• 8 Best "Deskercise" Stretches for People Who Sit All Day

    Work-related pain isn't just limited to construction and heavy manufacturing. Sitting at a desk in the same position all day, performing repetitive motions, can worsen and even cause musculoskeletal conditions, pain, and general discomfort. Take a few minutes and try some energizing, cost-effective and time-efficient exercises, right from the (dis)comfort of your desk. Get ready for a physical and mental reset: Physiotherapist Breanne Lyon's is here to help! Here's a quick video demo, and the descriptions and recommendations are below.


    1. One Arm Hug
      Take one arm across your chest, and place your hand on your opposite shoulder. Use the forearm of your other arm to cradle your elbow, and pull your elbow into your chest for a deeper stretch. Hold for 25 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
    2. Reach for the Sky!
      Begin by sitting straight up in your chair with your feet flat on the ground. Link your hands together, push your palms out in front of you, and reach your arms above your head. Make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed. Hold for 15 seconds, repeat 5 times.
    3. Seated Lat Stretch
      Take one arm above your head, reach to your opposite side with the forearm facing the front. Use your other hand to grab your wrist and pull for a deeper stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times per side.
    4. Seated Tricep Stretch
      Raise your arm and bend your elbow towards your back, reaching your palm as far down as you can. Use your other hand to push your elbow back for a deeper stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times per side.
    5. Wrist Stretch
      Start with your palms together in front of your chest. Slowly lower your hands toward your waist, keeping your palms together, until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your wrists. Hold for 15 seconds. Next, push the backs of your hands together for a reverse stretch. Hold for another 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times on each side.
    6. Seated Spine Twist
      While sitting in your chair, cross one leg over the other. Twist your body toward the side with your leg on top. Use the arm of the chair to pull yourself into a deeper stretch. Hold for 15 seconds, repeat 3 times on each side.
    7. Hamstring Chair Stretch
      While sitting at the edge of your chair, with your heels on the ground and toes pointed up, reach your torso toward your legs. Keep your back straight. Hold for 25 seconds, repeat 3-5 times.
    8. Calf Raises
      Stand behind your chair, and place your hands on the back of the chair. Raise yourself onto the balls of your feet slowly, while tightening your calves, and keeping your back straight. Hold for a few seconds at the top, and roll your feet back down. Repeat 10 times.

    Want help developing a customized, accessible, and attainable movement routine? Book an appointment with Breanne and get started today. Resolve discomfort and avoid pain and injury. Your body (and your boss!) will thank you.

  • Living With Chronic Pain

    Living with chronic pain is physically, emotionally and financially taxing. Often, chronic pain sufferers are left with a lot of unanswered questions regarding their current physical state. Why is this injury seemingly not improving for months or even years post injury? Has something been missed on initial diagnosis?

    While there is still so much we do not know about the complexity of the human body, we do know that chronic pain is very different from acute pain. Providing our clients with knowledge is one of the best ways to help ease some of the concerns that come with a chronic pain diagnosis.

    Recently, we met as a team to discuss our approach to assisting our clients with chronic pain.

  • Tendonosis: An evidence-informed look at how massage therapy can help resolve this painful condition

    Tendonosis is a common and painful condition where the attachment site of a muscle to a bone (the tendon) gets damaged. Previously, these types of injuries were referred to as "over-use" injuries, but that term is no longer believed to be correct. We now know that tendonosis is due to overloading of a tendon.The injury is not caused because a person is using their tendon too much, the injury is caused because they are using their tendon in a manner that it is not designed for or ready for. 
    Let's look at walking for an example. Many people can walk for an hour with little to no discomfort. During this walk, the muscles of the legs are supporting 100% of the person’s body weight with every step that is taken. Now if we compare that to trying to hold a "wall sit" position or a half squat position, most people will fatigue and have to stop within minutes. A wall sit, or half squat, use the same legs muscles, still only support 100% of the body weight, but they are so much harder to maintain over time. This is primarily due to physics (the angles of the hips and knees), the fact that the muscles are forced to be constantly engaged and holding instead of contracting and relaxing, and that we simply don't do wall sits very often compared to walking. The contrast between walking and holding a squat highlights how it is not always a "weak muscle", or an "over-used" muscle that causes a tendon injury, but rather, a muscle that is used in a way that it is not prepared for or designed for, and is ultimately overloaded.

    walking vs wall sit

    Walking vs. a wall sit: many people can walk for hours with little to no discomfort. A wall sit engages the same muscles and supports the same amount of a person's weight as walking, yet most people fatigue and have to stop within minutes.

