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Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll – Oh! And tension headaches.
5 ways to relieve/alleviate tension headaches

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by Laurie Plouffe No Comments

Tension HeadachesFun fact; all of the above can help relieve tension headaches (well maybe not rock n’ roll, but that all depends on your taste in music). We’ve all heard the rumor that sex can relieve a headache – obviously there is little credible research available to reference but no one is judging if it’s your first go to option, it is physical activity after all! Many common over the counter analgesics are available for the treatment of headaches, and music (whatever your favorite is) can also relieve headaches owing to the fact that it promotes relaxation.

Take a step back though. What even is a tension headache?! Well, your friendly neighborhood Physiotherapist may refer to it as cervicogenic headache. This means that it originates in the muscles around the neck that support our head. Our heads are heavy people, we need to support them, but like everything, there is a right and a wrong way to achieve this.

What can I guarantee will relieve or completely alleviate your headaches? MOVEMENT – the right type of movement.

5 easy steps to being headache free at work or on the go

  • Posture; make sure that your shoulder blades are flat on your back and tuck your chin – if your nose is in the air your neck is in despair! Plus this helps you breathe better – more oxygen to the brain cannot be a bad thing!
  • Stability training; training your deep neck flexor muscles can significantly decrease the incidence of tension headaches. These are the muscles hat hold your head without you thinking about it. Many times we stop using them and use bigger muscles in their place. Your physiotherapist can discuss these exercises with you in more detail.
  • Stretch;
    1. gently tilt your ear towards your shoulder. Hold for 20-30seconds
    2. turn your head and tilt your nose so you’re effectively smelling your arm pit. Hold for 20-30seconds.
  • Breaks; take regular breaks from work tasks, especially if your work requires you to be in a static posture for an extended period of time. Get
    up and walk to the water cooler!
  • Hydrate; Drink. Fill. Repeat. Too often we forget to drink enough water or drink too much coffee! Coffee is a diuretic, which means it promotes the excretion of water from the body. So drink up to replace the fluids your morning “pick-me-up” may be depriving you of!

If headaches have been affecting you for too long check in with your physiotherapist to determine what your particular needs are. Remember that pain is often the last link in the chain of a chronic injury – it’s paramount to address the underlying dysfunction. This will ensure success in treating what ails you.

You’re keeping fit, but are you moving well?

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by Laurie Plouffe No Comments

mtn-biking-jpgEveryone knows the importance of seeing a physio if they have pain or an injury. But did you know we can also be very helpful in preventing injury as well as making sure you are performing to your optimal ability?If you’re reading this publication it is likely you are someone that does some sort of physical activity to stay fit, organized or not. That is a huge accomplishment in itself. Moving the body is very important, it is even more important to make sure you are moving it well. The body is very good at finding ways to cheat, to get something done along the path of least resistance. For example, we always hear of people going in for cardiac testing after an episode, only to find that they already have a 90% blockage of arteries. The body is still finding a way to function around that major dysfunction even if it isn’t efficient.

If you’re reading this publication it is likely you are someone that does some sort of physical activity to stay fit, organized or not. That is a huge accomplishment in itself. Moving the body is very important, it is even more important to make sure you are moving it well. The body is very good at finding ways to cheat, to get something done along the path of least resistance. For example, we always hear of people going in for cardiac testing after an episode, only to find that they already have a 90% blockage of arteries. The body is still finding a way to function around that major dysfunction even if it isn’t efficient.

We want to help ensure that you are using your body to its maximum efficiency in order to enhance your performance and limit the incidence of injuries. Physical therapists at our facility are trained in what is called Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA); what that means is we look at the body’s movement patterns on a whole body functional level, from head to toe, and determine the quality of the movement. A limitation or a faulty movement pattern will indicate that something isn’t working to its optimal level, and could potentially lead to an injury or problem down the road. For example, if a joint isn’t moving as well as it should be, something down the chain, another body part is going to have to compensate for that lack of movement by moving too much, potentially leading to overuse. Or a body part may be moving more than it should, what we call hypermobility, and an adjoining body section is going to have to work harder to stabilize for that which could also lead to an injury. Following such an assessment, corrective exercises and movement pattern training are implemented in order to get the body working in its most efficient manner, as well as treatment if at all indicated.

