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Tips for Setting up an at Home Workstation

Many Calgarians are finding themselves working from home and are unsure how to best use their space in order to decrease the strain on the body. Have you found yourself working from the couch, slouched forward, with shoulder, neck or arm pain by lunchtime? Hopefully there are a few tips in this blog to help you set up your workstation to increase productivity and decrease discomfort. We might be in this for the long haul Calgary, so get comfy!

The gold standard is finding an adjustable height chair, with an adjustable height work station. This is not realistic in most homes, but we can strive to meet the same recommendations with what you have around the house.

First off you want to think of an appropriate space at home to set up as your workstation. This is ideally a space you can dedicate to be your work desk, without having to set up and take down through the day. Then the remaining big things to think about are the chair, computer placement, keyboard placement, mouse placement, and phone placement.

When you are deciding on a chair one big thing you want to look for is having your back supported with both feet resting flat on the floor with your thighs close to parallel to the ground. Try out a couple chairs that you have around the house and find the one you are most comfortable in. You want to be able to pull your chair in close to the desk or table in order for your hands to be close to the keyboard and mouse so your elbows can remain neutral at your sides.

Now you will want the computer screen to be about an arms length away from you and the top of the screen to be at eye level when you look straight ahead. Your keyboard should be at a distance where you can reach it comfortably with your arms at your side and your elbows at 90 degrees with the G and H keys at the centre of your body. Place the mouse so that if you pivot your elbow the mouse falls directly under your hand.

Laptops present a challenge. If you are able to set the laptop up for the keyboard to be placed at the right height the screen will most likely not be at the appropriate height. If you are going to be working from a laptop long term the recommendation would be to use a separate keyboard and mouse attachment. You can use the same recommendations for setting up a desktop screen, keyboard and mouse for height and distance.

When possible use your video conference options on your laptop instead of holding your phone. Same goes for phone calls. Whenever possible try to use a speaker phone option instead of holding the phone to your ear.

Extra tips

Try to set yourself up with a view of outside. The sunshine can go a long way to help with productivity and energy through the day.

Set boundaries – make sure you use your normal work day with set work hours, and unplug for the night.

Still take breaks! Even if you set up your workstation to the gold standard you still need to take breaks to rest your body. Something small and easy such as standing up and reaching your arms up to the ceiling will work. Now that you are at home, you might be able to stretch more often without feeling silly and wondering if coworkers are staring at you.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us and we will try to help as best we can right now!
Do you want to read more about Christine and about how she could help? Click here to read her bio!

Mindful Breathing Techniques to Decrease Anxiety

At this uncertain time the one subject that has continuously come up in my conversations is mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people in our community have been told to self-isolate for 14 days, while others have been encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing with no clear guidelines on when the isolation will be over. The unknown can be a frightening thing for many people who have not experienced feelings of anxiety before, let alone people with a pre-existing condition. The goal of this article is to educate you on the stress response of the body and give you a couple mindful breathing techniques in your day to combat the stress.

Our bodies may feel as if they are under attack right now, and when that happens our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is kicking into gear. When our sympathetic system kicks in the physical stress responses you will be able to feel most notably are an increased heart rate, and an increased breathing rate. There are other components such as increased blood pressure, pupil dilation, and decrease peristalsis (involuntary movement of the muscles that aid in digestion to move food through the system). The sympathetics kick in to prepare your body to fight or run, so these changes allow increased circulation and oxygen to your muscular system to be able to respond to the supposed fight.

We cannot control what is on the news, misinformation being spread, if we are out of work, that we have financial stressors, and so much unknown at this time. What we can try and control is our response to it.

This is where we need to lean on our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). It is known for being our rest and digest regulator. The SNS and PNS need to work in harmony to maintain balance in the body. The parasympathetic system works to bring the system down to normal after a stress response. The PNS will decrease heart rate, decrease respirations, bring down blood pressure, constrict the pupils, and increase peristalsis.

As long as your body has a perceived threat against it the sympathetics will be enabled leading to feelings of anxiety and the physical stress response of your body. During this time we want to engage the parasympathetics to try and bring harmony to the body in order to relax. Try to work the below breathing exercises into your day to achieve relaxation.

