Rana initially came to LiquidGym 8 months following surgery for a herniated disc in her Lumbar spine. She was still experiencing 7-8/10 pain in her low back and left hip that would also refer down her leg at times. She reported having difficulty sitting for anything longer than 15 minutes due to the pain and that the pain also impacted her ability to concentrate while working as her job required her to sit. Prior to experiencing her back pain Rana was very active through hiking, kayaking, swimming, and cross fit. She reported gaining nearly 40lbs because of being inactive due to her back pain.
On initial examination she presented with reduced active range of motion within her hips & low back, poor motor control of her Lt hip, low back, and core musculature and increased tone/guarding throughout low back, glutes & hamstring muscles. She was unable to perform a full squat or lunge due to pain & tightness in her Lt low back and hip.
Our initial goals were to reduce her pain and increase her ROM/mobility within her low back & hips. Once these goals were met, we could build her strength/function back up and get her back to doing what she loved. Treatments consisted of hydrotherapy, gym-based exercises, and manual therapies. Following 5 weeks of therapy 2x/week Rana was pain free, enjoying workouts again and being active outdoors with her husband.
Nancy shared her story through an email she sent to Lindsay, her physiotherapist here at LiquidGym.
Just thought I’d give you a wee update! :) Rode 30 km on my bike yesterday. Used the electric assist but still peddled the entire thing. Did it without incident or pain or anything. (Of course my butt, quads and hamstrings a little whiney today but just from the work, no pain or injury).
I also did a lot of planting (we put in 23 boxwoods to start a hedge) on Saturday. These are not things I have been able to do in many years. Everything just keeps getting better and better! Even that “ball” – that one spot in my right, surgery-side glut, that I was using the tennis ball to help alleviate, it’s gone now. Cannot find it or feel it at all.
We are off to Mexico next week and I can’t wait to swim and snorkel and walk my butt off!
Lindsay, thank you for everything you did. I know it’s technically your job, but it didn’t feel that way. For me personally motivation is a big hurdle and you nailed it. That is skill and an empathetic personality trait not a paid service. You listened, challenged and pushed in perfect harmony. I know I’m not done with physio and will undoubtedly have more issues as I continue to fight the aging process, but you are the top of support team. It is not an exaggeration to say I really couldn’t have done this without you!!
With sincere gratitude,
Bryna’s dedication and hard work have payed off as she has improved each week since her initial assessment. She participates in water based kinesiology sessions once per week for the past 6 months. Bryna’s exercise prescription is heavily centered around improving her strength and balance. Bryna’s sessions include both direct 1:1 work with her Kinesiologist at Liquid Gym while also completing a client centered exercise program at home.
Bryna has many goals she is working towards. She is currently uses a 4 wheel walking frame while in the community and would like to continue to get stronger so that she can walking poles once the summer months arrive.
Andrew has always been active outside of his work and career that involved planning, organizing and delivering large-scale special event fundraisers, conventions and trade shows. Although active on-site the sedentary nature of being in an office environment and work-life stress led to periods of inactivity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Mid-2000’s he had proactively returned to the sports that he loved which included swimming, cycling and running. May 2008 he completed his first triathlon – a longtime goal. A few weeks later, he experienced sudden onset foot drop and in four months was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
He continued with his fitness, triathlon and training – adapting along the way until approximately 2013 as his disability progressed and mobility declined. He has never been one to accept status quo and was ecstatic when he met Karen who had a display to introduce LiquidGym and aquatic therapy – Andrew was hooked on the idea and showed up for LG’s opening in November 2013, and he has never left!
Andrew has taken advantage of LG’s innovative therapy, equipment and environment using the underwater treadmills, bikes, and endless pool. “there are many things you can do and try in the water that you’d never attempt on land!” Andrew has also used the AlterG antigravity treadmill, SMARC functional rehab machines, and dryland resistance and weight therapy. “…it’s not your typical rehab!”
“LiquidGym is always thinking and open to new ideas just like me. They embraced the Alinker walking bike that I discovered and now facilitate its use in the community” said Andrew. Andrew was able to participate in Ottawa Race Weekend along with 50 other riders in 2018 and 2019.
“Despite a continual decline in my disability and mobility…I keep coming to LG because they are my friends and help with my desire to keep moving the best I can. The team at LiquidGym are professional, innovative and create an environment that is conducive with doing and being your best” said Andrew.
