Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome

Written By: Dr. Evan Steinke, B.Sc, DC

Many of us have heard of sciatica (SI), a painful compression of the nerve running down the back of your leg, however, not many have heard of Piriformis Syndrome. To understand the difference it helps to first understand what the sciatic nerve is and where it travels.

The sciatic nerve is the thickest nerve in our body and is the result of several nerve roots from the lower back and sacrum coming together to form one larger nerve bundle. This bundle is formed around the level of our hip joint and runs the entirety of our leg, from glutes to feet. Nerves branch off to supply everything from the muscles of our legs to the skin and joints. Therefore, any irritation or compression to the sciatic nerve, or the nerve roots it is comprised of, can cause symptoms along its length. In fact, this is what sciatica is in reference to, pain and other symptoms that affect the nerve roots or sciatic nerve. Typically we think of disk herniations, degeneration, or joint narrowing that compresses and irritate the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve as the cause of sciatica. However, this is not always the cause, in some cases, the sciatic nerve itself can be compressed by muscles which leads us to piriformis syndrome.

Piriformis syndrome gets its name from the piriformis muscle, a slender muscle running from the sacrum to the hip. The location of the muscle places it dead center in the gluteal region and also right over the top of the infamous sciatic nerve. As a result, tension and tightness or inflammation in the piriformis muscle can lead to compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve which in turn may cause sciatica. This could include pain in the gluteal region with possible radiation along the length of the nerve as it travels down the leg to the foot. It can also be characterized by feelings of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg and/or foot. Due to its position and function, you may feel increased irritation with sitting for a sustained period or with exercises such as squats.

In any case, if you are experiencing pain along the back of your leg or feelings of numbness or weakness it is best to see your practitioner and have the exact cause determined. From here an appropriate treatment and management plan can be implemented to help you.

If you are interested in booking an assessment call Active Sports Therapy today.

Dr. Evan Steinke, BSc. DC recently hosted a webinar where you can learn more about Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome. You can check it out here.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Frozen Shoulder Explained

Written By: Dr Evan Steinke, DC

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is characterized by pain and a progressive loss of motion in your shoulder joint. You may have experienced this as beginning with shoulder pain from an unknown cause that made your sleep difficult and became increasingly painful over the coming weeks. Frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation of the shoulder joint resulting in adhesions and stiffening of the surrounding structures. As a result, the shoulder begins to become painful and lose its mobility. This is more commonly seen in people over the age of 40 and is slightly more common among women with both diabetes and thyroid disease being known risk factors.

Frozen shoulder is known to have a particularly long recovery time without treatment of 18-24 months. Due to the long duration of the condition is often divided into three phases.

Phase 1 – Freezing: Pain in the shoulder as it begins to tighten over several months. It may be particularly noticeable at night and progress to being painful at rest.

Phase 2 – Frozen: The structures around the shoulder are now adhered to each other and mobility is limited in most or all directions, however, pain may begin to diminish in this phase. This phase can last for up to a year.

Phase 3 – Thawing: The structures around the shoulder begin to loosen and allow for a gradual return of shoulder mobility over 6+ months.

Your doctor will be able to determine which phase you are in with a physical examination, there is no need for x-rays or other forms of imaging. Management of frozen shoulder depends on the phase you are currently in but will often include a wide range of physical therapy approaches aiming to improve your range of motion and providing relief. These can include the following:

Muscle release techniques: These techniques aim to help ease pain in the surrounding shoulder muscles and reduce muscle tension to allow for improved movement.

Exercises and Stretches: A variety of programs can be performed at home that aim to improve muscle strength, improve flexibility, and provide improved joint stability.

Mobilization: Working with the shoulder joint directly your therapist will help mobilize the joint to improve range of motion.

Activity Modification: Depending on your specific needs your doctor may also make modifications to your daily routines and activities to ease the load and stress on your shoulder joint.

In severe cases that do not respond to conservative care your therapist will be able to evaluate and direct you for a shoulder injection or discuss other options for your particular situation.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar call Active Sports Therapy at 4032781405 to book your shoulder assessment today.

Active Release Techniques - A Very Successful Type of Hands-On Treatment

By: Active Sports Therapy

ART stands for Active Release Techniques.  It is a highly successful hands-on treatment method that addresses problems in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.  ART treatment has great success in dealing with soft tissue injuries because it is specifically designed to locate and treat scar tissue adhesions that accumulate in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues.

