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The Activator Technique (Instrument Adjustment)

What is the Activator Technique?

Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique is a chiropractic treatment method using a Mechanical Force Manual Assisted Instrument to deliver a controlled impulse to particular areas of the spine and extremities in order to restore motion. It is an alternative to the manual form of spinal manipulation in which a High Velocity Low Amplitude thrust is used to adjust the spine.

What is the Activator?

The Activator V is a handheld electronic tool which allows for a specific, gentle and controlled adjustment to be delivered. There are multiple settings depending on which area is being adjusted. They range from 1 to 4. The purpose is to create a force wave that is quick and that is localized without any pulling or twisting. This is an advantage as there is less muscle resistance.

How is the Activator used? (See Video below!)

The Activator method relies on a specific protocol. This protocol is based on any changes that you would see in the patient’s leg lengths or leg length inequality. These changes would be evaluated by having the patient perform certain muscle and spinal tests in order to activate certain muscles which are attached to specific vertebrae. If the leg lengths are found not to be the same then there would be a problem in that corresponding area. We would evaluate using this method from the feet towards the head.

Please note, it is very important that the chiropractor is trained and certified to use this instrument as there are specific ways to use it.

Any thorough evaluation always involves the procedure of taking a health history and assessment which may involve orthopedic, neurological and physical components. There is a focus placed on musculoskeletal elements looking for spinal restrictions, postural limitations and any areas of muscular tightness.

The Activator Technique can be used on people of all ages including babies and the elderly.

Please refer to www.activator.com for more information.

To find out if this is right for you contact us to book in for your free 15 minute meet & greet with our Chiropractor!

Written by: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese D.C.

Acupuncture as part of your Physio, Chiro or Massage treatment!

Did you know that several of our Registered Physiotherapists, Registered Massage Therapist and our Chiropractor are trained and certified to include acupuncture as part of your treatment plan!

What it does and what condition can it be useful for?

Acupuncture needles are placed at certain known points that have been shown to have an impact on certain conditions and pain. Acupuncture can impact blood flow and alter the release of neurotransmitters (1) that impact the bodies natural healing process. Several reported effects of acupuncture include improvements in low back pain (2), musculoskeletal conditions (1, 3) including neck, elbow, wrist and shoulder pain related to tendonitis and muscle strains. Acupuncture is also used for treating ankle sprains and knee pain.

What does it feel like?

You may or may not feel the needle when inserted. Even if you do it is generally not a painful feeling. However, everyone’s tolerance and perception of what is painful plays a role here.  After the needle is inserted some people describe a deep aching or heaviness locally or in the area surrounding the needle. Some report they don’t feel anything at all!…but still notice improvement in their symptoms.

The number of sessions and outcome of treatment varies from one individual to another. However, improvement is usually noted within 4-6 treatments provided over a period of 2-4 weeks.

Contact us to discuss if acupuncture is right for you! We offer free 15 minute consultations (in person or over the phone) to discuss your concerns and find the best treatment option for you.

References:

  1. Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement Online 1997 Nov 3-5; 15(5):1-34.
  2. Furlan, A.D., van Tulder, M.W., Cherkin, D.C., Tsukayama, H., Lao, L., Koes, B.W., Berman, B.M. (2005). Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  3. Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172(19):1444-1453.

Treating Low Back Pain with Exercise

Treating lower back pain: A few simple exercises and stretches

This recent article and video gives a good perspective on a lot of misconceptions that people have about dealing and treating back pain. The statistics of eighty percent of the population around the world experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives is quite high. The old school of thought was that one needed bed rest and some medication to mange the issue and that was that. Society is always looking for that quick fix, or to slap a band-aid on it of sorts and move on.

You want to be able to recognize where and what is causing your back pain and be able to nurse it back to health. That doesn’t mean that you want to stop all activity right away, you may want to minimize certain things but not all. Motion is lotion for the joints.

Exercise is not only for strengthening certain areas but also for stabilizing them as well. To incorporate a consistent daily stretching program is an important key to long term recovery and preventing recurrent episodes.

There are many resources and outlets you can use to find out what is the cause of your back pain and how to treat it and it goes well beyond visiting your primary care physician. Health care practitioners such as physiotherapists, registered massage therapists and chiropractors are well versed in addressing these issues and coming up with a program that would best suit the patient. Contact us today to book your free 15 min meet & greet with one of our therapists to find out how we can help you.

By: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese

Remember to take care of you!

