Areas of Focus
The Achilles tendon is a fibrous band of tissue which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. With excessive use, inadequate rest or traumatic injury the Achilles tendon can begin to undergo degenerative changes. The main symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain in the region of the Achilles tendon in the back of the ankle.
Back pain is a symptom rather than a condition but it is an issue that most Canadians will suffer with at some point in their lives. There are many possible causes for back pain and for this reason it is best to have thorough assessment with your chiropractor in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis. While one person’s back pain may be caused by poor posture, another person’s may be caused by a muscle spasm or a herniated disc. Back pain is a condition which chiropractors treat very frequently and effectively.
The spine is a large and complex series of joints. Between each pair of vertebrae sits a soft but firm cushion called the intervertebral disc. This disc cushions impact between the vertebrae and protects them from damage. The most common symptom of disc herniation is pain which travels down the path of the spinal nerve which is impinged. For example, when the L5-S1 disc herniates pain is often felt down the sciatic nerve distribution of the buttock, thigh, leg and/or the foot.
Muscles are contractile tissues which drive movement throughout the body. Muscles function through a delicate balance of many factors including water, magnesium, calcium, potassium, protein, fat, carbohydrates, stress, sleep and exercise. If any of these factors is out of balance the muscles may become weak or even spasmodic. Luckily there are treatments and lifestyle modifications which can help with acute spasms as well as chronically spasmodic muscles.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles which surround, stabilize and help to move the shoulder through its range of motion. The shoulder is a unique joint in that it has a very large range of motion and, while most joints are stabilized heavily by ligaments, it is mostly stabilized by muscle. Because of the extreme range of motion of the shoulder, the rotator cuff muscles are fairly prone to tearing injuries. Muscle tears are challenging for the body to recover from but full recovery is possible with proper treatment.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve of the body and runs from the hip down the thigh and leg, providing sensation and motor control to the thigh and lower leg. Sciatica is a common condition which is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. People with sciatica usually will experience pain in the buttock which extends down the back of the thigh and leg. The pain can vary in intensity, being a nuisance for some and being unbearable for others. While sciatica is a common problem which is often chronic, it tends to respond well to proper treatment and lifestyle modification.
Sprains and Strains
While sprains and strains are both acute injuries with similar symptoms, they actually involve different bodily structures. A “strain” is a condition where a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn, while a “sprain” happens when a ligament is stretched or torn. Both sprains and sprains can lead to pain and poor mobility of the affected area. A strain may lead to even more limited movement, while a sprain is more likely to lead to bruising and swelling.
Tennis Elbow & Golfers Elbow
Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are two similar conditions, both being painful examples of tendinitis affecting the elbow. While tennis elbow affects the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow, golfer’s elbow affects the inside (medial) aspect of the elbow. Tennis elbow is mostly caused by repetitive extension injuries of the elbow and golfer’s elbow is caused by repetitive flexion injuries of the elbow. Playing tennis or swinging a hammer would increase your risk of tennis elbow while throwing activities or golfing would increase your risk of golfer’s elbow.
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- Active Release
- Active release is a patented form of soft tissue treatment which was originated by Dr. P. Michael Leahy DC. This treatment treats muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves through a gentle but specific hands-on manipulation of these tissues. Through restoring free movement of the tissue, active release restores order and balance to the body and helps to eliminate pain.
- Acupuncture is an ancient treatment which is rooted in the practice of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Historical records indicate that acupuncture has been an integral part of the Chinese medical system for two to three thousand years. Over the past few decades acupuncture has been spread widely and its popularity has exploded. Presently many disciplines of acupuncture exist including trigger point release, dry needling, medical acupuncture, Japanese acupuncture and more.
- Ergonomics is the science of fitting a job or task to the individual rather than expecting the individual to conform to whatever the task may demand. In an office setting this can be seen as adjusting the heights and angles of chairs, electronic devices and other reading and writing materials. Healthy ergonomics goes a long way to prevent work-related repetitive stress injuries and ideally would be applied to workplaces in every field to optimize injury prevention.
- Graston Technique
- The Graston technique is a physical medicine treatment which involves soft-tissue mobilization with the assistance of an instrument. Chiropractors offering Graston technique will perform a series of stripping and rubbing motions in the region of the affected area with a tool (or series of tools) designed to help manipulate the affected tissue. The goals of the Graston technique are to release scar tissue, relax restrictions and to encourage healing in general.
- Joint Mobilization
- Joint mobilization is a manual therapy which involves creating passive movement in a specific joint without the patient’s assistance. Your chiropractor may isolate your affected joint and move it through a specific range of motion in order to loosen any restrictions on it and to increase blood flow to the joint. These movements are typically gentle but can have a profound effect on the joint.
- Kinesiology taping
- Kinesiology taping is a rehabilitative treatment technique which involves the application of a supportive but flexible tape in order to stimulate the somatosensory system and encourage healing. Kinesiology taping acts to lift the skin and create space for the muscle, fascia, ligaments and tendons to receive the circulation which they require to repair and heal.
- Manual Adjustment/Manipulation
- Chiropractors perform joint adjustments, also known as manipulations, in order to realign vertebrae and most other bones in the body. Chiropractors are experts in assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions and the adjustment is one of their main tools for accurately correcting bony or joint misalignment. A chiropractic adjustment consists of a high velocity, low amplitude thrust which gently corrects the misalignment of the joint.
- Nutritional Counselling
- Proper nutrition is an essential component of complete health and for this reason your chiropractor may ask you to modify aspects of your diet. If your chiropractor concludes that your diet is not in balance they may make recommendations regarding avoiding certain foods and eating more of other specific foods in order to optimize your nutrition.
- Orthotics is a discipline of medicine which focuses on designing and prescribing a medical device which is used to improve a person’s posture and movement. The most common form of orthotics used by chiropractors is in the form of custom shoe inserts (or custom shoes) which are designed based on patient’s individual bio-mechanics. These orthotics help to correct gait imbalances and improve overall body ergonomics.
- Rehabilitative Exercise
- While many treatments exist for painful conditions, few are as pivotal to a person’s recovery as rehabilitative exercise. While your chiropractor will provide you with necessary treatments in their office, they will also likely recommend specific exercises aimed at aiding recovery and preventing reoccurrence. These exercises aim to strengthen the affected area, as well as strengthening supporting musculature, in order to optimize your recovery.
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Chiropractors have extensive training in soft tissue manipulation and mobilization. Your chiropractor will likely perform some soft tissue work on you if you are suffering with a painful condition or joint restriction.