You can think of an ART treatment as a type of active massage. The practitioner will first shorten the muscle, tendon, or ligament, and then apply a very specific pressure with their hand as you actively stretch and lengthen the tissues.  As the tissue lengthens the practitioner is able to assess the texture and tension of the muscle to determine if the tissue is healthy or contains scar tissue that needs further treatment. When scar tissue adhesions are felt the amount and direction of tension can be modified to treat the problematic area. In this sense, each treatment is also an assessment of the health of the area as we are able to feel specifically where the problem is occurring.

An additional benefit of ART is it allows us to further assess and correct problems not only at the site of pain itself, but also in other areas of the kinetic chain, which are associated with movement compensations and are often contributing factors to the problem. This ensures that all the soft tissues that have become dysfunctional and are contributing to the specific injury are addressed, even if they have not yet all developed pain.

One of the best things about ART is how fast it can get results. In our experience, there are many types of injuries that respond very well to ART treatment, especially when combined with the appropriate home stretching and strengthening exercises. Although each case is unique and there are several factors that will determine the length of time required to fully resolve each condition, we usually find a significant improvement can be gained in just 4-6 treatments.

Here’s a list of common problems that our chiropractors are equipped to treat using Active Release Techniques. You may be surprised to learn that our chiropractors can treat more than just your back!

Achilles Tendonitis, Ankle Injuries,Back Pain / Injuries, Bicipital Tendonitis, Bursitis. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Compartment Syndrome, Foot Pain and Injury, Frozen Shoulder, Gait Imbalances, Golf Injuries, Golfer’s Elbow (Tendonitis), Hand Injuries, Headaches, Hip Pain, Hyperflexion Injuries, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, Impingement Syndrome, Joint Dysfunction, Knee and Leg Pain, Knee Meniscal Injuries, Muscle Pulls or Strains, Muscle Weakness, Myofascitis, Neck Pain, Nerve Entrapment, Syndromes, Repetitive Strain Injuries, Plantar Fasciitis, Post – Surgical, Restrictions, Running Injuries, Rib Pain, Rotator Cuff Syndrome, Shin Splints, Scar Tissue Formation, Sciatica, Swimmer’s Shoulder, Shoulder Pain, Sports Injuries, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Tendonitis / Tendonosis, Tennis Elbow,Weight Lifting Injuries, Throwing Injuries, TMJ, Whiplash.

Book an appointment today with one of our ART trained Chiropractors. 

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  

The Top 4 Most Common Golf Injuries

By: Active Sports Therapy

As golfing is a seasonal sport, people often jump into it quickly and with high frequency. Since 18 holes are the most common way to play, overuse injuries can occur. If you develop an injury, it can result in a frustrating experience out on the links as injuries affect your swing, and ultimately, your game.

The most common injuries include:

Golfers Elbow - Will cause pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow. The pain may radiate into the forearm.

Wrist Pain - Can occur and is usually related to the wrist flexor or extensor tendons. Impingement syndrome and tendonitis can also occur.

Shoulder Pain – The lead shoulder is most often the one to be injured in a golfer with the rotator cuff is the most likely to become injured and it is often related to the style and form of the golfer's backswing.

Back Pain- In the upper, mid, or most commonly, the lower back can occur. Golf involves twisting, bending, and reaching down to get the ball out of the cup, all of which can add up to back pain for some.

Tips for Prevention

Swing Mechanics. Even the best golfers are taking 70-90 swings and putts per game. Considering that you can see how easily an overuse injury can occur. Learning proper posture from a golf pro might give you the corrections you need to prevent injury.

Avoid trying to hit the ball too hard. This is common for ‘new golfers’ as they opt for power over the form. Again, a lesson or two might teach you the proper pace required for a mechanically correct swing.

Be sure to use proper mechanics when lifting or carrying your bag, even if it’s just taking them out of the trunk of your car.

Just because golf isn’t a fast, contact sport, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to stretch it out a bit before you play. Stretch your shoulders, chest, triceps, back, and lower body.

Here is a great resource from Golf Digest

How Can your Chiropractor Help with These Injuries?

ART stands for Active Release Techniques.  It is a new and highly successful hands-on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.  ART treatment is highly successful in dealing with overuse injuries because it is specifically designed to locate and treat scar tissue adhesions that accumulate in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues.

