The S.T.R.E.T.C.H Method

Introducing The S.T.R.E.TC.H Method!

This is my ultimate 7-step guideline to preventing injury!

Starting Monday I will be releasing 1 step per week to my email list as part of this 7-step acronym educating you on how to avoid injury.

Not on my email list?

Sign up and become an Ossum Wellness Insider!

5 Ways I Made My Workouts Better

Have you gone to the gym and just felt sluggish the entire time? Heavy legs? Tight hips? Muscle cramps?.. These 5 things I started doing before my workout drastically changed the way I felt during and after my workout! And when I don’t do these things I can definitely notice it in the gym…

  1. Hydrate: On days I know I am going to workout, I up my water intake! This is huge! Prep your body for all the fluids you will lose through sweat. Your body will thank you.
  2. Be conscious of my core. This will make all your movements SO much easier. Doing a squat? Engage your core. Lunges? Engage your core. Push press? You guessed it, engage your core. You will be surprised how strong you are and how much more efficient your movements become. THIS is why I am so passionate about my Glute x Core workout series because I want you all to become as strong and efficient as possible! Register on my website for the ONLINE series and make your core and glute activation stronger and more effective for your active lifestyles!.
  3. Good form: whether you are working out alone or in a group setting, hopefully you (or the instructor) is watching your form. Find a mirror or ask for help!.
  4. Wrist supports: I was finding doing a push up or plank or even gripping the weight was becoming harder, so I ordered weight lifting gloves with wrist support from Amazon and they have been a game changer!..And lastly, my absolute favourite……
  5. My 5-minute foam roll/mobility routine. I make sure to get to the gym early, find the foam roller (these days just bring your own, or do this right before you leave the house), and go! Want to see what I do? Sign up for my email list and get a link to see my pre-workout foam roll & mobility routine. Try implementing one or all of these tips to improve your workouts!

Ultra Athletes

I have had my fair share of clients who participate in these ultra-sports!! And with all the running and swimming they do it’s a lot of work to keep their bodies together.

What I helped these clients with is building a ROUTINE!! For those extreme levels of activity, you have no choice but to create a recovery routine for your body to withstand all of these stresses!

Book your initial assessment and lets get to the bottom of any aches/pains that you have been ignoring! From there I will build you a custom home program of exercises, stretches, warm up/cool down techniques to keep you pain-free!

Have a big event coming up? Book in for a ‘tune-up’ and maybe another one post-event to get you back on track with your training without any hiccups!

My goal is to keep you staying active! Even if you do decide to run or swim crazy distances (no judgement). Listen to your body and don’t start when its too late!

My Philosophy as an Athletic Therapist

My philosophy as an Athletic Therapist is to educate you on your injuries, help you build a base of support whether that is glute firing, core activation, postural cues, patellar tracking, you name it!

I don’t believe in throwing you on ‘ice + stim’ and leaving you alone for 20 minutes. I also don’t believe in passing you off to another staff member to fill up the rest of your appointment slot.

Sadly, (but happy they found better quality care) I have had a lot of clients come to me out of frustration for the way they were treated at other clinics! Passed around between clinicians, not truly building rapport with any one clinician, being left on stim for 30 minutes or left to just do their home exercises during what they thought was going to be their treatment!

These are all things you won’t experience at Ossum Wellness. I spend the entire appointment slot with you and your home program is meant for just that, to be done at home!

My goal is to eventually discharge you. As much as I enjoy the company of all my clients, I don’t want to see you forever! The goal is to get you back to your pre-injury function as safely and effectively as I can. That’s not to say you can’t come in for a tune up! But coming for treatment twice a week for 6 months just isn’t my thing! If you’re not better within 4 weeks of seeing me, that’s my sign maybe we need some diagnostic imaging and/or input from your doctor!

In our initial assessment we will make a plan based on your injury, your goals and the current state you are in to get you back to feeling pain-free and able to do the activities/sports you love.

Book your session online today and have an active, pain-free Summer!

Injury of the Week # 7: Degenerative Disc Disease of the Cervical Spine (Neck)

What is it?

Degenerative disc disease can happen anywhere along the vertebrae in our body, however I will highlight when it occurs in the neck, otherwise known as the cervical spine.

We have discs between each vertebrae, and over time these discs can start to thin out and ‘degenerate’ from overuse.

When do you notice the pain?

Depending on the severity of the disc disease, your pain will vary.

With more progressed disc disease, you may notice the pain with coughing or sneezing. This is because when you cough or sneeze, you increase the pressure within the discs, which can cause the disc to be ‘pushed’ out of place and press on a nerve.

You may also feel pain with flexion (looking down).

Where does it hurt?

It may hurt on the vertebrae of your neck, where the disc lesion is located. It also can press on the nerves exiting the spine and could radiate pain elsewhere such as the arms or the inner border of your shoulder blade.  

