TMJ disorder and osteopathy

Are you suffering from shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, hearing disturbances or feeling dizzy? Did you know that it may be your TMJ that is responsible for your symptoms? TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) is located in front of the ear. This is a joint in between the mandibular bone, that is supporting the lower teeth and the temporal bone, which is one of the bones of the skull. 

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The Amazing World Of Yoga Tune-Up Therapy Balls

Yoga Tune-up therapy balls were developed by Jill Miller, the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the corrective exercise format Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model Method®. Yoga Tune-up balls are these cool “grippy, pliable rubber balls that help eradicate your aches and pains and reform your body from the inside out.” They are a great take home treatment tool that I recommend to many of my patients, family and friends that are in need of joint and muscle pain relief, stiffness, and tissue tension when I’m not around!

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Hydrotherapy: When to HEAT/ICE

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, hydrotherapy is defined as “the use of water in the treatment of disease or injury”. It is simple to do and also one of the most frequently recommended forms of homecare by massage therapists. They can suggest taking a warm Epsom salt bath or to ice a particularly damaged or inflamed area. However, the basics of where and when is often the subject of great debate. 

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Thyroid got you down?

Did you know that an under-functioning thyroid gland can make you feel tired while negatively affecting metabolism – leading to weight gain? Some common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigue, weight gain, low mood, poor memory, constipation, cold intolerance, dry skin, hoarse voice, and hair loss/thinning. It is important to make note that many hypothyroid cases will present with some, but not all, of the latter symptoms.
 

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Why You Should See a Naturopathic Doctor in 2017

Why You Should See a Naturopathic Doctor in 2017

Dr. Ashley Kowalski, HBSc, ND

Happy New Year! If you’re like most people, then you probably want this year to be brighter, happier, and healthier than the last.  In order to be happier and healthier, you need to feel good about yourself.

How can a Naturopathic Doctor help you feel good about yourself?

1)          Naturopathic Doctors can help you set New Year resolutions and keep you accountable to your goals.  Let’s face it - New Year resolutions ARE difficult to sustain!  There are both internal and external influences that tend to divert us from the path(s) we want to follow.  Naturopathic Doctors can provide you with tools to help keep you on the right track.

2)          Naturopathic Doctors take the time to listen.  We want to know what might be causing you to feel the way you do, and so we ask many questions during the initial visit.  We know it is important to be both heard and understood.

3)          Naturopathic medicine is a form of preventative medicine – that means you will learn tools to safeguard your health and tips on how to make changes with regards to nutrition and/or lifestyle in order to optimize your health.  Your well-being and quality of life is of the upmost importance.

4)          Naturopathic Doctors understand there is a powerful mind-body connection that needs to be addressed in each individual.  Naturopathic Doctors explore physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  For example, stress is responsible for many ailments and it affects people differently – ranging from symptoms like headaches, to anxiety.   

Why should you start seeing a Naturopathic Doctor today?

Most healthcare benefit plans renew at the beginning of the New Year!  Check with your healthcare insurance plan to verify how much coverage you have for Naturopathic Medicine and book your appointment today.  Invest in your health. Cheers to a happier, healthier you in 2017! 

Dr. Ashley Kowalski is a naturopathic doctor in Ottawa, Canada. She is currently taking new patients at Restore Chiropractic. You can read more about Dr. Ashley on her profile page or her website, ashleykowalskind.com

Plantar Fasciitis: A Real Pain in the Foot

Plantar Fasciitis: A Real Pain in the Foot

Dr. Jared Gerston, DC

What is it?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition whereby the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot becomes strained and inflamed. 

Symptoms

Often, pain is experienced at the heel. It is usually worse during the first few steps after rising from bed. The pain usually subsides after moving around, but returns if there is prolonged standing, or if strain is placed on the plantar fascia during exercise.

Who Gets Plantar Fasciitis?

Often considered an overuse injury, runners are susceptible to plantar fasciitis, as are hikers, dancers, or those who participate in aerobics or skipping. It is often associated to being overweight and middle age. Sometimes the shape of the foot can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Overly flat feet, and feet with a high arch can contribute to increased strain of the plantar fascia.

Treatment

Soft tissue therapy, like massage and Active Release Techniques (ART®) can help to work out adhesions and scar tissue in the plantar fascia and in tight calves, as can Graston® technique. Graston® is a type of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) which utilizes a stainless steel tool to scrape the plantar fascia (or other tissue) in order to help break up any scar tissue or adhesions. IASTM helps restore proper mobility, and can aid in better healing. Acupuncture may be helpful, as might other modalities like ultrasound. The therapist might employ assisted stretching techniques to the calves, or may refer for orthotics to help correct foot mechanics. A home stretching and strengthening program is usually assigned. In tenacious cases, Shockwave therapy or even steroidal injections might be used. 

