May 2018 Newsletter

Newsletter, May 2018

May Spotlight – Stephen Richey, PT

Hello everyone, we are here today to talk about the value and vital role of physiotherapy in a recovery after surgery. We at Health Vantis have high regards for the service. We are here today with a wonderful and very kind physiotherapist Stephen Richey. Stephen has been helping Canadians recover, get their mobility and life back for 9 years. He currently works with CBI Health group and is able to come to your home for therapy sessions.

Stephen, Could you tell us a little bit about your profession, how long have you been practicing and why you chose physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a primary health profession that is based on the use of therapeutic exercise to help either rehabilitate individuals back to health following injury, surgery, or to prevent or slow the progression of a disease. I graduated with my Masters of Science in Physiotherapy in 2009 and have been working ever since. I chose physiotherapy because when I was young I had a love of sports and always saw the value in an active lifestyle and the role it plays in overall health. So when I saw the opportunity to work in a profession that is based in exercise and active living I knew it was a good fit!!

What are the main advantages of working with a physiotherapist (as opposed to following exercise in an instructional video or hospital discharge documents)?

There are certainly lots of free resources available online that provide exercise programs or advice. The biggest advantages to working with a physiotherapist are: the expertise in the use of therapeutic exercise (in regards to pathology) and the peace of mind. The latter is due to the fact that you know you’re working with a regulated health professional.

These days there are many “experts” that provide advice on exercise but it’s important that your exercises are chosen based on your given condition. A person may recommend an exercise that helped their low back pain to everyone that suffers from low back pain. However, the exercises that are prescribed for disk-related pain are very different than those for spinal stenosis. So what might help one person may hinder another.

A physiotherapist can help provide the expertise needed to guide patients through their individual recovery. Working with a physiotherapist also provides a level of peace of mind and security for patients as we are a regulated health profession.  It is held to strict standards by our provincial colleges that exist to protect the public from substandard or unethical treatment

What are the toughest recovery surgeries and what are your experiences in helping people to feel better sooner?

Generally, the most difficult surgeries to recover from would be the brain, heart, or spinal surgery. These are very complex and often require long periods of rehabilitation, and present a significant challenge in the rehabilitation process.

However, if we look at surgeries that are more common such as a total knee replacement or ACL repair it can be quite challenging. The knee is a joint that is heavily impacted by the structures surrounding it. There is often a period of time prior to the surgery where a person experiences significant pain and as a result becomes weaker and less mobile. Then the rehabilitation after the surgery is complicated by the fact that the muscles are already weak to begin with and that individual may be in poorer overall health.  From my experience, it’s important for patients to have realistic expectations about how they will feel after surgery. Many people may feel that once their surgery is complete they’ll be pain-free but often there’s quite some time before that is the case. Be sure to discuss with your physiotherapist or health care team about appropriate pain management strategies.

Could you give us 3-5 recovery tips in helping those that are getting ready to go through a surgery?

Having realistic expectations following surgery is important. It will help you to keep a positive attitude and not to get too down or depressed if it feels like you aren’t progressing. Each day can be different but overall it’s important to think week to week instead of day to day. Today might feel worse than yesterday but usually, today is better than last week.

Secondly, preparing for your post-surgery period of time is important. Considering things like who will look after you, can you drive, will you be able to be home alone, will you be able to use the washroom, can you make food, etc. Preparing for these things can make the rehab process go much more smoothly and reduces stress.

Lastly,  it is very important for someone that is preparing for surgery to try and get their muscles as strong as possible and to stay as active as possible to make the rehabilitation process more successful. Utilizing things like swimming or biking can be great ways to perform exercise in a non or reduced weight bearing position if that is a problem, allowing for better strength and overall health. Individuals with successful outcomes following surgery are generally those that stick to their post-surgery exercise programs.

You do house visits – how can people find you? 

 If someone had questions regarding home visits in my area they can contact me at CBI Health Bedford at 902-423-6666 or directly via email at

You can watch the full interview HERE.


Melanoma Awareness Month

May is Melanoma Awareness month. We, unfortunately, have to report that incidence rates of melanoma have increased in both males – by 2.1%, and females – by 2% over the last decade(between 1992-2013).

2017 lifetime probability of developing melanoma: 1.8%

There are estimated to be 103,100 new cases of cancer in males in 2017. Of these, 3.9% are estimated to be melanoma. In 2016, there were estimated to be 102,900 new cases of cancer in MALES, 3.6% of these being melanoma. There are estimated to be 103,200 new cases of cancer in females in 2017. Of these, 3.2% are expected to be melanoma. In 2016, there were estimated to be 99,500 new cases of cancer in FEMALES, 3.1% of these being melanoma

Although skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, it is also one of the most preventable forms of skin cancer. Each year in Canada over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed and more than 5,000 of those are melanomas, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Melanoma causes more than 900 deaths every year. Early diagnosis is the key to positive outcome as it can be cured if it is diagnosed and removed early.

