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The Painful Truth About Arthritis

September is Arthritis Awareness Month.

  • 4.6 million Canadian adults (aged 15 and older) report suffering from arthritis
  • By the year 2036 that 4.6 million is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million
  • 2/3 Canadians affected by arthritis are female
  • 2/3 of people with arthritis are under the age of 65 – including an estimated 300,000 children

Everyone’s heard about arthritis, but what’s not as common is what causes it, who can get it, and what are the best ways to manage and treat it. There are many over the counter medications that are beneficial in treating arthritis, but when those meds are coupled with physical therapy it can be just as effective as surgery. Bracing and injections are also great methods of fast relief from arthritis. The two main forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They can attack any joint, but typically the hands, knees, spine, and hips, are most common which can make daily activities very difficult and painful.

Causes of Arthritis:

Normal wear and tear causes osteoarthritis, but your risk of developing it may be higher if the disease is a common thread in your family history. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It develops when your body’s immune system attacks the tissue in your body.  This prevents the synovium from producing the fluid which lubricates and nourishes your cartilage and joints.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history (genetics)
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Gender
  • Previous Joint Injury/Infection
  • Obesity

Managing your pain:

Medications help, but a physiotherapist can tell you about other methods of pain relief that work alongside with your medications.

  • Changing your activity level/sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Pain Relievers
  • Physical Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Bracing/Custom Bracing
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Viscosupplementation injections

Injections:

In the early stages; arthritis of the knee is treated with nonsurgical methods. Your doctor may recommend treatments including; changing your activity level, weight loss, pain relievers, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. If pain and mobility is still unmanageable, an effective treatment option such as a viscosupplementation injection may be recommended.  Injections such as MultiVisk™, Cingal™, Durolane®, Synvisc-One®, Monovisc®, and Orthovisc® are designed to relieve pain in your joints like the knees, ankles, fingers, and toes. Some injections, including MultiVisk®, contain an anesthetic to lessen the pain. Cingal™ is a single-injection treatment that relieves pain, and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. In these procedures a gel like fluid is injected in the knee joint. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint load. Your physiotherapist or doctor can recommend this highly effective treatment and which type of injection is best suited for you.

Bracing:

Braces can help to treat and ease the pain of an arthritic knee. Specialized braces apply pressure on your knee joint, creating a space between the two bones providing relief and preventing harsh rubbing. The GenuTrain® knee brace is often recommended for mild to moderate cases of arthritis. And the Össur® custom brace is often recommended for more severe cases.Your physiotherapist can recommend a brace that best meets your needs.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis#overview1

https://www.ossur.ca/

http://kneepainrelief.ca/treatment/#corticosteroid-injections

http://www.multivisklife.com/health-professionals/

http://www.arthritis.org/get-involved/jingle-bell-run/

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HEAVY HAND BAGS HURT

 

  • Avoid carrying more than 5% of your body weight
  • Distribute weight as equally as possible between both shoulders

No matter what your age or profession, most people carry some sort of bag, whether it be a school backpack, a purse, a diaper bag, shoulder bag or even a lap top carrier.  Although this is a convenient way to tote a lot of things around, or even make a fashion statement, most people overlook the fact that these bags may often be the source of serious neck and back pains. These muscle pains are very common and are often linked back to an over loaded or improperly fitted bag.

What happens when you carry an over loaded bag:

Alignment:

When all the weight of your purse or bag is put onto one shoulder, it forces your body to carry an asymmetric load, and this changes your natural posture. Most people tend to wear their purse or bag on their dominant side which enlarges the muscles on that shoulder, particularly the trapezius muscle (a muscle on top of your shoulder). Over time, this can result in one shoulder being higher than the other, putting your whole body out of alignment. All that extra pressure on one side of your body can result in a lot of tension in your neck and shoulder, and in some cases, it can become more serious and cause muscle spasms.

Throws off natural gait and posture:

When you constantly wear a purse or bag on the dominant side of your body, it can throw off your natural gait. The arm on the side carrying the bag is unable to swing properly, forcing the other side to compensate. Holding bags in the crook of your arm or in one hand can build tension, and damage your posture.

Tension Headaches:

Carrying over loaded bags can cause a lot of pain and may even develop into tension headaches. The additional weight and pressure put on the trapezius muscle, can force it to tighten and spasm. When the muscles in the neck and shoulder area spasm, it can cause pain in the back of the head that radiates towards the front of the skull.

Things to avoid:

  • Carrying too many items in your purse or shoulder bag.
  • Holding bags in the crook of your arm or in one hand.
  • Hanging backpacks off of one shoulder, as it strains your neck and puts all of the weight on one side.