By locating and treating the soft-tissue adhesions with ART, it allows the practitioner to, 1) break up restrictive adhesions, 2) reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement, and 3) more completely restore flexibility, balance, and stability to the injured area and the entire kinetic chain.

This style of treatment can be applied to all of your common golf injuries. We can also help you to learn how to prevent further damage through exercises and stretches. Our physiotherapy area has specialized equipment to help speed healing with laser therapy and Game Ready ice machines. We can assign the proper stabilizing brace or suggest supplements if needed.

Book in today at www.activesportstherapy.ca and we’ll help you Get Back to Your Game!

Golf

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Treatments

By: Dr. Corey Finan BSc., DC, CCSP, RMT, ART

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition in which the patient feels pain, numbness, tingling and other symptoms that can be uncomfortable or painful in the hand and arm. It is caused by the compression of the nerve in the carpal tunnel, hence it’s name. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist. The issue is related to the median nerve which goes from your forearm and through the carpal tunnel passageway to your hand. It is responsible for sensation in your hands as well as muscle function. When this nerve is irritated, or the passageway is narrowed, then we feel the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Causes can range from arthritis and inflammation, workplace factors such as computer work and working with tools where repetitive motion is required. Obesity is a risk factor, and females tend to suffer from this condition more often than men.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will usually start off progressing in a gradual way. The most common symptoms include the following:

Tingling and Numbness – this could be in your hand or in your fingers and is often felt in the thumb, index, middle or ring fingers. The sensation may travel from the wrist and even into the arm. You may feel these sensations when the hands are outstretched doing something such as holding a newspaper or book, or a smart phone.

Weakness – You may feel like your hands are weaker than usual. This could be due to the numbness and the issues that are happening in the median nerve.

Preventative Measures:

Other Things to Consider: 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can occur in anyone, but there are some things that you may want to look at first before thinking you have CTS.  First, there is a much more common cause for numbness and pain in the hand / fingers, and that is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which is a nerve entrapment in the elbow where the nerves enter the forearm.  Often repetitive strain at the hand and wrist can cause the muscles in the forearm and elbow to become tight, and thus compress the nerves to your hand.  Another important caveat would be to consider whether conservative care would be a better alternative for you, or if surgery may be the way to go. A trial of conservative care, specifically Active Release Therapy (ART), may prevent the need for surgery.  You can easily determine that by doing a Diagnostic Ultrasound of the Median Nerve at the Carpal Tunnel.  If the nerve is enlarged, you can be certain that it is inflamed at the tunnel.  This would indicate that the decompression surgery typical of CTS surgery would be of benefit to you.  However, if the nerve is of normal size, then you should not do the surgery, and seek conservative care and look elsewhere in the body for the problem.  These are simple guidelines that can help you determine which direction to go.  All of the Doctors at AST can order the Diagnostic Ultrasound imaging and can interpret the results and give guidance as needed.

Treatment From Our Clinic

If you think you may be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, our clinic has several treatments that might benefit you. Active Release Techniques for one can be very helpful to treat this syndrome. The practitioner will evaluate your mobility and tightness of the area which will usually be due to the presence of scar tissue. By using manual pressure, the practitioner can break up the scar tissue to lessen the pressure on the median nerve, resulting in a reduction in symptoms. Many people can find relief in just a few treatments!  There are several forearm muscle stretches and exercises that we can teach you to help remove some of the symptoms, and more importantly keep them at bay once you improve.  We also provide IMS which can help with pain relief in the forearm muscles, and Graston Technique which is an instrument assisted soft tissue treatment designed to help break down scar tissue and release tight muscles.  Shockwave Therapy and Laser Therapy can also be additional therapies that can speed recovery.  We have seen hundreds of cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over the years with most resolving successfully in a relatively short period of time.

If you believe that you might be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, please give us call to book your appointment.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Plantar Fasciitis: Could You Have It?

By: Dr. David Westmacott, DC

If you know the term Plantar Fasciitis, you have probably had it, or know someone who has.

A Person Suffering From This Condition Will:

What is Plantar Fascia?

The plantar fascia functions as a  “bowstring” that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot and toes in order to maintain the arch of the foot. It experiences tension that is approximately 2 times a person’s body weight when the heel lifts off the ground with walking. Increased tension on the planter fascia due to tight calf muscles, flat feet or high arches, prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces, being over weight, improper warm up, or sudden injury, causes irritation at the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone.

