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.
 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

An Introduction To Chiropractic Care

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
 
Chiropractic is one of the largest primary contact health professions in Canada.  Approximately four and a half million Canadians use the services of a chiropractor each year.  Despite the professions growing popularity, there are still many in the public who don’t exactly know what services a chiropractor performs or what qualifications and training they possess.  This article is the first of a two part series introducing the chiropractic health discipline and the profession’s role in the health care system.
 
A large majority of patients who seek chiropractic care do so for complaints of the musculoskeletal system (joints, muscles, tendons, nerves and bones).  Chiropractors provide diagnosis, treatment and management of these complaints which may include but are not limited to:  back pain, neck pain, sciatica, whiplash, osteoarthritis, migraine and tension headaches, upper and lower extremity complaints, along with repetitive strain, sport, work and motor vehicle injuries.
 
Chiropractic practitioners undergo a rigorous course of study similar to that of other health professionals.  Training involves a minimum of three years undergraduate university education, followed by another four years of intensive academic and clinical education at an accredited chiropractic college.  Becoming licensed to practice chiropractic requires all eligible candidates to pass national and provincial examinations before applying to the Licensing Board.  Specialized post-graduate training enables the chiropractors of today to offer their patients additional treatment options.

Chiropractic in Canada is regulated by provincial statute in all provinces (The Chiropractic Act, 1991), created in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA, 1991).  Chiropractors along with medical doctors, dentists, psychologists, and optometrists have the legislated right and obligation to communicate a diagnosis and to use the title doctor.  The College of Chiropractors of Ontario, like the colleges in each of the other provinces, is similar to the regulatory bodies for other health professions.  It is responsible for protecting the public, standards of practice, disciplinary issues, quality assurance and maintenance of competency.

Chiropractic is well recognized within the health care system.  Chiropractic care is covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) for occupational injuries, by automobile insurance in the event of a motor vehicle accident (MVA) injury, and by many Extended Health Care (EHC) plans.  A medical referral is not necessary to access chiropractic care.  Chiropractic adjustments are just one mode of therapy utilized by chiropractors today (but not with every patient).  Some chiropractors are also trained to employ other forms of physical therapy such as acupuncture, electrotherapy, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitative exercises.  If your complaint is not something that would respond favorably to chiropractic care, a referral is made to the appropriate health professional.

Additional chiropractic resources can be found at: (www.nhwc.ca), (www.chiropractic.on.ca), and (www.ccachiro.org).  Join us next time for the second part of this series on chiropractic where you will learn about the chiropractic experience from a patient’s perspective.

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.

Friday, September 29, 2017

What Does It Mean To Have Degenerative Joint Changes?

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

Have you had a joint problem and been told that you have "degeneration" or "degenerative changes"?  What exactly does this mean?  Is this something that can be fixed?  Let's take a closer look at two common types of degenerative changes and some potential management strategies that can be employed.
 
1.   Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is also known as osteoarthritis, and is the most common form of arthritis.  Weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees are most commonly affected, but DJD can affect any area of the body, including the hands, neck, and low back.
 
Most joints in our body have smooth cartilage surfaces that glide against each other, which allow two or more opposing bones to move freely and perform a specific set of movements.  A joint becomes "degenerated" or arthritic when there is wearing down of these cartilage surfaces, and a change in the composition of the bone underneath the cartilage occurs.  An arthritic joint does not mechanically function like it is supposed to.  This may result in a number of symptoms including:  muscle tightness and weakness, joint pain and stiffness, decreased ranges of motion, creaking in the joints, swelling, inflammation, and joint thickening (i.e. finger nodules, bunions).
 
2.    Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) specifically affects the spinal discs between each vertebrae and is also considered an arthritic disorder.  Spinal discs allow for some movement between vertebrae, and they also absorb compressive, tensile, and shearing loads with everyday activities.
 
      The centre of the disc, called the nucleus pulposis, is jelly-like and mostly made up of water.  The outside of the disc, called the annulus fibrosis, is tough and thick and contains the nucleus pulposis.  Over time, the water content of the spinal disc diminishes, causing it to dry out and become fibrotic (tough and brittle).  As the disc becomes fibrotic it can develop tears.  This breakdown can result in disc herniations, the development of bony spurs, and sciatica.
 