Prevention and early detection are keys to avoiding and successfully treating melanoma.  Avoiding skin damage from UV rays is the most important thing we can do. The damage that leads to adult skin cancers starts in childhood and teenage years, as people are likely to receive about 80% of their lifetime sun exposure during the first 18 years of life.

No tan is a safe tan – according to Save Your Skin Foundation and Cancer Treatment Centers of America. If you are still visiting a tanning salon we strongly advise you to stop. You are basically paying for a potential of getting a deadly illness.

Who is at risk?

According to Canadian Dermatology Association, some people are more likely to develop melanoma.

Those who have:

  • Fair, sun-sensitive skin that burns rather than tans; freckles; red or blond hair
  • Many moles — more than 50.
  • Moles which are large or unusual in color or shape.
  • A close family history of melanoma or a personal history of melanoma.
  • Had excessive exposure to UV from the sun or sunbeds.
  • A history of severe sunburns.

The risk can be multiplied if you have several of these risk factors, for example, if you have unusual moles and a family history of melanoma.

What can you do to prevent skin cancer?

  • Put on sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. Minimum of 30 SPF is needed if you are outdoors even on a gray day.
  • Stay in the shade when outdoors, especially between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is the brightest
  • Keep your kids out of the direct sunlight
  • If your skin is starting to redden, get out of the sun!
  • Wear protective clothing with long sleeves, hats and sunglasses
  • Wear protective clothing with long sleeves, hats and sunglasses
  • Check your body for changes in moles, new moles and see your doctor immediately if anything is suspicious
  • Do not use tanning beds

What can you do to detect suspicious skin spots?

Get to know your skin and be aware of any changes. Self-checkups for yourself and your loved ones are recommended once a month.  Below are the guidelines from Canadian Dermatology Association:

  • Using a mirror in a well-lit room, check the front of your body -face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, thighs and lower legs.
  • Turn sideways, raise your arms and look carefully at the right and left sides of your body, including the underarm area.
  • With a hand-held mirror, check your upper back, neck and scalp. Next, examine your lower back, buttocks, backs of thighs and calves.
  • Examine your forearms, palms, back of the hands, fingernails and in between each finger.
  • Finally, check your feet – the tops, soles, toenails, toes and spaces in between.

What does melanoma look like?

Melanoma can develop in weeks or months, or take years. It can appear as a new mole or freckle-like spot on the skin, or develop in an existing mole. Melanomas are usually dark in color – browns and blacks, although some show a mixture of colors, including blue, grey and red.

The most common location for melanoma in men is on the back and, in women, the leg. It can also appear on the arm, scalp or face. While less common in darker-skinned people, melanoma can appear on the soles of the feet, toenails and palms of the hands.

The ABCDE of melanoma will help you to detect this disease. Look for these features:

Asymmetry – The shape on one side is different from that on the other side

Border – The border or visible edge is irregular, ragged and imprecise

Color – There is a color variation, with brown, black, red, grey or white within the lesion

Diameter – Growth is typical of melanoma. It can measure more than 6 mm, although it can be less

Evolution – Look for a change in color, size, shape or symptom, such as itching, tenderness or bleeding

One last thing to mention: you can get melanoma in your fingernail. It is pretty rare but would show up in the form of a dark line.


May 13th is Mother’s Day!

Wishing all of you mothers out there a fabulous day filled with joy and happiness. It is not easy to be a mother, and we as women put our kids first and sometimes forget that we need to stay on top of our health and wellness. We are listing a general guideline to examinations and testing. Please visit your doctor to have a more detailed conversation on what your health needs may be.

The recommendations below are for healthy adults. If you have risk factors or a chronic disease, you may need different tests or you may need a test more often. Ask your doctor what schedule is right for you, but here are conditions many people should be screened for:

  • High blood pressure – start at age 18
  • Cervical cancer – PAP smear at age 25 (at age 21 in the US!)
  • Cholesterol – start at age 40. If you have risk factors start earlier
  • Diabetes – at age 40
  • Breast cancer – at age 50, although if risk factors are present start at 40
  • Colon cancer – both men and women, at age 50
  • Osteoporosis (weakened bones) – all women, at age 65
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (enlarged blood vessel) – at 65, one-time ultrasound test

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at or call toll-free 877 344 3544.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *