Like many of you, I’ve taken time during the global pandemic to work on myself. I’m strengthening my mind and body. I’ve doubled my morning workout and gotten a whole lot smarter about targeting specific parts of my body where I sometimes have muscle aches. To help me, I’ve made a deal with Cornerstone Physiotherapy in Burlington to share an account of one visit here on my blog, with updates on Facebook and Instagram. The story is real. I’m really going here and they’re teaching me things about myself and it’s incredibly helpful. Now I know just where to focus, and how it’ll benefit my body.
It’s my belief that to be an extraordinary person in our society means being ever-learning, open-minded and spontaneous. Sounds easy, but one can only do things spur- of- the-moment when they don’t suffer any mental or physical limitations.
What does it mean to be in great shape?
It’s more than just good looks; it means being healthy and active and not complaining of any discomforts. It means waking up full of pep and joy and not sore from your nights’ sleep. It means being filled with curiosity and pleasant emotions all day long and still having enough energy to adventure out at night. That’s my ambition and I’m pushing myself toward a better tomorrow with every day that passes during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Located just one block south of Upper Middle Road on Appleby Line (in the same plaza as Turtle Jack’s and Starbucks) the Burlington clinic is Cornerstone’s newest facility. The clinic is at street level with plenty of parking available right in front.
During the pandemic it’s invite-only and masks are to be worn at all times. I’m hoping someday we can look back on this summer’s activities and these photos as being a moment in history, and part of the unique societal phenomenon we’re all experienced together.
My appointment was with Kate Pratley. She’s a very experienced physiotherapist and also happens to be the manager of Cornerstone’s Burlington location. She explained my condition to me.
Cornerstone is a Trusted Name in Physiotherapy
I was fortunate enough to also meet Adam Brown who is a Toronto based physiotherapist with Cornerstone and something of a media celebrity. I won’t be surprised when he gets his own Daytime TV show someday. He happened to be there as I entered and we did an elbow bump.
The facility is bright and clean and seems larger on the inside than what’d you ever imagine from the street. Even the reception area seemed oversized as it was of course empty due to Covid social distancing. There’s a well equipped gym and private treatment rooms line the east wall. It was in one of these I met my physiotherapist.
My Mission Is To Overcome My Condition
I have some lower back issues, same as my mom, and tennis elbow on my right side. My treatment involves 1) me getting educated on what specific exercises I can do at home and how often and 2) learning postures and positions to try to adopt or avoid in everyday life, and 3) getting a general education on my body and the strengths and weakness of certain muscles and bones and how best to manage that. 4) Lastly I enjoy some in-person therapy on location in Burlington with Kate. She puts her hands on me and stabs me with needles. That’s right, dry needling helps with muscle release on my lower back and tennis elbow, but more on that later.
Kate Pratley Manages the Burlington Physiotherapy Clinic
If you follow my social feeds you’ll already know I’m super impressed with Kate Pratley. Confident and funny because she’s so experienced, she’s also the brains behind the business in Burlington.
I like how she takes the time to explain my own anatomy to me and how she gives me a clinical perspective on what I’m feeling. She always takes the time to make sure I fully understand the exercises we do together, and we review the moves once every visit. While I demonstrate the workout I do by myself at home, she checks to make sure I’m doing the stretches correctly. She sometimes rolls up a towel and places it under my back as another thoracic manipulation technique. The picture below shows her getting set-up and explaining it to me, again.
Kate is not swayed by the latest fad terms or exercise trends. In our first meeting she explained to me that Cornerstone focuses on what works, after years of successfully treating the public, they deliver insights and education as well as applying procedures in a way people can understand and replicate at home or during their fitness workouts at the gym.
In the photo below, Kate mobilizes my thoracic spine. The mobilization as she calls it helps to reduce muscle tone in the area which makes it easier for me to relearn how to move. After this pressure push she teaches me new exercises to reinforce better movement patterns.
Miss Pratley also checks the full range of motion in my hips. She wants to see if there’s any limitations in my hip mobility that can create compensation patterns which can lead to lower back problems. As the song goes…”the backbone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone’s connected to the knee bone…etc…” She actually sang the song. It was cute.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the exercises I do to help increase mobility in my thoracic spine and improve how my waist bridges and stabilizes my upper and lower body.
My treatment plan focuses on strengthening my back, and abdominal muscles which I’ve heard other therapists call core strengthening. Kate explained that everyone’s core needs are different. A body builder’s core needs are very different than a dancer’s requirements; the exercises that I learned with her are tailored to my body’s needs.
Dry Needling Is Something New for Me
Dry needling is a modern treatment designed to ease muscular pain but it’s painful at the time. It’s actually cathartic for me because I hate needles and so it’s both terror and pain. I’m forcing myself to endure this discomfort because it motivates me to keep-up the conditioning when I get home.
During dry needling, Kate inserts several filiform needles into my skin. Filiform needles are fine, short, stainless steel needles that don’t inject fluid into the body. That’s why they’re labeled “dry needles”.
Kate massages my back, thighs, legs and arms until she finds the tight spots (knotted or hard muscle) and in these places she goes to work stabbing me repeatedly with the tiny needle.
You can’t see my mouth in the photos cause of the Covid mask and that’s probably a good thing. You can’t hear me swearing either.
Miss Pratley finds the tight spots and then uses the needle to invigorate these “trigger points” in my muscles. Dry needling is also sometimes called intramuscular stimulation. I feel the positive effects just a few hours later.
By getting this treatment in the clinic, and by doing Kate’s exercises at home, I can feel great for the rest of the week. With my knowledge and discipline, I expect to enjoy full mobility for eternity.
Thanks for reading. Leave questions in the comments or reach out to me socially if you want to know more.