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your Physio updates for neck-shoulder pain in Winnipeg

Created for those alumni of Concourse Physiotherapy that want the latest articles, exercises and information regarding neck pain, whiplash, headaches, etc.

This information is gathered, and reviewed by the physiotherapist from a number of sources, such that you do not have to hunt through the internet, ‘self diagnose’ and just not know where to go next.

Please don’t hesitate to check back monthly for updates:

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Neck pain still hindering your activities? Check out this article on specific biomechanics and postures that can make a difference at work, rest and play!

Diaphragmatic breathing is opposite that of ‘chest breathing’, and is really your first core exercise. If you breathe with chest expansion/shoulder shrugs, you are engaging the accessory muscles of upper respiration and will always aggravate chronic neck pain. Learn about breathing during activity and exercise here!

‘Eccentric’ training; a must for any gym routine. Your neck and upper back stabilize and hold your head in place, for function and structural health. Check out this article to understand eccentric muscle work and always include a SLOW RETURN in your exercises to maximize muscle work!

Because head and neck posture combine to form the dreaded ‘forward head posture’, please check your posture with each task; proper ergonomics slows you down initially, but practice makes perfect; postural exercise

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Did you know the accessory muscles for breathing are those ones that feel constantly tense, the ones at the base of the neck, towards the shoulder blades…the picture above points to the ‘upper Trapezius’ muscle; the most common trigger points of the neck. If you hold your ‘tension and stress’ there, you must learn to breathe, no, really! check this article

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Smartphones, and their apps, have changed the way we communicate and access information forever. Your neck and upper back take the brunt of this constant rounded, slumped posture; here’s a few stretches to prevent ‘text neck pain’

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rSWT Shockwave therapy for those chronic, neck-shoulder pains

Many patients have asked about foam rollers and how to use them, especially for daily release and tension headaches. If you have one, fantastic; here is a great video focusing on the neck-upper back

If you don’t have a foam roller yet, I’m still offering the best deal on the internet…no really, and it’s covered by your company benefit plan or private insurance, just call me or hit the upper right CONTACT button for an appointment; check this out here

 

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Tennis Elbow more common in those who do not play racquet sports…Downtown Winnipeg computer users get Laser or ShockWave therapy today!

Q: My doctor says my elbow pain is due to tennis elbow. But I don’t play tennis. Could you explain how this has come about and what I can do about it?

A: “Tennis elbow” is a common term for a condition doctors call lateral epicondylitis. It’s caused by inflammation of the tendon that connects the extensor muscles of the wrist to the outside of the elbow.

Probably fewer than 10 percent of people get this by playing tennis. The usual causes are recreational activities such as gardening, job-related lifting, using a screwdriver or wrist overuse.

The medial epicondyle can also get inflamed. In this condition, called medial epicondylitis, the affected tendons connect the flexor muscles of the wrist to the inside of the elbow. It’s commonly called “golfer’s elbow” or “pitchers elbow.” Tightening and twisting the wrist from activities such as golfing or throwing a baseball can cause it.

Most people with medial or lateral epicondylitis feel pain when their doctor applies direct pressure to the inflamed area. He or she might ask you to push your wrist against resistance, which could also cause pain. You might also feel pain with handshaking, lifting a briefcase or heavy pot or similar activities.

The treatment is similar for both conditions.

LLLT Low Level Laser Therapy is widely used for any inflammatory condition. Given the minimal depth to the affected bone-tendon area, there is little to impede the efficacy of laser treatment.

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rSWT Radial ShockWave Therapy was developed little over 10 years ago by the Swiss company that treats kidney and gallstones. It is the latest treatment for those myofascial trigger points; those areas of chronic, nagging pain, whether it be from overuse or poor postural habits, we all have them.

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You could wear a wrist splint or forearm brace to prevent overuse of the muscles of the forearm.

You can also try a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID such as ibuprofen or aspirin) and ice packs to help relieve symptoms. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy, especially if you need to return to a job or activity that caused the problem.

Sometimes doctors recommend one or two steroid shots over the affected epicondyle. But there is some risk of tissue loss around the elbow with repeated shots.

The symptoms of “tennis” or “golfer’s” elbow normally get better within a few months with conservative therapy. Once the symptoms disappear, you should begin gradual stretching and strengthening of the tendon and muscle attachments. We will develop an exercise program for you specific to your chosen activity or sport mechanics.