Lie comfortably on your back and place your hand on your stomach and focus on your breathing to allow the abdomen to rise up as you inhale and lower down when you exhale. Complete a cycle of 3 inhales and exhales in this position just trying to bring your attention to your breath to slow down its pace.

Bringing awareness to your breathing complete a 4 count inhale, pause at the top for 2 counts, and exhale for 6 counts.

Keep your breathing even. If the 4-2-6 count does not work for you, try a 2-1-3. If you find your mind wanders or worries, acknowledge it and try to bring your awareness back to the counting and your breath movement. This technique can be done anytime and anywhere. If you find yourself breathing faster and having an increased heart rate, take a couple minutes, do this breathing and you will find yourself in a more relaxed state.

Winter Injury Prevention Strategies

What are Winter Prevention Strategies to keep you injury-free? Alberta winter lasts at least four months and even though it’s February, we aren’t done with winter just yet. Physiotherapists see various injuries caused by winter sports and other winter-related activities. 

Stay active

Physical activity is a meaningful part of any lifestyle and crucial in injury prevention. Hibernating inside during the winter months is tempting, however, you are more prone to injury when you are inactive.  

  • Find an activity that you enjoy. It can be tobogganing, skiing or even just building a snow fort outside.
  • Invest in winter gear. Being active outside isn’t fun if you are cold, and you aren’t going to stick with your winter activity if you’re uncomfortable. 
  • Too cold outside? Move your workout indoors. Find a gym or recreation centre or even just some spin classes. Or workout in your home – jump rope, do jumping jacks or dust off that under-used yoga mat.

Prevent slips and falls

  • Check those treads! Just like the tires on your car, when the treads on your shoes or boots are smooth and worn down they won’t offer much grip on ice and snow, making you more prone to falls. Check your footwear at the start of the season and keep an eye out for when it’s time to invest in some new footwear with rubber soles and non-slip treads.
  • What about those icy sidewalks? Walk like a penguin by shuffling and keep your feet close to the ground. This maximizes the contact between your shoes and the sidewalk helps to keep you balanced.

Stay Safe

  • Every year there is an increase in collisions and a rise in whiplash injuries to go along with those collisions. We see a lot of injuries related to Motor Vehicle Accidents. Leave enough room between cars, don’t speed, raise your headrest and get winter tires.
  • Keep your sidewalks and driveways clear of snow and ice, this will help keep you on your feet. Choose a smaller shovel and a manageable load. Use your knees not your back and take breaks.

To find a physiotherapist to help you with your winter injury prevention or to treat your injury, click here.

What to do After a Motor Vehicle Accident

After a Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) it is easy to become overwhelmed with adjusters, vehicle repairs, and financial strain. Not to mention physical and emotional pain.

For those reasons, we are here to help. If you follow these steps, you will have the pain relief and support you need to minimize added stress!

1. Open an MVA claim

One of the most common injuries that can result from a car accident is whiplash, which happens when your neck is extended past its typical range of motion.  In fact, what may feel like a minor injury after the accident can develop into a more serious injury that requires medical treatment. Because of this, it’s important to contact your insurance company to open an Accident Benefits claim. This is different than a claim to deal with the damage to your vehicle and you will have a separate adjuster for the injury.

2. Fill out AB-1

Complete a Notice of Loss and Proof of Claim Form (AB-1). Send it to your adjuster within 10 days from the date of your accident.

You can download the AB-1 form online, get from your insurer, or complete it here at our clinic. We will even help you fill it out and send it in for you!

3. Get an Assessment

Schedule an assessment with a physiotherapist (or other primary health practitioners) as soon as possible. Your physiotherapist will prepare a Treatment Plan (AB-2) and send it to your adjuster.

You may want to schedule an appointment with your family doctor to document your injuries. Although not required, this can provide clarity of your case later in the claims process if needed.

4. Know your rights!

Under the Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols, most cases are entitled to a fixed number of treatments to be completed within 90 days of the date of your Motor Vehicle Accident. Your insurance company is the first payer and we can direct bill for all of your Physiotherapy treatments. Once you are outside of the protocols you are still entitled to treatment deemed medically necessary under Section B benefits. These benefits are included in every auto insurance policy and may cover you for up to 2 years from the date of your MVA. At this point, your extended health benefits become the first payer and your motor vehicle insurance company becomes the second payer.