  • Tennis Elbow Explained

    Though there are MANY causes of elbow pain, the most common cause of pain to the elbow is lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as Tennis elbow. Tennis elbow effects about 1-3% of the general population, and 15-30% of the workforce. 80% of those effected recover within one year. Based on its name, a high percentage of tennis players are effected by this condition (40-50%). However, it is actually more common in amateur golfers than golfer’s elbow. And hey, now that the greens are covered with snow, it’s time to talk about getting a plan in place for next season and living pain-free. 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,12.

    Those who develop this condition will experience symptoms that include pain over the bony prominence at the outside of the elbow, known as the lateral epicondyle, and/or pain to the surrounding tissue. Pain can radiate into the forearm. This area may also be tender to touch. Pain is often exacerbated or made worse by gripping, twisting, lifting, or repetitive activities such as the use of tools or typing.

    Lateral epicondylitis is the result of repetitive activity or overuse of the extensor tendons of the forearm, which attach their associated muscle to the outside of the elbow (at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus).

    Tendons normally adapt and become more resilient when an optimal amount of tension or stress is applied to them. When the tension applied to a tendon exceeds it’s tolerance, often due to repetitive loading, micro tears occurs. These cumulative micro tears lead to tendinosis, which is essentially a symptomatic degenerative process to the tendon.

    These degenerative changes to the tendon can occur over time from repetitive gripping, extending of the wrist, rotating the wrist and forearm, or from activities such as using tools/manual work, prolonged typing, playing an instrument, or from sports such as golf or tennis which require gripping with a stable wrist position. Generally, individuals with painful lateral elbow symptoms tend to underuse or rest their painful arm, which can result in further weakening of the tendon, making it more susceptible to injury, and lowering the threshold for tendon micro tears to occur. 7,11,12,13

    There are many other contributing factors that can make you more susceptible to experiencing this condition, including poor posture, poor scapular stability, rotator cuff pathology, nerve impingement, history of smoking, a labour type job, and obesity. 1,8,12

    So now what? A few helpful tips for success:

    Modify your activity but stay active! Initially, take aggravating activities out of your daily routine, or modify the way you perform a task to keep them pain-free. This may include: taking breaks from typing throughout your work day, adjusting your work station, golfing less days per week or less holes per round, wearing a counterforce brace to offload your elbow, or even simple activities such as lifting a milk jugs with your other hand. 7, 12

    Posture, posture, posture: Have you ever heard the phrase “Sh$t flows downhill? Well this is VERY true for not only sh$t but also for pain in your elbow. Working on your posture and your postural and scapular endurance/stability can help offload the elbow during aggravating activities. Don’t slouch. By mindful of your posture throughout the day, and change positions often. Ensure you have good desk ergonomics if you work at a computer. Your wrists should be supported on a pad (or rolled up towel), and placed in a neutral position versus extended. 7,12

    Counterforce brace: The use of a counterforce brace (tennis elbow brace) which when worn correctly applies compression just below the tender area of your forearm, can reduce the load to the tendons that attach at your elbow, therefore reducing pain during aggravating activities. 7,12,13

    Physiotherapy: A physiotherapist will perform an examination, help determine a correct diagnosis (remember, MANY causes of elbow pain, and not just local to the elbow), and guide you through the proper rehabilitation process specific to you, your lifestyle, and your goals. Treatment should include a gradual and progressive exercise program, education and strategies for self-management, activity modifications, and may also include dry needling/acupuncture to change muscle tension, manual therapy, and taping to offload the painful area.

    A gradual progressive home exercise program to build up strength in your forearm muscles, and making their associated tendons more resilient, as prescribed by your physiotherapist is a KEY component to treating this condition. Working on posture, core, and scapular stability is also as important part of the process. 7, 8,9,11,12,13.

    Injections:Research has shown that PRP and prolotherapy injections may to beneficial in treating lateral epicondylitis in addition to a good progressive exercise rehabilitation program. One study showed that physiotherapy and physiotherapy plus prolotherapy are optimal over prolotherapy alone at 12 weeks. Cortisone injections, although good for relieving pain in the short term, are actually worse for painat 3 months and beyond compared to physiotherapy and a wait and see approach. 7, 8,9,10,11


    Final thoughts:

    This topic is SO complex, and this is just a small generalized glimpse into this common condition without mucking the waters. Remember, this is just one of the many conditions that causes lateral (outside) elbow pain. If you are experiencing any pain with life, please see a health professional, such as a physiotherapist, to better assess and help guide your care. The above is just a starting place.

    Stay healthy, Stay active, Stay kind.


    Kayla Eagle, PT, MScPT, Bkin


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    9. Bot SD, van der Waal JM, Terwee CB, van der Windt DA, Bouter LM, Dekker J. Course and prognosis of elbow complaints: a cohort study in general practice. Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 Sep;64(9):1331-6. doi: 10.1136/ard.2004.030320. Epub 2005 Feb 11. PMID: 15708885; PMCID: PMC1755654.

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