Monday, November 20, 2017

Treatment And Prevention Of Whiplash Injuries


By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

The unique forces generated during a motor vehicle collision (MVC) cause more than 100,000 whiplash cases in Canada each year.  This article will specifically focus on the treatment and prevention of whiplash injuries.

The term WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorder) is used to describe a range of injuries that can be attributed to whiplash.  This may include:  neck pain, whole body muscle pain/ache, jaw pain, referred arm pain, shoulder or other joint pain, mid back pain, low back pain, headaches, dizziness, and tinnitus.

WAD Grades 1 and 2 represent the majority of whiplash cases and are amendable to conservative management.  Early treatment and consultation can greatly improve the recovery process and prevent future complications and chronic pain.  Effective treatment strategies may include: pain controlling modalities such as electrotherapy and acupuncture to help facilitate and promote activity and functioning; manual and soft tissue therapy to assist in the healing of injured tissues; education on how to safely re-integrate into activities of daily living; and rehabilitative exercises that may include range of motion, flexibility, strengthening, and balance/coordination training.  An independent home exercise program should also be provided.

The goal of treatment is to get the injured individual back on their feet and up to their normal level of activity.  The majority of people with WAD Grades 1 and 2 experience no significant disruption to their normal activities of daily living.  Some may experience a temporary disruption to their normal activities, but usually improve after a few days or weeks.  Occasionally, symptoms may persist over a longer period of time.  A return to normal activities of daily living may be assisted by active treatment and rehabilitative exercise prescription as described above.

Included below are some tips that may help prevent a MVC and/or whiplash injury (courtesy of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors):

1.    Drive defensively.  Always anticipate the actions of other drivers.

2.    Wear your seatbelt at all times.

3.    Make sure your headrest is positioned properly, that is, the top of the headrest should be no lower than the top of your ear.  If more than one driver uses the car, remind each other to always check the headrest height.

4.    Never operate cell phones or other electronic equipment while driving.

5.    When road conditions are poor (i.e. icy, wet, dark, or crowded), slow down accordingly.

6.    Be sure your car is always in good working order, particularly your brakes, tail lights, headlights, and directional signals.

7.   Engage in regular physical activity consisting of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training.  This will help keep your body strong and offer some protection in the event your are involved in a MVC.

If a whiplash injury is interfering with your activities of daily living, consider chiropractic care.  A chiropractor can prescribe appropriate conservative therapy, rehabilitation and self-management strategies specifically for you.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Understanding Whiplash Injuries

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Whiplash is a common injury that can be experienced following a motor vehicle collision (MVC).  There are more than 100,000 whiplash cases in Canada each year.  The unique forces generated during these collisions can stress biological tissues and result in pain and decreased functioning for those affected.  This article provides a review of whiplash specifically focusing on the mechanics of injury, the associated symptoms, and general guidelines for the evaluation of any accompanying injuries.

Although rear-end collisions are the most commonly reported mechanism of whiplash injury, an injury may also occur following side and head-on collisions.  The forces generated from these types of impacts thrust the head (and to a lesser extent the entire body) back and forth, much like a snapping whip.  Injury results because the body is unable to compensate adequately for the speed of head and torso movement from the acceleration forces generated at the time of impact.  This will put stretch, compressive and shear stresses on biological tissues such as muscles, ligaments, joints and nerves.  As a result, this can generate pain symptoms, and affect range of motion, strength, coordination, and balance.  The onset of whiplash symptoms may immediately follow a MVC or may gradually develop over the first 24-72 hours.  A later onset of symptoms does not necessarily indicate a more serious injury.

Neck pain is frequently associated with whiplash injuries.  However, the whiplash mechanism may also cause injury and symptoms that include: whole body muscle pain/ache, jaw pain, referred arm pain, shoulder or other joint pain, mid back pain, low back pain, headaches, dizziness, and tinnitus.  The term WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorder) encompasses all of these potential symptoms and is commonly used to grade the degree of injury present.  Of the four Grades of WAD, Grades 1 and 2 represent the majority of whiplash cases.

Evaluation of whiplash injuries should include a proper medical history, along with a physical examination consisting of inspection, palpation for tenderness, range of motion, strength, neurological, orthopaedic and functional testing.  Signs of serious injury, such as fracture, are usually evident in early assessments and may require further diagnostic testing such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.  Chiropractors are healthcare professionals skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of whiplash injuries and are commonly involved in the management of WAD.

When an individual sustains a whiplash injury, injured tissues can become stiff and weak when they are not used, which can further exacerbate pain symptoms.  Therefore, a return to daily activities after whiplash injury is extremely important for successful healing as extended rest may prolong recovery.  Healing and a return to daily activities may be facilitated with active treatment and rehabilitative exercise prescription.  Join us next time when we specifically take a closer look at the treatment and prevention of whiplash injuries.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, November 6, 2017

2017 Record Reader Award Results

The results of the 2017 Record Reader Awards were recently published and...

WE WON!!!