Things that can help:

  • Pack light and swap shoulders.
  • Make sure to regularly empty large bags to prevent carrying around unnecessary items.
  • When carrying a big bag, wear the long body strap to balance weight between both sides of the body.
  • Keep bag within 5% of your body weight.
  • When wearing a backpack, adjust straps so bag sits high and fits snug to your back.

For more information, or if you have any concerns, please contact our clinic to book an appointment and consult with one of our therapists.

 

Sources:

Adams, Rebecca. “Why Your Purse Is Giving You Back Pain…and 11 Ways to Fix It”. The Huffington Post. Web, 12/09/13. <www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/purse-back-pain-n-4397727>

Armstrong, Rebecca. “How to Carry your Bag to Avoid Shoulder Pain”. Myodetox Web, 13/01/17 

<https: //www.myodetox.com/learn/howtocarryyourbagandavoidshoulderpain/>

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FIT FOR GOLF

…adding years to your golfing life, and life to your golfing years!

Believe it or not, golf season is almost here! So it’s time to start thinking about what can be done to help improve your game and get your body fit for golf this year.

The one thing most golf enthusiasts agree on is that they are striving for a better swing. There are those lucky few who are born with natural abilities, but fortunately for the rest of us a great swing is also something that can be developed and cultivated.

Building a strong core, and conditioning your obliques, back and shoulders is one of the best ways to help build golf specific strength and mobility, and optimize your rotational power.  A physiotherapist can help you build an exercise program that focuses on strengthening your core.

As it pertains to golf – spine and abdominal fitness not only improves performance and controlled motion, but decreases the risk of injury as golfers execute the repetitively hazardous action of the swing. A warm-up is also very important as we prepare our muscular engines for several hours of activity.

Physiotherapists are frequently involved with numerous clients experiencing stiffness, weakness, and/or pain in their spines, shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. There are many exercises, manual techniques, and modalities that our therapists use to improve the physical health of these areas of concern. Strength and mobility in these areas is extremely important for a healthy and happy golf season.

Registered massage therapy for golfers may be used as a corrective, preventative and rehabilitative therapy. It helps in the return of soft tissue to a pain-free and improved functional range of motion. Massage can also assist the lymphatic system by eradicating toxins such as lactic acid. This hands on therapy can reduce tightness that may lead or cause postural imbalances, reduce muscle spasm and scar tissue, and create body awareness and a general feeling of well-being.

For more detailed information about treatments contact our clinic.

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BACK & NECK PAIN

Back and neck pain are among the most widespread reasons patients seek treatments such as physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic care.

Back pain in particular is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 80% of people at some point during their lives.

Physical therapy for back and neck conditions focuses on the structures that support the spine and its joints including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

VARY YOUR POSITION: Sitting at computers all day puts increased pressure on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting make sure you walk around to keep the flow of blood and fluids to your spine. If you work primarily at a desk, make sure your work station is set up properly to encourage optimal posture. Your physiotherapist will prescribe suitable and safe stretches and provide tips on how to correctly position yourself in front of your computer.

STAY FLEXIBLE: Optimal spinal health means having flexibility in all directions. If your thorax (upper-mid back and ribcage) has limited rotation movement, more load and stress can be transferred to your low back, neck or other body parts. Check your rotations by sitting in a chair with your arms crossed across your stomach; you should be able to run equally to the right and left and see behind you easily. If you have an asymmetry between the right and left directions, or reduced motion, your physiotherapist can assess the reason why, mobilize your spinal joint, and give you exercises to maintain your thoracic mobility – essential for a healthy low back and neck.

CHECK YOUR CORE: You need to have optimal control of your deep spinal muscles (core). If you’ve had an episode and are experiencing neck or back pain, your therapist will provide a thorough examination of your spine, provide manual therapy and other treatment techniques to help you regain any lost mobility and relieve your pain. They will instruct you on how to achieve ideal postural alignment and prescribe exercises that will support your spine.

CORRECT YOUR POSTURE: Be aware of habitual postures and positions (such as always sitting on one side of the couch, slouching with your feet on the coffee table, carrying your bag/purse always over the same shoulder, sitting cross legged, or with one foot underneath your bum, and leaning usually on the same elbow et.) Habitually poor postures may indicate weaknesses in certain muscle groups or stiffness with the body. Your therapist can assess reasons why you may adopt these positions and how to correct them.

Here are some Ergonomic tips to help keep your back & neck healthy!

