Getting injured in a car crash can often lead to long-term pain and physical problems that seem almost impossible to recover from. But thanks to the wonderful treatment of physiotherapists, there are many ways to manage, alleviate, or overcome the pain of a car accident injury. Here are a few ways physiotherapists can help.

1 – Helping with recovery

Stiffness, pain, reduced range of motion, headaches – these are all common problems suffered after being injured in a car accident. A physiotherapist can help with these problems by designing therapy and exercise treatments that can help improve strength and flexibility to tissues in the injured area. The treatments can also alleviate pain and help you understand what is happening with your body and its recovery.

2 – Preventing further damage

Sometimes, injured people don’t always know just how severe their injury is and in other cases, the real pain and trauma shows up some time after the accident. A physiotherapist can help with identifying problem areas that may arise in the future and provide treatment that may help prevent smaller injuries develop into long-term problems. The sooner you start your recovery treatment the better off you’ll be in the long run.

3 – Activities to reduce pain

If you’ve been severely hurt, moving around may seem like the last thing you want to do. But in many cases, physical activity can help reduce your pain and help the recovery process. Our bodies are amazing machines that work best when they are actually working. A physiotherapist can prescribe treatments to keep you active and mobile and on track for recovery while minimizing your pain.

4 – Cutting down the need for surgery

In some cases, surgery is inevitable, but in other cases surgery may be avoided by the efforts of an experienced physiotherapist. By strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the affected area, a physiotherapist may be able to help you find a recovery solution that avoids surgery.

No matter the severity of your injury, always talk to your doctor first. While physiotherapy offers many benefits to some injury patients, other methods may be more suitable to your needs. Your doctor will know what is best for your situation. If he or she recommends physiotherapy as part of your treatment and recovery, our team can help provide a list of qualified practitioners and supply other resources to help you.

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Outdoor winter activities are getting more and more popular. Certainly, the legacy of the 2010 Olympics provided our region with great facilities and a heightened love for all things winter. Whether you’re into downhill or cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating, or any other wintery activity, there’s much to do. But there’s also much to be aware of. A slip on the ice or a fall on the ski trail could lead to a very serious injury.

Here are some ideas to reduce the risks and make it through the rest of the season in one piece.

Know your terrain

Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing make sure to stick to trails that are well marked. And always pick a path that is suitable for your skill level and comfort. No double black diamonds if you’re fresh off the bunny hill and no trails with “grind” in the name if you’re only capable of doing flat surfaces.

Check conditions

Before you head out on your winter adventure, make sure to check the weather first. Winter weather can change quickly and what’s happening up in the mountains can be a lot different than what’s going on in the city. You don’t want to get caught unprepared in a sudden blizzard or a cold snap that quickly ices things up.

Take a lesson

If you’ve never strapped a ski or board on before, it’s a good idea to take a lesson from someone who knows. Not only can they help you learn the techniques of your chosen activity, they can even show you what to watch out for – including trail conditions, other people, and hazards along the way. Even knowing the proper way to stop or fall down can save you from a serious injury.

Equipment check

No matter your activity, always wear the proper equipment and have it tuned and maintained regularly. And of course, wear a helmet! Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, playing hockey, or taking the kids ice skating, a helmet can help reduce the risk of a head injury should you fall on a hard, icy surface. Make sure to select one that is right for the activity you’re doing and that it fits properly. A loose fitting helmet is not much of a help and can cause other problems.

Share your experience

Don’t go alone on your winter journey. It’s much more enjoyable to go in a group but there’s also safety in numbers. Also, let others know of your plans and bring along a fully charged cellphone. If you get hurt or lost it can be a real lifesaver.

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From Whistler to Silverstar and all resorts and slopes in between, BC is a skier’s and snowboarder’s paradise. Unfortunately, all that shreddin’ and swooshin’ can lead to some severe injuries. Every year, over 5000 Canadians are seriously hurt in skiing and snowboarding accidents across the country. So whether you’re riding hard through 7th Heaven or gliding gently down the Cut, make safety your first priority on the mountain. Here’s how.

Before strapping your boots into the bindings, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the safety guidelines for your resort. Nearly every ski mountain in BC is a member of the Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA) and they all operate under the Alpine Responsibility Code. Those are the ten rules you see posted on yellow signs all over ski areas, like the one below.

alpineresponsibilitycode

The Code is about staying in control, respecting others on the slopes, and respecting the resort’s staff, rules, trails, and equipment. Knowing your abilities and limitations is also vital to your safety and the safety of others.