Athletic Therapy Patient
Patricia first attended LiquidGym 5 months after undergoing radiotherapy and surgery to remove a malignant tumor on her thoracic spine. She attended the Rehab center at the Ottawa General Hospital for 3 months initially after the surgery and was recovering well.
At the time of her Initial assessment at LiquidGym Patricia had just started using a 2-wheel walker around her condo and able to get about 300 steps/day, but still relied on the wheelchair for most mobility. She had reduced sensation/proprioception in her legs, significant weakness in her core & lower extremities, unable to single leg balance greater 1 sec either side and unable to use stairs.
Her treatments were mainly water based and by her 3rd session, she was able to use the stairs in and out of the pool instead of using the lift as she did for her first 2 sessions. After that there was no holding her back. She attended weekly 60min therapy sessions in the pool for the next 4 months and made progressions each visit. Within 2 months she was walking outdoors with a walker up to 15 minutes.
KEITH’S original story 2016
“If you want to feel better about yourself and your life, come to the LiquidGym.” – Keith, LiquidGym patient and gym member, spinal cord injury survivor. Keith is a physiotherapy patient and gym member at LiquidGym. In the video, he talks about his treatment and how he is able to walk after coming for physiotherapy and also using the treadmill as a gym member. Video courtesy of Ben Favrin, Television Broadcasting Program, Algonquin College.
Physiotherapy Patient and Gym Member
KEITH’S updated STORY - December 2021
Keith is a 56-year-old returning patient at Liquid Gym. He initially came to LG in 2016 following an incomplete cervical spinal cord injury. Through continuous physiotherapy treatments and home exercises Keith’s mobility and strength improved tremendously within his first year.
THEN COVID HIT — Unfortunately, following the COVID-19 lockdowns Keith’s independence and mobility had severely reduced. Upon initial examination post-covid lockdown, Keith presented with significantly reduced balance, required use of bilateral crutches to ambulate, and had an unsteady gait. His endurance was also very limited and could only tolerate 3 minutes of walking on the underwater treadmill.
Keith had set a goal to be able to walk better with more control and balance within 10 sessions. Each session consisted of strengthening, balance and mobility exercises as well as endurance and gait training using the underwater treadmills.
After 10 treatment sessions Keith has made tremendous leaps and is now able to tolerate greater than 12 minutes of forward walking on the underwater treadmill. His balance has improved significantly and can now hold a single leg stance in the water for 1 minute and is able to ambulate on land without using his crutches for short distances. He reports feeling a lot more steady and feels more confident when walking around his home without using his crutches.
At age 14, I lost my right leg to cancer. The good news is I survived the cancer and now, many decades past my teens, I feel blessed. Because I have a high-level amputation, I chose to use crutches for mobility.
Outside of my work as a writer/editor in the federal government, I have pursued an active life over the years, participating in equestrian sport, swimming, walking and dragon boating. But, like most people, especially persons with a disability, wear and tear caught up with me. Around 2005, I developed osteoarthritis in my knee and elbow. A long-time riding instructor, I gave up teaching riding, as the hours of standing and walking in the barn and arena were putting too much strain on my knee and elbow. I gave up dragon boating, as it become too much for my knee. And I could no longer embark on long walks in the Gatineau Park. Life was beginning to feel like a process of “giving up” things I enjoy doing.
Then, I discovered LiquidGym and all the wisdom, services and encouragement they have to offer! I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been going to LiquidGym, but I think it’s been more than four years. Guided physiotherapy and exercise in the water and on dry land have helped me strengthen my leg and mitigate knee pain. While I am not hiking the hills like I used to, I rarely even take a Tylenol. My plan is to put off having a knee replacement as long as possible, and perhaps even avoid it altogether.
Another huge plus of being at LiquidGym is that the facility is completely accessible. Management and staff have addressed every detail, including grab bars in the change rooms, and non-slip surfaces water may be on the floor, such as around pools and showers. With my knee and elbow issues, I find it increasingly challenging to get up easily off the floor. After a swim, I’m wet, of course, and if the floor surface is both wet and slippery, too, it’s a daunting combination to defy gravity and stand up! At LiquidGym, the pools are adapted and above ground, so it’s safe easy to get in and out.
