Courtenay’s Trusted Resource for Injury Prevention

Although the majority of our work is based on rehabilitative therapy, we can’t stress enough the importance of implementing preventative care to achieve optimal health. This page is meant to serve as a purposeful tool with information on injury prevention for common ailments. If you currently have an injury or would like advice on how to improve your physical well-being, make an appointment with Courtenay’s David Da Silva Physiotherapy.

Backpack Weighing You Down

Physiotherapists advise the following tips when selecting and using backpacks to avoid back and arm injury.

Backpacks should have the following features:

  • Lightweight material to reduce weight, and have lots of storage compartments to balance the weight of the contents throughout the entire pack. 
  • Padded back to reduce pressure and prevent the pack’s contents from digging into the back.
  • Shoulder and chest straps that are padded, contoured, adjustable to help reduce pressure and balance the weight. 
  • Waist belt or hip strap to distribute some of the load to the pelvis. The waist belt sends the weight of the pack down through the legs which are more used to carrying weight, and it will maintain the central position keeping the pack closer to the back.
  • Compression straps on the sides or bottom of the backpack to help compress the contents of the backpack and stabilize the articles.
  • Reflective material for visibility to drivers at night.

Fitting the Backpack

Centre the backpack between the shoulder blades using both shoulder straps.

The backpack should be the right size for the person using it. A backpack should not be chosen for size to carry more.

The shoulder straps should fit comfortably and not dig in to the shoulders, allowing the arms to move freely; the bottom of the pack should rest in the contour of the lower back; and the pack should "sit" evenly in the middle of the back, not "sag down" toward the buttocks.

Wear both shoulder straps to help distribute the weight of the pack evenly and to promote a good posture. Using only one strap loads the entire weight of the bag over one shoulder, resulting in back pain and strain to the neck and shoulders. Leaning forward may affect the natural curve in the lower back, and increase the curve of the upper back and shoulders.

Keep the weight manageable. A full backpack should never weigh more than 15 percent of the carriers’ body weight. For example, someone weighing 115 lbs. (52 kg) should not carry more than 17 lbs. (7.8 kg), with the heaviest items stored closest to the back. Remember, carrying heavy loads incorrectly can lead to back strain or even chronic problems. These risks can be greatly increased in children and adolescents.

Maintain a good posture at all times, standing tall with your head and neck aligned with your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders pulled gently back and down will help. As an exercise try utilizing this posture, gently squeezing your shoulder blades together and then rotate your palms to face outwards. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat five times.

Don’t Sit out This Soccer Season

Soccer players young and old are heading out to the field for another action packed and fun-filled season. 

Reduce major injuries by following several of these physiotherapy tips:

  • Ensure you have a good balance of practice time, game time, and days off to prevent overuse injuries.
  • Take the time for a good warm-up and be sure to spend time on flexibility exercises.
  • You can prevent an injury with proper warm-up and stretching techniques, so you don’t end up rehabilitating and injury that could cost you most of the playing season.
  • Check the pitch – make sure playing fields are well-maintained and free of hazards.
  • Shin guards – help prevent soft-tissue and other more serious injuries to the legs.
  • Play fair – rough play can injure others – playing fair and safe ensures everyone has a good time.

Soft tissue, overuse injuries, as well as knee and ankle injuries are a common problem among young players. Consider using arch supports for comfort and for relief of minor heel or foot pain.

Don’t play with severe or persistent pain - minor aches and pains lasting up to 48 hours are acceptable, but severe pain or difficulty walking may signal a more serious problem. Consult your physiotherapist immediately.

A reminder to athletes that chronic pain around the hip or knee joints or the lower back may be signs of more serious problems and should be checked by your physiotherapist.

Healthy Computer Habits

Physiotherapists are seeing an increase in electronic injuries, and the aches and pains that come from sitting at a computer for long periods of time.

Physiotherapists offer these guidelines for computer:

  • Stretch – include regular stretching into your work routine. Every 20 to 60 minutes, do three or four stretches for hands, shoulders, neck and trunk. 
  • Move – get up from your workstation for a short stretch or walk around to promote blood flow to fatigued muscles every hour.
  • Reduce strain – make sure you are sitting correctly with your back supported.

As described below, adjust your chair to support your back and minimize awkward postures that can lead to muscle tension, fatigue and soreness. Avoid slouching and ensure that the small of your back is supported.

