August 25, 2011 | By Nadia
Canadian Physiotherapy Publication 2011
Physiotherapy Practice – Features Activator & Urban Poles
Three ways physiotherapists are using Nordic walking poles in their practice
Canadian physiotherapists have begun to integrate Nordic walking techniques into their practice. It offers many significant potential benefits and can be introduced to a variety of patients at various stages of rehabilitation. For example, Nordic walking poles may help achieve treatment
Patients who want to improve their general health and fitness. Compared to standard walking, Nordic walking burns more calories, improves posture, and strengthens the core and upper extremities. This makes it an excellent activity for people who need to lose weight and generally be more active. These individuals generally exercise independently with friends or an organized Nordic walking group.
Patients with chronic conditions. Pole walking provides a larger base of support for individuals
who have deficits in their balance or coordination skills. The “four-on-the-floor” approach to walking may benefit individuals with chronic conditions who may be able to exercise independently or with minimal assistance. People with early stage Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis or those who have experienced a brain injury may be considered, and could be introduced to the exercise indoors one-on-one with a physiotherapist. The fluid, rhythmical motor pattern can assist in improving coordination and restoring patterns of movement.
Patients who are post-surgery and/or are in pain. Nordic walking poles were introduced to physiotherapy clients at Vancouver general Hospital’s Acute Spine Program in the fall of 2010. using these poles offloads weight from the hips, knees and lower spine, and into the upper body, making it ideal for some clients who have arthritis or low back pain, or are easing back into activity after surgery.
Physiotherapist Hilary Jebson works with patients recovering from spinal surgery…
For moderately steep slopes, simply decrease the pressure on the base of the handles or drag your poles behind you. For steep slopes, keep your poles upright and in front and out to the side slightly, so if you do fall you won’t land on your poles. Bend your knees and elbows, and slow down any momentum. For long descents, it may be helpful to lengthen the poles.
–Barb Gormley, Director of Education