At present, I engage in weekly personal training sessions with Dan Burns. He tells me, “We’re going to do…” then describes and assigns the exercise, and stands back and watches! The “we” is “me,” of course, and I cheerfully do the assigned exercises under Dan’s watchful eye, fuelled by his jokes and stories. The workouts vary from week to week, and progression is steady and rewarding. Dan seems to understand just how much to ask for; I never worry about getting injured or overdoing it. And I’m amazed by how great I feel afterward. My sessions with Dan at LiquidGym are truly a high point of my week. They’re helping to keep me going forward, and to enjoy the process, too!
Personal Training Client
Audrey is a 59 year old woman who had a traumatic tibial plateau fracture in August 2020 following a bike accident. She had surgery where 3 plates and 13 pins were placed in her leg. She was initially immobilized for 4 weeks and non weight bearing for 13 weeks. Audrey came to LiquidGym for her initial assessment 7 weeks post injury. At that time, she had swelling, pain, used a wheelchair for mobility. Due to her lack of movement the surgeon was anticipating another surgery if she did not get to 90 degrees of flexion. Audrey was very diligent with her home exercise program and consistent with her hydrotherapy appointments 2-3x/week. She eventually reached 115 degrees of knee flexion which resulted in her being able to avoid another surgery.
Once she received clearance from the surgeon to start partial weight bearing, her mobility significantly improved. Due to the buoyancy of the water unloading her to only 20% of her body weight, she was able to start walking and standing exercises earlier than she could have on land. Audrey progressed very well in the water, with less pain and swelling, improved range of motion, improved strength, and improved mobility. Audrey then added land training 2x/week with an athletic therapist. She incorporated the AlterG Antigravity treadmill and the PowerPress Leg Machine into her exercise regime. Her ultimate goal was to regain the strength and mobility required to downhill ski again, despite this traumatic injury. Well, only 15 months after the accident she is back on skis again! She wears an ACL brace for added protection and has experienced no knee pain. She also has a comprehensive exercise maintenance plan to ensure she keeps up her strength and agility. “I want to thank Liquid Gym for being paramount in helping me to reach my very high goal. Having been an avid skier all my life, skiing is not only what I do in the winter, it’s who I am.” Audrey
Athletic Therapy Patient
In March 2019 Susan badly fractured her right hip after being forcibly thrown from a panicking horse. Following emergency surgery by Dr. Prihar at Queensway Carleton Hospital she attended physiotherapy at another location, but chronic daily right hip and thigh muscle pain sent her back to Dr. Prihar in Dec 2020. Susan began losing confidence in her ability to walk safely as her balance and strength were getting worse instead of better.
When she first attended LiquidGym in August 2021 her gait was unsteady with short/shuffled strides. She was unable to balance on her right leg more then 2-3sec and only 5 seconds on her left, had reduced strength in her lower extremities, Rt hip ROM was restricted with external rotation & extension and 6/10 pain.
Our initial goals were to reduce her pain, increase ROM and restore a more functional gait pattern. Treatment consisted of manual mobilizations, hydrotherapy, and a daily home exercise plan. In just under 3 months Susan is now able to single leg balance 15 seconds on right & 20 seconds on left, pain is down to 1-2/10 and her Hip ROM is within normal limits. Susan is back walking over 2km comfortably and able to go up/downstairs fluidly with no aids.
Susan is continuing to attend physiotherapy at LiquidGym to further progress her overall functional levels and is now looking forward to being able to travel again without worrying about her hip.
Denise is a 61-year-old female who came into LiquidGym August 2020 following a stroke in May 2020. She spent nearly 2 months in hospital & Rehab center initially recovering. Prior to her stoke Denise had also been diagnosed with myopathy in March 2020, had a heart attack January 2020, and has bilateral knee OA.
On initial examination she presented with Left sided weakness in her Arm & Leg, significantly reduced balance, unable to climb stairs without support and unable to reach forward greater than 5cm with her left arm due to her elbow being flexed 90 degrees. She required a walker for walking in/outdoors and had a slow, unsteady gait pattern. Her self reported initial goals were to “become more mobile and strengthen my legs and arms to be more self sufficient.”