5. Use your Coverage

Supplement your treatment with items that can assist in the healing process. You are entitled to $120 – $160 of supplies but this will depend on the diagnosis of your injuries.

Ask your physiotherapist for suggestions. Items used to assist in your recovery include hot and cold packs, trigger point release tools, and neck and back supports. We carry the items that you will need for your recovery and can take care of the billing.

Complete paperwork, maintain detailed records, and follow the treatment recommendations from your healthcare practitioner to have the recipe for a hassle-free claim! Our clinic will be there to help every step along the way.

Book in your initial MVA assessment here or call our clinic ay 403-200-2190

Knee Pain

Knee injuries and knee pain are very common and have many causes.  Because of this, an accurate diagnosis is important so that the appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause. The cause of the pain can be from injury, arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendonitis or even repetitive strain injury.

Treatment for any knee issues can vary considerably and will depend on your diagnosis. Treatment can involve knee mobilization techniques, massage, needling, taping, movement and strengthening based exercises. 

Is Your Knee Injury Serious?

Here are six signs that could indicate a severe knee injury.

  1. Obvious deformity. You may have a fracture or dislocation.
  2. You are unable to weight-bear on your leg
  3. You’ve experienced swelling
  4. Greater than normal movement or less than normal movement 
  5. You are unable to weight-bear on your leg
  6. You undoubtedly heard a “pop” or “snap”

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your physiotherapist or physician for treatment options for your knee.

Best Exercise for Knee Pain?

Researchers have identified that knee exercises can help with the relief of your knee pain. Therefore, the key thing to identify is which exercises will be likely to help you and which could be harmful.  

The exercise dosage you should be doing is also important to your rehabilitation. Of course, this will depend on the phase of your specific diagnosis, your knee injury, and your individual health factors. Your physiotherapist’s professional training including knee injury diagnosis and appropriate knee exercise prescription is important to guide you quickly back to pain-free living.

Because of individual differences with knee pain, it is recommended that you seek the professional advice of your trusted physiotherapist or healthcare practitioner who has a special interest in knee pain and injuries to help guide you in your knee rehabilitation.

Book in today for an assessment with our Physiotherapist to get you back to pain-free living

Physiotherapists- 5 Reasons You Should See One

Athletic Therapy Clinic - Prairie Therapy

You will benefit from seeing a Physiotherapist whether you’re an elite athlete or an office worker. However, you do not need to have an injury to an assessment from a Physiotherapist. Physios help to improve your quality of life, performance, physical function and help to manage existing conditions.

What is a Physiotherapist and what do they do?

Physiotherapists are regulated, healthcare professionals. They are university-trained movement specialists. Because of their knowledge in anatomy, movement and mobility they will help to optimize function and quality of life. There are many benefits from seeing a Physiotherapist; listed below are 5 reasons to visit a Physiotherapist.

1. Alleviate pain

Pain can be acute or chronic. Acute pain has a sudden onset, can occur after a specific injury or trauma and has a short duration. Chronic pain lasts for more than 6 months and may require the assistance of a healthcare professional. Physiotherapists are trained to assess and identify the source of your pain.

2. Prevent Injuries

Physios help to prevent future injury and flare-ups of current conditions. Whether you’re training for a sport or starting a new activity, a Physiotherapist will be able to assess your current mobility, strength and stability. Based on your unique goals, a customized treatment plan will be provided to help you.

3. Improve your posture

Poor posture will cause pain, muscle imbalances and headaches. If you spend most of your day working in an office environment, as many do, you also spend time in the same position every day. Slouched shoulders and forward head posture leads to pain and dysfunction in your body. Physiotherapists help identify which areas need postural correction and which muscles need stretching and strengthening.

4. Improve post-surgical recovery

It takes time to heal after surgery. Because of restricted activity, you can experience muscle atrophy and weakness. Poor pain management also limits post-surgical recovery. A Physiotherapist will help you progress along with your rehabilitation in a safe and effective manner.

5. Address muscle imbalances

Muscle imbalances cause us pain and discomfort. Imbalances develop from chronic poor posture or overuse of the same muscles. Repetitive movements such as keyboarding can lead to elbow pain (aka “tennis elbow”). Physios are able to assess the muscles for any imbalances and provide a plan to improve or optimize function.