In addition to following the Code, there are a few other things you can do to stay safe and have a great day on the slopes. Begin by making sure you have the right equipment with everything fitting properly and suited to your ability. Also see that your skis, boards, and bindings are tuned up and checked each season. A loose binding or a dull edge can hamper your ability to stop safely and quickly.

Always check the forecast before heading to the mountain and dress accordingly. And remember that conditions can change quickly. You may need to bundle up with water- or wind-resistant gear and multiple layers on one run, and then slather on the sunscreen on the next. Come prepared for different conditions and if you’re not comfortable or find yourself getting tired (heavy snow and icy runs can be exhausting), then take a break or simply call it a day.

And of course, wear a helmet. While not a guarantee of protection, studies show a significant decrease in the incidence and severity of head injuries while wearing a helmet.

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A new sport season is about to kick off and that means all sorts of active fun. But are your kids playing it safe? If they do get hurt, do you know how to identify a concussion? And do you know what to do? These are questions every parent should be asking themselves whenever their child begins a sport.

A fall, a bump, a knock, or blow to the body can happen in almost any sport. But if the force from that hit affects your head, it can injure your brain and leave you with a concussion.

Kids are more susceptible to suffering a concussion because their bodies haven’t fully developed. They’re smaller, have weaker muscles, and thinner skulls than adults. They’re also more active, rambunctious, and not fully aware of the risks.

While we hear a lot about concussions in contact sports like football and hockey, it doesn’t mean those are the only ones. Young athletes can also get concussed taking part in all sorts of sports activities – soccer, skiing, field hockey, and cycling.

If your child has taken hit to the head, you need to know what to watch for. Common concussion symptoms include:

If any of these symptoms are present and you think your kid has suffered a concussion, take immediate action. The first step is an immediate stop to all play. No sporting moment, big or small, is worth risking your child’s health. After that, seek medical help. That means a trip to the emergency room or the family doctor for a proper assessment. Once they’re home, keep them hydrated, rested, and off the field of play. Recovering from a concussion is a serious matter and it takes time.

If left untreated, a concussion can lead to bigger problems down the road – including permanent brain injury and even death. And no game or trophy is worth risking that.

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When you live in a land of mountains and active people as we do in British Columbia, you’re going to find a lot of mountain bikers. Unfortunately, that also means there will be a few accidents and injuries along the path. Reducing injuries is what the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) “Shred Safe” campaign is all about.

VCH serves nearly a quarter of the BC population – from Greater Vancouver, up the Coast, and into the Sea-to-Sky territory. That’s a big chunk of land with lots of mountain bike trails. According to VCH’s Dr. John Carsley, over 100 bikers in the region needed major emergency surgery last year.

A lot of the injured bikers come from Whistler, Squamish, and North Vancouver – no real surprise since all of those areas are popular with mountain bikers. But the “Shred Safe” campaign is aimed at reducing the number of mountain bike injuries across all communities.

The campaign message focuses on how to reduce injuries:

But there are some other pieces of advice that you may not always think of when thrashing the trails. Dr. Annie Gareau works in the emergency room at the Whistler Health Care Centre. She’s a biker herself and has seen a lot of injuries resulting from the sport.

One of the biggest culprits in Dr. Gareau’s mind? Bikers push themselves too hard – riding and grinding through the trails until they are too tired. Fatigue leads to accidents. Hunger and dehydration also play significant roles in mountain biking injuries. If you haven’t properly fueled and hydrated your body, you run the risk of losing concentration.

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Five years ago, a young hockey player at the top of his game sustained a couple of heavy blows to his head. The resulting concussion was devastating – sidelining his career and putting his health in serious jeopardy. With June being Brain Injury Awareness Month across Canada, we immediately think of this man’s accomplishments and struggles with brain injury.

This week, that young man is making a triumphant return to the arena where he has long made his mark. You may have heard of him. His name is Sidney Crosby. And this week he is making his third appearance in a Stanley Cup Final – the first since sustaining a serious concussion in January of 2011.

Of course, Vancouverites will know Sid the Kid by his Golden Goal. The whole city – indeed the whole of Canada – cheered ecstatically when he brought down the curtain on the 2010 Olympics with that breathtaking goal in overtime against the American squad.

Sadly, a year later, Number 87’s spectacular career was thrown into a tailspin following his concussion. His recovery lasted years. So as he laced up this week for his latest appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, we remember the long road he took to get here.

Of course, you don’t have to be an Olympic or Stanley Cup champion to know or suffer the impact of a brain injury. That’s what Brain Injury Awareness Month is all about.