We will also look at your biomechanics. How you move, and perform your work is called ergonomics. Even the simplest changes can have great affects on chronic pain.

Call or email today, I can probably assess your elbow the next business day.

204-9438411 or yrphysio@gmail.com

 

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Your SmartPhone habits may be the cause of ‘Text-Neck’ pain in Winnipeg

yourPhysio is treating an increase in patients with neck and upper back pain. Computer use, tablets, smartphones or previously, just reading in bed bad habit were likely the causal factors. But now researchers are focused on communication via text, and the pain related to poor posture during prolonged smartphone use, according to a recent report in the international Journal, The Spine.

Our patients endure all of the above causal factors, but the demographics of smartphone use, particularly young patients who shouldn’t yet have back and neck issues, are reporting disk hernias and alignment problems, the study authors write in The Spine Journal.

In an X-ray, the neck typically curves backward, and what we’re seeing is that the curve is being reversed as people look down at their phones for hours each day, said study coauthor Dr. Todd Lanman, a spinal neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.

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The real concern is that we don’t know what this means down the road for kids today who use phones all day. Lanman and co-author Dr. Jason Cuellar, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Cedars-Sinai, write that people often look down when using their smartphones, particularly when texting, as compared to browsing online or watching videos. Remember that ‘reading in bed’ comment? Now it’s using our phones or tablets that affect our spine, wrists and eyes!

It’s the way you hold your neck

Previous studies have also found that people hold their necks at around 45 degrees, and it becomes even worse as they sit, versus standing, the study team writes. The impact on the spine increases at higher flexed postures, they add.

While in a neutral position looking forward, the head weighs 4.5 to 5.5 kilograms. At a 15-degree flex, it feels like 12 kilograms. The stress on the spine increases by degree, and at 60 degrees, it’s 27 kilograms.

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Lanman and Cuellar suggest simple lifestyle changes to relieve the stress from the text neck posture. They recommend holding cellphones in front of the face, or near eye level, while texting. They also suggest using two hands and two thumbs to create a more symmetrical and comfortable position for the spine.

Beyond smartphone use, the spinal surgeons recommend that people who work at computers or on tablets use an elevated monitor stand so it sits at a natural horizontal eye level. But with Windows software, it is more effective, and ergonomic, to have the most common ‘cursor use area’ at eye level. Now, this may change with the software or program being used; but change is good for postural awareness.

With laptops, I recommend a similar adaptation by using a separate keyboard and mouse so the laptop can be at eye level and still create a good ergonomic position while typing.

It is difficult to recommend a proper posture for smartphone users. If we raise the phone at eye level to avoid the look-down posture, it will add new concerns for the shoulder due to the elevated arm posture, now we create those dreaded rotator cuff issues. And even, frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.

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Take a break from texting

A more practical recommendation would be frequent rest breaks or some physical exercise that can strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles. Ask yourPhysio for a custom exercise plan for your specific work tasks.

Selfie? to self examine…no, get a friend to take a picture of you texting or using your computer. Check your posture. Bring it to yourPhysio for an Initial Assessment and we’ll correct your posture and give you the exercises you need to avoid pain.

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Chronic Pain? Here’s why you need to try Shockwave Therapy Winnipeg

Radial Shockwave Therapy (rSWT) for muscle, joint, ligament and myofascial pain, brings the technology for disintegrating kidney stones in to the Physiotherapy clinic for chronic pain, musculoskeletal problems.

It is great for:

  • Chronic Neck and Low Back trigger points
  • Calcific, shoulder Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • TMJ, chronic jaw pain
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Plantar fasciitis, heel-arch pain
  • Tennis or Anglers’ elbow pain, and golfers elbow
  • Patellar, knee tendinitis
  • Quadriceps, thigh tendinitis
  • Iliotibial band, friction syndrome
  • Trochanteric, hip pain
  • Other tendon problems

All of these conditions are otherwise hard to treat if they don’t get better with physiotherapy and before shockwave therapy existed the next step would often be surgery.

It has a success rate of about 70-80%, so it does not work for everyone, but does help most people even when other treatments have failed. It is a great way to keep yourself away from an operation.

How does Radial Shockwave therapy work?