The Injury Cycle Is As Follows:

Micro tears in the fascia’s attachment to the heel bone, due to increased tensile stress, causes inflammation to occur, and dense, fibrotic scar tissue is formed as part of the normal healing process. Scar tissue is a “glue like” substance that is resistant to stretch. The normal elasticity of the fascia is decreased, causing pain and compromising the overall function of the fascia. The fascia can no longer do its job of maintaining the arch of the foot.

Treatment

The key to eliminating Plantar Fasciitis, is to break down the fibrotic scar to restore the normal elasticity and pliability of the fascia. This allows proper arch support and thus normal foot mechanics. Tight calf muscles must also be stretched out to reduce strain on the plantar fascia.

Active Release Therapy, (ART) is a soft tissue treatment system that releases scar tissue from injured muscles, tendons and fascia, and is performed by the practitioner to release the scar tissue at the heel. Tight calf muscles are stretched by the practitioner using a combination of ART combined with deep tissue massage. In order for plantar fasciitis to heal, the scar tissue must be broken down.

Another treatment that is often successful is Shockwave Therapy which has proven to be helpful for many chronic conditions. This therapy uses acoustic waves with high energy peaks that interact with tissue, causing effects such as accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, pain relief, and mobility restoration.

What Else Can I Do?

Switch to low impact activities such as cycling, swimming or deepwater running to reduce stress and irritation of the plantar fascia. Walking through the pain can worsen and prolong the condition.  Proper footwear with good arch support and cushioning must be used.

Athletic taping can help speed healing by protecting the fascia from re-injury. Finally, by massaging and stretching the bottom of the foot and calf muscles before getting out of bed each morning, the typical heel pain with the first few steps can be reduced causing less irritation at the heel.   The calf muscles should also be stretched 3 to 5 times during the day.

Plantar Fasciitis can be prevented by maintaining the flexibility of the plantar fascia and calf muscles with a regular stretching program. Good quality footwear with arch support and cushioning are essential. Consider talking to your doctor or chiropractor about the benefits of orthotics. At Active Sports Therapy you can speak with your chiropractor about having your feet scanned on our Footmaxx Orthotics machine to help determine if orthotics could be part of your treatment plan.

Help From Active Sports Therapy

The doctors and practitioners of Active Sports Therapy have had great success in the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis. It is essential to be treated for this condition, if you have it or think you may have it, as soon as possible to prevent an easily treated case from becoming a long term, debilitating problem.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Improved Treatment for Headaches with Active Release Techniques

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]Any headache sufferer knows that headaches can be among the most frustrating and debilitating health problems. When headaches develop they often interfere or prevent many of our most basic daily activities such as using the computer, reading, carrying on a conversation, and even thinking. To make matters worse, studies show that treatment for headaches top the list for conditions in which patients are most dissatisfied with their care.

Now for the good news, a treatment technique known as Active Release Technique (ART) is proving to be a very effective method to treat many common types of headaches.  Through ART treatments, many headache sufferers are now able to finally get a handle on their headaches and get back to living their lives.  But before we talk about how ART works so effectively we first need to understand how headaches develop in the first place.

Understanding Headaches

There is a common perception that the cause of all headaches is in the head itself, which seems like a logical assumption since that is where the symptoms are.  However, there is now a firm base of scientific evidence that suggests many of the most common types of headaches may actually be generated in the muscles, joints, and nerves of the neck.

When talking about the neck, we are actually talking about the upper portion of the spinal column – the cervical spine.  The cervical spine consists of 7 small bones call “vertebrae” stacked on top of each other.  By themselves the joints of the cervical spine are not very stable, so to protect the region, a complex system of muscles surrounds the spinal column to control movement and protect the area from injury.

Not only do these muscles need to move and protect the cervical spine, but they also must control the weight of the head.  The head and neck have a unique anatomical relationship in that the larger, heavier head – which weighs about 10 pounds – sits atop the thinner neck.  This essentially represents an inverted pendulum, to topple over. This places a high demand on the neck muscles to both support and control the weight of the head, while at the same time ensuring adequate movement and stability of the joints of the cervical spine. This complex process requires each muscle to be adequately strong, flexible, and coordinated, and as long as this is the case the neck remains protected and healthy, and will not generate headache symptoms.

How do problems in the neck lead to headaches?