Our initial treatment focused on improving strength & balance within her core, hips and legs and regain the ROM & function of her left arm/hand. This was accomplished mainly through Hydrotherapy exercises, home exercise program and patient education.
Currently, Denise is completely self sufficient. She can now tend to her back yard garden and grocery shop independently. As of June 2021, Denise also got her drivers license back. The client continues to attend LiquidGym to further progress her overall functional abilities and has stated that everyone at LiquidGym has been extremely helpful and kind during her recovery.
“I landed in the LiquidGym lobby in 2019 after a lifetime struggle with weight and heart health issues. I had just received the fifth stent in my heart and needed to take action. A thorough physiotherapy assessment and kinesiology work sheet clinched the decision to begin with a sport therapist. It has been almost two years now, minus a few months lost to COVID. I have gained momentum since August 2020. Thanks to customized care in my exercises (from the talented Kristen – Athlete Therapist), my physical endurance and strength have come a long way.
Athletic Therapy Patient
Carol is a 61 year old woman who came to LG for physiotherapy 3 months following a patellar fracture that required surgical repair. She initially reported constant left knee pain up to 10/10 intensity, left knee swelling, was limited to 75 degrees of left knee flexion, demonstrated a gait deviation, and was limited in her function.
Treatment has consisted of hydrotherapy including range of motion and strengthening exercises, soft tissue mobilization and scar massage, gait training on the underwater treadmill, use of the water jets for soft tissue release and pain relief, and a home exercise program.
After 10 treatments Carol is progressing very well. She now has over 90 degrees of flexion in her knee and has been able to avoid a manipulation by the surgeon. She no longer reports any pain in her knee, has significantly less swelling, improved walking, and is continuing to improve her function.
Irene is the Co-owner of LiquidGym Canada. Irene has her own story about knee replacements. After a history back to the late 1970’s, Irene had meniscus and ACL surgery twice due to a basketball injury. Since that time osteoarthritis took hold. Over the years, the joint pain, stiffness and life changes were taking shape. From being an active volleyball player, cross country skiing, running/walking marathons, cycling, Irene had to pull back all activities as movement became more difficult.
Finally the decision was made to have total knee joint replacement in early 2017. The surgery was a great success for the first 11 months. Unfortunately something changed. An infection set in and Irene required four more surgeries to deal with the infection. On March 31, 2021 Irene had a full second knee replacement and is now on the recovery path.
Her recovery includes physiotherapy with Drew at LiquidGym – this includes joint mobilizations, soft tissue work & proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitations to progress her range of motion, strength and balance. Irene is also working with Nathaniel at LiquidGym for massage therapy to release the spasms in many areas that have tightened up due to the many months of braces and lack of physical movement.
In addition, Irene’s surgeon recommended using the Game Ready Ice and Compression system to reduce inflammation and joint swelling that was recommended by her surgeon. This system has helped greatly as an integrated care system for post surgical recovery.
All in all, this multi pronged approach has helped in gaining back the range of motion and overall movement. There is still work to be done by Irene for strength and balance but the next few months will bring all of these back as the knee heals.
Massage Therapy Patient
Christine, 43 year old female, came in looking to receive Athletic Therapy services for a chronic left side hamstring injury that she has been dealing with off and on for 4 years. She is an avid long-distance runner and tennis player. She has tried other therapies with some success only to have her pain return. Her assessment results showed that the reasoning for her left hamstring pain was actually due to joint restrictions in her right pelvis and glute weakness on the left.
Our focus with our first few sessions was to improve her pelvic mobility, increase the length of her hip flexors on the right side, glute strengthening bilaterally with a stronger focus on the left, improving core strength and correcting her running mechanics. We achieved this with a combination of manual therapy, therapeutic exercise and a home program of flexibility and strength training. 4 weeks into her rehab program, she had her first successful 5 km run with no hamstring pain. We started to increase the difficulty level of her exercises with a goal of increasing the muscular endurance of the lower body to accommodate longer runs. 6 months after starting her rehab program the client was happy to report that she no longer experienced pain when running long distances or during any other activities.
This client continues to attend LiquidGym once a month for exercise progression and re-assessments as a form of maintenance so she can continue to participate in her activities with less worry of reoccurrence.
