Cotton Swabs Can Be Dangerous!

never-use-cotton-swabs

I frequently talk to people about their use of cotton swabs. If you read the outside of a Q-tips box, it says not for use inside the ear. However, I don’t think too many people read that.   For many people, using cotton swabs in their ears is a daily ritual to clean the water out of their ears and to get wax out. So why is that dangerous?

Well, as the picture above shows, at the extreme, you can go too deep and pierce your ear drum. If you ever have bleeding, pain and/or a gush of fluid come out of your ear, then you know you’ve gone too far! This could also cause vestibular and hearing problems. Most people want to remove wax from their ears because they feel itchy, sticky or they think their hearing may be affected. We have ear wax, or cerumen, for a reason. A certain amount of wax is meant to be in the ear canal and we need it there for protection. Removing too much of the wax can actually make your ear more itchy. Some people produce a lot of wax and want to remove it as it might be visible or be blocking their hearing. When you insert a cotton swab down in your ear to remove the wax, you more often push the wax further down the canal. Once down it dries out and becomes impacted there. This is more of a concern for blocking hearing and may require a visit to the Doctor for syringing it out.

So what are we supposed to do? You can continue to use cotton swabs on the external ear, but to clean the wax out of the ear, you are best to put a small amount of warm oil or warm water into the ear canal. It will lift the wax out of the canal harmlessly.

So remember what our Grandmothers used to say ” Nothing smaller than your elbow should go in your ear!”

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Facial Nerve Symposium

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 years since the last International Facial Nerve Symposium. This is the principal conference for a facial therapist and the rehabilitation component is growing with every meeting. I’m looking forward to going to Los Angeles next summer to meet with all the experts in the field and finding out what colleagues are doing in other parts of the world.

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13th International Facial Nerve Symposium (IFNS 2017)
August 3-6, 2017
Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, California

IFNS 2017 is sponsored by

The House Ear Institute and

The Facial Paralysis & Bell’s Palsy Foundation

 

Abstract Submission: Opens July 2016

Online Registration: Opens February 2017

Housing: Opens Fall 2016

View the Symposium Site 

Symposium Email

 

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Physiotherapists and Physical Therapists

What’s the difference between a Physiotherapist and Physical Therapist?

I am asked this question frequently. My answer is, most often, “There is no difference.”

physioleftphysioright

 

 

 

 

 

Officially, any graduate of a University physiotherapy program in Canada is designated as a Physiotherapist. In the US, similarly trained graduates are designated as Physical Therapists, thus the terms are used interchangeably.

In Canada

In Canada, the physiotherapy profession is a self-regulated and recognized health profession. Physiotherapists are primary care practitioners, in other words, a client doesn’t need a doctor’s referral to see a Physiotherapist.

Physiotherapy is exclusively performed by a physiotherapist or another trained individual working under a physiotherapist’s direction and supervision. The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA)  emphasizes that an assessment or evaluation – unless provided by a physiotherapist – is not physiotherapy.

Although the titles physiotherapist and physical therapist, including their abbreviations and equivalents in other languages, are protected titles under all provincial and territorial legislation, the practice terms (physiotherapy and physical therapy) are not. CPA believes that the practice terms should receive legislative protection in all Canadian jurisdictions and be reserved for use by the regulated physiotherapy professional. Protection of title and clarity of professional activity is considered important for the protection of the public.

When seeking physiotherapy or physical therapy treatment be sure it is provided by a certified Physiotherapist or in the US, a certified Physical Therapist.

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Physiotherapy Month

May is Physiotherapy month in Canada.

To learn more about what physiotherapy can do for you, click on the image below.

Physiotherapy Month, Physiotherapy_Month

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Do Allergies Make Me Dizzy?

allergiesThe pollens are out and hay fever season is upon us.

It is always interesting to me that there is a swell in vestibular problems at this time of year. People often ask if allergies could be the cause of their dizziness. The short answer is: we don’t know for sure.

The literature suggests that allergies could possibly make symptoms worse but it is not clear if they cause the vestibular system to malfunction.

