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The Painful Truth About Arthritis

September is Arthritis Awareness Month.

  • 4.6 million Canadian adults (aged 15 and older) report suffering from arthritis
  • By the year 2036 that 4.6 million is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million
  • 2/3 Canadians affected by arthritis are female
  • 2/3 of people with arthritis are under the age of 65 – including an estimated 300,000 children

Everyone’s heard about arthritis, but what’s not as common is what causes it, who can get it, and what are the best ways to manage and treat it. There are many over the counter medications that are beneficial in treating arthritis, but when those meds are coupled with physical therapy it can be just as effective as surgery. Bracing and injections are also great methods of fast relief from arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They can attack any joint, but typically the hands, knees, spine, and hips, are most common which can make daily activities very difficult and painful.

Causes of Arthritis:

Normal wear and tear causes osteoarthritis, but your risk of developing it may be higher if the disease is a common thread in your family history. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It develops when your body’s immune system attacks the tissue in your body.  This prevents the synovium from producing the fluid which lubricates and nourishes your cartilage and joints.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history (genetics)
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Gender
  • Previous Joint Injury/Infection
  • Obesity

Managing your pain:

Medications help, but a physiotherapist can tell you about other methods of pain relief that work alongside with your medications.

  • Changing your activity level/sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Pain Relievers
  • Physical Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Bracing/Custom Bracing
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Viscosupplementation injections

Injections:

In the early stages; arthritis of the knee is treated with nonsurgical methods. Your doctor may recommend treatments including; changing your activity level, weight loss, pain relievers, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. If pain and mobility is still unmanageable, an effective treatment option such as a viscosupplementation injection may be recommended.  Injections such as MultiVisk™, Cingal™, Durolane®, Synvisc-One®, Monovisc®, and Orthovisc® are designed to relieve pain in your joints like the knees, ankles, fingers, and toes. Some injections, including MultiVisk®, contain an anesthetic to lessen the pain. Cingal™ is a single-injection treatment that relieves pain, and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. In these procedures a gel like fluid is injected in the knee joint. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint load. Your physiotherapist or doctor can recommend this highly effective treatment and which type of injection is best suited for you.

Bracing:

Braces can help to treat and ease the pain of an arthritic knee. Specialized braces apply pressure on your knee joint, creating a space between the two bones providing relief and preventing harsh rubbing. The GenuTrain® knee brace is often recommended for mild to moderate cases of arthritis. And the Össur® custom brace is often recommended for more severe cases.Your physiotherapist can recommend a brace that best meets your needs.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis#overview1

https://www.ossur.ca/

http://kneepainrelief.ca/treatment/#corticosteroid-injections

http://www.multivisklife.com/health-professionals/

http://www.arthritis.org/get-involved/jingle-bell-run/

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Heavy Hand Bags Hurt

 

  • Avoid carrying more than 5% of your body weight
  • Distribute weight as equally as possible between both shoulders

No matter what your age or profession, most people carry some sort of bag, whether it be a school backpack, a purse, a diaper bag, shoulder bag or even a lap top carrier.  Although this is a convenient way to tote a lot of things around, or even make a fashion statement, most people overlook the fact that these bags may often be the source of serious neck and back pains. These muscle pains are very common and are often linked back to an over loaded or improperly fitted bag.

What happens when you carry an over loaded bag:

Alignment:

When all the weight of your purse or bag is put onto one shoulder, it forces your body to carry an asymmetric load, and this changes your natural posture. Most people tend to wear their purse or bag on their dominant side which enlarges the muscles on that shoulder, particularly the trapezius muscle (a muscle on top of your shoulder). Over time, this can result in one shoulder being higher than the other, putting your whole body out of alignment. All that extra pressure on one side of your body can result in a lot of tension in your neck and shoulder, and in some cases, it can become more serious and cause muscle spasms.