The interesting fact is that muscle and joint dysfunction in the cervical spine has actually been shown to cause headaches through a process known as referred pain. The referred pain phenomenon is a complicated neurological process, but simply stated, referred pain is a process that causes pain to be felt at a location other than where the problem is occurring.  Other examples of referred pain can be seen during a heart attack, when pain is felt in the left arm, or with a disc herniation in the low back, which causes pain to be felt down the leg.

Scientific studies have shown that when problems in the muscles and joints of the neck occur, they often refer pain to the head, causing symptoms such as ache, throbbing, pressure, burning, even stabbing pain. In many cases there can be some ache or tension in the neck that occur along with the headache symptoms, but in many cases there are no noticeable symptoms in the neck at all.

How do problems in the neck lead to headaches?

There are many situations that can develop which will affect the health and function on the muscles and joints of the neck. For example, poor or prolonged postural strain that occurs with computer use and many desk jobs, repetitive use with certain sports, muscles imbalances, lack of stretching or strengthening, or previous injury such as car accidents (even minor accidents with little or no injuries that occurred at the time) can all lead to muscle tightness, weakness, and a lack of coordination of the cervical spine muscle – muscles that are critical to maintaining the health and function of the head and neck region.

Over time this strain develops into what is known as micro-trauma. Simply stated, micro-trauma is very small scale damage that occurs in the muscles, tendons, joint capsules, and ligaments in response to small levels of strain. In many cases this micro-trauma is not painful, but damage still need to be repaired. The body responds to micro-trauma in a predictable way – by laying down small amounts of scar tissue to repair the area. Unfortunately over time this scar tissue will build-up and accumulate into what we call adhesions. As these adhesions form they start to affect the normal health and function of the muscles and related joints. In fact, they will often lead to pain, tightness, stiffness, restricted joint motion, and diminished blood flow. This places even further strain on the neck muscles, which in turn leads to even more micro-trauma. Essentially a repetitive strain injury cycle is set-up causing continued adhesion formation and progressive cervical spine dysfunction.

The Nerves and Their Role in Headaches

Although strain of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments themselves can be responsible for tension-type headaches through the referred pain phenomenon, they may also cause headaches if they compress or entrap the nerves that supply the head. As the nerves exit the spinal cord they travel through small openings in the spinal column, then pass through and between the muscles that surround the cervical spine, and continue on to supply distant structures such a muscles, joints, skin and blood vessels.

Many of these nerves travel down the arm (which is why neck problems often cause arm pain) but some of these nerves actually travel up to supply the back, side, and top of the head.  Under normal circumstances these nerves should be able to move and slide between the surrounding muscles. However, when the neck muscles become tight and there is an accumulation of scar tissue adhesions in the around the muscles it is common for these adhesions to affect the nerves.  In many cases the adhesions can cause the nerves to become “stuck” to the surrounding muscles and other structures. Instead of the nerves easily gliding between the muscles they become stretched and irritated.  When nerves become irritated symptoms are usually generated in the area that the nerve travels to – in this case, the head.

How Can Headaches Be Treated?

The Traditional Approach

            The most common approach to treating headaches is medication to reduce inflammation, block pain, or relax muscles that may be causing headache symptoms. In the case of chronic or recurrent headaches, sometimes doctors will prescribe stronger prescription medications to help fight the headache symptoms. In some cases, even more invasive measures such a joint blocks are used, whereby an agent is injected into the joint to block the referred pain and other symptoms.

The main reason that medications fail to provide long-term resolution for headaches is that they fail to address any underlying problems of the muscles, nerves or joints of the neck that are causing recurrent headaches.  Instead, they address the symptoms of the headache and simply cover up the underlying issues in the neck – issues that if not addressed will continue to cause problems. As a result many people become reliant on medication to accomplish relief of their headaches.  This is not only a temporary fix that is only covering up the problems, but it also increases risk of side-effects and dependency on the medication.

Unfortunately, muscle tightness, scar tissue adhesions, nerve entrapments, and abnormal joint movement cannot be seen on x-rays or advanced imaging. This is because the water density of the scar tissue tends to be quite similar to the surrounding tissues.  These problems in the muscles, joints, nerves and ligaments can, however, be felt or tested with the hands of a properly skilled practitioner, as scar tissue has a very unique texture. A thorough history and clinical examination is usually sufficient to give the clinician enough information to diagnose the problem.