According to the Brain Injury Association of Canada, 160,000 Canadians sustain a brain injury each year and over a million live with the effects of an acquired brain injury. The statistics also show that half of those injuries result from falls and motor vehicle accidents.

The good news is that many brain injuries are preventable, especially in sports. The first tip is to always wear a helmet when biking, playing contact sports, or engaging in activities like rollerblading, skiing, or snowboarding where falls are common. Helmets do not always prevent concussions, but properly designed and fitted helmets are your best first line of defense.

Of course, not everything in life can be prevented. Car crashes, falls, and other events can’t be anticipated. Fortunately, the majority of brain injuries are treatable if diagnosed early enough. If you’ve been in an accident or fall and think you’ve sustained a brain injury, go get treatment!

A brain injury is always something to take seriously. Without proper attention, diagnosis, and treatment, the situation can easily worsen with further problems developing down the road. The impact of a brain injury can take only seconds to happen but it can last a lifetime.

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There’s no denying that the NFL has a serious issue with concussions. After years of trying to sweep it under the rug, they’ve since come around to establishing procedures for dealing with concussed players. But what about the NHL? Is the group that governs the professional league of Canada’s most loved sport playing in the same headspace?

A leading expert on traumatic brain injury (TBI) speaking in Vancouver last month suggested that professional hockey may be in the same state of denial football found itself in a few years back. Examining the incidences and consequences of concussions and brain injuries on NFL players, there are parallels and concerns for all players – whether they’re sporting cleats or skates.

Dr. Frank Conidi presented findings of an initial study of 40 retired NFL players (the study has since expanded to include 80 to 100 participants). Most shockingly, he reported that almost half of those in the study showed evidence of brain abnormalities.

Speaking in April at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Dr. Conidi pointed out that players came to him with other serious problems resulting from their head injuries. Anxiety, depression, sleep and attention issues, as well as executive functioning, learning, and memory problems were experienced by many of his patients.

“You see NFL players retiring over head injuries,” Condini added. Given that the median age for the players in the study was just under 36 years, these are serious concerns for a group of men in the prime of their lives.

In the defensive zone

Dr. Conidi is no stranger to treating patients with sports related brain injuries. He’s the director of the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology, specializing in the treatment of sports related neurological disorders. He’s also team neurologist for the Florida Panthers and a consulting neurologist for the Miami Dolphins and NY Mets.

A former hockey player, Conidi knows the risks associated with our national pastime: “Hockey has the highest incidence of concussion per participant, at any level.”

With many high profile hockey players experiencing concussions, Conidi’s research shows that our love for sport must be tempered by an equally dedicated drive for protecting players from brain injury.

 

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Will young football players dream of playing for the NFL after they learn about the deadly concussion risks? Alternatively, will parents let their children play football after they learn 87 out of 91 former NFL players tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)?

NFL players were unaware of concussion dangers until approximately five years ago according to Houston Texans running back Arian Foster.

Arian Foster publicly shared his thoughts about concussion unawareness with Michael Rapaport on the highly popular “I am Rapaport” podcast on CBS (you can listen to the podcast here). His message was clear – there’s a huge misconception within the NFL about the deadly risks associated with concussion injuries. According to Foster, most people assume NFL

A local Vancouver company has begun selling a helmet sticker, BrainShield, designed to prevent concussions. According to The Vancouver Sun, BrainShield is compatible with all helmets, and it has the potential to reduce head injuries for sports teams, cyclists and motorcycle riders.

“It can significantly reduce the sharp twisting and compression of the brain,” said Daniel Abram, the company’s chief technology and operating officer. It acts like a seatbelt for the brain to prevent or reduce concussions.

According to their Kickstarter site, the majority of helmets are designed, tested, and certified for compression force only. However, almost all head impacts cause severe twisting and rotational acceleration in addition to brain compression.

The BrainShield helmet patch is made of micro-engineered layers that divert angled impacts reducing the rotational acceleration that causes concussions.

According to CBC, Reebok-CCM has been told by the Competition Bureau that it cannot claim its hockey helmets prevent concussions. A Virginia Tech study found helmets don’t prevent concussions, though they will protect against skull fractures. Researchers assessed the effectiveness of helmets based on the rotational and linear acceleration that occurs in a concussion or brain injury.

In its warning to Reebok, the Competition Bureau stated the role of helmets and concussion prevention remains unclear. Reebok has agreed to remove concussion safety claims from all marketing material.