Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mid-Day Breaks: Refuel & Re-Energize

Ontario Chiropractic Association

Daily routine can often get the best of us. Between getting ready for the full day ahead, carpooling the children’s school drop off, and getting to work on time, it often feels like you’ve already completed a day’s worth of activities all before your morning coffee.
Even though the day can get ahead of us, it’s important to remember to take proper breaks throughout to maintain productivity and decrease stress levels. Taking a mid-day break helps to refuel and reenergize, giving you that extra oomph needed to get through the rest of the work day. Here are some simple things you can do throughout your day to help renew your energy.

Lunchtime strolls

Shake it up and go for a walk during your lunch. A simple dose of fresh air can help boost your energy, clear your mind, and help you refocus. After all, studies show that lunchtime walks can “perceptibly — and immediately — buoy people’s moods and ability to handle stress at work.”


Whether it be for 3 minutes or a half hour, exercising in the middle of your day will not only get rid of those midday blues but can help keep you active, along with all the other added health benefits working out gives us.


Putting the right nutrients into your body pays off for your mind as well! Eating a balanced meal gives your body the fuel it needs to keep your energy up and decreases fatigue.
By implementing any of these simple tips throughout your day, you will have the energy to tackle your daily tasks.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Muscle And Joint Injury First Aid

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

Physical injury to your muscles and joints can occur with workplace, household, sporting, and recreational activities.  This can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint or muscle, leading to injuries known as sprains, strains, and contusions.  Initial conservative management and first aid of such injuries should follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) outlined below.
PROTECTION:  Immobilize the injured area to protect from further injury.  This can be accomplished with the use of an elastic wrap, brace, splint or sling.  Walking aids such as crutches or a cane can be useful to help you get around.
REST:  To ensure proper healing, rest the injured area and avoid activities that cause pain.  Do not restrict all activities completely.  Other regions of your body can still be used.  This will help prevent physical de-conditioning.  An attempt should be made to return to regular or modified activities as soon as possible provided it does not put you at risk for further injury.
ICE:  Ice cubes, frozen vegetable bags, or commercial ice/gel packs are examples of cold sources that can be molded or applied to an injury site immediately.  Icing will help to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the injured tissues.  Ice application should not exceed 10 to 20 minutes at a time.  Allow for skin temperature to return to normal before ice is reapplied.  This cycle can be repeated as often as necessary within the first 24 to 72 hours.  Ice should never be applied directly over the skin for a prolonged period of time as this can damage the skin.  A wet towel can safely be used as a barrier between the ice and skin and acts as an excellent conductor of cold.  Do not apply ice to blisters, open cuts, or sores.  Individuals hypersensitive to cold and those who have circulation problems should avoid ice.
COMPRESSION:  Compress the injured area with an elastic tensor bandage.  This will help decrease swelling.  Do not wrap the bandage too tightly as to cut off circulation.  You should not feel an increase in pain with compression.
ELEVATION:  Elevate the injured area (whenever possible) above the level of the heart, especially at night.  Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.
You should seek immediate medical care under the following circumstances:  a popping sound heard during the injury accompanied by a feeling of joint instability or inability to weight bear; obvious evidence or suspicion of a broken bone, fracture or joint dislocation; or injuries at risk for infection.
By using the P.R.I.C.E. principle after an injury, you can significantly reduce swelling, tissue damage, inflammation, muscle spasms, pain, and recovery time.  In the event that you suffer from ongoing muscle and joint pain following an injury, you should contact a licensed health professional who can diagnose your condition and prescribe appropriate therapy, exercises, 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, June 19, 2017

Understanding Tennis And Golfer's Elbow

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
The elbow is a complex joint that allows movements of flexion, extension, and rotation.  Most daily activities require a combination of these actions to produce motion in the arm, forearm, wrist, and hand.  Two common elbow injuries include Tennis Elbow (TE) and Golfer's Elbow (GE).  Both of these elbow conditions can cause pain and weakness which results in functional limitations with gripping, pushing, pulling, and lifting activities of the affected arm.

Tennis Elbow (TE) is medically known as lateral epicondylitis and causes the outer part of the elbow tobecome sore and tender.  This typically affects the muscles and tendons that extend the fingers and wrist, and roll the forearm outwards.

Golfer's Elbow (GE) is medically known as medial epicondylitis and causes the inner part of the elbow to become sore and tender.  This typically affects the muscles and tendons that flex the fingers and wrist, and roll the forearm inwards.

TE and GE can affect anyone involved in activities that require rapid and/or repetitive motion of muscles and joints in the forearm, wrist, and hand.  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.  Occasionally, a direct blow to the elbow may be a causative factor.  Physical deconditioning can also make individuals susceptible to these conditions.

As a result, TE and GE 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.  Computer use, and even hobbies like gardening and knitting can be associated with TE and GE.

It is important to establish an accurate diagnosis of TE or GE.  This can be accomplished by performing a proper medical history, along with a physical examination.  Other causes of elbow pain may include: fractures, bursitis, arthritis, sprains, nerve irritation, or referred pain from the neck and/or shoulder region. 