ART: Our Approach – A Better Solution

ART stands for Active Release Techniques. It is a highly successful hands-on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.  ART treatment is highly successful in dealing with headaches because it is specifically designed to locate and treat scar tissue adhesions that accumulate in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues. By location and treating the soft-tissue adhesions with ART, it allows the practitioner to, 1) breakup restrictive adhesions, 2) reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement, and 3) more completely restore flexibility, balance, and stability to the injured area and to the entire kinetic chain.

You can think of an ART treatment as a type of active massage. The practitioner will first shorten the muscle, tendon, or ligament, and then apply a very specific pressure with their hand as you actively stretch and lengthen the tissues.  As the tissue lengthens the practitioner is able to assess the texture and tension of the muscle to determine if the tissue is healthy or contains scar tissue that needs further treatment. When scar tissue adhesions are felt the amount and direction of tension can be modified to treat the problematic area.  In this sense, each treatment is also an assessment of the health of the area as we are able to feel specifically where the problem is occurring.

An additional benefit of ART is it allows us to further assess and correct problems not only at the site of pain itself, but also in other areas of the kinetic chain, which are associated with movement compensations and are often contributing factors to the problem. This ensures that all the soft tissues that have become dysfunctional and are contributing to the specific injury are addressed, even if they have not yet all developed pain.

One of the best things about ART is how fast it can get results. In our experience, many patients respond very well to ART treatment, especially when combined with the appropriate home stretching and strengthening exercises. Although each case is unique and there are several factors that will determine the length of time required to fully resolve each condition, we usually find a significant improvement can be gained in just 4-6 treatments.

If you think that ART for your headaches could be an option, please reach out to us for an appointment by calling 403-278-1405 or email mail@activesportstherapy.ca.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  

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The Common Link in Soft Tissue Injuries

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Dr. David Westmacott

All athletes have one thing in common. Whether they have had one, are currently playing with one, or are at risk of getting one, the dreaded SPORTS INJURY is and always will be a part of sports play. Many question arise with coaches and parents of the athlete: Is the injured athlete doing more harm by continuing to play?  When is it safe to return to play? How can the risk of injury be kept at a minimum? These questions can become a little easier to answer with a basic understanding of the physiology of the injury.

The majority of sports injuries are injuries of the body’s soft tissues. Soft tissues are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These structures work in harmony to produce movement of the body’s frame. When a muscle or tendon is injured (strain) or a ligament is injured (sprain), the microscopic parts of these structures become deranged in such a way to produce pain, swelling and altered function. The body begins its healing process immediately by repairing the microscopic anatomy by laying down dense, fibrotic SCAR TISSUE. Scar tissue is a gristly, glue-like substance that is resistant to stretch. The normal elasticity of the muscle, tendon or ligament is lost and pain occurs with movement.

The common link between all soft tissue injuries is SCAR TISSUE. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, thus inhibiting normal muscle function. Normal body mechanics is therefore altered predisposing the athlete to other soft tissue and joint injuries. Decreased athletic efficiency and performance is also a result of altered body mechanics.

In order for a soft tissue injury to be completely healed, the fibrotic scar must be broken down to restore the normal elasticity and pliability of the tissue. Normal functioning muscle is paramount to ensure normal body mechanics.

Active release therapy (ART) is a soft tissue treatment system that releases the scar tissue that occurs with injured and over used muscles. Back pain, shin splints, rotator cuff injuries, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

The key to a safe and enjoyable athletic career is a basic understanding of the physiological changes that occur with the athletic injury. An understanding of the importance to rid the body of painful, movement altering scar tissue, will not only get the athlete back on the playing field sooner, but will prevent further injuries and thus increase overall athletic performance.

If you think you could benefit from an ART treatment, please contact our clinic for an assessment from on of our chiropractors.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Golfer's Elbow vs. Tennis Elbow

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Active Sports Therapy

If you’ve ever experienced pain in your forearm that you notice most when you grip or pick up an object, then you may be suffering from golfers elbow or tennis elbow. Named for the sports they are most often associated with, you can suffer from either of these conditions even if you’ve never swung a racquet or a club.

What they have in common are:

What’s the difference:

Golfers elbow affects the side of the inner arm, or the medial side and is usually caused by an activity that causes the person to have repeated flexing downward motions of the wrist such as gardening, golf, or throwing a ball. Or, by repeated lifting with the palm facing downward such as laying bricks or scanning groceries all day as a clerk.