Chiropractic adjustments & pregnancy: why it can be beneficial

During pregnancy there are changes in posture due to her growing belly where the abdominal muscles are stretched. This places a lot of stress into the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. The average amount of weight gain during pregnancy is approximately thirty pounds. Usually as the pregnancy goes on, there is a pregnancy “penguin-like” waddle.

Physical changes are obviously visible but there are the hormonal changes which occur that you cannot see. There are hormones which increase at the end of the pregnancy which loosen up the joints in the pelvis which accommodate the uterus. The back and pelvic muscles have to work really hard to keep the spine upright and balanced.

Back pain can significantly be reduced by manual therapies including chiropractic care. The vertebrae(bones of the spine) encase the spinal cord and the proper movement of these bones can aid in the proper functioning of the nervous system. This is especially important during pregnancy as it can decrease pressure on the joints, muscles and nerves of the spine. It can help with posture and labour.

Chiropractic treatment can involve spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy and exercise to say the least. There are various ways to adjust the spine guarantee that a pregnant patient is comfortable and safe. Using pregnancy pillows for her growing belly and tables which have a pelvic piece which drop down are helpful. There are different techniques which the chiropractor can use to adjust the spine beyond the traditional manual type of adjusting; the Activator(the main technique I use with pregnant patients usually), Sacro Occipital Technique, and Webster to name a few.

Spinal areas that I will find that are commonly restricted during pregnancy are in the upper thoracic spine from the chest increasing in size, lower thoracic spine and lumbar spine due to the expanding abdomen, the sacrum, sacroiliac joints, and  pubic bones which encase the uterus. Soft tissue trigger points are commonly found in the gluteus, piriformis, thoracic and  lumbar paraspinals, rhomboids and upper trapezius muscles.

Chiropractic alongside other conservative treatments can aid in alleviating some of the pressures built up in the body during the process. It can work optimally with other types of treatment including physiotherapy and massage as well.  Something to consider as pregnancy pre and post bring about a lot of changes to the body and should be addressed accordingly.

By: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese (B.Sc., D.C.) Chiropractor

 

To learn more about Chiropractic care click here!

Should you have any questions or concerns contact us for your free 15 minute meet and greet today!

Neck pain

Neck pain plagues us all. Whether we sit at a desk all day long or perform as a high functioning athlete, we all experience neck pain at one point in life. There are a dozen reasons as to why we experience neck pain. They can range from underlying conditions such as arthritis, biomechanical and postural inconsistencies, or you just slept on the couch wrong and kinked your neck. This first part of the series, we will start by looking at the general anatomy of the neck and the movement.

Anatomy of the neck

At its core, the neck is comprised of seven cervical vertebrae that house your nerves which innervate specific areas of your body. You can think of these bones as your car frame and the nerves as your electrical wiring for everything else. Between each bone you have discs that serve to function as shock absorbers and cushioning between those joints. These discs can be comparable to your car shocks that help whenever it runs over bumps. Layers of muscles, ligaments and other supportive structures serve to move the head and stabilize the joints between. Ligaments serve to provide support to structures, while muscles also act to stabilize and move the neck and shoulder in certain directions.

There are many muscles which range from being thin and small, to larger and thicker muscles. Most of these muscles either aim to 1) stabilize and/or 2) produce movements. The neck is able to produce movements of flexion (chin to chest), extension (chin to the sky), lateral flexion (ear to shoulder) and lateral rotation (chin to shoulder).

 

 

 

A quick check of how your neck is can be as simple as performing these movements and looking at how balanced each side is along with if you experience any pain local or away from the neck. Give it a try!

 

We experience pain whenever the body fails to balance the forces on our neck due to posture, or there is some underlying cause. Typically, as therapists we look at your signs and symptoms in addition to if there is pain with active or passive neck movement. All of the observations we make help us play detective to determine what exactly is the root cause of neck pain.

In our next post, we will look at some of the major muscles that we all have struggles with. We will go over some ways to stretch these muscles and exercise them. Till next time!

 

Jonathan Chang RMT, SMT (cc)

Contact us today to book your massage!

Back to school: Is your backpack fitting properly?

We are only a couple of weeks away from the kids heading back to school. It is  important to take a moment and address one of the major accessories that are used during the school year. Backpacks!!!! 

Backpacks can be used to carry the necessities of the school day as well as being part of your child’s style statement. When used properly, the weight can be evenly distributed using the body’s super strong back and abdominal muscles. But if not worn in the correct manner, they can strain muscles in your child’s neck, back and shoulders.  That can result to injury of the joints and muscles long term causing postural changes.