New Hamburg Wellness Centre was awarded the following:

  • Favourite Chiropractic Clinic - DIAMOND

  • Favourite Massage Therapy Clinic - GOLD

  • Favourite Alternative Medicine Clinic - DIAMOND


Thank you for your support.  We are extremely proud and honoured to have received your nominations and votes for the last four years in a row!


Come visit us at 338 Waterloo Street, Unit 9 in New Hamburg.
New patients are always welcome!
519-662-4441

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Key Components To Weight Loss Success


By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

A healthy weight puts less stress on the muscles, joints and biological systems of the body.  It also provides an individual with increased self-esteem, confidence, energy, and everyday productivity.  This article helps identify key components that can be implemented for safe and effective weight loss.

1. Exercise helps keep you lean:  Regular physical exercise such as strength and aerobic training plays an important role in weight management.  Strength training burns calories, improves body composition by building lean muscle tissue, and thereby reduces fat stores in the body.   Aerobic training also burns calories and helps control blood sugar levels.    Current guidelines recommend 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times per week.  Be sure to incorporate components of strength and aerobic training to ensure you are getting the full benefits of exercise.

2. When it comes to diet, many things count:  The average individual should consume 1,400 to 2,000 calories per day to meet the body’s total energy needs for daily functioning.  Simply put, any extra calories consumed above what is required for daily functioning will contribute to an increase in weight gain.  Sensible eating should consist of nutritional balance with the correct proportion of quality carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats.  Individuals should avoid refined sugars and starches, along with trans-fats.  Refined sugars and starches adversely disrupt blood sugar and put your body into fat storage mode, while trans-fats pack many unnecessary calories.  Successful weight loss can be attained by planning your meals, cutting down serving sizes, eliminating unhealthy snacking, and minimizing foods that can be detrimental to your health.

3. Increase water intake:  Water contains zero calories and is a great fluid replacement for other high calorie drinks such as alcohol and sodas/carbonated drinks.  Drinking water before meals can help kick-start metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant.  Water also regulates metabolism by assisting with lubrication, digestion, and transportation of nutrients.

4. Get enough sleep and rest:  Research suggests that people who do not sleep for six to eight hours per night are more prone to weight gain.  Regular restful sleep allows for important biological systems to recover and recharge.  Without this rest, the additional stress on the body will activate the release of cortisol, a hormone that is linked to weight gain.  In addition, sleep deprivation is believed to affect appetite hormones which can contribute to food cravings and overeating.

5. Ask for help:  Achieving weight loss is not always simple.  Whether you are dealing with a medical condition, require help rehabilitating from a physical injury, or need advice on exercise, diet or nutrition, surround yourself with healthcare professionals who can help you reach your weight loss goal.

For additional information on diet, exercise, managing weight loss, and improving your physical health, visit www.nhwc.ca. 

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Motion Is Lotion: 7 Reasons To Stay Active!

Canadian Chiropractic Association

It’s never a bad time to keep the simple things in mind!

 
Over the past 20 years, exercise has become an important aspect of health care. It’s no surprise that it’s important to stay active. From the perspective of your spine, muscle, and nervous system experts, here are a few important reasons for you to stay active:
 
1) It helps relieve low back pain
Exercise has been shown to have a positive long-term effect on low back pain.1 Core strengthening exercises, especially, have been shown to be very effective in improving the function of your back.
 
2) It improves bone health
Current evidence has shown that exercise can increase bone density and decrease the risk of falls and fractures in the elderly.1 Studies have also shown that exercise is comparable to medication in improving the day to day functioning of people with osteoarthritis.
 
3) It helps prevent obesity
Obesity is often connected to the development of many life-threatening illnesses (e.g., diabetes or high blood pressure). There is strong evidence showing that exercise is important for preventing weight gain as well as keeping your body weight stable after you’ve shed some pounds.1
 
4) It helps improve your mental health
Physical exercise has been shown to have a positive effect in the long-term management of psychological symptoms, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and chronic stress!1
 
5) It helps manage diabetes
Diabetes is a common illness affecting approximately 2.5 million Canadians, with over 200,000 cases being diagnosed every year.2 Researchers around the globe have all found that exercise is one of the pillars of managing diabetes along with diet.1
 
6) It prevents your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death in Canada.1 There is more and more evidence showing that exercise can help protect you from developing cancer in the colon, breast, uterus, and prostate.1 Studies have also shown that exercise lessens your risk of developing heart disease because it helps reduce the amount of fats and cholesterol in the body (both play a role in damaging your arteries).1
 
7) It can help improve brain health
Studies have shown that individuals who exercise regularly have a decreased risk of developing dementia. Exercise has also been shown to improve balance and function in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
 
Improve your overall health by making exercise a part of your daily routine. If you want to learn more about managing your health with exercise, contact your local chiropractor.
 

Pain changes everything. Chiropractic care changes pain.