A person suffering from golfers elbow will experience pain on the inside of the elbow when lifting something. Even something as simple as lifting a coffee cup might cause the person to feel the pain and weakness associated with the condition. Making a twisting motion may cause pain as well. The person might also have swelling and weakness not only in the elbow and forearm, but also in the wrist and hand.

Tennis elbow is the inflammation of the outside of the elbow and/or forearm. If you think of a tennis player repeatedly using their forehand and backhand swings you might be able to picture exactly where one might become sore. People who are painters, cooks, and of course those who play racquet sports are particularly prone to tennis elbow.

The symptoms will be most noticeable when you need to grip something or reach for something, however, some people have tennis elbow that leaves them with a constant, nagging ache. For tennis elbow, the pain can radiate down to the wrist.

Other tips include:

It is important to see a professional and have your pain properly diagnosed as one of the above conditions, or perhaps something different. At Active Sports Therapy we can treat this condition with Active Release Techniques which have proven to be successful in the treatment of this condition. Physiotherapy, massage, muscle activation techniques, and low-intensity laser therapy may also be recommended.  If a muscle imbalance is at play, we can ensure that you know the correct exercises that will tone down or fix your condition.

 

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Active Release Techniques for Neck Pain

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Active Sports Therapy

If you experience neck pain you are certainly not alone.  Neck pain is an extremely common reason for visiting a doctor or chiropractor.  Anyone who deals with neck pain knows that it can interfere with your daily life, from driving, to playing sports, to your concentration at work, or even just having a good nights’ sleep. A frustrating aspect of neck pain is that it is often recurrent and people will experience the same problem over and over again unless resolved.

The great news is, a new treatment technique known as Active Release Technique (ART) is proving to be a excellent results as it can treat many common neck problems, helping the individual to get back to doing the things they love to do.

When looking at the neck, we are taking a look at the upper portion of the spinal column called the cervical spine. A very complex system of muscles surround this area to help control movement and protect the area from injury. With several muscles doing many jobs, it’s no wonder why most people experience neck pain in their lifetime.

In the age of devices and more and more people doing jobs that require them to sit at a desk all day, often with improper posture, the neck muscles can become strained and painful. On top of all of this, your neck has the job of moving and coordinating your 10 pound head!

Types of Neck Injuries and What Can Be Causing the Pain

Tightness, weakness, and abnormal function of the neck muscles can stem from many different causes.  This can come from strained posture when sitting at your desk, repetitive strain from playing sport, impact from sports such as hockey or football, muscle imbalances, weakness or tightness,  car accidents (current or from days gone by), or sleeping with an improper pillow.

Over time these pressures can develop into what is known as micro-trauma.  “A micro-trauma is very small scale damage that occurs in the muscles, tendons, joint capsules, and ligaments is response to small levels of strain.  Initially micro-trauma is not painful, but may be perceived as a mild ache or tightness in the muscles.  Although only small, this damage still needs to be repaired.  The body responds to micro-trauma in a predictable way – by laying down small amounts of scar tissue to repair the area.  Unfortunately, over time scar tissue will build-up and accumulate into what we call adhesions.” (ActiveRelease.com)

As more of these adhesions form, they can affect the function and movement of the muscles and joints around the injured area. This can cause pain, tightness and can even affect blood flow to the area.

ART stands for Active Release Techniques. All chiropractors at Active Sports Therapy are certified in this unique technique.  It is a highly successful hands-on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissues of the body.   ART is powerful when applied to neck injuries because it seeks out and treats these scar tissue adhesions that we outlined above.

Once we breakup restrictive adhesions, we can reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement. What that means for the patient is that they will then have flexibility, balance, and stability throughout the injured area.

What to Expect at a Treatment

You can think of an ART treatment as a type of active massage.  Active Release Techniques or ART has proven to be very effective in treating neck injuries. During an ART treatment, tension is applied to affected muscles, ligaments, and tendons. As the tension is applied, the practitioner or an assistant will then move the affected area and thus releasing tension and breaking up adhesions. This unique combination of direct pressure and specific guided movement patterns are the key to ART’s success in treating pain and injuries.

If you experience neck pain and have tried other routes, consult one of our chiropractors today. Each chiropractor at Active Sports Therapy is fully trained in Active Release Techniques. You may find that your nagging neck can be restored to it’s normal function in just a handful of treatments.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]