Tag Archives: physical therapy

No pain back Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

Healthier Backs for Back to School

It’s that time of year when students aged 5-25 head back into the classroom. Unfortunately, the majority of students spend their time sitting for long periods and lugging heavy backpacks to and from school and different classes. This combination puts students at an increased risk for neck, shoulder and back injuries. 23% of elementary kids and 33% of high school kids complain of back pain. Individuals (of all ages) who spend most of their time sitting are 30% more at risk for back injuries. The most common risk factor for injury is bad posture! “Slouching” leads to a forward head posture and rounded back/shoulders, which increases tension in the muscles, stress on the ligaments and joints, and increased compressive forces in the spine. The goal of this article is to provide some valuable tips for students (and their parents who likely sit all day as well) in order to develop better postural habits at school AND home (good posture isn’t just for the classroom; it’s also important while playing video games, texting, etc.).


Students, especially as they get older, spend a large portion of their day seated at a desk. Unfortunately, school classrooms are not designed ergonomically for different body types. Younger children may have their feet dangling in the air as they sit on chairs too high for them, while taller teenagers are crammed into a small desk. While you can’t do much about the furniture at school, here are some tips about what you can change:

  • Avoid slouching – see image below;

Sitting Back Posture Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

  • It’s hard to stay in perfect posture ALL the time, so cheat a little. Roll up a sweater and stuff it behind your lower back to help support your back and make your muscles work less;
  • Try to sit with both feet on the ground with equal weight through both sides (try not to cross your ankles/legs or sit with all your weight leaning to one side);
  • What does good posture feel and look like? Take grandmas advice, “walk/sit with a book on your head.” I challenge you to grab a paperback and try this from a slouched position and then with good posture. It works, and will give you a feel for how you should be sitting;
  • Get up and move around when you can. Obviously don’t disrupt the class, but if a break is given and the opportunity arises to get out of your chair, take advantage of it;
  • At home (and at school, if possible), look at your setup and see what you can change. Is your chair at a good height? Is your desk at a good height? Obviously most classrooms are pretty standard, but at home you can make adjustments to your chair and/or desk;
  • Use a standing workstation, if possible.


Despite the push for a paperless society, backpacks still get crammed with a ton of stuff. Heavy backpacks can put a lot of strain on the neck and shoulders, as well as excessive loading on the spine. Some of the more stylish bags aren’t necessarily the most practical. What should you look for in a good backpack?

  • Lightweight – a fully loaded backpack (lunch, books, supplies, etc.) should not weigh more than 10-15% of the students body weight;
  • Make sure the backpack has two padded straps. Crossbody, handbags, and/or carrying the bag on one shoulder increases the chance of strain on the shoulder, neck and upper back;
  • Make sure the straps are adjustable. Shorter straps exert less pressure on the back.
  • Look for wider straps (i.e., 5 cm) that distribute the weight more evenly;
  • The upper border of the bag should not be higher that the shoulder, and the lower border should not reach the hip bone.

The school year is just beginning, so get off to a healthy start. If you have any questions about postural exercises, or would like your child to have a postural assessment, talk with one of the therapists at Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic, and they can assess posture and provide appropriate exercises.

Poursadeghiyan et al., (2017). The effects of the manner of carrying the bags on musculoskeletal symptoms in school students in the city of IIam, Iran. Annals of Tropical Medicne and Public Health. 10,3,600-605.

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running for injury prevention Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

A Run a Day, Keeps the Grim Reaper Away

Everyone is always looking for the secret to a longer, healthier life. As we all know, exercise is beneficial both psychologically and physically. Running/jogging is one of the most convenient leisure time activities. But how much (or little) do you have to do in order to see benefits? Lee et al., (2014) recently examined the associations between running and all-cause mortality risk in 55 137 adults (age 18-100 years old). The amount of running you have to do in order to see a significantly reduced risk of death will shock you.

The study found that compared to non-runners, runners had a 30-45% lower risk of death, regardless of sex, age, BMI, health conditions, smoking status and alcohol consumption. Runners also lived an average of 3 years longer than non-runners. In addition, adults who consistently ran (for longer than 6 years) had the most significant mortality benefits. Lastly, you don’t have to be an ultra-marathon runner or Speedy Gonzales to reap the benefits of running. Running at lower doses and slower speeds (5-10 min/day at <6 miles/hr) was also associated with markedly reduced risks of death. Is more better? Not necessarily! Research has shown that once you reach >50 min/day of running there is no additional mortality benefits.

Take home message:

  • The most common barrier for adults trying to become physically active is “lack of time.” This study can be a great motivator for those adults looking to become more active and healthy. All you have to do is 5-10 min a day of light easy jogging (that’s equivalent to only 2-3 songs on your iPod…or Stairway to Heaven if you want some stretching time as well).
  • If you are sedentary and want to become more active, don’t get discouraged if you can’t jog consistently for 5 minutes. Start with a walk-jog program like the example below:
    • Walk 1 min., jog 1 min.;
      Progress to walk 1 min., jog 2 min.;
      Walk 1 min., jog 3 min., etc.

Still not sure where to start? You can ask any of the therapists at Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic on how to incorporate jogging/physical activity into your lifestyle, based on your injuries and health issues.

Lee et al., (2014). Leisure-time running reduces all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk. Journal of American College of Cardioology. 64, 5.

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New employees Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

New Faces at Sheddon

Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic is constantly growing to meet the needs of our patients and we would like to welcome two of our newest members to the SPSC team!!

Tanya Gustaw MSc.PT, BSc.Kin (Hons), Contemporary Medical Acupuncture

New employees Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville Mississauga

Tanya is a graduate of the Masters of Science Physical Therapy program from the University of Toronto. Prior to completing her Masters, Tanya obtained her Honours Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from McMaster University. She has an interest in working with a variety of client populations including orthopaedic and sports injuries, and has experience working with post-surgical clients, athletes, and children.

Tanya is dedicated to life-long learning and continuing her education. She has earned her Level 1 in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA), and is currently pursuing further levels in manual and manipulative therapy. In addition, Tanya has completed McMaster University’s Contemporary Medical Acupuncture training, and courses in soft tissue release.

Tanya has personal experience with the benefits of rehabilitation and preventative care, and as such is dedicated to using her experiences to help clients return from injury, achieve their goals, and provide them with the tools needed to prevent potential injuries.

Emily Desmarais Registered Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Aquatic Rehabilitation Specialist

Emily Desmarais at Sheddon Physio Sports Clinic Oakville MississaugaGrowing up as a dancer, Emily attended her fair share of rehabilitation appointments. At an early age, she was amazed by the bodies function and capabilities of healing. This led her to start her education in Athletic Therapy but eventually she chose the path to become an RMT from the Royal Canadian College of Massage Therapy. Emily has experience treating high school football teams, motor vehicle accidents, pre natal women and the average individual. She has been trained to use a varity of techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue, sports massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Fascial release and Reiki. Emily is also a qualified Aquatic Rehabilitation Specialist. She is able to do aquatic therapy at a clients home pool, city pool, or gym pool.  An assessment would need to be done by one of the Physiotherapists at Sheddon and Emily would carry out the exercise program as guided by the physiotherapist.

Emily’s treatments are developed to you specifically. Postural assessments and orthopaedic testing help her to determine the underlying cause of an injury or dysfunction and preventing reoccurrence. There is nothing worse than living with pain, limitations or stress. Let Emily help you reach your goals and possibilities. 

If you are interested in finding out more about either of our new therapists, please contact the clinic for more information, 905-849-4576.

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