How does it happen?

It mainly happens from overuse, and is common in older individuals.

How can I help it go away?

I suggest seeking rehabilitation from your local health care professional such as an Athletic Therapist, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor etc, as they can provide traction on the cervical spine to help alleviate the pressure on the discs.

Sleeping position, workstation position (do you lean your head really far forward when you work or always looking down at your computer/phone?), and vertebral hypomobility (immobility) can all play a factor in helping managing the signs and symptoms of DDD.

BUT, therapeutic exercises and stretches as well as posture are very important as well!

Stretch of the Week for Degenerative Disc Disease of the Cervical Spine (Neck)

Upper Trap Stretch

This is my go-to neck stretch!

Sitting on your hand is the most important component of this stretch. And remember to always lean your head AWAY from the hand you are sitting on. This helps pin down the fascia (the covering of our muscles) to help get a more effective stretch.

Gently use your other hand to guide your ear to your shoulder. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times each stretch. Remember to do both sides!

PREHAB Exercise for Degenerative Disc Disease of the Cervical Spine (Neck):

Isometric Neck Flexion

This is an exercise for the neck flexors, which are the muscles in front of the neck. And although it looks funny it is very effective!

Press your hand into your forehead and gently match that resistance with your head. So as your hand presses in, your head is trying to move forward. With an isometric exercise, the muscle is contracting while there is no movement to the joint itself. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 3 sets of 10.

Commonly with our daily postures such as on a computer, looking at our phone, the flexors of the neck become weak. Therefore to make up for these regular postures it is important to strengthen the neck flexors!

REHAB Exercise for Degenerative Disc Disease of the Cervical Spine (Neck):

Neck Fascial Release

Place your hands on the collarbones where they meet your sternum and gently pull your hands downwards.

Then with your chin look up and back and you will feel tension/stretch along the front of your neck. Hold this position until you feel that sensation “melt” away. Then change the direction. You can look back and rotate the head. Whatever angle creates a nice stretching sensation, you should simply just hold it and repeat in other directions.

#degenerativediscdisease #neckpain #neckstretch #painfree #stretchoftheweek #injuryoftehweek #yyc #athletictherapy #fascialstretchtherapy  #painfree

Therapeutic Workout for Degenerative Disc Disease of the Cervical Spine (Neck):

With neck pain, I commonly prescribe exercises to help correct posture, as that is probably part of why their injury came up in the first place!

  1. Cat-Cow: This exercise addresses  flexion and extension of the C-spine as well as the T-spine. Aim for 3 sets of 20
  2. 2 arm row: I used this exercise in my shoulder impingement injury of the week, however it is so beneficial for posture! Squeeze those shoulder blades together 3 sets of 10-15
  3. Chest Stretch in Doorway: With a rounded posture, our chest muscles become very tight! Make an ‘L’ shape with your arm in a doorframe and lunge forward. Hold 20-30 seconds, 3 times.

That’s a wrap on Degenerative Disc Disease of the neck! If you are experiencing any pain similar to what I have described this week feel free to contact me for a virtual session, or try out some of these exercises on your own!

Injury of the Week # 6: Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

What is it?

Shoulder impingement syndrome is when the rotator cuff tendons and/or bursa (a fluid filled sac) gets pinched under the boney structures of the shoulder (the acromion) with certain ranges of motion. This can limit the range of motion and can feel like a pinching sensation

When do you notice the pain?

You will notice the pain when trying to do overhead movements, where these structures will get pinched.

Where does it hurt?

It will hurt around the top of the shoulder.

How does it happen?

Commonly it stems from poor posture and muscle instability. The rotator cuff tendons are intended to help center the humeral head in place, so when these muscles are weak they can’t do its job.

When there is misalignment of the humeral head, the rotator cuff tendons can experience friction during movement, which can lead to inflammation.

The inflammation in turn leads to swelling, which reduces the space available in the joint.

As a result, the rotator cuff tendons can get pinched during movement and can limit the range of motion in the shoulder.

How can I help it go away?

Therapeutic exercises and stretches! We want to help stretch the muscles that are tight and strengthen the muscles that are weak.

Stretch of the Week for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Pendulum exercise

Here you can use a can of soup or a light weight.  Keep your arm heavy as you sway the body so the arm can move in circles. Try 20 circles one way and 20 circles the other way.

This is a great exercise to help open up the shoulder joint prior to exercise! It is also a great pain-reducing technique!

Prehab for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Alphabet on Wall

This is a great proprioceptive exercise.

What is proprioception?

Proprioception is the ability to know where our body is in space, otherwise known as joint position sense. Our shoulder in particular can achieve many positions outside our range of vision (for instance, throwing a baseball or football). Therefore, proprioception is especially important in the shoulder joint! 