Throws off natural gait and posture:

When you constantly wear a purse or bag on the dominant side of your body, it can throw off your natural gait. The arm on the side carrying the bag is unable to swing properly, forcing the other side to compensate. Holding bags in the crook of your arm or in one hand can build tension, and damage your posture.

Tension Headaches:

Carrying over loaded bags can cause a lot of pain and may even develop into tension headaches. The additional weight and pressure put on the trapezius muscle, can force it to tighten and spasm. When the muscles in the neck and shoulder area spasm, it can cause pain in the back of the head that radiates towards the front of the skull.

Things to avoid:

  • Carrying too many items in your purse or shoulder bag.
  • Holding bags in the crook of your arm or in one hand.
  • Hanging backpacks off of one shoulder, as it strains your neck and puts all of the weight on one side.

Things that can help:

  • Pack light and swap shoulders.
  • Make sure to regularly empty large bags to prevent carrying around unnecessary items.
  • When carrying a big bag, wear the long body strap to balance weight between both sides of the body.
  • Keep bag within 5% of your body weight.
  • When wearing a backpack, adjust straps so bag sits high and fits snug to your back.

For more information, or if you have any concerns, please contact our clinic to book an appointment and consult with one of our therapists.

 

Sources:

Adams, Rebecca. “Why Your Purse Is Giving You Back Pain…and 11 Ways to Fix It”. The Huffington Post. Web, 12/09/13. <www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/purse-back-pain-n-4397727>

Armstrong, Rebecca. “How to Carry your Bag to Avoid Shoulder Pain”. Myodetox Web, 13/01/17 

<https: //www.myodetox.com/learn/howtocarryyourbagandavoidshoulderpain/>

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5 Common Running Injuries

 

  1. Runner’s Knee

If you’re experiencing pain from the area around or beneath the patella or knee cap, you might be experiencing Runner’s Knee. The pain usually arises from putting an excessive load on the joint and surrounding soft tissues. There are many reasons why Runner’s Knee can occur, from something as basic to not stretching properly before a run, to a more complex technique issue. Treatment of the injury depends on what has caused the injury to occur.

  1. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

IBTS results in pain on the outside of the knee, due to the inflammation of the Iliotibial band (ITB), a thick band of connected tissue which runs from the pelvis down outside of the thigh. If left untreated, ITBS can cause great discomfort for runners, to the point where they feel like they can’t even run a few hundred metres. The injury can occur from anatomical irregularities such as length-leg discrepancies, or by increasing the intensity of training before the muscles have sufficiently strengthened. Treatment of ITBS usually involves a strength and conditioning programme to prevent the ITB from being over-worked.

  1. Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles Tendinopathy is a soft tissue injury that affects the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. You might not pay this part of the body too much attention when running, but if it’s placed under undue stress, Achilles Tendinopathy can develop, causing inflammation, swelling and pain. While it is the role of the heel to absorb the shock of the foot when hitting the floor, if it is over-worked, Achilles Tendinopathy is likely to occur. If the condition does develop, you will need to avoid activities that may place stress on the ankle, as well as undertake a course of physiotherapy. If that should fail to improve the condition, shockwave treatment, occasional injection therapy, or even surgery may be advised.

  1. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis manifests in the form of extreme stiffness or a stabbing pain in the arch of the foot. It can be decidedly unpleasant and make running impossible. It results from your foot pounding the ground without enough support. So, if you’re looking for something to blame for the injury having occurred, you probably don’t need to look further than your running shoes. They might either be unsuitable for your foot/action, or have insufficient cushioning which is not giving your foot the protection it needs. Treatment tends to revolve around getting plenty of rest, all the while using heel-stretching exercises to dull the pain.

  1. Shin splints

We’d suggest that every runner has experienced shin splints at some point or another. For those that haven’t, it results in an aching, stabbing sensation in your shins, which only become properly apparent when you get into full stride. Shin splints occur when the muscles and tendons covering the shinbone become inflamed. Once again, treatment involves trying to decipher what it is that is causing your shin’s muscles and tends to over-contract, which could be down to an ill-fitting pair or running shoes, or an unforgiving running surface. Once you’ve got to the root of the problem, you can alter your training accordingly.

