Tag Archives: back pain

Natalia Monka, Reg. PT: Men have pelvic pain too…and there are treatment options for them too!

xrayThere is a general lack of awareness when it comes to men’s health and pelvic pain. Research suggests that 1 in 10 males suffer from pelvic pain at some point in their lives. Those who do seek medical help often find themselves bounced around from various medical specialists with inconclusive test results and unanswered questions.  Quite often, men end up suffering for years with symptoms such as painful urination, burning sensations, pain with intercourse and chronic back, abdominal or hip pain.

A pelvic health physiotherapist can provide advice and guidance in managing any of the following conditions:

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Urinary Urgency or Frequency
  • Painful Urination
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Prostatitis
  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction
  • Burning Ejaculation
  • Painful Scars/Adhesions
  • Pudendal Nerve Entrapment
  • Post Pelvic Surgeries
  • Pain with Intercourse
  • Sacroiliac (SI) pain
  • Coccyx (tailbone) pain
  • Abdominal/groin/hip pain

What to expect on your initial visit:

At PhysioExcellence, a comprehensive assessment is completed one of our registered physiotherapists who treat both male and female pelvic dysfunction. An assessment of posture, lumbar and pelvic mobility, strength and flexibility, dietary, bowel and bladder habits along with an internal exam of the pelvic floor muscles is completed. A discussion of the effects of stress, dietary habits and postural habits along with pelvic floor anatomy are reviewed in the first visit. Being an educated patient is the first step towards finding solutions for chronic pelvic pain.


Treatment Plans are all individualized and discussed following the assessment. These may include all or some of the following:

  • Manual Therapy: to restore pelvic and lumbar mobility
  • Postural re-training and re-education of abdominal and pelvic floor muscle function.
  • Home exercise program to build strength, improve flexibility and promote function.
  • Self-care program involving bowel and bladder habits and relaxation techniques to improve body awareness.
  • If necessary, biofeedback or electrical stimulation is used for pelvic floor muscle re-training.
  • Goals towards changing lifestyle factors that may be contributing to pelvic pain.

If you know someone who is suffering, share this blog with them, if its you, let’s get started, call today.


Back to routine, but that back is certainly feeling the effects!

Feeling chained to your desk these days?

chainedYou are not alone! With the evolution of the office and computer work environment, many people spend their days sitting on a chair and staring at a computer screen. If only office companies would have thought of outdoor office spaces!

With the increased time spent sitting (at our desks, in our car, at the dinner table) we run the risk of developing various aches and pains. Follow these 5 simple steps on how to improve your work station:

  1. Adjust the height of the chair.  Your feet should be flat on the floor, which allows for your hips and pelvis to be at the same height.  Use a footrest if your chair is not adjustable, and resist the temptation to cross your legs while sitting! This position will decrease circulation to your legs and feet.
  2. Keep your wrists in neutral position.  Avoid bending your wrists sharply upwards or downwards to type. Make sure that if you are using a wrist rest that it doesn’t force your wrists to excessively bend down! Try to opt for a “split-design” keyboard.
  3. Adjust your monitor.  Ideally, the centre of the monitor should sit at eye level and always directly in front of your face and about an arm’s length away.
  4. Keep your mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse pad may be useful in keeping your wrist from bending awkwardly.stretch
  5. Get up and move! Every 30-45 minutes, stand and do a few quick  stretches. Sitting for long periods will create soreness in your muscles and joints. If you are in your car or trying to stay awake during that important quarterly meeting, at least shift your weight in your chair and do a few neck and shoulder stretches.