At Prarie Therapy we have experienced Physiotherapists to help assess and treat you. Call us at 403-200-2190 or conveniently book online

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome otherwise referred to as CTS is a medical condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in your hand and wrist. These symptoms are due to pressure put on the median nerve. The median nerve and several tendons run from your forearm to your side through a small space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel.

Risk Factors for Carpal Tunnel

The pain in your carpal tunnel is due to excess pressure in your wrist and on the median nerve. Inflammation can cause swelling. The most common cause of this inflammation is an underlying medical condition that causes swelling in the wrist and sometimes obstructed blood flow. Some factors that can cause CTS are heredity, repetitive hand use, hand and wrist position, and health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.


Symptoms of CTS may include numbness, pain and tingling sensations, weakness and clumsiness in the hands. Many people find that their symptoms come and go at first. However, as the condition worsens, symptoms may occur more frequently or may persist for more extended periods of time.

The problem is the symptoms of carpal tunnel are present with many other conditions, which leads to misdiagnosis in many cases. Mainly if burning, tingling or numbness occurs in areas other than your wrists, you probably don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Often clients will come to a therapist stating they have carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel is well known and accepted as a condition; because of this the focus usually hones in on the carpal tunnel when hand symptoms are mentioned. For example, the client may mistakenly report symptoms that affect the ring and little finger as CTS. Often their physician hasn’t given them a formal diagnosis and is experiencing symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. A therapist does not have the same diagnostic tools as a physician, and they are basing their treatment of the symptoms based on what the client is telling them, pain level, and working through the soft tissue.

How Physical Therapy can help

Physical Therapy can relieve CTS symptoms by breaking down scar tissue and adhesions in the muscles of the wrist and forearm, caused by trauma or overuse. Specific exercises can also help reduce pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. These exercises are incorporated with bracing and/or splinting and activity changes to relieve symptoms. Whether or not you have carpal tunnel or other conditions of the hand, sometimes all it takes is one appointment with our Physiotherapists, Osteopaths or Massage Therapists to provide pain relief.

All of the therapists at Prairie Therapy can comfortably work with carpal tunnel issues. Call 403-200-2190 or book online at

Deep Tissue Massage- No Pain No Gain?

Deep tissue massage

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue is a style of massage therapy that is slower and firmer compared to other massage techniques. This type of massage uses firm pressure and slow strokes and focus on the deepest layers of muscle tissue and fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that forms our tendons and ligaments surrounds’ all of our muscles and organs. Massage therapy can help reduce pain, inflammation, muscle tension and stress. Because of this, it is also beneficial for chronic conditions and areas that may have scar tissue and a poor range of motion.


Deep tissue massage is usually beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Low back pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Upper back pain
  • Limited mobility
  • Whiplash
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Postural problems
  • Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back
  • Sciatica
  • Athletic Recovery

What to Expect

Deep tissue massage isn’t a stronger version of a relaxation massage. The massage techniques break up scar tissue and physically break down muscle adhesions. The adhesions disrupt circulation, cause pain and cause inflammation.

The therapist will start with light pressure to warm up your muscles. They will use common techniques such as:

  • Stripping – The therapist will use thumbs, knuckles, forearms or elbows. As a result, you will feel a gliding pressure along the fibres of your muscles.
  • Friction: The pressure is also applied across the grain of your muscles to realign tissue fibres and release any adhesions that cause discomfort. 

Does a Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?

During the massage, you may feel some discomfort or pain as the RMT focuses on adhesions or scar tissue. That being said, pain isn’t necessarily a sign of an effective massage. Too much pain and your body will tense up which will make it difficult to reach deeper muscles. Do speak up and let your therapist know if there is discomfort or pain.


To get the most out of your treatment make sure to do the following:

  • Breathe! Relax and breath. This will help the therapist get those deeper muscles and help release tension in your body.
  • Drink plenty of water after your treatment. Massage helps stimulate the circulation of blood and the lymphatic system. Water will help flush out toxins.

You most likely will experience some stiffness and soreness in the day or so following your deep tissue massage. Of course, if this pain doesn’t naturally go away, get in touch with your therapist to talk it through.