Athletic Therapy Patient
On July 19, 2009 Robert Wein was out for a bike ride, roughly 2 hours into it the group he was riding with was hit by a minivan (https://tinyurl.com/Robert-Wein-Crash). He was injured, suffering physical damage, but what was the most significant was the Acquired Brain Injury that he’d sustained. He was in a coma (initially natural for roughly 2 weeks, but induced for 7 additional). The week before the crash, he’d completed a triathlon (his 7th), the month before he’d ridden The Rideau Lakes ride (Ottawa <-> Kingston, on bicycle), and run 4 half-marathons.
When Robert began with LiquidGym, he thought that pretty much all was lost, because he was unable to do nearly everything that he’d done before. However, the physiotherapist to whom he was first assigned gave him an exercise to do, he said “I can’t do that”, she said “let’s try it, as opposed to talking about it”. He learned that when he said “I can’t” it was because he was thinking of his pre-crash self, thought of his challenges, and assumed. His physiotherapist quickly helped him understand the difference between “I can’t”, and “I won’t”. Robert soon learned, no matter what his physio asked him to do it could improve his post-crash body. As you can see from the videos of Robert during his current physio sessions he has taken on the mantra “I CAN”.
ROBERT (written by Robert)
19 YEAR OLD FEMALE GUNSHOT RECOVERY STORY
19yr old Female patient recovering from an Oct 2018 gunshot wound to her left lower leg. She has gone through 8 surgeries involving skin grafts, insertion of metal plates & screws and extensive rehabilitation. Her final surgery was in August 2020 to remove the metal plates & screws from her left lower leg.
In December 2020 she returned to LiquidGym to begin the final stage of her rehabilitation. On examination she had a left sided limp, reduced left hip & knee range of motion, reduced strength throughout her left leg and poor balance on her left side. Our initial goal was to restore her gait mechanics. This was achieved through manual therapies/mobs, targeted exercises and using our Atler G anti-gravity treadmill. Once her gait mechanics were restored, we were able to further progress her mobility, strengthening and balance work.
She has made significant progressions in her rehab and continues to exceed expectations and challenge herself each day. This winter she started cross country skiing, this spring she was able to for her fist run in two and half years. Next winter she a is aiming to get back to snowboarding. She reported that “for the first time since before the accident I feel like I have a normal leg.”
Emeka, 51 year old male, came in seeking Athletic Therapy treatment 14 weeks post-surgery for a right knee quads tendon rupture playing tennis. His goals included increasing the strength of his lower body, improving his balance, core strength and returning to sport. Initial assessment findings showed a decrease in glute strength, balance, atrophied quadriceps muscle and strength imbalances between left and right quadriceps muscles.
Our strengthening program involved developing the strength of the smaller stabilizing muscles around the hips and knees first to create better stability and alignment with functional movements. We also focused on eccentric strength of the quads to help develop more tensile strength to the repaired quads tendon and muscle. Once we developed a good base strength, we slowly started to progress into plyometric training to work on the explosive movements needed for tennis.
12 weeks into our program this athlete returned to the tennis court for the first time to try hitting some balls with success. 16 weeks since starting with LiquidGym and 9 months post-surgery he successfully participated in his first competitive game of tennis. We continue to work towards new goals with a constant drive to keep improving his skills and abilities.
Athletic Therapy Patient
Kathy is 57 years old and has an active job in a long-term care centre. In 2019, she began to experience knee and hip pain, and over time, it grew worse. In April 2020, Kathy was in so much pain that she went to the emergency department at her local hospital. Physicians admitted Kathy to hospital, with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip and unstable type 2 diabetes mellitus.
After Kathy was discharged from the hospital, she was able to control her diabetes. But her right hip and knee remained so sore that she used a cane to walk. At night, Kathy dreaded the trip up the stairs to bed so much that she often slept on the couch. Kathy’s pain also affected her work and she struggled to do her job. Many of Kathy’s workplace duties required her to walk while carrying objects, which she found difficult to do while using a cane.
In December 2020, Kathy started physiotherapy sessions at LiquidGym. During the initial assessment, the physiotherapist determined that Kathy’s hip OA had flared up. As a result, Kathy developed poor movement patterns, which caused her knee pain to worsen.