  • Sit with your buttocks right back in the chair and your feet flat on the floor, or on a footrest or phone book. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle, at the same level or slightly above your hips. 
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed; arms close to your body or resting comfortably on the armrests, which should be positioned close to your sides; elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees; forearms parallel to the floor; and wrists straight, which may involve adjusting the angle of the keyboard or mouse.
  • Keep your eyes level within range of the top third of the screen. Don’t squint to see the screen (check for glare or enlarge the font).
  • Keep your work, keyboard and mouse centered in front of the monitor and close to you, to avoid arching your neck or twisting your body.
  • Use a good quality mouse that requires minimal pressure to click, and be sure to position it on the same level and as close to the keyboard as possible. Keep your wrist straight and move the mouse with whole arm movements not just the wrist.
  • Use ergonomic computer accessories, such as document holders to encourage neutral neck postures, and headsets to avoid awkward neck postures (often seen as holding the phone in the crook of the neck) while interfacing with the computer and telephone.
  • A wrist pad on the keyboard allows you to rest your wrists on the pad and reduces stress on the wrist; and If you’re working on a computer all day at work. Choose activities for leisure and recreation that will not continue to stress the same muscles and tendons.

Talk to a physiotherapist if you are experiencing regular or increasing discomfort while sitting at your computer, take early corrective action.

Forecast Calls for Snow Shoveling

Back injuries and pulled muscles are among the most common health threats from using poor technique when shoveling snow. While most people recognize that shoveling snow is very hard work, that can put severe stress on your heart, fewer people recognize the stress and strain that it places on the low back.

Take time to stretch and prepare your body for activity with a simple warm up of marching on the spot and a few shoulder circles to help tackle the snow.

Tips to Help Get a Handle of Safe Shoveling
Choose a shovel that’s right for you. A shovel with an appropriate length handle is correct when you can slightly bend your knees, bend forward 10 degrees or less, and hold the shovel comfortably in your hands at the start of the shovel stroke. A plastic shovel blade is lighter than a metal one, putting less strain on your spine; and sometimes, a smaller blade is better than a larger one. This avoids the risk of trying to pick up a pile of snow that is too heavy for your body to carry. Ergonomic shovels with a bent shaft require less bending and your heart doesn’t need to work as hard.

When you grip the shovel, make sure your hands are at least 12 inches apart. This will increase your leverage and reduce strain on your body. Always keep one hand close to the base of the shovel to balance weight of the lift and lessen the lower back strain.

Lift the snow properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovel of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine.

Spray your shovel with a lubricant or silicon spray so the snow does not cling.

Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow. This will help prevent the low back from twisting and next-day back fatigue experienced by many who shovel.

Tackle heavy snow in two stages. Begin by skimming off the snow from the top and then remove the bottom layer. Avoid overloading the shovel. You are working too hard if you cannot say a long sentence in one breath. If this is the case, take a short rest or decrease the intensity of effort slightly.

Take frequent breaks when shoveling. Stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the low back. Do standing extension exercises by placing your hands on the back of your hips and bend backwards slightly for several seconds. Because you bend forward so much when shoveling, you need to reverse this by straightening up and bending backwards slightly.

Wear proper footwear with good tread to help avoid slipping or falling. Shoveling snow is a rigorous physical activity, if you don’t exercise regularly or if you have a medical condition consult a Physiotherapist.

Fit to a Tee

A game of golf is a healthy activity to help gain and maintain flexibility and range of motion. It’s a physical activity that includes walking, lifting and repetitive arm movements, providing the benefits of cardiovascular and strengthening exercise programs.

However, returning to action after being on hiatus for several months puts enthusiasts at high risk of injury. The golf swing is a complex, explosive and physically stressful movement that requires the full rotational capacity of 127 joints and the dynamic activation and coordination of 400 pairs of muscles.

To avoid injury, physiotherapists recommend:

  • During the golf season, walk 20-30 minutes a day, three to four times a week. 
  • Begin practicing your grip on the club. Practice your back swing. Keep the club at waist level and slowly increase to a full swing. Start with one of the shorter clubs and work up to the longer, heavier irons. 
  • Stretch as a warm-up, as a break during repetitive movements and as a cool-down after your golf game. It helps you to move easily, keeps muscles flexible and relaxed, joints mobile, and relieves tension and strain. Gear – such as your golf shoes, clubs and golf bag – are meant to ease the work, not cause additional strain. 
  • Carry your golf bag over both shoulders and walk upright. If you have a one-strap system, alternate sides; push rather than pull a wheeled golf cart. 
  • Hold clubs in a loose, comfortable grip to reduce strain in your hand and forearm.
  • When standing for long periods, stand tall and occasionally shift your weight from one foot to the other, or rest one foot on your golf bag or cart.
  • Reduce strain by fitting the clubs to the golfer, not the golfer to the clubs. Physiotherapists recommend that golfers choose their golf equipment to match their skill level and body type.

