Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vote for New Hamburg Wellness Centre!



Our clinic has been nominated for the 2014 Record Reader Select Awards in the following categories:
·               Favourite Chiropractic Clinic
·               Favourite Massage Therapy Clinic
·               Favourite Alternative Medicine Clinic
Simply register at http://readerawards.therecord.com/ and select Health, Wellness & Beauty.  Select each of the above categories and vote for New Hamburg Wellness Centre.
For those with multiple email addresses, you can register with each address and vote again!
Voting is open until October 5th at midnight. 
Thank you for your support!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Repetitive Strain Injury

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

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a type of disorder that primarily affects muscles, nerves and joints.  This includes conditions such as rotator cuff and achilles tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, neck tension syndrome, bursitis, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, and plantar fasciitis.  Symptoms of RSI may include restricted mobility, weakness, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, swelling, redness, sharp and/or aching pain.  In its severest form, RSI can significantly limit physical functioning and render people incapable of carrying out even simple tasks.

RSI can affect anyone involved in activities that require rapid and/or repetitive motion of muscles and joints in work, sport, or leisure activities.  It is more likely to happen if these movements are combined with awkward posture(s), excessive force, poor technique, and using the wrong equipment or tool.  Physical deconditioning can also make individual's susceptible to RSI.  As a result, RSI can affect a broad variety of people including:  trade workers such as electricians, painters, and carpenters; recreational athletes such as tennis players and golfers; and labourers such as cleaners and assembly line workers.  Video gaming, computer use, holding one's phone between the neck and shoulder, and even hobbies like knitting and playing a musical instrument are associated with RSI.

While most cases of RSI are treatable, it can recur and may become chronic without appropriate management.  Pain in one area of the body may also spread to other areas as the body tries to compensate.  For example, pain in the wrist can move to the forearm, shoulder joint and neck muscles as an individual attempts to avoid pain and symptoms while continuing to perform the offending activities.  Therefore, prevention is key to managing RSI.  This is accomplished through identifying and then altering or eliminating the situations that contribute to the cause of RSI.  This may include making changes to a work station, using the correct tools/equipment, taking breaks to relax overworked muscles and joints, and performing exercises to relieve stress and strengthen the affected parts of your body.

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals skilled in evaluating, maintaining and restoring physical function. They can provide education to help prevent RSI and offer effective therapy to help relieve symptoms that have already developed.  This may include treatment options such as joint mobilizations, specialized soft tissue therapy, acupuncture, and electrotherapy.  In addition, a chiropractor can advise you on modifications to your work environment as well as assist you in improving work habits and postures.  Specific rehabilitative exercise prescription that includes strengthening and stretching exercises, combined with aerobic conditioning, may also be part of your treatment plan to prevent recurrence of RSI.
If RSI is affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favourite activities, consider chiropractic care.  A chiropractor will assess your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the road to recovery.  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 26, 2014

Cervicogenic Headache

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

Cervicogenic headache is defined as a headache which has its origin in the area of the neck. The source of pain arises from biological tissues such as muscles, ligaments, joints, and nerves that have become injured and/or irritated.  When these structures become stimulated, their nerve endings send pain signals from nerves in the neck to the head.

Cervicogenic headache is a relatively common cause of chronic headache and has symptoms similar to those seen in other well known headache disorders such as migraine and tension type headaches.  For example, both migraine and cervicogenic headaches affect females more than males, with headache symptoms generally located unilaterally (on one side of the head).  These headache sufferers may complain of severe pain, head throbbing, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea.  Neck pain and muscular tension are also common symptoms in tension headaches, migraine attacks, and cervicogenic headaches.  The problem of symptomatic overlap in these common and frequent headache types makes the accuracy of precise diagnosis difficult.  Furthermore, the fact that an individual may have two or more headache types co-existing at any one time further elevates the diagnostic challenge.
Cervicogenic headaches are usually unilateral (occasionally bilateral), and can be experienced in several different regions of the head including the base of the skull, the forehead, or behind the eyes.  The intensity of pain may fluctuate from mild to moderate to severe on a daily basis.  Individuals with cervicogenic headache may also exhibit physical signs of altered neck posture and restricted range of motion of the neck.  Headache symptoms can be triggered or reproduced by active neck movements or passive positioning.  Tenderness can also be palpated in the neck and upper shoulder region with muscular trigger points spreading pain upwards into the head.
The cause of cervicogenic headache may be singular or multi-factorial.  This may include a whiplash injury, sports injury, arthritic changes, chronic postural strain, stress, and fatigue.  The evaluation and assessment of headaches should include a proper medical history and physical examination.  Serious causes of headache symptoms must be ruled out before appropriate treatment can be administered.
After a diagnosis of cervicogenic headache is made, the goal of therapy is to minimize headache frequency and diminish levels of pain associated with each episode.  Treatment and management options that have demonstrated effectiveness include: postural correction, joint mobilization and manipulation, acupuncture, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitative exercises.  Trying a variety of therapies or combination of therapies may be required to find relief.  It should be remembered that many patients who are diagnosed with migraine and tension headaches may also respond to these treatment strategies.
For those suffering from headache symptoms that may be interfering with their activities of daily living, a qualified health professional can prescribe appropriate therapy, rehabilitation, and self-management 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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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, taping, bracing, soft tissue techniques, and manual mobilization to assist in returning to full functioning.  Rehabilitative strategies should progress to include active range of motion, stretching and strengthening exercises for the ankle joint and lower extremity.  Proprioceptive/balance training is crucial in minimizing 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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Everyday Activities That May Be Hurting Your Back