Risk factors/causes for DJD and DDD are typically multi-factorial, meaning that there is usually no single cause, but rather a combination of several different factors.  These risk factors/causes may include but are not limited to: advancing age, genetic predisposition, mechanical overload from occupational and recreational activities, direct injury to the affected region, cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, and being overweight or obese.
 
Degenerative changes can result in debilitating symptoms for some individuals and can be managed a number of ways.  Maintaining an ideal body weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise consisting of strength, flexibility, and endurance training can reduce the risk of pain and subsequent disability.  Treatment from licensed health professionals who utilize manual mobilization therapies, soft tissue therapy, electrotherapy, acupuncture, exercise and rehabilitation strategies can also significantly help to decrease pain by restoring normal muscle and joint motion, and promote healing of arthritic or injured areas.
 
In the event that you suffer from degenerative joint changes, you should contact a licensed health professional who deals in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.  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, September 25, 2017

VOTE FOR US!


The New Hamburg Wellness Centre has been nominated as a top 10 finalist in this year's Record Reader Awards in the following 3 categories:
 
1.      Favourite Chiropractic Clinic

 
2.      Favourite Massage Therapy Clinic

 
3.      Favourite Alternative Medicine Clinic

 

We are asking for your support to help us get to a winning position.
 

All you need to do is:
 

    1. Login in with your email and password if you have voted in previous years

OR

    1. Select "Register a new account" if you have not voted in the past
 

  • Select + Health, Wellness & Beauty and select each of the above 3 categories and vote for New Hamburg Wellness Centre.

 
For those with multiple e-mail addresses, you can register with each address and vote again!
 

Voting will take place from Thursday September 21st until Friday October 6th at midnight.

Please share this with your contacts.

 
We appreciate your support!

 
Thank-you in advance.

 

 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

4 Things Athletes Can Do To Prevent Injuries

Canadian Chiropractic Association
 
With the summer winding down and Fall sports programs opening up, it’s time to consider getting the most out of your athletic preparation, injury prevention, and treatment.

Whether you’re new to a sport or are a seasoned athlete, here are four steps you can take to prevent injuries:

1.    Warm Up: More than 30% of injuries seen in sports medical clinics are injuries to skeletal muscles.1 Warm ups can 1) improve muscle dynamics to reduce injury and 2) prepare the body for the stresses of exercise. Warm ups may even help you move faster. They should be completed at least 15 minutes before any exercise to maximize the benefits. The warm up should also include a variety of both “static” and “dynamic” stretches. “Static” refers to stretches that are held in a certain position for a period of time (i.e., knee to chest). “Dynamic” refers to stretches that are completed while moving (i.e., forward lunges).

2.    Monitor Food and Water Intake: Current studies show that adequate intake of fluids and nutrients during exercise increases an athlete’s performance.2 During high physical activity, electrolytes (like sports drinks), carbohydrates, and proteins are an important part of your pre- and post-workout routine in order to maintain body weight, replenish the energy used by your muscles, provide adequate protein for the healing of tissue, and reduce the risk of dehydration

3.    Rest: Overuse injuries are among the most common injuries seen in sports medicine. Overtraining is a phenomenon that occurs when athletes exercise too much with too little recovery time in-between.3 Overtraining presents with a wide variety of factors including decreased sports performance, suppression of the immune system, muscle damage, decrease in muscle energy stores, as well as fatigue. It is important that athletes follow a program that provides optimal recovery time between training periods.
 
4.    Recognize Injury: Athletes are prone to injuries; whether it’s from training or practice to playoff games, athletes are putting a high demand on their bodies and are expecting a lot in return. This can result in sprains, strains, restricted movements, back pain, neck pain, and swelling just to name a few. It is important that athletes recognize and seek treatment for small injuries to avoid more serious damage. Evidence has suggested that chiropractic therapy can help with these physical ailments using a combination of therapies, including soft tissue therapy, spinal manipulation, electrical modalities, rehabilitation exercises, and athletic taping.

