Could You Have a Predisposition to Getting a Concussion?

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Dr. Fiona Lovely

What if I told you that there was a way to predict whether you might be more likely to have symptoms when you hit your head than the person sitting next to you? It’s true. If we were to line up 10 people at random and ask them a few questions, it would be simple to determine who was more likely to have a concussion. Intrigued? Read on….

First predictor of traumatic brain injury or tbi (concussion) makes a great deal of sense:

  1. Playing recreational sports. If you or your child are going to engage in contact sports, you or your child will have a concussion at some point. And you certainly will have a higher chance of having a concussion than someone who doesn’t play contact sports. Make the decision to play with full understanding of the risks and a plan for how you will manage injury when it does happen.
  2.  Inflammation. This is a very common problem fed by the human condition. Stress. Poor nutrition - the typical sugary, high carb, processed food diet is a common cause for inflammation. Toxic relationships. Money concerns. Work you dislike. Health challenges like diabetes, high blood pressure, food allergies (many of these are caused by inflammation.)
    These things all fuel inflammation in the body. Inflammation gives rise to neurons which are excitable. This overstimulation of the brain tissues makes you far more likely to have symptoms if you bump your head!
  3. Gender. It is well documented that girls playing the same sports as boys their age are more likely to have a concussion that produces symptoms. The female body is diverse anatomically and the muscles of the neck are less protective in the case of head injury than those of their male counterparts. Additionally, a head injury sustained during the second half of the menstrual cycle, can cause a crash of high progesterone levels which can make symptoms of a concussion feel much, much worse. Females are also prone to physical damage to the pituitary gland during a tbi event causing hormonal imbalances which can last decades.
  4. Brain function imbalance. This can be from birth as the birth process is meant to toggle a number of primitive reflexes that are necessary for our early development. With the rise of Csection births, this critical process can get missed. When the brain develops without these switches activated, imbalances can occur. Previous concussions, chemical exposures, poor nutrition, and other things can cause a functional brain imbalance which can make you more likely to suffer a concussion. Your Chiropractic Neurologist can help correct these imbalances of the nerve system.

Knowledge is power. If you or your child are going to play contact sports, please be real about the risks. Look at the list above and see what you can do to moderate the risk by making some diet and lifestyle changes. Get a brain assessment before you begin play to correct the functional concerns (lowering your risk for concussion) and to have a personalized baseline test that you can return to yearly to keep your brain in tip top health!

If you would like to book an appointment with Dr. Fiona Lovely DC, please contact Active Sports Therapy today.

*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]

Migraines in Calgary

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By: Dr. Gayle Maguire ND

Calgary has some of the highest rates of migraines per capita, largely in part to the chinook effects on barometric pressure.  Naturopathic doctors look at the contributing environment inside the body to address why some people are sensitive to these pressure changes, when others are not.  Those differences then become areas of treatment to prevent or minimize symptoms and include:

Hormone imbalances

Certain hormone imbalances increase inflammation in the body, while others increase our perception of pain.  Many women with migraines note worsening of symptoms at certain times of their cycle, making the connection obvious.  Fortunately, they are many herbal medicines, vitamins, dietary changes, or acupuncture to help balance hormones.

Inflammation & Stress

Often those that sensitive to barometric pressure have either a higher amount in inflammation or a body worn out by the effects of stress, both reducing their threshold to change.  Their bodies simply cannot handle the added strain of a significant pressure change.

Food Triggers

There are known food triggers to all migraine suffers - commonly wine, chocolate, cheese.  Foods that contain high amounts of tyramine are triggers to most.  What becomes interesting are those individuals less affected by the common triggers.  This becomes a food investigation into other sensitivities or allergies.  Food sensitivity testing can be helpful to identify foods to avoid.  Caffeine consumption can be helpful for some as it constricts blood vessels, reducing pressure in the skull; for others, the dehydrating effects of caffeine worsen their symptoms.

Nutritional Deficits

Research is studying the effects of several nutrients, with the most promising results coming from magnesium (which can even be administered intravenously by a functional or naturopathic doctor), riboflavin (or Vitamin B2), and Co-enzyme Q10.

Please take to your medical or naturopathic doctor for advice specific to you and join the thousands of Calgarians that no longer suffer from migraines. We use the accredited laboratory of Rocky Mountain Analytical for testing services.

This blog is for educational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice.  Please consult your medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, or pharmacist for advice that is right for you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Active Release Techniques (ART) For Athletes

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

Athletes who are training hard at their sport often experience extremely demanding training schedules. Because of their high volume training, athletes can often experience overuse injuries in different areas of the body. After training, it’s normal to experience sore muscles, but when pain is consistently there even after the athlete’s typical rest and recovery period, it’s time to have an expert take a closer look.

An athlete may develop an Acute Condition, which means that there was a sudden injury that happened, such as a sprain or a strain. This can be associated with a traumatic event, such as falling off of your bike or being hit with a hockey puck.

A Chronic Injury is one that can result from overusing an area of the body, or from a long standing condition. Chronic injuries can be labeled as overuse injuries, arthritis, tendonitis or repetitive strain, just to name a few. Sometimes the symptoms of a chronic injury are mild enough to ignore, allowing the athlete to continue on with their sport. Over time, if not treated, these injuries can affect lifestyle, athletic performance, and have negative long term affects on your body.

When muscles are tight and rigid they can cause limited range of motion, pain and weakness, as well as negative compensation patterns as other muscles are forced to step up and do the job required by the injured muscles.

How ART Works

Active Release Techniqes or ART has proven to be very effective in treating athletic and movement related 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 works to restore normal range of motion. 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're an athlete, consult on of our chiropractors today. Each chiropractor at Active Sports Therapy is fully trained in Active Release Techniques. You may find that a nagging area of your body can be restored to it’s normal function in just a handful of treatments.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Treating Ankle injuries with Active Release Techniques (ART)

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Active Sports Therapy with Text from Active Release Techniques©

The ankle is such a critical area for athletes as it forms the primary connection between the body and the ground. This area of the body will feel a tremendous amount of force and pressure on a regular basis. Motions such as running, jumping, and direction changing require a considerable amount of strength and flexibility from the ankle and its surrounding muscles.

Because of it’s high impact use, the ankle is often a site of injury for athletes. Unfortunately, when these foot and ankle injuries occur the will not only hinder performance, but can often progress to the point of preventing play altogether.

How Injuries Occur

Over time the muscles of the lower leg can become strained and develop small scale injury known as micro-trauma.

ART: Our Approach to Ankle Injuries– A Better Solution

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 foot and ankle injuries 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

3) 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, the majority of ankle injuries 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.  These results are the main reason that many elite athletes and professional sports teams have ART practitioners on staff, and why ART is an integral part of the Ironman triathlon series.

To book in with one of our chiropractors for this treatment, please call 403-278-1405[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]