If we look at the anatomy of the nose and ear, the eustachian tube connects between the nose and the middle ear. It is usually air filled and helps us to maintain our pressure gradient; for example when flying or driving up or down a mountain. When we have allergies our nose gets stuffed and the eustachian tube gets blocked. This can change the pressure in the ear complex and can lead to dizziness. A good nasal decongestant, antihistamines and avoiding the allergens, as much as possible, will help get you through this beautiful, but pollen-filled season.

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Facial Neuromuscular Retraining Therapists

Following the Advanced Facial Neuromuscular Retraining course last weekend, I am excited to introduce the four new advanced trained facial therapists in Metro Vancouver.

New FNR Therapists

From left to right:

Catherine Chan; who will see patients at GFStrong and Neuromotion,

Maria Zerjav; treating facial patients at Westside Physiotherapy and Hand clinic,

Amy Tao; working out of Neuro-ability and Cedar Chiropractic and Physiotherapy in Burnaby,

Sarah Hearne; from St. Paul’s Hospital and a private clinic downtown.

Please add Catherine, Maria, Amy and Sarah to your list of facial therapists in BC.

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5 Things About Hearing Loss

Hearing LossIt is hard to explain to others what it is like to have hearing loss — the lack of clarity in speech, the sensitivity to loud noise, and the exhaustion that comes with heavy bursts of communication. It is an invisible disability so it is often misunderstood, downplayed or even ignored — sometimes even by those closest to you. But it can have a huge impact on your life, and the lives of those who love you.

Shari Eberts

Five Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hearing Loss

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Victoria Advanced Course

Advanced Facial Retraining in Victoria

In addition to the introductory course, Susan Rankin is also offering two Advanced Facial Neuromuscular Retraining courses; one in Vancouver and another in Victoria. The Advanced course consists of 2 days of training for 3 therapists. Participants will assess and treat real patients applying the principles taught in the introductory session.

Though the Vancouver advanced course is already full and has a waiting list, there is still space in Victoria for therapists from the island. The Victoria advanced course will take place on February 27 and 28.

Please note that the one-day introductory course (February 19) is a prerequisite for the advanced course. You can register here.

For further information on attending the advanced course in Victoria please contact Susan Rankin directly at rankinphysio@gmail.com.

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Facial Neuromuscular Retraining

facial-nerves-diagram-colorcheck
BC Section of the Neurosciences Division

presents

Facial Neuromuscular Retraining

One-day Introductory Course
Susan Rankin, Instructor

Facial palsy can affect every aspect of a person’s life. More than just an absence of movement, it often changes the way people think about themselves and how others perceive them. Treatment techniques for peripheral nerve injuries of the extremities do not work on the face. The facial muscles are different physiologically and so is the treatment of peripheral facial palsies.

This lecture-based course will introduce therapists to an effective and validated method for treating lower motor neuron facial palsies. Typical diagnoses include Bell’s Palsy, Ramsay Hunt syndrome, Acoustic Neuroma, Cholesteatoma, parotid cancer, trauma to the facial nerve, Guillain Barre and congenital among others. This technique is not effective for upper motor neuron facial palsy e.g. stroke.

The cost for this one-day course will be $135 for NSD members and $160 for non-NSD members, plus GST. The cost will include a catered lunch and printed lecture materials. This course is open to PTs, OTs, and SLPs.

WHEN:

WHERE:
GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre – 4255 Laurel Street. Lecture Hall. Vancouver, BC

Further Information and Registration

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Facial Nerve Clinic Referrals

35807270_sXThe second Facial Nerve Clinic at St. Paul’s hospital was held on November 25th and was fully booked. If you’re interested in attending the next clinic, it will be held in February 2016.

In order to book into the clinic, your doctor needs to refer you to Dr. Van Laeken‘s office at 604-669-1633. Dr. Van Laeken is a plastic surgeon who specializes in the facial nerve and heads the Facial Nerve Clinic.

This clinic is a teaching clinic so there will be medical students, interns, residents and physiotherapy students attending at different times.

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