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Gardening Pain-free from Pursuit Physiotherapy

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Follow these basic body mechanics tips for gardening safely!

Gardening season is here! We want you to enjoy the outdoors without injuring yourself. It’s easy to get overzealous and spend hours in the garden without noticing an aching back or neck until it’s too late. But don’t worry, just because you have a long ‘to do’ list doesn’t mean you have to suffer the consequences. By planning ahead and being smart about your body mechanics you can help prevent soreness and injuries.

Follow these easy tips for staying healthy throughout the gardening season:

Lift properly to protect your back.

Remember to bend your knees and engage your core muscles; use your leg muscles to squat and don’t bend with your back.

  • Avoid lifting and twisting through your back – instead keep the load close to your body and pivot your feet and trunk together
  • Avoid carrying heavy loads on 1 side of your body – balance it out on both sides or lighten up the load and take more trips. Also consider getting help for heavy lifting – you can’t do it all!

Maintain good posture.

Position yourself close to the task at hand to avoid awkward reaching and twisting. Try to keep your back straight and head in a neutral position so that you are not looking up or down for extended periods of time.

  •  Use stools, chairs, or knee pads whenever possible to help maintain good neck and back posture.
  •  When pushing a wheelbarrow or lawnmower keep your back tall and head up. Also bend your knees and engage your core muscles to optimize your power and protect your spine.
  •  Take mini-breaks to stretch and correct your posture – try squeezing your shoulder blades together, or contracting your deep abdominal (TA) muscles.

Use Proper Tools to Reduce Strain

  • Use knee pads for kneeling and avoid sustained squatting. This will give your knees, hips, ankles and back a break.
  • Use a step stool or tools with extended handles to make overhead work easier. Bring yourself closer to your task to avoid awkward reaching and reduce neck and shoulder strain.
  • Use tools with good grips or ergonomic handles to reduce fatigue on your hand and forearm muscles. Ensure they are a comfortable fit for your hand size.

Prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries

Doing the same task over and over will put excessive strain on certain body parts and muscle groups, leading to pain and injury. Here are some self-management tips to help avoid RSI’s:

  • Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness and strain on certain body parts. For example try raking on both sides.
  • Alternate tasks to add variety to your body movements and avoid static postures or repetitive lifting. For example do 10 minutes of weeding followed by 10 minutes of pruning.
  • Take breaks to stretch and hydrate. It is important to give your body some time to recover, and adding these mini-breaks can help improve your work endurance and efficiency.
  • Don’t overdo it! Create a realistic plan ahead of time so that you aren’t trying to get all your tasks done in a single day or weekend. Plan to spread your workload out over several days or weeks to avoid overuse injuries.
  • Never work through pain. Listen to your body and stop when you are getting tired or sore. The task will still be there the next day or week!

Keep your body limber

  • Warm-up before gardening with some light walking or gently swinging your arms and legs. This helps increase your heart rate and gets blood flowing to the muscles so they are ready to work.
  • Take stretch breaks.  Do some of your favourites and try to target all your major body parts – neck, shoulders, back, and legs. This will keep you feeling loose and flexible and prevent muscle tension from building up. Move slowly and hold each position for approximately 10-15 seconds.
  • Cool-down. An easy walk around the yard and some gentle stretching will help relieve tension after your work and prevent muscle stiffness.

We hope these tips help keep you active, healthy, and pain-free throughout the spring and summer. If you have any lingering pain or specific concerns please do not hesitate to book an appointment for a one-on-one session with one of our physiotherapists. We will be able to assess and diagnose your injury, as well as provide hands on treatment and a therapeutic exercise program to address your specific needs.

Click for more information about Pursuit Physiotherapy.

 

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Health

RCMP seeks names of potential victims of coerced sterilization, Lucki says

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OTTAWA — The RCMP is seeking the names of potential victims of coerced sterilization procedures and wants lawyers to help in the process, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said Tuesday.

In testimony before the House of Commons health committee, Lucki said the RCMP is willing to meet with victims, adding it would be helpful if lawyers could talk to complainants about coming forward.

“The lawyers … if they were to speak with those victims and provide them the options of coming to the police, we would absolutely sit down with each and every victim that they had to look at it from a criminal point of view,” she said.

“Obviously they are not going to release their names without their consent as well. But … if we were to have those conversations, and possibly we could convince victims to come forward through the lawyers, that would be one avenue that we could explore.”

MPs asked Lucki to testify as part of a study about ongoing concerns from predominantly Indigenous women who allege they were coerced or forced into tubal ligation procedures during childbirth.

Her testimony also followed a letter sent this spring by NDP health critic Don Davies who asked the RCMP to conduct an investigation of serious and credible allegations that have been brought forward.

Lucki told Davies in a March letter that the force would work with commanding officers in each province and territory as well as other police agencies to see if any complaints have been reported.

“To date, we have no allegations that are on file for forced or coerced sterilization that were found to be reported to the RCMP directly,” Lucki said Tuesday. She said the RCMP takes all criminal allegations very seriously and that the force has reached out to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to raise awareness.