Oh My Aching Back

Almost everyone experiences some type of back pain during the course of their life. More than 70% of back problems begin during routine daily activities. Accidents and other forms of trauma account for only 30% of back problems.

Back pain can be due simply to a lack of exercise or a result of poor posture or body mechanics.

Poor posture or twisting movements during such routine activities as gardening, housework, picking up a child, reaching for an object or even coughing can cause acute back pain – pain that can last for hours, days or even years if ignored. The pain can be felt in the back or may be “referred pain” that is felt in the low abdomen, groin leg or foot. Specific sensations can include pins and needles, numbness or a burning feeling. These should not be left untreated.

Normally, pain resulting from muscle or ligament strains will fix itself in the first 24 to 48 hours. If the pain does not subside after 24 hours and is happening regularly, is severe, or is getting worse, you should see your physiotherapist.

The physiotherapist’s focus is to treat the problem quickly, reduce pain and return you to normal activity as soon as possible. Since so many factors can be the cause of back pain, physiotherapists offer a range of comprehensive treatment programs designed specifically for your individual case.

These include hands-on treatment such as; exercise prescriptions to strengthen and condition the back and stomach muscles that support the spine, mobilization involving small movements, of one or more joints in the spine and manipulation which improves spine mechanics.

Physical modalities which can include the use of heat, ice, or various types of electrical stimulation, posture correction advice and education to prevent future back pain, as well as back protection strategies.

Stages of Healing After Injury

Your body will go through 3 stages of healing after every injury, and your Physiotherapist will help you through each stage.

  1. Inflammation – pain and swelling need to be controlled. Physiotherapists recommend ice, activity reduction, ultrasound or electrotherapy to help with inflammation control and pain management.
  2. Repair – scar tissue formation occurs, which is how your body mends. At this stage, your physiotherapist will prescribe therapeutic exercise for range of motion or stretching.
  3. Remodeling – your body is rebuilding healthy tissue. Your physiotherapist will guide you through a strengthening or conditioning program.

Regular aerobic exercise, such as walking and swimming will help prevent injury and provide the condition a healthy back needs. A Physiotherapist will help you maintain your strength and fitness to minimize injuries and prevent re-injury.

Clinical research shows that early treatment of back pain prevents chronic back pain and sufferers can return to work and other activity, enhancing their quality of life and general well-being.

Start Walking

30 Minutes of walking each day has health benefits. Walking is the simplest and easiest form of exercise.

To avoid injury, physiotherapists recommend the following:
A warm up and cool down is vital to every walking program. Keep muscles flexible and relaxed, joints mobile, and relieve tension and strain by doing a few gentle stretches before and after your walk. Important areas to stretch are the neck, shoulders, arms, low back and spine, hip flexors, buttocks, quads, hamstrings, shins, calves and ankles. Stretch and hold until you feel tension but not pain. Do not bounce as his can tear the muscle fibers.

While walking focus on:

  • Your posture – keep your shoulders square and relaxed; make sure your head, shoulders and hips are lined up over your feet; achieving an efficient stride; not too long (an “over stride” will tighten and tire your muscles) and not too short.
  • Maintaining a consistent, comfortable pace.
  • Maintaining a tall erect posture, keeping your torso upright.
  • Keeping your breathing relaxed.
  • Your arm swing, driving your arms backwards, not just forwards.
  • Relaxing and keeping shoulders loose.
  • Your foot strike – pay attention to actively pushing off, rolling from the heel right through and off the end of the toe.
  • Pointing your feet straight ahead.

Starting a walking program:

  • During the first week, walk 10-15 minutes at a slow pace, on a flat surface, avoiding hills and stairs.
  • After week one, maintain the same distance but pick up the pace.
  • Over the following several weeks, build up gradually to a 20 - 30-minute walk, three to four times per week, at a pace that is brisk but comfortable.

What to wear:

  • Your base layer should be a moisture-wicking fabric (avoid cotton).
  • The middle layer should be a little heavier that fits loosely over the base layer.
  • The outer layer should be a lightweight, breathable, windproof jacket that will protect you against cold, wind, rain or snow while still allowing perspiration to evaporate.
  • Well-fitting shoes – your physiotherapist can suggest a walking shoe that best suits your needs and walking program.

