Physiotherapy Toronto Blog

Low Back Pain: Management and Prevention

By ADMIN on October 25, 2016

Low back pain is one of the more common conditions treated by our Toronto physiotherapy professionals. The human spine is a marvel of engineering that combines strength and flexibility. The lower back in particular is a nexus of nerves, bone structures and connective tissue. That means an issue in your lower back can translate into problems with legs, the hip area and more.

The lower back is susceptible to injury because of the kinds of movements that we perform. Twisting and any sudden movements can cause that intricate web of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue to stretch or tear. Along with sudden injuries, poor posture over time and repetitive stress can also result in similar issues.

What you can do

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some ways you can protect your lower back against all too common stress and strain injuries.

  • Improving core strength in concert with back musculature improves protection of the lower spine. It's important to balance the back and abdominal muscles to avoid actually creating additional strain.
  • Lifting heavy objects correctly means leveraging your strong leg muscles to take the strain off the back.
  • If you play sports, pay attention to proper technique and stance. Proper technique is designed to be both efficient and safe, and should protect the lower back as well as your body overall.
  • Stretch your hamstrings, especially if you are moving after sitting for a long time. The lower back can become compressed.

Managing low back pain

If you have suffered an injury or chronic condition that resulted in low back pain, it can be one of the more challenging ailments to manage. Moving in any direction can involve lower back muscles and hinder recovery as well as prolong the injury and pain. Naturally, each case is different, and your Toronto chiropractor or physiotherapist will create an individualized plan for you. These are some tips and treatment options you can expect.

  • Get treatment early. Everyone can experience lower back pain once in a while due to over exertion. If your symptoms persist for more than four weeks, then you need professional help.
  • In the case of sudden injury, use cold packs within 72 hours, and then alternate hot and cold packs. The packs can't touch your skin directly -- wrap them in a towel before applying.
  • Stay as active as you can. Your Toronto physiotherapist or chiropractor can advise you on any limitations that you may have to observe, but other than that, it will help you to keep moving rather than sitting or lying down for long periods of time.
  • Medications may be necessary and there are a wide variety of options available.
  • Massage therapy is useful in cases of chronic low back pain. Often, loosening the musculoskeletal structures alone can provide temporary relief of pain.
  • Spinal manipulation by your Toronto chiropractor can also help to ease chronic pain in many cases.
  • Depending on the underlying cause, Fascial Stretch Therapy or FST, which manipulates the connective tissue that runs throughout the body, can provide temporary or even permanent relief.
  • Medical Acupuncture can be useful in some cases.

Treating low back pain involves a complete evaluation of not only your condition but your lifestyle too. Let our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic professionals help you devise an individualized plan to treat and manage your low back pain or any other sport or movement related conditions. Call one of our many clinics throughout the GTA today.


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Core strength is something our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine specialists often emphasize in many different cases and situations. Why is it so important, in so many ways?

Beach season may be over but there's a lot more to core strength than having a beach ready body. Sure, it helps you look great, but building core strength will help your general health and has many other benefits too. The core muscles have three dimensional depth and they move in all three planes. When you strengthen your deep core muscles, your overall fitness will improve. Most movements of the body – even when legs and arms are involved – begin with the core and are stabilized by the core.

Core stability comes before strength. When you work with your core muscles, you're developing the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen, and those areas will be able to move in a fluid and balanced way. Perhaps best of all, you don't need special equipment to work the core muscles. Our Toronto physiotherapists can devise exercises that are tailored to your fitness levels and goals.

Here are some of the other benefits.

  • Preventing injury – strengthening the muscles of the torso builds stability in your core. Injuries often come from awkward or unbalanced movements. With strong core muscles, you can help to avoid injuries.
  • The muscles of the torso attach to the spine and protect internal organs. A strong torso protects the inner organs and spine, including important parts of your circulatory system.
  • A weak core places undue stress on your spine. It means that the only thing holding your posture together is the spine itself.
  • Sometimes, a weak core comes about because the back muscles are over developed. Working on the core muscles brings the body back into balance.
  • Your posture will improve, and that has more than just physical benefits. A strong, straight posture looks confident and helps the image you project to the world.
  • A strong core will help with balance, as it works to stabilize the body. You'll find it easier to perform most actions - truth! It will be easier to reach, bend and twist. You'll be better at any sports you play.

Our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic professionals can help you achieve your core strength and stability goals, and provide advice on how it can affect and benefit your condition or your sport. Give one of our Toronto clinics a call today to set up your evaluation.



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Toronto Registered Dietitian



•  1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
•  2 cups Whey protein powder
•  1 tsp baking powder
•  2 tsp ground cinnamon
•  1 ½ cups low-fat, smooth cottage cheese
•  ½ cup honey
•  ¼ cup canola oil
•  1 egg
•  2 tsp vanilla extract
•  2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1.  Preheat oven to 350oF/ 175oC
2.  Combine first four dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a fork
3.  In a separate bowl , combine the cottage cheese, honey, canola oil, egg and vanilla together with a fork or electric mixer
4.  Mix the dry and wet ingredients together thoroughly and then add chocolate chips
5.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper and roll the dough into a ball and place evenly on the baking tray.
6.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, cool and enjoy


Provided by Athlete's Care Registered Dietitian and Sports Dietitian Ben Sit.  Appointments with an Athlete's Care Registered Dietitian can be made at our Yonge & SheppardYonge & Eglinton and King & Yonge locations.