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals skilled in diagnosing and treating muscle and joint conditions such as TE and GE.  Initially, relative rest and altering or eliminating the conditions that contributed to the injury is important.  This may include making changes to a work station, using the correct tools/equipment, and taking breaks to relax overworked muscles and joints.  Treatment options include laser therapy, acupuncture, electrotherapy, taping, bracing, specialized soft tissue therapy, and manual joint mobilization.  In addition, a comprehensive rehabilitation program should also include stretching and strengthening exercises that target the muscles of the forearm, upper arm, shoulder and upper back.

If elbow pain is 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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hip Pain And Prevention

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
Hip pain often limits physical activities such as walking, running, squatting, and going up and down stairs.  It  can also create problems with sleeping and sitting positions.

Depending on what the source of the hip pain is, symptoms can be felt in a number of  different regions which may include:  the low back, deep in the hip joint, on the outer aspect of the hip, in the groin, at the front of the thigh, and in the buttocks.  Listed below are some of the conditions that commonly cause hip pain:

·        Osteoarthritis results from the protective layers of cartilage in the hip becoming worn over a period of time, leading to change in the composition of the bone underneath the cartilage.
·        Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that decreases bone mass and strength, making them more fragile and susceptible to fracture.  Hip fractures usually occur in older individuals after a fall injury.
·        Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another.  They help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement.  Ligament injuries (sprains) can occur when these structures become over-stretched or torn, often during activities where there is a direct blow to the hip or there is an awkward fall or twisting motion involving the hip.

·        Tendons are strong tissues that anchor muscles to bones, and these structures can become over-stretched or inflamed around the hip joint leading to tendonitis and muscular strains.
·        Bursitis can involve several fluid-filled structures in your hip that help provide more cushioning in the joint.  Repetitive hip strain and blunt trauma to the hip bursa are two common causes of bursitis.
·        Injuries and conditions in the low back can radiate symptoms into the hip region.  This includes things such as osteoarthritis, sprains and strains, disc herniations, sciatica, and spinal stenosis.
Below are some useful tips that can help individuals avoid or minimize the chance of hip pain and injury:

1.     Maintain a healthy bodyweight to decrease the overall stress on your hips.
2.     Wear appropriate footwear that supports your activities and helps maintain proper leg alignment and balance.
3.     Prepare your hips for physical activity by stimulating the joints and muscles, and increasing circulation.  This can be accomplished with a quick cardiovascular warm-up and gentle stretching of the muscles in the hips, thighs and lower legs.
4.     Choose activities that are "hip friendly" for you.  This may include low impact activities such as swimming, walking or cycling.  Remember to start slowly and build up the intensity gradually.
5.     Strength, balance, flexibility, and core exercises can train your body to better support your hips and avoid injuries.
If you have hip pain that limits your daily functioning, you should contact a licensed health professional who deals in the diagnosis and treatment of hip pain.  For additional information on hip pain and treatment of muscle and joint injuries, 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, June 6, 2017

Common Back Pain Myths

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
80% of all Canadians will suffer from at least one significant episode of back pain in their lives.  Below are some of the common myths surrounding back pain and what modern science has to say about them.
Myth 1:  If you’ve injured a disc (i.e. herniation, rupture), you must have surgery.
Truth:  Surgery to relieve back pain should only be used as a last resort.  Even if specific testing reveals a damaged disc, recovery often results without surgery.  An injured disc in the back may become inflamed and put pressure on nerves and surrounding pain sensitive structures.  Non-surgical treatment aims at minimizing pain and discomfort from joint irritation and muscle spasm, and prescribing specific exercises to help with recovery.
Myth 2:  Most back pain is caused by injuries or heavy lifting.
Truth:  Injuries caused by heavy lifting do not account for all back pain.  In up to 85% of cases, individuals can’t recall a specific incident that brought on their back pain.  Back pain can result from a single exposure to a bending or twisting incident or it can be small cumulative loads placed on the spine over time.  Scientific research also links the following risk factors to back pain: smoking, being overweight, poor posture, poor physical fitness, and stressful life events.
Myth 3:  X-ray images, CT and MRI scans can always identify the cause of pain.
Truth:  Even the best imaging tests cannot identify a muscle spasm or ligament sprain that may be the cause of pain.  Imaging is usually reserved for special cases such as those suffering trauma in a fall or accident, surgical candidates, unresolved cases of severe chronic back pain, and suspicion of underlying tumor, infection or other serious disease.
Myth 4:  If your back hurts, you should take it easy until the pain goes away.  Bed rest is the mainstay of therapy. 
Truth:  Clinical data indicates that individuals who remain active do better than those who try bed rest.  Remaining active means continuing with daily activities as tolerated and easing back into a regular routine.  Activities may have to be modified while recovery occurs, but movement is important for recovery provided it does not put the individual at risk for further injury.

Myth 5:  Diagnosing back pain is simple and straightforward.
Truth:  The causes of back pain can be complex and difficult to diagnose.  There are many biological tissues that can generate pain in the back.  These may include muscles, ligaments, bones, nerves, and joints.  Quite often it is a combination of several or all of these structures that can manifest into back pain, and potentially radiating pain into the buttock or leg regions.  Sometimes stress and depression can also contribute to back pain.  A licensed health practitioner who deals with back pain is best trained to diagnose the source(s) of your problem and prescribe appropriate therapy when required.  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.