January 4th, 2016 – my first weekday back in town after the holidays. I needed to meet with a new physical therapist pronto as my tight, sore, and painful neck couldn’t wait for one any longer.

I was surprised to find very few physical therapy clinics around my area in Québec City. Around my parents’ home in Mississauga (outside Toronto), there would be one every two blocks! One thing was for sure – my new clinic had to be walking distance from me. Why? 1) I always walked to clinics no. 2 and 3 as it added to my daily exercise; and 2) if I was going to go there three times a week for my treatment, there was no way I was going to bear riding the bus in the winter. Luckily I found one close (enough) to our apartment – a 20-minute walk away!

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They had a pretty legit website and Facebook page. Although I didn’t even bother to read the reviews, I didn’t think I would go wrong. Kinatex Sports Physio is a chain of physical therapy clinics in the province of Québec, mainly in and around Montréal and Québec City. It seemed that they mainly specialized in sports injuries and not automobile or work injuries.

Établie depuis 2005 au coeur de la ville de Québec, Kinatex St-Vallier est un chef de file dans le domaine de la réadaptation physique. Monsieur Olivier Tremblay Valin, physiothérapeute diplomé en thérapie manuelle avancée, dirige cette équipe de professionnels qui offrent des services de pointe en physiothérapie, ergothérapie, médecine du sport et massothérapie. Venez nous rencontrer et profitez de la qualité de nos services!

My first day

There was a physical therapist available to meet with me that afternoon. I prepared all my pertinent medical records – X-rays (examples here and here), prescriptions, neck exercises, etc. – and off my husband and I went to the clinic. I brought him along in case I would run into some sort of trouble expressing myself… as this entire encounter would be in FRENCH.

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We were running late. We took a short nap after lunch and woke up at 1:45 pm. For my 2:00 pm appointment. We didn’t even know where this place really was, apart from seeing it on the Google Maps! Needless to say, we totally speed-walked it.

When we arrived, I had to fill out some new patient intake forms. Soon Olivier, my new physical therapist, greeted me and led me to his office/treatment area. I gave him the run-down of the ~*entire story*~ – good thing I didn’t cry this time, as I did in clinics no. 1 and 2! Because 2016 had just started, I completely messed up my dates, saying deux-mille-quatorze (2014) instead of deux-mille-quinze (2015) for the dates of my accident, surgeries, etc. Ugh, so embarrassing.

I also told Olivier that my last physiotherapist didn’t touch my neck at all, as my neurosurgeon told me that I was not to have any neck manipulation (see 0:19 onwards!).

He found this quite odd, explaining that MOBILIZATION is not the same as MANIPULATION. As I understand it, manipulation deals with suddenly moving the neck vertebrae (i.e., with a chiropractor) while mobilization deals with moving and loosening the soft tissue around the vertebrae. (I had soft tissue mobilization done for my left arm several months prior.)

So that sucked – I could have spent the previous month getting actual treatment for my neck and not just doing the exercises. Oh well, I didn’t know better and I was crazy paranoid with anyone touching my fragile neck at the time.

He said he would take a closer look at my file, call my old physiotherapist, and review my current set of neck exercises. Overall the consult went well. I didn’t even need to call my husband, who was just chilling in the waiting area, for help with my French!

My next sessions

Olivier gave me a new set of exercises at my next appointment. Thank God. I complained that my exercises from my old physiotherapist just took TOO LONG to do… like an hour and 20 minutes! He gave me a new set that worked the exact same muscles and took only 20 to 25 minutes per set. I was to do each set two to three times per day. (I actually forgot to ask or misunderstood his instructions that I just did them once a day on the first week. Boo.)

Since then I’ve been seeing my physical therapist three times a week. Each session is 30 minutes long and costs a hefty $68. That’s a lot, I know. Even if my insurance only covered my first month there and I was responsible to pay for my sessions in February and my neurosurgeon said that once or twice a week was fine (see video above), I still went there that often to maximize my recovery.

During my sessions, Olivier would check the range of motion in my neck and then proceed with mobilizing the muscles and tissues there. He also would perform some manipulation of my dorsal vertebrae in order to relieve the stiffness in my neck higher up (I wasn’t extremely comfortable with it, given my aversion to chiropractors, but I trusted him).

After our session, I would receive heat on my neck for about 15 minutes and then I would do my neck exercises in a little area by myself.

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The Kinatex Saint-Vallier exercise area (photo from their Facebook page)

I asked Olivier if I could do these things during my visit there because, hey, what else was I going to do? I might as well get one out of my two or three sets over with (while listening to Québec pop radio in the background) before I walk back home for 20 minutes. Sometimes in the cold and the wind. Huuu.

I don’t really know what mobilization techniques he uses, but I am pretty sure they’ve been effective on me. It’s probably a combination of that plus doing the neck exercises, being A LOT more physically active, and practicing yoga, but there has definitely been an increase in the range of motion well as a decrease in my general discomfort and pain in my neck. Now these changes didn’t happen overnight, but week after week, or maybe every two weeks.

I also started going there one day extra every two weeks for Olivier to mobilize my left wrist, as it still wasn’t 100%.

As for the rest of the Kinatex team, they have been great.

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The receptionists are extremely friendly and courteous and I’ve never had any issues scheduling my appointments. Since I am there SO OFTEN, up to four times a week, I started becoming familiar with the other people who worked and received treatment there! (They still didn’t beat the awesome Coury & Buehler atmosphere though.)

I didn’t even need to bring my husband anymore to help me with my French!

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In mid-February, a month and a half since I started going to the Saint-Vallier branch, Kinatex opened another branch right in my neighbourhood in Saint-Roch. I still, however, chose to continue my treatment at Saint-Vallier with Olivier because I clearly saw that he was one of the best physiotherapists out there.

That, and he loves Série Noire too!!!

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My current neck exercises and improvements up next!

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Kinatex Sports Physio Saint-Vallier is located at 205 Rue Montmagny, Suite 200, Québec City, Québec.

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