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

80% of all Canadians will suffer at least one significant episode of back pain in their lives.  Back pain can negatively impact an individual’s work, recreational, and social life.  Back pain prevention can go a long way in reducing the risk of injury.  Below are some tips on how to overcome some of the common everyday activities that can contribute to back pain.
1.     Improper lifting is a risk factor associated with back pain. There are several strategies that should be employed during lifting activities.  Maintaining the natural curve/hollow (lordosis) of your low back is important, as this is its strongest and most secure position.  Avoid awkward postures such as bending, reaching, and twisting/turning.  Whenever possible, you should square your body toward the object being lifted, turn your whole body by moving your feet, and keep the object close to your body.  Contracting your abdominal muscles during lifting, lowering, and moving activities improves spinal stability, referred to as bracing.  You should also bend at the legs and not the waist, lifting slowly and smoothly, not jerking.  Minimizing lift load and exposure, taking mini-breaks, and job rotations can also be helpful.  The use of assistive devices such as dollies, handgrips, and pull carts is also recommended.
2.     The physical strain of sitting:  Most people that sit for prolonged periods of time will eventually adopt a poor posture that includes losing the natural hollow of the low back, rounding or slouching forward of the upper back and shoulders, and a forward head poking position.  This can lead to significant back pain as these less than ideal positions put cumulative compression and strain on the spine.  Take 10 to 30 second stretch or posture breaks every 20 to 40 minutes to make sure weight is evenly distributed, your shoulders are not rounding forward, and you are not slouching.

3.     Working in stooped positions:  When we keep our backs in a neutral/straight position, the mechanical load on the spine is considerably lower than when your back is bent forward.  Many activities around the home and workplace cause you to bend forward and stoop.  The longer you work in these forward bent positions, the more likely you are to experience back problems.  In order to minimize the risk of injury, you should interrupt the stooped position at regular intervals before pain starts.  Trying to find alternative ways of completing tasks without stooping is ideal.
4.     Smoking contributes to an increase in spinal problems.  Smoking has been shown to decrease bone mineral density and increase the risk of osteoporosis and future fractures.  The reduced blood circulation found in smokers deprives spinal discs of vital nutrients which can lead to premature degeneration.  Smoking may also provoke disc herniation through coughing.  Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood may also increase the risk of developing back problems later in life.
5.     Lack of physical activity de-conditions the body.  This makes us more susceptible to cumulative spinal strain and injury.  For optimal functioning, your muscles and joints need a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood.  Regular exercise increases our functional capacity to withstand occupational, recreational, and everyday stresses on our back more efficiently, thereby minimizing the risk of injury.
Decreasing your risk for back pain is the first step in prevention.  For some, back pain can be dramatically minimized or avoided; while for others it needs to be managed so that its negative effects on activities of daily living can be reduced.  If you are suffering from back pain, a qualified health professional can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe appropriate therapy, exercises, and back sparing 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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Preventing Falls

By:  Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

A fall causing serious injury can occur to anyone at any time.  Since most trips, slips and falls happen in and around the home, it is a good idea to fall-proof your home with the following measures:

In the Halls and on the Stairs

·        Install non-slip strips on the edge of each step.

·        Secure loose carpet.  Make sure hallways and stairs are cleared of anything that you can trip over (i.e. books, shoes, bags).

·        Replace burnt-out light bulbs so that you always see where you are going.  Night-lights in halls and stairways can also be helpful.

·        Install handrails on both sides of staircases inside and outside the home.

In the Bathroom

·        Use non-slip mats inside and outside the bathtub and shower.

·        Install grab bars next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.

In the Kitchen

·       Put commonly used items on lower shelves and cabinets so a step-stool is not needed.

·       Replace loose scatter mats with rugs that have a rubber backing.


·        Keep a shovel and covered bucket of sand or salt near the doorway in winter to safely handle slippery conditions.

·        Keep steps and pathways clear of clutter such as yard tools, snow shovels, newspapers and wet leaves.

·        Don’t juggle parcels while trying to enter the house.  Never carry more than is reasonable.  Instead, make a few trips from the car with smaller packages.

More tips

·        Quickly dry up any wet areas on the floor to prevent slipping.

·        Wear shoes with good support and non-slip soles.

·        Always sit down to put on or take off shoes and clothes.

·        Employ extra caution when using ladders and step-stools.

·       Regular exercise can help improve your strength, balance and coordination.  Making your body stronger is one of the best ways to prevent falls.  Exercises such as yoga, Tai Chi, resistance training, bicycle riding, and power walking are great examples.

The following may be especially important for older individuals:

·       Maintaining a healthy diet and not skipping meals can increase your energy and strength.  Missing meals can lead to weakness, irritability and dizziness.

·       Have your MD or pharmacist review your medications.  Some medications can cause dizziness and weakness, which can affect your balance and perception.  Make sure that your MD or pharmacist explains all of the possible side effects of your medications.

Although the risk of falling increases as you get older, there are some simple things people of all ages can do to prevent falls.  In the event that you suffer an injury from a fall, you should contact a licensed health professional.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.  The author credits the 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.