Try 3 times through the alphabet, drawing capital letters. Your stabilizer muscles will be working very hard to keep the shoulder in its proper place, and you will likely get fatigued.

Need an added challenge? Try closing your eyes.

Rehab For Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Scapular Setting

This, in my opinion, is one of the most important facets in any chronic shoulder injury rehab!


SO many chronic shoulder injuries stem from poor posture. If you can master great posture, you can reduce your chance for many chronic shoulder injuries, such as shoulder impingement syndrome!

I refer to the shoulder blades as the ‘core’ of the upper back. Many of us complete tasks that contribute to a rounded (forward) posture: sitting at your computer and looking at your phone. As the shoulders round forward, the chest muscles tighten, the back muscles weaken and thus, the shoulders cannot move optimally. Over time this can lead to injury!  

To set your shoulder blades properly, squeeze them down and in towards each other. Notice I am not shrugging my shoulders upwards during this. It should be a pretty subtle movement by pinching the shoulder blades together. A common analogy is to imagine squeezing a golf ball between your shoulder blades.

I recommend practicing scapular setting as often as you can. For instance, when you hit a red light do 10 repetitions, or when you walk through a doorway, set your shoulder blades. At first, try to reach 3 sets of 10 repetitions of scapular setting 3 times daily. Make it a habit so this more optimal posture becomes your new normal. You should set your shoulder blades before you lift something up or reach up high for something.

Also, if you notice your shoulders rounding forward while sitting at your desk or in the car, cue yourself to set your shoulder blades back. This is a very important factor when rehabilitating and preventing shoulder injuries and it will also help you achieve better posture.

Therapeutic Workout for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

  • Mini Band Bilateral ER: with a mini band wrapped around your wrists, set your shoulder blades and push your wrists out into the band and hold. Hold for 5 seconds and aim for 3 sets of 10
  • Scaption with Resistance band: with your arm at a 45 degree angle in front of you, stand on the resistance band and hold it in your hand with the thumb pointed to the sky. Bring the arm up (no further then shoulder height) and return back to neutral. Repeat 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • 2 Arm Row: Set the shoulder blades and pull both ends of resistance band towards you, while keeping your elbows tight to the body. 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Ts: you can lay flat on the ground or lay face down onto a stability ball. With your arms out to the side and thumbs pointed to the sky, squeeze the shoulder blades together and return to the starting position. This is a subtle movement: aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Try implementing this into your existing exercise routine!

Injury of the Week #5: Golfers Elbow

Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

What is it?

Golfers elbow is inflammation of the common forearm flexor tendon that attaches to the medial epicondyle of the humerus (at the elbow). This is the group of muscles that are primarily responsible for flexing and adducting the wrist as well as the fingers.

When do you notice the pain?

You will notice the pain when lifting things, opening a jar or turning a doorknob, or other similar movements with the hand/wrist. It can also hurt in golf when you make impact with the ball in your swing, hence the term golfers elbow, but people who play other sports besides golf can experience this injury as well. This injury can differ in severity, so some people may experience more pain then others in their daily tasks.

Where does it hurt?

It will be painful on the inner side of the elbow. If you have your palm facing towards the sky, it will be sore on the side of the elbow closest to your body. It is often tender to the touch. You may also experience some numbness/tingling down the forearm arm as well.

How does it happen?

Golfers elbow can occur from tightness in the forearm flexor muscles (with your palm facing the sky, it will be the forearm muscles that are pointing towards the sky also). It can also arise from an overuse of these muscles. We use these muscles a lot throughout our day and often do not stretch or strengthen them effectively!

How can I help it go away?

Golfers elbow can become very nagging, chronic injuries so you must be patient with your rehab process! And rest does not always = rehab. However, there is a universal elbow strap that I have found to be very helpful in my patients. But, there are many helpful therapeutic exercises and stretches to help alleviate golfers elbow.

If you have any symptoms of golfers elbow, or maybe have been ignoring it for a while, feel free to book in an Athletic Therapy virtual session with me!

Stretch of the Week for Golfers Elbow!

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Start in a table top position and point your fingers towards your knees. Now slightly lean back to sit on your heels and you should feel a strong stretch in your forearms. Hold for 20-30 seconds (post exercise) and repeat 3 times

The forearem flexor (and extensor) muscles are commonly ignored when it comes to stretching and strengthening!

PREHAB for Golfers Elbow!

Eccentric Pronation: 3 sets of 10-15

Using a resistance band, take hold of the band with your palm facing the sky and your elbow at your side. This is an eccentric exercise so we are focusing on the phase returning to the starting position. Flip your palm towards the ground and SLOWLY return to neutral, with the palm to face the sky. Repeat 3 sets of 10-15 reps

If you are doing this on your right arm, make sure the resistance band is anchored on your right side and palm facing the sky, and vise versa for the left arm.

