrated when you exercise. Just keep a few points in mind.

  • Pre-run: Drinking 20 ounces of water, 2-3 hours before a run puts you at optimal levels of hydration to begin with.
  • Coffee: Fun fact – coffee has been shown to boost endurance when ingested as a pre-run beverage.
  • During exercise – about 8 ounces every half hour, starting 30 minutes before your workout, is a general guideline. Drink more if it’s hot and humid, or simply if you are thirsty. That’s your body telling you it needs more.
  • After exercise – continue to hydrate with 8 ounces during the first half hour after you finish.

DIY Sports Drinks

Rather than relying on manufacturers to mass produce your sports drink, why not make your own? These DIY sports drinks are delicious, and will help hydrate you as they replenish vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.

Citrus Sports Drink

3-4 cups water

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup

Coconut Citrus Sports Drink

3 cups coconut water

1 cup water

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup

  • Combine all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a clean pitcher.
  • Will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.

It’s Individual

Exactly how much hydration you need will always be dependent on a variety of factors. The weather can be a factor, and when it’s hot and humid, you will need more hydration no matter what you do. Your physical condition and the type of sports or activities you engage in may also affect your hydration needs.

At Athletescare, our Toronto physiotherapists and sports medicine doctors can advise you about your specific hydration needs, based on your situation. Don’t hesitate to call us or come to one of our Toronto clinics today to make an appointment if you have any questions.

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Hamilton PhysiotherapyFascia is a network of layered connective tissue that is present throughout the body and helps keep tissues supported and in place.

The diagram pictured at the side gives you a general idea of what it looks like. The white areas represent fascia where it is thickened, but in reality, fascia is everywhere. It helps keep muscles, tendons and ligaments in place and weaves into structures such as ligaments and joint capsules, supporting the joints. It also hosts the nerves and blood vessels that supply muscle, ligament and tendon.  This becomes critical in rehabilitation when the fascia becomes adhesed to its surrounding tissue due to acute or overuse injury and limits its function. This could manifest in decreased joint or muscle mobility, muscle fatigue, a reduction in nerve signal or even painful impingment of nerves, prolonging recovery from many types of injury.

Fascial Stretch Therapy or FST (TM) uses multi-planar and multi joint stretches to target the fascia. They are bed and anchor based stretches. For a more detailed idea of what this is about check out the Stretch to Win website. This treatment aims to do the following by "unsticking" that fascia:

• Relieve chronic muscles tightness and tension
• Improve joint mobility and overall flexibility; often reducing stress on other structures
• Improve posture
• Improve circulation, relaxation and sleep - thus maximize rehabilitation and sports recovery

It is a great compliment to other forms of rehabilitation and soft tissue therapies, including ART, massage, acupuncture, and of course, exercise therapy.

We are proud to offer Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) at various locations throughout Toronto as well as our Hamilton location. If you think FST(TM) would be of benefit to you please contact our Athlete's Care Hamilton location at 905-528-5847

Hamilton PhysiotherapistRegistered Physiotherapist, Rebecca Chambers, is a Fascial Stretch Therapist. She loves treating clients of all ages and believes in goal oriented rehabilitation, whether the goal is high level competition, completing your first 10k or getting back to playing with your kids.  

Photos courtesy of Google Images


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Our Toronto physiotherapy clinics treat professional and amateur athletes, but they aren’t the only people to experience injuries and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. Even people who sit at a desk all day can experience such injuries and conditions and the most common is lower back strain.

Chronic back strain affects many people and can be extremely debilitating, affecting not only your work day but your life and activities overall. It can contribute to many other health issues including difficulty in sleeping.

Here are some tips on how to ease and help prevent back pain at work.

Know the causes

Our Toronto physiotherapy clinics see many clients with back issues and some of them aren’t aware of what has caused the problem. Knowing what causes back pain can help you to prevent it before it happens as well as ease an existing condition.

  • Slouching and other issues related to bad posture put undue strain on your lower back;
  • Immobility – staying in the same position for long periods of time causes over-strain;
  • Phone habits – holding the phone with your shoulder against your ear while you type on the screen.

Your Work Environment

Your desk and chair play a crucial role in back strain and how it may develop. When you sit at an unnatural posture over long periods of time, it results in stress, strain and injury.

  • Leaning forward causes back strain, so you want to support the natural curve of your back with a chair that has proper lumbar support. A pillow behind your back can add additional support.
  • You want your feet to be flat on the floor with your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle. A footrest or other prop can help your to achieve a better alignment.
  • Arms should also be at a roughly 90-degree angle so that your shoulders aren’t hunched over, which can cause significant upper back pain. Adjusting your armrests to an optimal angle can make a big difference. Your upper arms should be parallel to your spine. An armrest at the proper alignment takes the strain of your shoulders and upper back.
  • Your monitor should be slightly below eye level and about an arm’s length away so that you aren’t leaning forward.
  • Thighs should not rest on or press down on the edge of your chair. You want to be able to slip your finger underneath to avoid reducing circulation.

 Nowadays, there are also options other than the traditional office chair, including a Swedish kneeling chair or a Swiss exercise ball. These two options encourage you to use your muscles for balance rather than slumping back into the chair.

The Phone

If you are on the phone all day, how you use it can contribute significantly to upper back pain, as well as problems with your neck and shoulders.

  • A headset or speaker phone leaves your hands free to take notes so you won’t be tempted to slip it between your ear and shoulder.
  • Switch the phone between your left and right hand to avoid over straining either side.

Sit, stand, move

Sitting the same position for hours at a time can contribute to many other issues, including heart disease, as well as weakening lower back muscles.

  • Take mini-breaks during the day at least once every hour. This can involve something as simple as going for a glass of water or cup of coffee or stretching for about 60 seconds.
  • A sit-stand work station lets you alter your position over the course of the day. Recent research suggests that at least half your day should be spent standing rather than sitting.
  • Good stretches can improve flexibility and keep pain at bay.
  • Exercise to strengthen your core muscles and encourage proper posture.
  • Taking a 15 to 20 minute walk at lunch time will help to keep muscles and joints looser.

Our Toronto based physiotherapists would be happy to discuss any back pain issues that you may be experiencing and help you determine a work day solution that is tailored for your situation. Call us today to make an appointment.



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