Recreational, amateur, and professional athletes alike have sought chiropractors to be part of their healthcare team.

Chiropractors working with athletes have traditionally been perceived as being spine, muscle, and nervous system experts called upon to treat sports-related injuries. However, treating spine, muscle, and nervous system injuries is not all that chiropractors can do—they may act as emergency care providers, pre-participation examiners, and even as sports injury specialists who work with coaches and other health professionals for the overall benefit of the athlete. These roles all fall under the umbrella the sports healthcare.4

For information on what activities and exercises best suit your needs, ask your family chiropractor.


References 1. Woods K, Bishop P, Jones E. Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury. Sports Med. 2007; 37(12): 1089-99. PMID: 18027995. 2. American College of Sports Medicine; American Dietetic Association; Dietitians of Canada. Joint Position Statement: nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000; 32(12): 2130-45. PMID: 11128862. 3. Fry RW, Morton AR, Keast D. Overtraining in athletes: an update. Sports Med. 1991; 12(1): 32-65. PMID: 1925188. 4. Miners AL. Chiropractic treatment and the enhancement of sport performance: a narrative literature review. JCCA. 2010; 54(4): 210-21. PMCID: PMC2989393.

 
 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rehabilitation Of Ankle Sprains

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

An ankle sprain is a very common injury that can happen to athletes, non-athletes, children and adults.  A sprain refers to a stretching or tearing of a ligament.  Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another.  They help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement.  One or more ligaments can be injured at the same time.  Sprained ankles often result from a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow that forces the ankle joint out of its normal position.  This may occur while participating in sports and recreational activities, wearing inappropriate shoes, or running, walking or stepping on uneven surfaces.

Inversion ankle sprains constitute 90% of all ankle sprains.  This type of injury occurs when the foot is forced inward (inversion) and produces most of the pain on the outer side of the ankle.  Eversion ankle sprains are less common and occur when the foot is forced outward (eversion), causing the most pain on the inner side of the ankle.  A high ankle sprain is a unique and separate injury in which the ligaments around and above the ankle joint are injured.  This is known as a syndesmotic sprain.

Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of an ankle sprain.  There may be bruising over the area of injury which may spread down into the foot towards the toes several days following the injury.  Individuals may also experience difficulty walking or weight bearing on their injured ankle.  Most ankle sprains can be managed conservatively.  However, obvious evidence or suspicion of a broken bone, fracture or joint dislocation necessitates the need for emergency medical care.

Initial conservative management of ankle sprains should follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).  The P.R.I.C.E. principle helps decrease pain and swelling and can be used during the rehabilitative process as needed.  Additional treatment options include electrotherapy, ultrasound, laser therapy, taping, bracing, soft tissue techniques, and manual mobilization to assist in returning to full functioning.  Rehabilitative strategies should also include exercises that incorporate active range of motion, stretching and strengthening for the ankle joint and lower extremity, along with proprioceptive/balance training to minimize the risk of ankle instability and re-injury.

Assuming that proper rehabilitative strategies are employed, successful recovery from an ankle sprain injury will depend upon the severity of ligament damage.  Mild injuries usually heal completely without any residual consequence in 1 to 4 weeks.  Moderate injuries usually require 4 to 12 weeks to heal.  Severe injuries will take longer to heal.  In some circumstances, surgery may be required for severe ankle sprains.

An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability.  This may also result in secondary foot, knee, hip, and back problems because of subtle changes in movement patterns.  If you are having difficulty with ankle pain, a qualified health professional can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe appropriate therapy and rehabilitation strategies specifically for your circumstance.  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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Understanding Medical Acupuncture Treatment

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

Acupuncture is a 2000-year-old Chinese treatment in which needles are inserted into specific points on the body.  The World Health Organization (WHO) lists approximately four-dozen different conditions that can legitimately be treated by acupuncture.   Acupuncture treatments can be particularly helpful for pain complaints such as:  muscular strains, joint sprains, arthritic pain, neck and low back pain, rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow, hip, knee and leg pain, sciatica, bursitis, migraine and tension headaches.

