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How can Low Level Light Therapy help you with injury recovery

What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a laser? I definitely think of a laser beam cutting through metal. Physiotherapy

So, why is a laser used for physiotherapy treatments? The fact is that low level lasers, or Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), are a useful treatment in rehabilitation settings and have been used since the 1960s.1
Low level laser is considered a cold laser as it does not heat up the tissue, which means you should not feel a warming sensation.

Actually, you won’t feel anything during the laser treatments other than the laser head touching your skin. It seems odd that the laser has any effect at all considering that it does not feel like anything is happening during the treatment.

How does it work?

You’re probably wondering, how does this work? Is there really a benefit to this treatment in your rehabilitation? Light is used to go through the skin into the body’s tissues. At certain wavelengths the laser light promotes wound healing by:

• Reducing inflammation2
• Increasing tissue building2
• Reduce scarring2
• Reduce cell death3
• Reduce pain4
• Increase functional abilities1

Is it right for your injury?

Low level lasers are beneficial for a wide range of acute and chronic injuries. Physiotherapists often use this modality for treatments to improve your recovery process and reduce the pain you are experiencing. Injuries that benefit from Low Level Laser include, but are not limited to:

• Sprains
• Muscle or ligament tears
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Osteoarthritis
• Thoracic pain
• Low back pain
• Neck pain
• Tendinopathy
• Neurological disorders
• Edema
• Wound healing

Ask your physiotherapist if low level lasers or Low Level Light Therapy is right for you!

Author: Lorelle Warr

1. Chung H., Dai, T., Sharma, SK., Huang Y., Carroll JD., Hamblin MR. The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy. Ann Biomed Eng. 2012; 40(2): 516-533. Doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0454-7.
2. Silveira PCL., Silva LA., Freitas TP., Latini A., Pinho RA. Effects of low-power laser irradiation (LPLI) at different wavelengths and doses on oxidative stress and fibrogenesis parameters in an animal model of wound healing. Lasers Med Sci. 2011; 26: 125-131. Doi: 10.1007/s10103-010-0839-0.
3. Bjordal JM., Lopes-Martins RAB, Joensen J., Couppe C., Ljunggren AE., Stergioulas A., Johnson MI. A systematic review with procedural assessments and meta-analysis of low level laser therapy in lateral elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow). BMC Musculoskelet Di. 2008; 9(75): 1-15.
4. Gupta A., Dai T., Hamblin MR. Effect of red and near-infrared wavelengths on low-level laser (light) therapy-induced healing of partial-thickness dermal abrasion in mice. Lasers Med Sci. 2014; 29: 257-265. Doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1319-0.


Why you should be an active participant in your physio appointments?

Do you dread completing your exercises at physiotherapy appointments?physio in Grande Prairie

Do you find that your physiotherapy exercises are painful, uncomfortable, or increase swelling? This is because exercises make the muscles work, helping them to get stronger and build endurance. Unfortunately increased discomfort and swelling comes with this but does not necessarily mean that it is making your injury worse. Research states that you will see improvements with passive physiotherapy, however, there are greater improvements with active treatments.1 Passive physiotherapy includes heat, ice, machines (such as ultrasound), and traction. Exercises are needed to improve muscular strength, muscular endurance, and joint range of motion.1 The increased strength, endurance, and range of motion decrease the pain experienced with exercise and daily tasks. As a result, activities of daily living, work tasks, and recreational activities become easier and more enjoyable. The most beneficial component of your recovery is the strengthening exercises your physiotherapist has you complete.1-4

Do you have physiotherapy goals?

Physiotherapy goals help guide you and your physiotherapist through the treatment process. Physiotherapists focus on adding in exercises that simulate work-based activities and activities of daily living. For example, squats simulate picking up items off of the ground, getting up from a chair, and picking up a small child. Every exercise selected is designed to strengthen the specific muscle(s), replicate movement patterns, or loosen tight muscles to increase joint mobility. Having specific goals allows you and your physiotherapist to see your progress and determine if exercises can be progressed further.

Physiotherapy Grande PrairieWhat happens if exercises are not helping?

Sometimes exercises are not the answer, however, this can only be determined if you try the exercises and do not see the desired results. If exercises in physiotherapy are not working, then other avenues need to be explored. Sometimes it is a matter of selecting different exercises, getting a diagnostic test (e.g. x-ray or MRI), or seeing a specialist (e.g. surgeon). In most cases further exploration will not happen unless conservative treatment has been attempted. Therefore, it is in your best interest to complete exercises to the best of your ability at all times so that, if further avenues need to be explored, they understand that you have been trying everything available to you.

Is your physiotherapist prescribing exercises?

Have you been going to physiotherapy for a few weeks without exercise? Perhaps it is time to question if this is the right treatment for you. I discussed above how exercise is an important part of the recovery process. It is important for you to be doing exercises at all stages of physiotherapy. This doesn’t mean that if you had a shoulder surgery you will be lifting weights right away. You might start with stretching exercises, or passive movements of the arm (the arm is moved by your good arm or your physiotherapist). Gradually these exercises should be progressed back to what you could do before the injury, which includes lifting weights or completing movements against resistance.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact reception and ask about physiotherapy in Grande Prairie.