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Vertigo/dizziness is one of the most common reasons that people seek medical attention from physicians. According to recent studies, 35.4% of Americans over 40 years of age (69 million) have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction (Agrawal et al, 2009) and 65% of people over the age of 60 years experience dizziness or loss of balance, often on a daily basis (Hobeika, 1999).  A lot of the time, not only do these conditions go misdiagnosed but tests that are often time consuming and expensive (MRI, etc) are often performed which yield minor contribution to diagnosis and treatment.  In fact, according to Kerber (2012), only 11% of all providers used the dix-hall pike test. Not only can vestibular rehabilitation often accurately diagnose these conditions, it can also successfully and safely treat them.

Toronto Physiotherapy

What is vestibular rehabilitation?

Vestibular Rehabilitation is a specialized type of rehab/therapy specific to helping people that are experiencing some form of dizziness.  It primarily utilizes repositioning maneuvers and exercises to help reduce symptoms related to vertigo/dizziness, gaze instability and/or imbalance and falls.  According to a Cochrane review published in 2015, “There is moderate to strong evidence that vestibular rehabilitation is a safe, effective management for unilateral peripheral vestibular dysfunction, based on a number of high-quality randomized controlled trials.” (McDonnell, 2015). 


• Assessment of dizziness and vertigo disorders

• Treatment programs for dizziness and compromised balance

• Treatment for BPPV (positional vertigo)

How do I prepare for this appointment? 

The tests/techniques are designed to provoke your symptoms so you may experience an increase in your symptoms following your appointment.  Most people are able to leave their appointment as they normally would but if you generally feel like you need assistance when your symptoms are provoked, it may be best to have someone come with you. 

Please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the start of your appointment to complete the intake forms.   

Will my insurance cover the cost of the appointment? 

If you have extended health benefits, you are able to bill for this type of service based on the provider that you see (I.e. if you have physiotherapy coverage, you will be able to bill under physiotherapy). 

Provided by Registered Physiotherapist, Daniel Yoon.  Please contact Athlete's Care Yonge & Eglinton for more information regarding Vestibular Rehabilitation or to book an appointment with Daniel.

Agrawal, Y., Carey, J.P., Della, Santina, C.C., Schubert, M.C., & Minor, L.B. (2009).  Disorders of balance and vestibular function in US adults.Arch Intern Med169(10), 938-944

Hobeika, CP (1999).  Equilibrium and Balance in the Elderly.  Ear Nose Throat J, Aug;78(8):58-62,565-6. 

Kerber, K.A., Burke, J.F., Skolarus, L.E., Meurer, W.J., Callaghan, B.C., Brown, D.L., Lisabeth, L.D., McLaughlin, T.J., Fendrick, A.M. & Morgenstern, L.B. (2012). Use of BPPV processes in Emergency Department Dizziness Presentations: A Population-Based Study.  Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 148(3), 425-430.

McDonnell MN, Hillier SL. Vestibular rehabilitation for unilateral peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD005397. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005397.pub4

Vestibular Disorder Association

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Recipe of the Month: Vegan Italian Sausages

By ADMIN on September 07, 2016

Toronto Sport Dietitian



  • ½ cup cooked red or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup vegetable broth1 tbsp Olive Oil OR 1 tbsp tomato paste (Tomato paste is an excellent replacement for fat in recipes)
  • 2 tbsps Soy Sauce
  • 1 ¼ gluten flour
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed OR 1 tsp ground fennel seed
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper


  1. Begin boiling water to steam the sausages
  2. Prepare 4 flat square sheets of aluminum foil and set aside
  3. Mash together the beans, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, paprika, oregano, thyme and black pepper until a smooth paste is formed
  4. Combine the Gluten flour with nutritional yeast together in a mixing bowl
  5. Combine the bean paste mixture with the gluten flour mixture and add the vegetable broth kneading together all ingredients very quickly to form a dough (Can be done in a stand mixer using a dough hook attachment)
  6. Divide the dough evenly in 4 pieces and place on aluminum foil
  7. Roll up the dough loosely in the aluminum foil and seal off the ends of the foil, leave some extra space as the dough will expand
  8. Steam the rolled up sausage dough in the steamer for 40 minutes
  9. Remove from steamer and unwrap when the sausages are cold enough to handle.  The sausages can be eaten immediately, pan fried to be used in pasta or rice dishes or refrigerated/ frozen for future use

Provided by Athlete's Care Registered Dietitian and Sports Dietitian Ben Sit.  Appointments with an Athlete's Care Registered Dietitian can be made at our Yonge & SheppardYonge & Eglinton and King & Yonge locations.

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