Corrective exercises and movement preparation can be implemented prior to activity to cue the body to work efficiently and enhance the upcoming activity. Many professional athletes are seeing the benefits of such screening and functional movement exercises prior to performance in order to ensure optimal performance. Such pre-game/ pre-training rituals are becoming the norm for many NBA, NFL, PGA and amateur level athletes.

The presence of pain, ongoing discomfort at rest or consistently during an activity is a clear indication that you should be seeing a physical therapist in order to assess and treat the injury. Therapists have lots of tools to assist you in regaining function and decreasing pain such as Intra-muscular stimulation (IMS), acupuncture, many modalities, and manual therapy to name a few. Massage also has numerous benefits and can help the body move well.

Just as it is important to eat well to enhance your physical activity benefits, it is important to ensure the vehicle, your body, is operating as optimally as it can be. No one wants to be sidelined with an injury, especially when we have such a short summer to take advantage of outdoor sports. Let a qualified therapist in Functional Movement ensure that you are operating for peak performance.

How Physiotherapy Can Improve Your Pelvic Health

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Laurie Plouffe No Comments


Many women don’t understand that physiotherapy — or physical therapy — can benefit pelvic health. As many as 50 percent of women, between the ages of 50 and 79, will be diagnosed with a condition called Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). In some cases, symptoms of this condition are so mild they require little or no treatment. In other cases, women may eventually need surgical intervention to reverse their symptoms.

However, by paying attention to pelvic health, women may be able to avoid severe symptoms of POP. The sooner women begin to focus on pelvic health, the less likely they will be to experience any symptoms at all.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) occurs when weakened connective tissues begin to stretch or pull away from the pelvic bone structure. This allows pelvic organs to move toward the pelvic floor. The most common factors causing POP are pregnancy and childbirth. However, a prior pelvic injury, obesity, smoking and genetic predisposition can also contribute.

In mild cases, a woman is unaware she has POP, and it will be diagnosed by her doctor during her annual pelvic exam. These cases are usually monitored, and women can use physiotherapy to help rebuild pelvic muscle strength. In other cases, symptoms are more severe and the uterus or another organ may even prolapse into the vaginal canal.

Severe symptoms of POP usually require surgical intervention. Surgery always poses some level of risk, but transvaginal mesh implants — used to repair POP — have been linked to high numbers of serious health complications. Mesh erosion is one of the most serious, some women affected by this have filed vaginal mesh lawsuits. Physiotherapy can be used proactively to improve pelvic health and reduce the chances of developing more severe cases of POP.

Physiotherapy for Pelvic Health

  • Kegel Exercises. These are one of the most basic exercises women can do on their own to improve vaginal tone and pelvic floor strength. The sooner women begin doing them, the better. When done every day, studies have shown that women have less chance of developing severe symptoms of POP and/or urinary incontinence.
  • Electrical Stimulation. Doctors can use electrical stimulation to exercise severely weakened pelvic floor muscles. Once the muscles are strengthened, women can use Kegels, yoga, Pilates and other exercises that focus on maintaining core strength and pelvic muscle support.
  • Pelvic Physical Therapy. There are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic health. They can help women design a daily exercise routine to target their weak muscle groups, maintain pelvic health, and provide information and feedback regarding healthy postural techniques, which has also been linked to reducing symptoms of POP.
  • Pelvic Massage. Massage techniques that focus on connective tissue and myofascial tissue layers can help to realign organs and facilitate healing. Some of the most effective techniques include Shiatsu, Myofascial Release and Maya Massage.

Physiotherapy is so successful at restoring pelvic health that both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that non-invasive physical therapy should be prioritized when treating mild to moderate POP. This can often prevent women from experiencing the health complications associated with surgical treatments.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for

Why you need a physiotherapist, even if you don’t know you do!