Post written by
Lorelle Warr, Kinesiologist


  1. Cho M., Jeong H., Hwang B. Effects of active and passive intervention programs applied to patients’ necks on their muscular strength, muscular endurance, and joint range of motion. J Phys Ther Sci 2012; 24(3): p.283-286.
  2. Andersen CH., Andersen LL., Zebis AM., Sjogaard G. Effect of scapular function training on chronic pain in the neck/shoulder region: A randomized controlled trial. J Occ Rehabil; 2014, 24(2): 316-324.
  3. Ylinen J., Takala EP., Nykanen M., Hakkinen A., et al. Active nect muscle training in the treatment of chronic neck pain in women: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA; 2003, 289(19): 2509-2516.
  4. Telci EA., Karaduman A. Effects of three different conservative treatments on pain, disability, quality of life, and mood in patients with cervical spondylosis. Rheumatol Int; 2012, 32(4): p.1033-1040.


Cold weather and your health

How cold weather can affect your body and
what you can do to protect yourself

Winter-time is celebrated by some and hated by others. For those who love winter activities like skiing, skating, sledding, snowshoeing or snowmen building it’s the best part of the year. Other people spend most of their time indoors in front of the fireplace with cup of hot tea and the luckier ones somewhere south escaping the frosty weather both looking forward to first sings of spring.cold weather, protecting your health in cold weather in Calgary

No matter which group you belong to the cold weather has an impact on our overall health in general. Let’s have a look at some of the areas that may be at risk.


In cold weather our skin loses moisture and becomes dry and tight and the heated air inside our homes or offices makes it even worse. You can experience irritation, flaking or even cracking of your skin. You should wear a sunscreen outdoors and keep covered as much as possible plus upgrade your lightweight summer cosmetics to heavier creams suitable for cold weather conditions.

For indoors consider using a humidifier and don’t overdo it with the heat. Soaking in hot bath is very comforting in wintertime but can lead to more dryness so don’t forget to moisturize with your favourite lotion.

Immune system

 Winter, beside cold weather, also bring flu and cold season. It’s almost some kind of tradition – as soon as the outside temperatures drop the world is suddenly full of coughing, sneezing and sniffling people and the sales of tissues soar.

If you want to stay healthy:

  • Focus on boosting your immune system with the help of antioxidants and vitamins preferably coming from fresh fruits and vegetables. And if you didn’t get a flu shot yet, it’s never too late.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours every night, our desire to sleep increases naturally with less light, so don’t fight it and get that much needed rest.
  • Stay active during the day though, even short walk every day will make a difference.
  • Using massage, especially with warm oil is also a good and pleasant way to strengthen our immunity in winter.


Cold weather is not the best for the heart. Low temperature can decrease the flow of oxygenated blood to your hear muscle and is one of the risk factors of heart attack. We can also over-strain ourselves easier in winter, walking in deep snow against the cold wind, shoveling the sidewalks and digging our cars out of snowdrifts. The rule is to always dress warm, don’t forget to cover your head and if you have heart condition avoid alcohol which might make you feel warm at the beginning but as it expands the blood vessels it takes the heat away from vital organs.

Eyesightwinter activities and protecting your health in Calgary

 Lovers of winter sports pay attention. You probably will not find riskier environment for your eyes than high snowy mountains. The most dangerous for your eyes is UV light that can cause “snow blindness” and contribute to development of cataract.  Good quality sunglasses with high UV filter are a must during all on-snow activities. Make sure that the eyes of your children are protected too since they are even more vulnerable.

Winter season is a busy one with all the holiday parties, family dinners and winter sports. It also brings more risk of injuries and sicknesses. Our health should always be our number one priority even though it’s harder to find the motivation at this time of the year. So listen to your body, move regularly, eat healthy balanced diet and keep the good spirits. Spring will be here sooner than you think. Until then stay warm!

3 Reasons Why You Should Get the Flu Shot

With the colder weather hand in hand comes the season of runny noses, colds and flu….and the usual debating on whether to get or not to get the flu shot this year. The truth is that even the healthiest and strongest of us are at risk of getting sick or even ending up at the hospital since every human body reacts to influenza differently.flu shot, Calgary flu season, why get a flu shot, Grande Prairie, Alberta

Of course, it’s up to each individual to decide if they are going to take the risk of not getting the flu shot in the hopes that they can avoid the flu this winter by chance or  actually take the preventive step and get immunized.

We should think about our family, friends and coworkers too. You don’t want to infect those closest to you. If you are still unsure about getting the flu shot this fall or not, here are a few reasons why you should go for it.

  1. New virus, new vaccine

Even though you might have had your vaccination done last year or few years ago, you should still get vaccinated this year as well. Why? Because the virus is changing, new strains keep constantly emerging and based on that new vaccines are developed to fight the most prevailing flu strains.

  1. Protect children and elderly

Thousands of children are hospitalized every year due to influenza. Children under 2 year are especially at risk. Even if you don’t have children on your own, there is still a chance you will spend time with someone else’s child this winter. Just like the children, the elderly people over 65 years are at greater risk of serious complications because the immune system becomes weaker with age.

  1. Even your phone can make you sick

Have you ever thought about how many times a day you touch your phone with your fingers? How many times does it touch your face? And the most important question – where is the phone in the meantime? How many counters, tables, objects in your bag or car has it touched? If you do not disinfect it daily, which most people don’t, it becomes a carrier for thousands of germs.

flu shot, influenza, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Carstairs, sick with the flu, germsIt’s true that the flu vaccine is not 100{b6e88ae49ccf12da45e74f711f1365e10853bfaff7856757db12eb61ca4e7f7b} effective in preventing flu, but it drastically decreases your chances of infection, and lessens the severity of symptoms if you get sick. Of course washing your hands and avoiding those with the flu is very important, too.

The 2017/18 Influenza Immunization Program began October 23, 2017. Influenza immunizations are offered, free of charge, to all Albertans six months of age. Flu shots are offered by many pharmacies and physicians in Calgary.