Also rotate your walking routes from incline to flat, sidewalk to grass, to keep it interesting and listen to your body and watch for recurring or persisting pain. If concerned, seek early professional attention from your physiotherapist.

Safe Skiing and Snowboarding

Winter enthusiasts look forward to this time of year when there’s an abundance of winter activities to enjoy, like skiing and snowboarding.

Before heading out to the slopes, you need to remember that winter activities often pose a high risk of injury if time isn’t taken in advance for proper body conditioning.

Physiotherapists see an increase in “impact” injuries in winter. They recommend good conditioning program prior to hitting the slopes. Workouts to stretch and strengthen thighs, hamstrings, buttock muscles and abdominal muscles can also help.

The “ABC’s of Winter Conditioning”

A is for Alignment: people spend a lot of time in seated or contorted postures, which can affect postural alignment. This may limit the body’s ability to achieve and maintain peak capacity and may lead to pain or injury. A physiotherapist can tailor a program of stretching and strengthening exercises to promote optimal postural alignment.

B is for Balance: balance is a fundamental component of any sport, especially skiing. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you may need to “train” your balance reactions for sport related activity. Most gyms have balance equipment available. Use them to improve balance and ultimately enjoyment on the slopes.

C is for Core Training: skiers and boarders need a strong core or torso as an “anchor” for the legs. These are the muscle groups that work together to stabilize the trunk. Exercises that have a rotational component and work the core areas in three dimensions are best. While many sports such as cycling, or weight training are one-dimensional, life and sports, like skiing, are 3-D so you must train for them.

D is for Deceleration Control: skiing and boarding are all about controlling the gravitational pull on frozen water. A typical ski turn usually lasts 2-3 seconds. Skiers must be able to control their deceleration speed to slow the forces of gravity and finish their run safely.

Exercises that work the quadriceps in a slow controlled manner such as step ups, split squats and lunges are excellent ways to train for this. They mimic the forces of skiing and allow you to improve strength in a hip-extended position, the functional position for all sports.

Running to the Finish Line

Running is an activity that many enjoy and can be extremely beneficial to one’s health. A 30 to 40 minute run, three or four times a week can help to maintain flexibility, increase mobility and build strength and endurance.

Proper posture and body mechanics will help lessen the strain on your body.

Physiotherapists recommend:

  • Stretch before and after your run. Concentrate on stretching the calf, hamstring quadriceps, iliotibial band, groin, buttocks, outside of the knee and back. 
  • With each exercise, hold the stretch for at least 15 seconds, until you feel tension but not pain, and do not bounce before starting your run, relax and take a deep breath. This allows the lungs to move into an efficient position and the hips to pull forward, for an easier run. After exhaling, try to maintain your chest in this alignment.
  • Look straight ahead and run in a straight line. Swing your arms naturally.
  • Good running posture will allow your feet to run almost automatically, with a quick, gentle push. The push off should always be forward and not upwards.
  • A smooth stride will reduce effort and therefore increase efficiency. Increasing the frequency of your stride and keeping the feet lower to the ground will allow your muscles to stay relaxed.
  • Increases in mileage and speed should be by 10%. An unrelenting increase in mileage from one week to the next will ultimately result in injury.
  • Pace for interspersing of hard days and easy days and also hard and easy weeks.

Because of the repetitive nature and impact running has on your body, runners tend to be more susceptible to injuries. One or two days a week, at least, should be devoted to rest or non-running activities and runners should:

  • Avoid running on hard surfaces. Dirt paths are better than asphalt and asphalt is better than concrete. Grassy areas may look inviting but they may hide holes rocks, and other potential hazards.
  • Rotate your activities (running, cycling, swimming, etc.) to reduce strain and keep it interesting.
  • Don’t overdo it – proper rest is essential; listen to your body and watch for recurring or persisting pain – if concerned, seek early professional attention from a physiotherapist.