Posted on: July 26th, 2011 by Laurie Plouffe 4 Comments


Of course I realize the benefit of physical therapy on a daily basis, in my work as well as  being immersed in the health and fitness industry. But recently, through conversations I see in social media as well as other venues, it has become apparent to me that not everyone sees the benefit that physiotherapy has to offer. Our profession has a lot of specialties, from rehabilitation from stroke and other neurological conditions, to pre and post surgery, home care and paediatrics. Our specialty at Propel Sports Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Centre is taking care of the limitations you may have to performing or living your life to the best. I am going to tell you why you need us.

10. You have recently hurt yourself doing an activity, such as spraining your ankle or injuring your knee.

This is called an acute injury, and is usually the result of a trauma or incident. We have many tools to assist in reducing the inflammatory phase of healing and promoting faster and more effective healing of your injury. This may involve some modalities (machines) to assist in the treatment of the pain and swelling, or many other techniques. Also education on how to protect and properly stress the tissue as it heals to ensure it heals properly and isn’t susceptible to more injury.

9. You have chronic pain or headaches, pain that is persistent and doesn’t go away.

Any pain or injury that persists for many weeks or months is considered chronic, and the body has adapted to not allow the tissues to be their best. This DOES NOT mean that you have to live with the pain. It just means it is important to figure out the cause of the pain and how to best deal with it. This is where a specially trained physiotherapist with lots of post graduate training in treatment techniques such as IMS (intra muscular stimulation) or acupuncture, would be effective

8. When you cough, sneeze, laugh or jump you “pee a little”.

Commonly after pregnancy women can experience mild to severe incontinence. Unfortunately, many women think that this is normal. IT ISN’T! Some physiotherapists are specially trained to assist in the treatment of the pelvic floor and retraining the proper muscles to work again. Not all physiotherapists are trained in this area, although many can still provide education and exercises, and refer you to someone who specializes in this treatment.

7. You have been in a car accident.

Even minor fender benders can result in soft tissue damage of the neck and spine as well as other injuries. It is important to have this properly assessed and treated by a physiotherapist in order to decrease the lingering effects of the injury. In Alberta you are entitled to certain treatments and timeframes, and we can help with that. We also work with other health care professionals such as chiropractors and massage therapists to ensure you receive the most well rounded care

6. You run, want to run, or have been thinking of running.

If you have been keeping up with my writing you know this is an area I am extremely passionate about. It is essential to learn to run properly and efficiently to prevent common running injuries. It is also important to be wearing the proper kind of shoes (and these aren’t what you think they are! Nor are they what an employee of a running shoe store thinks) There has been a lot of research in the past 10-15 years in this area, now just becoming main stream knowledge. Unfortunately not all physiotherapists (in fact not many) are up to date on this research and are still teaching and treating based on information that is 30 years outdated with no sound research to back it. Find someone that runs, that ‘gets’ running, ‘gets’ how important it is to you and has looked at the newest research in running!

5. You have tried physiotherapy and it didn’t work.

Not all physiotherapists are created equal. Much of what I do in my day to day treatment has all been a result of courses I have taken after graduating university and working with thousands of patients over the past 10 years. Don’t give up on it if you still have pain or a problem. Just seek out someone who is willing to work with you to find the best possible treatment to get you better. Unfortunately I too often see physiotherapists who aren’t able to figure out how to fix the problem just dismiss the patient by telling them there is nothing that can be done. There is always an answer, and a good physiotherapist will refer out to someone with more experience or knowledge if they cannot help you.

4. You hurt something and went to the Dr only to get medication or x-rays which were negative.

If you have hurt yourself, a muscle, joint or bone (that isn’t obviously broken) you should get assessed by a physiotherapist. And you DO NOT need a Dr’s prescription/referral to see us. Just make an appointment and we will do the rest. We are experts in assessing and treating the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones and joints) and know when to refer you to the Dr in case something is more serious. Too often people wait 5+hours in a Dr’s office to get no information or relief, and it is the first place people go. Remember, Dr’s have to be knowledgeable in ALL areas of the body; we just need to know the bones, muscles and joints so we are pretty good at it!