References

1. Pedersen BK, Saltin B. Exercise as medicine: evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015;25(S3): 1-72.

2. Public Health Agency of Canada. Diabetes in Canada: Facts and figures from a public health perspective. Date modified: December 15, 2011. Accessed September 22, 2017. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Injury Prevention Tips For Hockey Players


By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Hockey is a popular recreational sport enjoyed by individual's of all ages and abilities.  Due to the high speed and aggressive play involved, hockey can put players at risk for injury.  Although sticks, pucks, and skate blades can do damage, most hockey-related injuries occur due to collisions with other players and the boards.  Fatigue and low energy of participants due to poor endurance, insufficient rest, or too much ice time can also make them more likely to get hurt.

Most hockey injuries involve the upper body, and can include fractures, sprains and strains of the collarbones, hands, arms, and shoulders.  Low back, groin, hip, knee, and ankle injuries also occur frequently.  Concussions are the most common type of head injury and are often accompanied by neck injury/pain.

Included below are some tips to help hockey players avoid and/or minimize the chances of muscle and joint injuries.

1.    Proper training is important.  A good training program should involve cardiovascular, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
  • Cardiovascular training will increase endurance and decrease fatigue, which has been linked to injuries.
  • A comprehensive stretching program for the back, arms, shoulders, thighs, and legs should be performed both before and after games to keep muscles limber and prevent stiffness and soreness.
  • Strengthening programs improve a muscle’s ability to contract and perform joint movement.  Muscles also act as important shock absorbers and help prevent sprains and strains of vulnerable regions such as the back and neck, along with the shoulder, hip and groin regions.

2.    Get enough rest and hydration.  Since fatigue is one of the most common causes of injury, even the fittest players should often take breaks to rest.  Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.  Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after play.

3.    Use the right equipment.  Properly fitting gear can make a world of difference when it comes to avoiding injury.  Replace worn out equipment.  Helmets have a life span of three to five years, depending on how often they are used.  Helmets with face shields have been proven to reduce the severity of concussions regardless of the player's experience level and position when compared to visors alone.

4.    Respect the rules.  Promote sportsmanship and fair play.  Support a zero tolerance rule for illegal checks and maneuvers.

5.    Take care of injuries before returning to play.  This will ensure top physical functioning and help prevent further injury and chronic pain.

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of hockey-related injuries.  In the event that you suffer a muscle or joint injury while playing hockey that does not subside,  consider chiropractic care.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.  The author credits the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) in the preparation of this educational information for use by its members and the public.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Chiropractic Patient Experience

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
 
In last week’s article “An Introduction to Chiropractic Care”, we specifically focused on the training and education of chiropractors, regulation of chiropractic, and the scope of chiropractic care.  This article will focus on the chiropractic patient experience written specifically from the author’s perspective of what patients experience at his private practice.  Individual chiropractic experiences may vary in different chiropractic settings dependent on practitioner interests, experience, education, and training.
 
Chiropractors provide diagnosis, treatment and management of disorders arising from the musculoskeletal system (joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones), such as back pain and neck pain.  Before any treatment is commenced on a prospective chiropractic patient, there are several steps that are taken to ensure the case is one that can be helped with chiropractic care.
 
First, a thorough Medical History is taken which documents an individual's specific complaint and may also include questions concerning past surgeries and illnesses, medication use, general and family health history.  Second, a Physical Examination is performed consisting of orthopedic, neurological, and range of motion testing.  X-rays may also be ordered to help determine the source of pain or dysfunction.  Third, a Diagnosis and Prognosis is provided to the patient to let them know if their complaint(s) can benefit from chiropractic care.  If the complaint will not benefit from chiropractic care, a referral is made to the appropriate health discipline.
 
For all complaints that may benefit from chiropractic care, a proposed treatment plan is communicated to the patient, including type of treatment and duration.  Factors taken into consideration when developing a treatment plan for a particular individual include age, sex, severity and duration of complaint, lifestyle and environmental factors, physical health and fitness, medication use, and any other relevant health conditions.  In addition, factors relating to patient concerns and preferences are also taken into account, because patients always have a choice as to the type of care they wish to receive.
 
Chiropractors are trained to offer multi-modal physical therapy incorporating the use of different techniques commonly employed in combination with each other to decrease pain, stimulate healing, and restore overall function.  Chiropractic adjustments and mobilizations are just one mode of therapy utilized by chiropractors (but not with every patient), to restore normal motion and functioning in joints.  Soft tissue therapy is used to alleviate muscle spasm, decrease scar tissue, and increase pain free ranges of motion.  Electrotherapy involves the application of relaxing therapeutic electrical current or sound waves to the area of injury, dysfunction, or pain (i.e. TENS, interferential current, ultrasound).  Acupuncture can be used to promote healing, decrease pain, and control inflammation.  Rehabilitative exercise prescription may also be used to improve balance, coordination, strength, flexibility, and posture.
 
Contemporary chiropractic care provides many options for prospective and current patients seeking effective and safe therapy for their musculoskeletal complaints.  Additional chiropractic resources can be found at:  (www.nhwc.ca), (www.chiropractic.on.ca), and (www.ccachiro.org).
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.