The term "Medical Acupuncture" refers to acupuncture performed by a licensed health care professional who has training in the health sciences.  Practitioners of Medical Acupuncture derive the concepts of disease, dysfunction, and healing from the western biomedical understanding of pathology, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.  Under this model, the act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the body is believed to result in the following:

·        Pain Control - Pain-blocking substances are released locally and by the central nervous system to suppress the transmission of pain.

·        Inflammation Control - Natural anti-inflammatory chemicals are released locally, and inflammation control centers are stimulated in other parts of the body.

·        Blood and Lymphatic Flow - Enhancement of blood and lymphatic flow locally and throughout the body allows for the delivery of fresh oxygen and the removal of injury debris from the injury site.

The needles used for acupuncture are much smaller than a standard hypodermic needle.  These needles are solid, not hollow, and have a finely tapered point as opposed to a bevelled cutting-edge point.  The sensations felt during needle insertion range from feeling nothing at all, to mild tingling, to slight numbness/achiness, to small electrical pulsations distant to the site of insertion.  All these sensations typically subside once the needles are removed.  It is common practice nowadays for practitioners to use sterile disposable needles that are discarded following treatment.

As with any health intervention, there is always a potential for side effects and adverse reactions.  The good news is that acupuncture performed by an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner is relatively safe and infrequently yields minor side effects.  These may include but are not limited to: a slight discoloration at the acupuncture site that is temporary and not dangerous; minor bleeding; nausea; short-term fatigue or drowsiness; or a short-term increase in pain before relief sets in.  An experienced and knowledgeable practitioner aims to avoid treatment of certain points during pregnancy, over wounded or infectious areas, to individuals who are hemophiliacs, and to individuals who have needle phobia.

Medical Acupuncture treatments can be safely and successfully employed to help promote healing and recovery from pain complaints including muscle and joint injuries.  Acupuncture treatments are also often utilized in conjunction with other rehabilitative strategies such as exercise prescription, manual adjusting and mobilization techniques, and soft tissue therapy.  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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fitness Tips For Recreational Athletes

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

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Being active can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce blood pressure, build strong bones, relieve stress, and maintain flexibility and good posture.  Included below are some tips to help you protect your body and prevent injury so that you can get the most from your favourite activity this summer season.

1.    Warm-up and cool-down both before and after your game.  Include gentle stretching and range of motion exercises, as well as a brisk walk or gentle jog to loosen the muscles and joints.

2.    Improve your performance by including flexibility and strengthening exercises as part of your training and practice routine.  Muscles act as important shock absorbers and help prevent strains and sprains of vulnerable regions such as the back and neck, along with the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle joints.

3.    Nourish your body by staying hydrated.  Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after physical activity - even in colder weather.  Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate.  Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.

4.    Prepare for the elements.  Avoid sunburn which is a result of overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation and can contribute to certain skin cancers, and a premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.  To protect from sun exposure, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brim hat and light-colored clothing that covers your exposed skin.  Your eyes should also be protected with UV blocking sunglasses.  Outdoor activities and sports should be limited to the early morning or late afternoon when UV rays are not as strong.  Be cautious on cloudy days, as your skin is still susceptible to burn under these conditions.

5.    Learn the proper technique.  Learn the right technique for your sport from the beginning.  Using the wrong sport-specific technique can create incorrect muscle memory and can make it difficult to break bad habits.  Poor technique can also cause injury to your joints and muscles.

6.    Use the right equipment.  Make sure your equipment is the right fit, height and capacity for you to avoid a sport-related injury.  Recreational athletes should have their equipment professionally fitted and checked before starting out.

7.    Avoid over-training.  Too much.  Too fast.  Too soon.  Over-training is one of the most common causes of recreational athletic injuries.  Take your time and work up to it slowly before pushing yourself too hard.  Remember – rest is as important as training.  Take a training break and give your body a chance to recover.

In the event that you suffer a muscle or joint injury that does not subside, you should contact a licensed health professional.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.  The author credits the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) 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.