Eccentric strengthening is a great way to add a challenge to your exercises! When we perform an eccentric contraction, the muscle is lengthening, which causes more force to be applied on the joint. You may experience this when you hike up a mountain: you will likely be more sore because of the descent down the mountain versus climbing up it! Something to think about if your exercises are getting too easy!

REHAB for Golfers Elbow

Resistance band wrist flexion: 3 sets of 10-15

This is a great wrist flexion strengthening exercise! Notice in the video that my elbow is supported the entire time so the wrist is doing all of the work. Make sure this doesn’t turn into a bicep curl!

By anchoring the resistance band under your foot, rest your forearm on your knee and grab hold of the band with the palm facing the sky. Flex the wrist by bringing the fist towards your body and return to neutral. Try 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

This can easily be turned into an eccentric exercise, as described in yesterday’s post: when you flex the wrist up, SLOWLY bring it back down to the starting position.

With golfers elbow, we want to stretch and strengthen the flexor muscle so it can withstand the stresses of our daily activities and sports! This is a great exercise that I recommend ALL golfers, tennis players, cyclists (you name it) do all year long!

Therapeutic Workout for Golfers Elbow!

1) Wrist Adduction w/ Resistance Band: like our wrist flexion exercise from yesterday, keep the forearm rested on the thigh. Make a fist with your thumb pointed to the sky and the resistance anchored ABOVE your wrist, pull the fist down towards the ground: 3 set of 10-15 reps

2) High Plank to Low Plank: This can be done from the toes or the knees. This is very challenging! Try achieving 10 reps and repeating 3 sets.

3) Cross Body High to Low w/ Resistance Band: ideally you could anchor this to a pillar or something you can tie it to up high, but in this case I just held onto it with the other arm. Start with your right hand holding the resistance band at your left shoulder height. Bring the arm down and across your body to finish the movement at your right front jean pocket and return to neutral. Keep an eye on my fist throughout this movement: I am pointing my fist down and almost behind me. This will help achieve the wrist-flexion component at the end stage of this movement. Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps

4) Push Up w/ Medicine Ball: From knees or toes. Perform the push up with one hand on top of the med ball, roll it over to the other hand and repeat: aim for 3 sets of 10-15

This is a challenging circuit that you can do anytime! The forearm muscles are often forgotten about, which is why it is great to implement some of these exercises into your existing routine!

Recap on Golfers Elbow!

This week we highlighted golfers elbow: if you missed my video from earlier this week, golfers elbow is an inflammation of the common wrist flexor tendon, which originates on the medial epicondyle of the elbow. With the palm facing the sky, you will have pain on the inner edge of the elbow, the side closest to your body.

Stretch of the week which was a kneeling forearm stretch. This is where we put both hands on the ground in front of us with our fingers facing our knees and then gently lean back to sit on our heels. You can either sit here and hold, or rock back and forth into this stretch.

The prehab exercise was an eccentric pronation exercise with the resistance band. An eccentric contraction is where we move slow and controlled back to our starting position: this is where a contraction where the muscle is actually lengthening.

The rehab exercise was the wrist flexion exercise with the resistance band. With our forearm rested on our thigh, anchor the resistance band under your foot and hold the band with your palm facing the sky. Here you will bring the fist towards your body. Again you can make this an eccentric exercise by slowly returning the fist to neutral.

1) Wrist adduction with the resistance band

2) High to low plank

3) High to low cross body resistance band and lastly

4) push up with the medicine ball. A challenging circuit that could be easily implemented into any workout!

Hope you enjoyed this injury of the week being golfers elbow! Now seems appropriate for us all to go golfing!! 

If you are experiencing any symptoms like golfers elbow, feel free to book in a virtual session with me!

Next week we are moving to the shoulder! Again if any specific injuries you want highlighted please comment below!

Stretch of the Week #9: Wall Glute Stretch

Wall Glute Stretch

You all probably have experience with the glute figure 4 stretch: it is a very popular stretch that can be done seated, standing and laying down!

I want to add a variation of this stretch to help you get the most effectiveness from it!

Lay on the ground with your butt close to a wall. Put both legs on the wall with a 90 degree bend in the knees

Cross one ankle over the opposite knee and flex your foot. IMPORTANTLY: push your tailbone into the ground. This should be a strong stretch in the glute on the side that your leg is crossed.

If the stretch is not strong enough, inch yourself closer to the wall. If the stretch is too strong, move away from the wall. If you are having trouble with this, make sure that the tailbone is flat to the ground. This may mean moving back away from the wall to achieve this.

Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times each side. This is a post-exercise stretch and your SI joints and low back pain will thank you.