Apart from sitting for long periods, our backs can also be injured and get achy from improper lifting techniques. Keep these tips in mind next time you need to lift a heavy object:

  1. Check it out before risking putting your back out.  Test the weight of the object, and where it needs to be placed. Does it have handles? If it’s too heavy or an awkward shape, make sure to ask for help.
  2. Get as close as possible to the object. Place your feet wide to give yourself a stable base.
  3. Save the twist for the dance floor. Keep your body facing the object when you lift and carry it.lifting
  4. Lifting from a low level? Don’t even think about bending from that waist. Bend from your hips and knees instead. Alternatively, you could lower down on one knee and slide the object toward you before pushing your body upwards.
  5. Make it smooth. Don’t jerk your body back up as you lift. Use your arms and legs. Keep the object close to your body, take a breath and at the exhale tighten your core muscles to brace your back. Bend your elbows and straighten your knees to lift the object up. While carrying, keep the object close to your body at all times.
  6. Pushing is usually easier then pulling.  If you have to pull, keep the cart at your side to avoid extending your back.

Size Matters…Backpacks and your kids


Summer has come and gone and it’s September again. Time for back to school and back to school shopping. Number one on our shopping list this year is backpacks. The array of styles and sizes is staggering, not to mention prices. My boys are going into grade 2 and grade 3 and although they get a ride to school every day, I pick them up either on my bike or we take public transit. This means they will have their backpacks on their backs for a considerable amount of time. 

As a mom I am concerned about just how heavy their packs are, but as a physio, I am concerned about potential, long term damage to their spines. One study (http://newsroom.ucr.edu/868) reported that 64% of students in grade 7-8 had pain, 41% of them when they carried their backpack and 21% had pain more than 6 months. The researchers found reports of increased pain as the weight of backpacks increased in comparison to the weight of the child. Other research shows that adults with severe back problems often had pain as kids.

Here are my tips on how to choose a backpack for your child whether he is going to preschool or she is off to University.

1. The backpack should be the right size for them.
a. The bottom of the pack should be higher than their bum, landing just above the curve in their low back
b. The straps should be wide and padded and worn on both shouldersImage

2. Choose a well constructed lightweight backpack
a. We looked at an ObusFormR backpack that weighed a ton when it was empty! Obviously we didn’t buy that one.
b. Side pockets can help to distribute the weight more evenly

3. Fill the backpack with the heaviest items closest to your child’s back
a. This helps to keep the heavy items closer to their centre of mass

4. The backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the body weight of a child under 10, and no more than 20% for your teens. (this is my rule, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that children carry no more than 15 percent to 20 percent)
a. Say your 4 year old starting in JK is 40lbs that means her backpack should not exceed 4lbs. 
b. If your 17 year old is 100lbs, then his back pack can be up to 20lbs

5. Weigh the backpack
a. Throw the pack on a scale and see just how much it weighs
b. My boys have a tendency to collect rocks. This can make for a very heavy pack. We also empty the pack every night so things (aka rocks) don’t accumulate, needlessly adding weight

6. Don’t worry about what they have to bring home. Size matters.
a. At our school the kids get a plastic envelop, called “the mailman” to carry information back and forth from school, i.e. notes from the teacher to me, or notes from me to the teacher. It measures 10×16”. If I get a backpack to fit “the mailman”, my children will need a backpack that is adult size. Instead, we fold the envelop and the papers get crinkled. Oh well. Better to have crinkled notes than a crooked spine

7. Remind older kids to leave heavy items in their locker until they need them
a. In a pinch they could carry some items in their arms to offset the weight in the pack

Image8. The backpack should be easy to get on and off. If not it could be too heavy
a. Be sure they wear both straps on their shoulders
b. When worn incorrectly injuries to the spine can occur and last into adulthood

Size Matters! Getting the right size of back pack for your child is essential to prevent injuries. It is much harder to overload a smaller bag. But even if you do everything right, your child may still complain of a sore neck and/or back. Your pediatrician or a pediatric physiotherapist can assess for minor problems that are treatable and often curable. If there is numbness or tingling in their arms or legs, the pain is severe or is not relieved by adjusting the backpack seek medical attention right away. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 40% of the 24,000 people treated in the USA for backpack-related injuries in 2012 were kids aged 5-18!

Does your child complain of neck or back pain?