Falls Prevention

Physiotherapists tips for reducing the risk of falling:

  • Plant both feet securely on the ground before getting out of the car.
  • Wear a good pair of lace-up walking shoes that will support your feet and provide necessary cushioning for your joints; this will make walking safer and more comfortable. Avoid high heels, slippers, and open-toed sandals, which can cause you to trip. 
  • Make sure the tips on canes and crutches are large and spiked for icy conditions.
  • Sit rather than stand while dressing.
  • Before you get up out of a chair or up from bed, wait 10 seconds before rising to your feet to prevent dizziness. 
  • Install handrails and grab-bars in the bathrooms and stairways. 
  • Concentrate on what you’re doing while you’re doing it, and move at a speed that feels comfortable. 
  • Avoid taking unnecessary balance risks like standing on furniture. Instead, use a sturdy stepladder.
  • Avoid hyperextending the neck. Extending the neck backwards can cut off circulation to the brain, causing a blackout or even stroke. 
  • Be mindful around pets. Feet can get caught in leashes, dogs can knock you down or you can trip over the sleeping or wandering pet. 
  • Slow down. Be conscious of risky situations and hazardous areas.

Be physically active every day to improve posture, muscle strength and balance. Enroll in Tai Chi or an exercise program to improve flexibility.

The risk of falling in older adults can be reduced dramatically when specific exercises, activities and interventions are prescribed by a physiotherapist. A targeted physiotherapy treatment program can help maintain or regain strength, flexibility and endurance in a way that still feels safe and secure.

For example, a physiotherapist will assess a senior’s physical status and provide appropriate recommendations or treatment. As part of the assessment, the physiotherapist will review medical history and determine general physical condition, strength, flexibility, balance and gait (the way each person walks). After determining the primary limitation, a program of exercises and activities will be prescribed that focus on that area but with an overall goal of improving physical mobility.

Slow Down

Physiotherapists are reminding older Canadians that it’s never too late to take the first step towards a longer and healthier life through regular exercise.

They recommend 30-60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. Walking is an easy, low-risk mode of incorporating physical activity into daily life.

Physical inactivity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, muscle and joint disorders, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

It’s Never too Late to Start Exercising
Exercise isn’t just for older adults who live independently and are still very active. Researchers have found that exercise and physical activity can also improve the health of people who are 90 or older, who are frail, or who have the diseases that seem to accompany aging. For some, that can mean the difference between getting up from a chair by themselves, or depending on someone to help them.

Older adults who begin to participate in regular physical activity can improve their quality of life. Regular physical activity helps maintain independence and reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

A Physiotherapist Can Help
Older adults should consult a physiotherapist regarding their overall fitness status before they begin an exercise program. This will confirm the level of exercise program that is right for them, but also discuss the potential health benefits to be gained.

Physiotherapists are highly skilled healthcare professionals, qualified in developing exercise programs to suit the needs of seniors, especially those who have chronic conditions affecting their overall physical function. A physiotherapist can tailor a program to optimize physical function and fitness, and help gain and maintain mobility.

Save Your Back When Chopping Wood

So you have a logging truck load of timber to cut and split - firewood for the next 2 winters. You enjoy the exercise and fresh air afforded by this activity. However, the constant bending to pick the wood off the ground after splitting can be very hard on your back. Even with a splitting block you still have to bend over to pick up the wood that has been split, and which inevitably falls onto the ground.

Well, here is a tip that will eliminate at least 90% of the bending you will have to do, thereby saving the mechanical stress on your back and as a result, making your wood splitting less of a chore.

Get yourself a large splitting block approximately 20" in diameter and approximately 14 - 16 inches high; on top of the block place a tire - a light truck tire would suffice nicely. Then, place the small logs that you have cut to split for the firewood into the middle of the tire. Once split, the pieces don't fall off the block, but just lean against the side of the tire (the inside rim). This eliminates all the bending.

From there, you can put the firewood into the wheelbarrow and wheel it off to wherever you are going to stack it.

Travel Tips

Whatever the mode of travel, sitting immobile for prolonged periods of time can put considerable stress on muscles and joints. This can lead to feeling stiff, cramped and sore with a sense of fatigue after the journey.

Good posture plays a key role in the prevention of back pain and excessive strain on the joints, ligaments and veins. However, even good posture can become uncomfortable over an extended period of time. Frequent posture changes help minimize discomfort.

Physiotherapists recommend these posture tips:

  • If the hollow in your back is not supported, try a lumbar roll or rolled up t-shirt.
  • Keep shoulders in line with trunk and upper back to allow for even loading through the spine.
  • Hips and knees should be as close to a 90 degree angle as possible to maintain good spinal alignment.
  • Depending on transportation policy, a backpack or other piece of carry-on luggage can act as a footrest to bring legs and knees to a comfortable height; preferably at 90 degrees.
  • Position the arm rest so your elbows are bent to 90 degrees. If your arm rest is too low, use a small pillow under your forearm.
  • Shift your weight frequently to reduce prolonged pressure points when sitting, including moving hips and knees. 
  • Keep headrest centered in the back of your head. Adjust the chair to an upright position so that your seat is at the back of the chair.
  • If you’re driving, change the angle of the steering wheel at rest stops as a way to change your sitting position.

