The physical impacts of the pandemic are starting to manifest – .

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The physical impacts of the pandemic are starting to manifest – .


As we begin to navigate reopening society and adapt to new COVID-19 health protocols, athletic therapists across Canada are seeing an increase in pandemic-related injuries and demand for treatment.

Whether it’s back pain or neck pain, headaches or nerve pain, clinicians are starting to see the physical impacts of the pandemic.

With stay-at-home orders and forced closures of workplaces, gyms, schools and places of entertainment, it’s no surprise that our lifestyles have been dramatically affected. Many of us stopped going out altogether and spent our time on the couch, watching TV, or working overtime in our home offices, taking fewer breaks than usual.

It’s no surprise that these suddenly sedentary lifestyles have started to wreak havoc among Canadians, a physical impact that we must recognize and address before it’s too late.

Musculoskeletal or orthopedic disorders, including short-term injuries, such as fractures, sprains and strains, and lifelong disorders that can limit functionality are a major concern of our population. These have become the most expensive medical condition in Canada with a staggering economic cost of $ 22 billion per year.

Although population growth and aging are contributing to these growing numbers, we must now also consider the impact of being forced into more sedentary lifestyles.

Often referred to as sitting sickness, a physical inactivity increases certain health risks such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or other chronic illnesses, not to mention the immediate risks of musculoskeletal injuries such as lower back pain, strains and strains. sprains due to regular daily activity.

For top athletes, many of whom have lost months or even years in their professional careers, the physical toll of inactivity is even more catastrophic. As they resume regular training and team training after such a long absence, they feel aches far worse than the rest of us, which has held back their return to high performance sport.

Achilles tear is one of the most common injuries reported by high performance athletes, an injury that can keep them away for four to six months while undergoing treatment. This reinforces the need to be intentional about physical activity and to work with trained professionals to reduce the risk of injury.

The effects of these conditions go far beyond the physical toll on our bodies. Pain has a psychological impact on us as people with depression, anxiety or emotional instability. Add that to the uncertainty of the pandemic, and receiving the care that is appropriate for how we feel is even more vital – both mentally and physically.

But with hope on the horizon, we can take steps to tackle inactivity before it becomes a habit. While we are now concerned about how the sudden drop in physical activity is going to wreak havoc on our bodies, a sudden return to activity can cause other problems. We’re almost two years older and expecting to be physically in the same place as when we first left the gym is unrealistic.

Adjustment and resumption of activity is the way forward, along with elite care support in reconditioning and rehabilitation to help prevent musculoskeletal injuries. It’s not zero to sixty, but zero to manageable activity that works for our bodies and our health.

We’re not the same as we were when things first closed in March 2020, and we need to get back to business smoothly. This is our reality, and we must take steps to support, rehabilitate, or protect our bodies so that we can live the life we ​​want out of the pandemic.

Tyler Quennell is a Certified Athletic Therapist with the ROCK Toronto Lacrosse Team and President of the Canadian Association of Athletic Therapists, representing over 2,600 Certified Athletic Therapists.

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