3. You are pregnant and experiencing back or pelvic pain, and think it is a NORMAL part of pregnancy.

IT ISN’T! You don’t have to be uncomfortable just because you are pregnant. This again is an area where a specially trained physiotherapist can help you. Typically the ligaments are loose during pregnancy causing the pelvis to shift. Often the wrong muscles are trying to stabilize it and the proper ones don’t!

2. You play sports recreationally or competitively, or want to.

Being assessed for physical fitness and making sure your body can handle the stress of physical activity is important. We can help by assessing muscle imbalances and teaching you the proper form and technique in order to ensure you perform at your best and prevent injury. Prevention is half the battle of treating injuries.

1. You need a brace.

We are experts in muscles, bones and joints, as I mentioned before, so it just makes sense to come see us to ensure you are fitted properly with the right brace for your needs rather than buying it off the shelf in a drug store. As well, we can actually advise you as to whether or not you need a brace. A proper fitting brace is essential to having the brace work the way it is intended. As well it is important to make sure you get the right brace for your injury, and only a proper physical assessment will tell you what you need. And IF you need it!ad this you consider using physiotherapy as part of your health and fitness regime.

Learn more about our brace fitting services.

It goes without saying that picking your physiotherapist is just as important as going to see one. Find someone who ‘gets’ you, ‘gets’ what you do and how important it is to you and isn’t going to tell you to stop what you are doing because they don’t understand it.

This leads to a whole other post I will write. I just hope that for those who read this you consider using physiotherapy as part of your health and fitness regime.


Posted on: May 10th, 2011 by Laurie Plouffe No Comments

While blogging on physiotherapy websites may not be that common, I am going to give it a try. And I figure since our clinic is not your run of the mill physiotherapy clinic that this blog will fit in just fine. Just another place for me to voice my opinion about things, and for those of you who do know me know I like to be opinionated!

Our clinic has been open on the south side of Edmonton, on Ellerslie Road and 119 Street SW, for a little over 2 1/2 years. Recently though, I have become sole owner of the clinic.This is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I love this clinic. I love the location,in the newer residential developments in Edmonton south, with lots of young families, young professionals and athletes. And I really want this clinic to stand out, over and above everything everyone has ever expected of a physiotherapy clinic.

I have been a physical therapist for over 9 years, all of those years working in private clinics and treating absolutely every injury imaginable. Everything from car accident injuries, sports injuries, chronic pain and repetitive stress, and in between. I absolutely LOVE what I do. Don’t get me wrong, a few times in the past 9 years I have definitely reconsidered going back to school to be a Dentist or Doctor or something to make more financial sense. But when it comes down to it, I love doing what I do. I get to be an expert on the physical body; the muscles and bones and joints and how they work together to allow you function the way you do. Allow you to work. And play. And everything else. Getting people back to doing what they love to do is what I am all about. I may be a little different in my treatment approaches than your conventional physio, but I usually see people who have tried conventional and it hasn’t worked well. It is my goal to get you back to doing what you love to do, no matter what you have been told in the past. I have been an athlete all of my life, playing team sports up to college, and then individual sports after.I am an ironman athlete, completing 6 Ironman Canada races. I am a crossfit enthusiast. I run, a lot. I have run countless marathons, 1/2 marathons, and an ultramarathon. I also have been known to golf on occasion (my husband is a golf pro) I love physical activity. And I think it is important to be able to identify with my clients, I understand how important it is to get back to activity, and I RARELY will tell you to stop unless it is critical!

Being a business owner is a great experience and with its challenges also allows me to be innovative and take my profession in a direction that it hasn’t gone. I am so excited to see what we can do with our clinic, and what we can offer for our clients. I have high expectations of the team at Propel Sports Physical Therapy and Sports PerformanceCentre because I believe you, and all our clients, should have high expectations of us as well. My staff and I are constantly striving to better our skills as a physical therapists, and people in order to provide the best quality of care. You deserve it.

Heritage valley

201 856 119 Street SW Edmonton,
AB T6W 0J1 (corner of Ellerslie Rd & 119 St. SW)

(780) 989-8809


4242-99 Street Edmonton,
AB T6E 5B3 (Whitemud)

(780) 989-8802
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