If you’re experiencing any of these injuries, or any other problem that is having an impact on your running, please consult with your physio.

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Kids & Sports: When to see a Physio

Playing recreational or competitive sports can be such a great part of any child’s social and athletic development. The only drawback is, there is always that risk of being injured.

Statics Canada proves that 35% of Canadians were injured while participating in some sort of sport or exercise, and two-thirds of those injuries were young people between the ages of 12-19.

The most common body part injured by young people (between the ages of 12-19) are their feet and ankles – rating in at 33%. The second highest injured area for these kids are wrists and hands at 22%.

Taking your Kids to a  Physio:

If you’ve ever compared the time it takes for your adult boo-boo to heal compared to your kids, then you will know that kids typically heal very quickly. Unfortunately sometimes young athletes’ injuries may be trivialized. They are often encouraged to “toughen up and play through the pain’. This approach is really not recommended, and is not in the young athletes’ best interest.

As a parent, guardian or coach you need to ensure that you’re paying close attention to the healing process of a young person’s injury. It’s important for their growing bodies that their muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments heal fully. A physiotherapist can manage and monitor your child’s rehabilitation process, and provide them with valuable information regarding their activities, movements and mobility throughout their treatments.

What to expect from your Child’s Physio Assessment:

In most cases, your physiotherapist can make an accurate diagnosis by listening to your child’s injury history and performing a thorough clinical examination. The adolescent’s age, sex and level of participation in sports are important. A description of how the injury occurred is valuable. Your physio will want to know if there was a “pop”, swelling, history of previous injury, family history or similar injury, locking or giving way, or other signs or symptoms. They’ll also ask about how much training and game time your child is logging in order to detect if “overtraining” could be part of the reason for injury.

Tips for Parents and Coaches

  • Allow your kids to play at their own intensity and pace.
  • Emphasize stretching and flexibility exercises
  • Make sure you child is conditioned properly before starting a team sport
  • Encourage daily activity during off season sports
  • Make sure fields are in reasonably good condition and that protective equipment fits correctly. (helmets, shoulder pads, shin guards etc.)

When in doubt, seek expert medical advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry. In general, kids are motivated to play sports because it’s fun. Parents and coaches who demand too much may be putting their children at risk.

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FIT FOR GOLF

…adding years to your golfing life, and life to your golfing years!

Believe it or not, golf season is almost here! So it’s time to start thinking about what can be done to help improve your game and get your body fit for golf this year.

The one thing most golf enthusiasts agree on is that they are striving for a better swing. There are those lucky few who are born with natural abilities, but fortunately for the rest of us a great swing is also something that can be developed and cultivated.

Building a strong core, and conditioning your obliques, back and shoulders is one of the best ways to help build golf specific strength and mobility, and optimize your rotational power.  A physiotherapist can help you build an exercise program that focuses on strengthening your core.

As it pertains to golf – spine and abdominal fitness not only improves performance and controlled motion, but decreases the risk of injury as golfers execute the repetitively hazardous action of the swing. A warm-up is also very important as we prepare our muscular engines for several hours of activity.

Physiotherapists are frequently involved with numerous clients experiencing stiffness, weakness, and/or pain in their spines, shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. There are many exercises, manual techniques, and modalities that our therapists use to improve the physical health of these areas of concern. Strength and mobility in these areas is extremely important for a healthy and happy golf season.

Registered massage therapy for golfers may be used as a corrective, preventative and rehabilitative therapy. It helps in the return of soft tissue to a pain-free and improved functional range of motion. Massage can also assist the lymphatic system by eradicating toxins such as lactic acid. This hands on therapy can reduce tightness that may lead or cause postural imbalances, reduce muscle spasm and scar tissue, and create body awareness and a general feeling of well-being.

For more detailed information about treatments contact our clinic.

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