The issue has been the subject of much public scrutiny, particularly in the past two years.

In 2017, the Saskatchewan Health Region issued a public apology after complaints from Indigenous women, and a proposed class-action lawsuit was launched naming as defendants the Saskatoon Health Authority, the provincial and federal governments, and a handful of medical professionals.

Dr. Judith Bartlett, a Metis physician who co-authored the external review, told the committee on Tuesday that Indigenous women interviewed for the report often felt invisible, profiled and powerless.

She also said she does not believe women will come forward to the RCMP because there is “no safety there for them.” Those interviewed for the report were granted anonymity, she said, noting they often felt much better having been able to express the harm done to them.

Much more research is needed to understand the scope of the problem because any time an individual is asked to make a decision when they’re not in the state of mind to weigh pros and cons constitutes coercion, Bartlett said.

Dr. Jennifer Blake, chief executive of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, told MPs that obtaining consent for tubal ligations at the time of delivery should be avoided at all costs. She also noted that when she first learned of allegations a forced sterilizations, she thought it was in reference to a historical issue.

Last Tuesday, lawyer Alisa Lombard, a partner with the firm Semaganis Worme Lombard, told the health committee she represents a client, referred to as D.D.S., was sterilized without proper and informed consent in December 2018 at a Moose Jaw, Sask., hospital

That same month, the United Nations Committee Against Torture urged Canada to act to address the issue of coerced sterilization, setting a one-year deadline to report back on progress.

In response, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Jane Philpott, then Indigenous services minister, sent a letter to provinces and territories proposing a working group of officials to discuss the concerns.

Health Canada said Tuesday the group has had “productive discussions” about the scope and purpose of the federal-provincial-territorial plan to “advance cultural safety and humility in the health system.” As a first step, officials decided Health Canada would take the lead on “an environmental scan of cultural safety initiatives and practices across Canada,” the agency said in a statement.

—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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Blair says more gun-control action needed, signals no new steps before election

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OTTAWA — Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair says more must be done to address gun violence, but he’s also signalling that no new measures will be taken before the fall election.

Steps could — and should — be taken to prevent the theft, illegal diversion and cross-border smuggling of handguns, Blair said Tuesday. 

As he entered a cabinet meeting, Blair emphasized the importance of secure storage of firearms to prevent them from being stolen and ending up in the wrong hands.

The government is also open to working with municipalities to allow them to decide exactly where, or even if, firearms can be stored within their boundaries, he said.

However, the parliamentary sitting is expected to conclude shortly and the government is scrambling to tie up loose ends before the summer recess and an election campaign likely to begin in September.  

“Some of this would require regulatory and legislative change,” Blair said. “And I think it’s important not only to do the right thing, but to take the time to do it right.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Blair last August to study the possibility of a ban on handguns and assault-style rifles after a shooting spree in Toronto.

A recently released summary of a federal consultation said Canadians were divided on the idea.

Still, Blair’s office said late last month that no options had been ruled out to clamp down on guns “designed to hunt people” as it weighed new options. Rumours of a federal ban on the popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifle began to circulate.

While Blair reiterated Tuesday there are firearms the government considers “so dangerous that there really is no place in a safe and civil society for them,” he made no firm commitment to ban or buy back such guns from owners.

Blair stressed a need to ensure secure storage, prevent people from buying firearms on behalf of criminals and deter smuggling of weapons into Canada from the United States, which he called “the largest handgun arsenal in the world.”

“There are a number of very effective measures that I believe that we can and must take to create a safer environment.”

Allowing municipalities to enact additional restrictions on handguns would not only be “wholly inadequate,” it would also be inefficient, said Heidi Rathjen, co-ordinator of PolySeSouvient, which wants an overhaul of the gun classification system with the ultimate aim of banning weapons specifically designed to kill people.

“All one has to do is consider the glaring disaster resulting from a patchwork of state and local gun laws south of the border,” she said Tuesday.

“And one has to ask: why would stricter controls on handguns be justified in cities and not in rural areas? It seems more like the Liberals chose not to deal with the highly politicized issue of banning handguns and instead decided to pass the buck to municipalities.”

The law already requires safe storage of firearms, but there has been a “significant increase” in the theft of large numbers of handguns from homes and retailers, with the guns ending up on the street in the wrong hands, Blair said.

He acknowledged there are responsible handgun owners who obey all the rules. “We may ask them to undertake additional measures to secure their weapons to make sure that they’re not vulnerable to being stolen.”

Public Safety Canada says 24 firearms were stolen from a shop in Prince Albert, Sask., by snipping one cable, raising concerns that the after-hours commercial storage regulations could be insufficient.

Some businesses “may not be fully compliant” with existing regulations, say department notes released through the Access to Information Act. However, chief firearms officers “indicate this is infrequent and businesses come into compliance quickly when non-compliance is identified.”

The RCMP says some businesses go beyond minimum requirements through measures including shatterproof glass in display cases, video-monitoring systems and alarms, safes bolted to the floor, deadbolt locks and solid doors instead of hollow ones for storage rooms.

— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press


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