There are only 68 days until the end of the year to use your extended healthcare benefits. Book in your massage today!

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Plantar Fasciitis causes intense pain on the heel and bottom of the foot. The diagnosis is based on your signs and symptoms and in some cases an ultrasound. Often the cause of plantar fasciitis is not clear. We will discuss why plantar fasciitis is not a foot problem followed by specific therapies that provide long-lasting results.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis. What is the cause? It is running? Standing for long periods on a hard surface? Is it poor footwear? High arches or flat feet?

Plantar fasciitis causes are made up of two primary factors:

Muscle and Connective Tissue Tightness

It starts with muscle and connective tissue tightness. The muscles aren’t working correctly, therefore, your foot can’t work correctly. You will feel pain in your foot although it’s the tightness of your lower leg that causes the issue. Again, the cause of foot pain is not always the foot.


Too much pressure on your feet can sometimes damage or tear the ligaments; the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, and the inflammation will cause heel pain and stiffness.

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis

Your doctor may have suggested surgery. Other treatment options can be steroids, splints and orthotics. The treatments may not be able to fix your problem because they are still looking at the issue as a cause and not as a symptom.

For this reason, if you want to address the pain, you will need to address the root causes of the pain. This means treatments to help address the inflammation and muscle and connective tissue tightness.

How Osteopathy and Massage Therapy Can Help.

Massage is a low cost, non-invasive and effective treatment for plantar fasciitis. The connective tissue is a fairly rigid structure and can often be very sore to the touch. An experienced therapist will identify irritable points whilst not causing undue pain and discomfort. Deep tissue massage will help with both inflammation and muscle and the connective tissue.

Osteopathy will identify the cause of pain instead of chasing symptoms. An Osteopath will assess the entire lower limb and spine in relation to how you are moving, transferring and absorbing weight. They will also address the underlying cause of inflammation and look at physical factors like restricted ankle movement and tight calf muscles.

Book an appointment with one of our Osteopaths or Massage Therapists today

Whiplash-How to Treat it

Whiplash Treatment

Whiplash is a relatively common neck injury. Whiplash is caused by an impact to your neck that causes it to whip back and forth. It is most often associated with motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), specifically, rear-end collisions. The symptoms and severity differ from person to person. Right after impact, patients may not even be aware of any neck swelling or bruising. In general symptoms usually, appear between 12 and 24 hours after the accident.

Causes of Whiplash

While the majority of whiplash injuries are from motor vehicle accidents, there are other causes with a strong enough impact to cause injury:

  • Contact sports (hockey, football, rugby)
  • Roller-coasters and amusement park rides
  • A horse-back riding or cycling accident
  • A fall which causes the head to jolt backwards abruptly
  • The direct impact of large or heavy object on the head

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash will show presents as neck pain, stiffness or tenderness and decreased range of motion. The following symptoms are present with neck injury:

  • Neck and back pain and aches
  • Neck stiffness and decreased range of motion
  • Shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Arm pain and weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Sensory disturbances, such as pins and needles

You should seek help from your physician or a physiotherapist if the pain spreads to your shoulders and/or arms; if it becomes painful and difficult to move your head; if you experience numbness, tingling or weakness; or if the pain is severe. Your symptoms can be improved with proper medical advice and physiotherapy.

Treatment Options

What are the treatment options for whiplash? Evidence supports various treatment approaches. Your best treatment direction should be guided by an expert in the rehabilitation such as a physiotherapist or physician. With this in mind, you should choose a practitioner who has experience treating whiplash caused by motor vehicle accidents.

  • Ice- Put on on your neck, this will help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Use a neck brace or support if your doctor recommends it.
  • Pain medications (over-the-counter or prescription).
  • Limit activities such as sports or heavy lifting.
  • Limit the motion of your neck and head as much as possible.
  • Physiotherapy
  • Other modalities such as massage or acupuncture.

Your whiplash will get better. However, whiplash injuries can take a few days to a few months to rehabilitate. Research shows the large majority of whiplash sufferers recover with actively guided treatment.  We recommend that you consult your doctor or physiotherapist before you begin treatment.

Give us a call at 403-200-2190 to speak with one of our qualified physiotherapists regarding your whiplash injury.