  • Chest out, chin in, stomach tight with standing, walking, lifting and bending
  • Standing: Keep one foot in front of and more elevated than the other
  • Sitting: Use lumbar support – and sit up straight.
  • Sleeping: while lying on side: keep the bottom leg straight; top leg can be bent or rested on a pillow
  • Bending: use a ½ kneeling position when putting dishes in dishwasher, getting laundry out of washer and/or putting items into trunk/cart etc.
  • Lifting: Keep the object being lifted close to you; get down under it

If you are suffering from neck or back pain, schedule a visit with one of our therapists to assist in your recovery. Early attention to mobility issues, injury prevention, and injury treatment will help ensure long term physical health.

References:

http://my.clevelandclinic.org

https://chipperfieldphysio.ca

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WHAT IS A PRP INJECTION? & Osteoarthritic Knee Pain.

After an injury your body sends proteins in the blood to act as messengers to help regulate the healing. The proteins involved in this process are derived from cells called ‘platelets’. When you have an injured area, the platelets are activated and gather at the injury site to release beneficial proteins called “growth factors”.

Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP injection is where a small amount of your own blood is taken, then put through a separation process to create the highest concentration of platelets or growth factors. These growth factors are then injected into your specific injured area to aid and enhance healing.

The entire injection process takes less than 30 minutes. The increased levels of growth factors have the potential to improve signaling and recruitment of cells.  This concentration of platelets (growth factors) can be 5-10 times greater than usual.

Since this injection is using your body’s natural properties, side effects are rare. Some insurance companies cover this procedure. Contact your insurance provider for coverage information on your plan.

Famous athletes such as; Tiger Woods and tennis star Rafael Nadal have received PRP injections for various problems such as sprained knees and chronic tendon injuries. Some athletes have credited PRP with their expedited return to competition.

Ask your clinician if PRP may be a healing option for you.                                    

We can refer you to a Doctor for consultation.

 

This New Year get active and stay ahead of Osteoarthritic Knee Pain.

physio-image-004

Osteoarthritis, commonly known as the wear-and-tear arthritis, is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints and cartilage wears away. When this happens, the bones of the joints rub together resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move and, and in some cases, can lead to bone spurs.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and the knee is the most commonly affected area. Unfortunately almost everyone will eventually develop some degree of osteoarthritis.

CAN YOU DODGE THE OSTEO BULLET?

Age. The ability of cartilage healing decreases as a person gets older.
Weight. For every extra pound you carry, your knees feel three to five pounds of pressure. You don’t have to be ideal weight, but every pound counts.
Heredity. Genetic mutations can make a person more likely to develop osteoarthritis
Gender. Women ages 55 and older are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis
Repetitive stress injuries. Some jobs that require activities such as kneeling, squatting or heavy lifting are more likely to increase osteoarthritis of the knee because of the constant pressure on the joint.
Athletics. Athletes that play soccer, tennis, or long-distance runners may be at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee. However, regular moderate exercise programs can strengthen joints and actually decrease the risk of osteoarthritis.  

SPOT THE SIGNS

  • pain that increases when you’re active, but gets a little better with rest
  • swelling
  • feeling of warmth in the joint
  • stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when you have been sitting for a while
  • decrease in mobility of the knee, making it difficult to get in and out of chairs or cars, use the stairs, or even walking
  • creaking, crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves

FIGHT THE PAIN

The primary goals of treating osteoarthritis of the knee are to relieve the pain and return mobility. Your health care provider or therapist can help you determine the type of treatment that works best for you. Treatment plans will typically include a combination of the following:

  • Exercise.Strengthening and stretching the muscles around the knee makes the joint more stable, more flexible and decreases pain.
  • Weight loss.Losing even a small amount of weight, if needed, can significantly decrease knee pain from osteoarthritis.
  • Physical Therapy.If you are having trouble with daily activities, physical therapy can help. Physical therapists teach you ways to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility in your joints.
  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Over-the-counter choices can help with pain such as acetaminophen(Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Don’t take over-the-counter medications for more than 10 days without checking with your doctor.
  • Injections into the knee. Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that help with pain management. These injections replace the damaged synovial fluid in your knee with a natural substance that protects, cushions and lubricates the joints. These injections allow for better mobility and help to reduce pain.
  • Braces. There are two types of braces: “unloader” braces, which take the weight away from the side of the knee affected by arthritis; and “support” braces, which provide support for the entire knee and allow you to keep moving.
  • Surgery. When other treatments don’t work, surgery  is a good option.
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