Most activities on land caused Kathy pain, so her physiotherapist started with weekly sessions in the water. Together, they worked on strengthening Kathy’s legs and core, using the therapeutic properties of water to reduce the chance of pain. The physiotherapist also assigned Kathy a home exercise program, aimed at pain-free strengthening and stretching on land.
Kathy started improving quickly. Soon, she could comfortably use the treadmill and exercise bike in the pool. Within three weeks of physiotherapy, Kathy no longer required a cane to walk. By the sixth week, she was able to go on regular walks with her family. After eight weeks, Kathy was pain-free during her walks, at work, and while going up and down stairs (which she has mastered). As of early 2021, Kathy is strong enough to consider participating in a “tough girl” five-kilometre, obstacle-course competition in the summer (depending on pandemic restrictions).
At the time of this writing, Kathy is attending physiotherapy every two weeks. The goal is to help her remain pain free while she gradually pushes her activity level on her own. She reports that she has not “…felt this amazing in the last seven years!”
Kathy will soon be strong enough to be safely discharged from physiotherapy treatment so she can continue training independently or with a personal trainer.
LiquidGym has helped me with my knee issues tremendously!
Gavin Parsons, the physiotherapist, who works with me gently guides me in various strengthening exercises.
When I started at the end of December, I had regular pain and was not very mobile. Today I rarely ever have pain, I walk outdoors and gain strength with each physio session. In a month and a half, Gavin’s professionalism has helped me improve step by step.
Due to the buoyancy of the warm water, I can run on the treadmill and move freely I highly recommend LiquidGym to anyone who is suffering from any mobility and pain issues! I am very grateful that we have such a facility here in Ottawa. Thank you!
HALIA (written by Halia)
Rima is a 28 year old woman who came to LG with complaints of significant low back pain that was a constant 6-7/10 intensity and intermittent bilateral thigh pain. Pain was worse in the mornings, with bending, lifting, twisting, and with any prolonged sitting. She walked with a limp and had a significant loss of spinal range of motion and had to go on modified duties at work.
Rima was given a home exercise program at her assessment that she performed daily as well as education on proper posture.
At her first follow up appointment, her pain had significantly reduced to an intermittent 0- 4/10 intensity, only feeling pain with bending or sitting too long, and she was no longer walking with a limp. At her second follow up appointment, Rima no longer complained of any pain. Rima will continue physiotherapy appointments once a week for 2 more weeks to continue to build her core strength and develop a home exercise program to reduce the change of a re-occurrence in the future.
STRUGGLED WITH WEIGHT ISSUES AND ARTHRITIS FOR SEVERAL YEARS
My son gave me a LiquidGym gift card for Christmas and so I started in January using the underwater treadmills. Having struggled with weight issues and arthritis for several years, I had been moving less and less but was in more and more pain. Going to LiquidGym I started moving more and more and was in pain less and less. In February I started a weekly treadmill basics class and by March was taking two classes a week and had progressed from the basics to the conditioning class. I was running again, underwater yes, but still I was running and hopping and jumping! Fast forward a few more months of classes, to mid-July, when I was walking my dog in the greenbelt. I had parked my car on the side of a four lane (80 km) roadway to access the trails. On the walk back to the car my Chihuahua did something she has never done before, and will never have the opportunity to do again. She trotted ahead of me toward the highway putting more and more distance between us. The faster I moved the more she sped up and no amount of shouting or coaxing could make her stop. When she was almost at the road I broke into a full run for over 100 feet and then managed to traverse a ditch just in time to run out and scoop her off the right lane as several vehicles were bearing down on her. How I was able to do that, without falling, is attributable to my classes at LiquidGym where I was encouraged to run and was taught the proper form. LiquidGym got me to the point that I was able to run on land when I had to, and not only helped me to save my dog’s life, it’s been helping me to save my own.
I TELL EVERYONE I MEET ABOUT LIQUIDGYM!
LiquidGym therapy has helped me so much in the short time I have been using it. My legs are moving so much better and I know it can’t clear my back because of the damage in it but I sure know I move better. Thanks also to the wonderful people that work there; they are so caring and help in every way they can. I tell everyone I meet about LiquidGym! Thank you so much!
SO GRATEFUL FOR THIS FACILITY
LiquidGym has given me the opportunity to keep my fitness levels up while I am unable to run due to an injury. I am so grateful for this facility and the friendly, knowledgeable people that work there. Thank you!!