Physiotherapists recommend doing one exercise from each of the following groups before, during and after the journey, to maintain good general circulation and decrease stiffness by moving the joints. Slowly stretch until a gentle tension is felt in the muscle (this should not be painful). Take relaxed breaths and do each exercise slowly, repeating twice on both sides.

Head and neck:

  • Head turn – turn head over right shoulder and back to center.
  • Head tilt – bring ear towards shoulder without turning head or lifting shoulder.
  • Neck bend – tuck in chin and slowly bring towards chest. Slowly return to start position.
  • Neck extension – raise chin to ceiling and look up as far as you can. Slowly return to start position.


  • Shoulder stretch – link fingers together and push up with palms facing upwards.
  • Shoulders back – squeeze shoulder blades together. Expand rib cage with each breath.
  • Shoulders forward – cross arms across chest and hold back of shoulders with hands. Hug shoulders forward so that a stretch is felt between shoulder blades.
  • Shoulder rolls – shrug shoulders. Make circles with one shoulder, then the other. Touch shoulder blades together and relax. Repeat three or four times.


  • Body twist – turn body and head to look over right shoulder. Reach left hand across the body to hold onto top right edge of chair. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Back arch – arch back until pelvis tilts forward. Try to breathe normally.
  • Back slump – slump forwards and bring shoulders towards knees as far as comfortable. Keep stomach relaxed. Pelvis should tilt backwards.
  • Body stretch – find suitable location and stand with feet shoulder-width apart and as tall as you can. Push hips forward without losing balance and reach arms straight above head, linking fingers with palms facing upwards.

Foot and ankle:

  • Sitting calf stretch – keep left heel on floor, lift toes and the front of the foot as far off the floor as possible. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Foot pumping – pump each foot several times, as if working a car accelerator, to bring back circulation to feet and ankles.
  • Heel lifts – lean forward and rest elbows on knees. Keeping full weight on elbows, lift heels off the floor as far as you can, keeping balls of feet in contact with floor. Gently lower down and repeat several times.
  • Ankle circles – lift left foot off floor and pull upwards and at the same time roll foot inwards. Then push the foot downwards and roll it outwards. Repeat 20 times on each side.

For all seated stretches and exercises, sit tall in the seat with your ear, shoulder and hip roughly in line with each other, and feet slightly apart. Arms should be resting comfortably with your hands in your lap. Exercises should be performed on both sides of the body.

It is especially important to remember to exercise if using a laptop computer or doing other work while traveling.


People are often surprised to learn that their shoulder and neck pain might be related to their phone use. A new syndrome, aptly named “cellular phone neck,” is now recognized as a disorder caused by cradling the telephone between your head and a hunched shoulder in order to use your hands to type, drink coffee, or turn a steering wheel. This is a proven path to shoulder pain.

Poor usage habits can lead to discomfort but simple tips, like alternating ears for each call, or storing commonly used numbers in your phone's memory, can help.

The best solution is to use a hands-free headset that will free up your hands and let you keep your neck in an upright and neutral position. Studies show that upper back, neck and shoulder discomfort can be reduced up to 41% with the use of headsets.

Canada has seen a 300% increase in text messaging in the past two years, and with over one million text messages expected to be sent this year, some see a potential strain on thumb muscles and tendons.

According to, as the popularity of text messaging continues to soar, a new form of RSI has been identified as Text Message Injury, or TMI, caused by excessive use of the thumb to type text messages into a cellphone or PDA.

This can happen when users are making hundreds of tiny repeated movements as they use the cellphone keypad.

With any type of repetitive activity like gaming or texting, the risk of injury to the tendons is increased. Physiotherapists advise to be aware of your posture, limit text time to short bouts of less than 15 minutes and keep muscles long and strong. Maintaining good alignment in the head, neck, and arms while texting, along with stretching before and afterwards can go a long way to reducing the risk of injury.

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David Da Silva Physiotherapy
104 - 1350 England Ave
Courtenay, BC V9N 8X6

Phone | 250-338-8121

Fax | 250-338-2528

Email |


Monday – Thursday: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (available for calls – office is closed for actual appointments during this time)

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