Graston technique applied to the bottom of the foot.

Graston technique applied to the bottom of the foot.

Identifying the Cause

While the aforementioned techniques are effective, to enhance their effectiveness, it is beneficial to know if the plantar fascia is becoming tight or overworked for a reason.

It’s helpful to think in terms of movement patterns. Everything on the back side of the body is trying to arch backwards from the bottom of the foot (the plantar fascia) all the way up the calves, hamstrings, glutes/buttocks, low and mid back, neck, and continuing over the top of the head. If there is a deficiency anywhere along this chain, perhaps the plantar fascia (or calves, hamstrings, etc.) overwork to make up for that deficiency. Using Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT®), we can identify those compensation patterns, and use that information to guide treatment. For example, if the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the body, is not effectively extending the hip (pulling it backwards), the calves might take over to help make that motion happen. The overworking calves then place undue strain on the plantar fascia. Not only do the calves need to be released with massage and stretches, but the gluteus maximus must be strengthened so that the calves don’t get so tight again.

Beautiful hip and back extension with pointed toes.

Beautiful hip and back extension with pointed toes.

It’s also possible the plantar fascia is not directly compensating, but is just being taken along for a ride. In one example from my practice, a gluteus maximus muscle was overworking for a lazy low back muscle. This imbalance in the system created tension in the plantar fascia as a secondary compensation. In this case, we needed to relax the overworking glute with massage (ART®) and stretching, and strengthen the low back with specific exercises. In addition, we treated the inflamed plantar fascia directly with IASTM, ART and acupuncture. Interestingly, this case did not resolve until the glute/low back relationship was corrected. Once that occurred, the foot pain resolved very quickly.

If you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis symptoms, seek the advice of a healthcare professional. You can find a certified NKT® practitioner near you using this directory

Dr. Jared Gerston is a chiropractor and the owner of Restore Chiropractic in Ottawa, Canada. He is an advanced (Level 3) NKT® practitioner. Read more about Dr. Jared on his profile page.

Work: To Sit or to Stand?

Work: To Sit or to Stand?

Veronique Yeon, MScPT

Our lifestyles have become more and more sedentary.

Sit to eat breakfast, sit to get to work, sit at work, sit for lunch, sit to come home, sit to eat supper, maybe workout for 30-60min and then sit and watch TV. 

We sit for more than half the day and most of this time is spent at work! In this short blogpost, my goal is to inform and give you tools on how to help your body at work. And I am sure you’ve heard them all, from the $300 ergonomic chair, to the treadmill desk, to now standing all the time. I know... Isn’t it confusing!?!?

Well the real killer isn’t sitting or standing posture. Ready for this... What causes issues is maintaining a static position for a prolonged period of time, and improper movement patterns. I heard this very interesting saying once that we as human beings are adapting our bodies to our lifestyle, versus adapting our lifestyle to our body and how it functions. For example, we are adapting our body to sit all day when our body was made to move.

Whether you are a cashier standing at a register or a computer programmer sitting at a desk all day, I have seen both in the clinic reporting different pains related to work, and both have their drawbacks.

Effects of Prolonged Sitting:

  • Reduces muscle activity that can lead to muscular imbalances overtime.  
  • Glutes are inactive
  • Hip flexors are contracted
  • Quads and hamstring activity is decreased
  • Lumbar spine muscles and abdominal muscles are contracting to try and maintain the posture upright
  • Head and shoulders may be forward
  • Prolonged sitting reduces blood flow.
  • In addition, the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) found that sitting causes higher levels of sugar and fats, larger waistlines, increased risk of metabolic syndrome

Effects of Prolonged Standing:

  • Leads to muscle fatigue
  • According to the CCOHS, it can also lead to:
  • Sore feet,
  • Swelling of the legs,
  • Varicose veins,
  • General muscular fatigue,
  • Low back pain,
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders

Can you see a pattern now? Neither is better. What you need to remember is to change position. In one study they asked individuals to sit for 20 minutes and then stand for 20 minutes. In the end they found that circulation was the best after the standing portion of the test. Your muscles act as a pump for your circulatory system. Staying in one static position for more than 1 hour means that your muscles are contracting at the same rate for 60 min, therefore reducing blood flow. Think of it on a bigger scale, if I told you to hold your arm out at shoulder level for 10 minutes, I can guarantee that some of you would start feeling soreness in that shoulder muscle. Well think of your hip muscles or back muscles contracting at that same rate for 1 hour, 2 hours, even sometimes 3 hours or more.