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Patient Recommendation

I moved to Halifax in September of 97 from Toronto, with a repetitive strain injury that was reaching its second birthday. I have been looking for resources and treatment ever since. I can't yet say that I have found a physiotherapist to recommend. Michael Ritchie of Scotia physiotherapy on Quinpool is quite good at spinal manipulation and muscle imbalance. Everyone and his dog does acupuncture in Halifax; Brian Tomie of Renova Physiotherapy in Bedford (835-6561) and Sackville does actual dry needling of trigger points, which is a form of treatment that many people in Toronto have had very good experiences with.

Physiotherapy in Nova Scotia is covered by the provincial health plan if it's in a hospital clinic these have months-long waiting lists. Private physio ranges between $30 and $36 per session ($40 for assessment).

The Center for Work and Health at Dalhousie tells me that Wendy Tooth at the Physioclinic at Dalplex is good for RSI I haven't tried her (I saw her boss instead...). The Center for Work and Health, by the way, is nothing to write home about, judging by my somewhat aggravating experience with them around an ergonomic assessment of my office. This Center was also unable to tell me the name of a doctor in Halifax who has any particular knowledge or expertise in RSI. This is either a measure of the inadequate state of the medical profession towards RSI in Halifax, or a measure of the inadequate state of this Center, or both.

The local Feldenkrais practitioner is Kelly Beale (5871 Spring Garden Road, 477-8569 phone; 458-2714 pager). He has group Awareness Through Movement lessons (currently) Tuesdays at 5:30 at the Shambhala elementary school, Maritime Conservatory of Music, on Chebucto at Windsor ($10 for drop-in; discount for series), and Wednesdays at noon at the Shambhala Center on Tower Road ($8 for drop-in). His private Functional Integration sessions are at his office on Spring Garden Road. I find these both helpful. I've just started yoga with Jody Myers (823-2746), beginner classes Thursdays at 6 in the Unitarian Church, Inglis Street ($10 for drop-in). There are lots of other yoga teachers around. From what I have seen so far, she encourages self-exploration, and is flexible in dealing with your physical limitations, which makes her approach good for people with RSI.

Massage in Halifax seems to run between $45 and $70. I've had good experiences with Linda Weeks (trained at Sutherland Chan in Toronto, especially interested in myofascial release), who is in a chiropractor's office in the professional center at the corner of Spring Garden and Robie (429-3443), Don Himmelman, a shiatsu massage therapist capable of working gently enough for someone with RSI (also at 5871 Spring Garden Road, 429-1253), and Julie Berkowitz, Dresden Row, 423-4407, who does lovely craniosacral work. (They're all in the $45 to $55 range. That's really a fairly random list of massage practitioners. Some people who are well-known for myofascial release work are Peter Goodman and Kermit Stick at Eastwind Health Associates and Brian Jenings at Advanced Wellness Center.)

If anyone who sees this wants to start some support group activity, contact me (Lynette Reid) at lereid@is.dal.ca.


Self Referred

There is now a Myosymmetries Halifax Clinic, in Bedford, N.S., sister clinic to Myosymmetries Calgary, Myosymmetries Edmonton, and Myosymmetries Washington, D.C. They are a multidisciplinary clinic specializing in the treatment of chronic pain disorders (as FMS, CPS, MPS), closed-head injuries, whiplash, and CFS. Patients may be referred by their MD, chiropractor, PT, etc. or self-referred. Web page for the clinic may be found at http://www.myosymmetries.org

What separates Myosymmetries from others in treatment of Fibromyalgia is that they consider Fibromyalgia to have Central Nervous System involvement. Research done by Suart Donaldson, Ph.D., founder of Myosymmetries, shows FMS patients to have a "signature brain spike". Using biofeedeback EEG, the Flexyx Neurotherapy System (FNS), patients' brains are "reset" to the "normal" mode. To the patient, this means higher energy levels, improved concentration, no more "fog", and return to "Delta" (restorative) sleep.

Similarly, muscle imbalances are quanitified using sEMG (surface Electromyography), where passive electrodes are placed on the surface of the skin, over the muscle being tested. The patient is asked to perform a simple movement, to involve the muscles in question. Comparison of muscle activity, left side to right side, is made. Anything larger than a 20% difference is considered an imbalance. While still connected to the electrodes, a "micro exercise" is designed to isolate and train the target muscle. These exercises are continued at home.

Massage therapy, myofascial work is also part of the program.

There are no physicians in the clinic, although, where indicated the patients will be referred for a medical consult.

Which therapies are used depends on each patient's individual assessment. In Halifax, the initial interview with the clinic director is $100.

As a former patient of the Myosymmetries Calgary clinic, I can say, without exaggeration, that Myosymmetries gave me my life back. Previously, I had been diagnosed with TOS, MPS, CFS, CPS, and FMS by Dr. Beverly Tompkins of Calgary, a physician specializing in the treatment of chronic disorders. I did not complete my treatment in Calgary (completed 2 of 4 months), but left much improved, and continued to improve ever since. I still have some aches and pains, but I have not "crashed" since my return to Nova Scotia. I no longer have migraines, IBS, frequent UTI's, "fog", severe muscle spasms, severe fatigue, costochondritis, sleep apnea, dizziness, sleep deprivation, and I have lost 30 lbs. My success in Calgary was instrumental in bringing the clinic to Nova Scotia. I am co-owner of the Halifax clinic.

Martha Haley