Horizon physiotherapist educates patients with appropriate exercises

Meet Chastity, a physiotherapist at Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital (MRH). She has worked as a physiotherapist since 2004, has been part of the Horizon team at MRH since 2015, and has worked in the New Brunswick Inter-professional Spine Assessment and Education Clinic (NB-ISAEC) at MRH since 2020.

NB-ISAEC is a group of rapid access clinics run across Horizon designed to provide an assessment of your lower back pain and related leg pain. Assessments are provided by physiotherapists and once complete, you are provided education regarding your condition, a thorough self-management plan, and recommendations to your primary care provider to help determine the next steps in your care.

Why did you become a physiotherapist?

As an athlete, I was always curious how the human body worked so that steered me to study kinesiology and physiotherapy. When I sustained an injury, I was always intrigued how my physiotherapist could decipher the cause of my injury and show me what to do to fix myself.

I loved working with and helping others. Becoming a physiotherapist would allow me the opportunity to do both: Help others get back to the things they enjoyed doing while satisfying my curiosity about human mechanics.

When did you become a physiotherapist?

I started in September 2004 in the Dalhousie and Campbellton area, which is when I took special interest in treating the spine. As well, I worked in the MotivAction Youth Clinic, which is a childhood obesity prevention and treatment program. I moved to Miramichi and began working at MRH in November 2015.

I have had special interest in assessing and treating low back pain completing many courses in McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® becoming certified in 2016.

I was given the opportunity to work as a physiotherapist in the NB-ISAEC at the MRH in 2020.

Working in the NB-ISAEC allows me to work collaboratively with primary care providers, and to discuss difficult cases with our clinical coordinator and other clinicians in the NB-ISAEC.

What advice do you have for someone experiencing low back pain?

Don’t be afraid of low back pain. It is a very common problem and most people get better in six to eight weeks. Take an episode of low back pain as a chance to press the reset button. 

If you have been sedentary and doing a lot of sitting, add small cardio workouts to your week. This can be as simple as walking with a friend, or your dog, dancing in your living room, or doing some yard work. You can start with as little as a few minutes at a time.

Maybe think of strengthening that weak core or glutes or stretching those tight hips. A physiotherapist can help you with this. If you don’t see improvement, or you don’t have private coverage, ask your doctor or nurse practitioner to refer you to the NB-ISAEC clinic. Intake assessments are done within a couple of weeks of the referral.

What health care advice do you offer time and time again?

Motion is lotion. The body was made to move. Movement improves blood flow and is healing to tissues.

Sometimes there are patterns of movement your back may respond to best. Other times, your back simply needs to move and there is no particular pattern of movement that is more effective than another.

Again, the physiotherapist at the NB-ISAEC can help you determine what you need.

Think you are a candidate for this program?

Ask your primary care provider if they are participating in the program and whether or not you meet the program criteria.

Click here for more information on NB-ISAEC, or here for more information on physiotherapy at Horizon.