1. They should only be carrying between 10(elementary student)to 15(high school student) per cent of their body weight.

2. Pack it right! Heavier items should be placed low and in the back end of the backpack so that the heavier weight will be distributed properly.

3. The size of backpack should be proportionate to the student’s body size as it should never be wider /horizontally larger than your child’s torso and the bottom hanging more than 4 inches below your child’s waist.

4. Shoulder and back straps should be padded and adjustable. They should not be too tight around the underarm or shoulder area.  You should be able to fit your hand between the child’s back and the backpack. A strap around the hip/waist area is also a good thing to look for as it helps even out the strain on the spine by placing more weight around the pelvis area.

Carrying the backpack using the two straps will also lessen the pressure and likelihood of injury. Encourage that your child carry it this way as opposed to just wearing one strap and slinging it on to the shoulder as this puts more stress into the shoulder area, mid and lower parts of the spine.

5. Lightweight material such as  vinyl, canvas or nylon can also help decrease the weight of the backpack.

6. The more compartments to keep contents organized and from shifting, the better. This also helps in the redistribution of weight.

7. Children should try their best to bend their knees  and pick up their backpack as opposed to twisting the backpack and slinging it on their back.

Chiropractors provide diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders related to the spine, nervous system and joints. For more information on how to pack, lift, carry, and choose a backpack, visit the OCA Website at www.chiropractic.on.ca- Pack it Light and Wear it Right!

By: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese (B.Sc., D.C.) Chiropractor

Still not sure if your child’s backpack is fitting properly? Bring them by the clinic on Tuesday August 29, 2017 or Friday Sept 1, 2017 from 1pm-4pm to get their backpack checked by Dr. Teesha G!

To learn more about Chiropractic care click here!

Should you have any questions or concerns contact us for your free 15 minute meet and greet today!

 

A helpful variation to carry a car seat

This video made by a chiropractor has gone viral and for good reason. The chiropractor demonstrates a good way to carry a car seat without putting as much stress into the shoulder girdle, hip, leg and back.  It distributes the weight differently. 

However, with that being said, do I think this technique should be used for when the travel seat is used for long distances.  No, because it still one-sided distribution of the weight. For shortened distances like transferring the travel seat from the house to the car and vice versa, it is recommended.  

Once again if you know that you are travelling long distances and are able to take your stroller or even a baby carrier with you, do so. 

 

 

By: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese (B.Sc., D.C.) Chiropractor

To learn more about Chiropractic care click here!

Should you have any questions or concerns contact us for your free 15 minute meet and greet today!

Good Pain?? Bad pain!

good vs.badPatients usually find the term “good pain” odd…how can a pain be good? However, a “good pain” is often used to describe muscle aching you may experience during a long hold or after doing a few repetitions of a strengthening or resistance type exercise. For example, if you hold a squat and start feeling an aching in the thighs and gluteal muscles as a result of that long hold, or if you do leg raises in side lying and feel that aching in the gluteal muscles of the leg you are working out. Any type of muscle aching you experience after a workout: known as delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) is an expected type of discomfort. Usually this type of “pain” or discomfort is relieved with moving those muscle groups and stretching. The idea is to keep the blood flowing to help the muscles heal after a strenuous workout.

 

Whereas a bad pain is usually described as aching or dull, stabbing, grabbing, sharp type of pain or even a referring, radiating, numbing and burning. This is usually experienced during, hours after or even the day after doing an exercise or activity that has caused injury. This is usually not relieved easily and tends to linger or come and go depending on the activity you are doing. For example, some people will only experience a sharp type of pain only mid-way through their run and may notice that they tend to get it earlier and earlier in the run over time which may indicate a worsening of the pain/cause.Studio shot of young man with pain in back

 

It is always best to seek a health professional’s opinion about pain that is consistent and interferes with your exercise routine or functional every day activities like walking, stairs etc. I would recommend you make note of the following to report to your health care professional which will help provide an idea on the potential cause of the pain:

  • What aggravates/causes your pain (i.e. stairs, walking, sitting, standing etc.)
  • What helps relieve your pain (i.e. walking, sitting, stretching, ice, heat etc.)
  • Type of pain (i.e. sharp, throbbing, aching, stabbing, burning, numbness)
  • Location of pain (i.e. take note of you experience any pain radiating down arm or leg)
  • Intensity and duration of your pain when you do get it

 

It’s important to note that you may not need a referral to see a Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Massage Therapist UNLESS your extended health benefits plan requires one.

We also offer free 15 minute meet & greet which allow you the opportunity to meet the therapist and discuss your pain/concerns before booking an assessment. Contact us today!

 

By: Nelly Temraz, PT.