Radial Shockwave therapy is a non invasive way of restarting the natural healing process allowing your body to repair itself. The common factor in all of these conditions is the chronic inflammatory process, which is a vicious cycle of pain and damage that is often seen in association with over use injuries. Shockwave therapy can convert this chronic inflammatory process into an acute inflammatory process much like a fresh injury, from which the body can usual heal itself.

Institutional Shockwave units for kidney stones are huge, costly and have the power to disintegrate tissue at larger distances. This musculoskeletal unit is almost portable, affordable and works only millimeters below the skin.

How much does it cost, and will my insurance cover it?

Shockwave therapy is covered as ‘physiotherapy treatment’ being a modality used by a trained, medical professional. In Europe, a similar unit is used in dermatology and aesthetics to affect myofascial distortions; specifically those that cause ‘cellulite’. Watch for our introduction of this service under your Health Savings Account.

 

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What happens during shock wave therapy treatment?

During Shockwave therapy, a high-intensity sound waves are sent into the tissues of the body. This leads to all sorts of beneficial effects such as new blood vessel growth, reversal of chronic inflammation, stimulation of new tissue growth and breaking down calcium deposits. For you it’s about 5 minutes of quite noisy, and a little bit uncomfortable treatment to the sore area. Some people feel some benefit right after the session, but then it may be sore for the next day or two.

Benefits of shock wave therapy treatment

How long does it take to work?

You are likely to feel reduced pain within minutes of starting the first treatment. You will be sore after each treatment, but it is important NOT to take anti inflammatories. The treatment works by stimulation of a ‘pro-inflammatory state’; heat may even be recommended with normal activity. Most patients experience considerable benefit by 3 months from the first treatment, but studies show improvements continue up to one year from treatment.

Are all shockwave treatments the same?

No! There are a variety of types of shockwave machines and ways to deliver the therapy. Concourse Physiotherapy uses the latest Storz Radial Shockwave Therapy unit (as pictured); which has a wealth of research for orthopedic injuries.

The type of hand piece determines how much energy can be given, and the newer ceramic hand pieces deliver more energy with less discomfort. The variable applicator head allows the new Storz machine to be much more comfortable and delivers more of the all important energy for less discomfort.

 

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Floss? Dynamic stretching for Sciatica Back Pain in Winnipeg

Sciatica? Do you have lower back pain referred down the buttocks, or even the leg and foot; with numbness, tingling, abnormal sensation in those same areas?

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It is very common, especially in Downtown Winnipeg, where nearly everyone ‘sits-for-a-living’. Research says ‘flossing’ may not help our teeth, but flossing or dynamically stretching the nervous tissue is another way to prevent, and lessen this back pain. No stretch should create pain, get assessed by your Physio before trying these exercises.

Almost everyone has seen that ‘camel or cat back’ exercise; on all fours, rolling the back upwards, and downwards, we move the nervous tissue associated with sciatic pain.

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Reaching, with back extension exercises will help strengthen the muscle supports around the spine.

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Give yourself more reasons to stand, and if you include a ‘sit-stand workstation’, know your ergonomics!

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Don’t hesitate to ask…

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Get up to your Standing Core with Physiotherapy Winnipeg

If sitting is the ‘new disease’, then remember your ‘standing core’! Your ‘core’ includes any musculature about your central skeleton that may balance your trunk (not a booty remark).

You must include more standing postures in your work day to avoid back pain and other health concerns. Get more from your company benefits or private insurance Winnipeg, know your ergonomics at work, home and play!

Now apply some of those ‘abdominal’ exercises you did on your back;

the Standing ‘knee-cross crunch’

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a great standing exercise for balance and hip-pelvic stability; incorporate some kegels for extra control.

the Standing ‘sidebend-reach’

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lower to the side slowly, to maintain control; include some diaphragmatic breathing to stimulate all the intercostal muscles.

the Lateral ‘elbow-knee, side crunch’

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again incorporating balance, with hip-knee-ankle stability; this exercise will challenge you. No? do it with your eyes closed then.

the Medicine ball or Tubing ‘cross-body chop’

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either exercise prop can assist your directional effort in this exercise. Golfers, try not to focus on your ‘hold’ as you may regret the ‘tension’ effects.

the Tubing or Med ball ‘trunk rotation’

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move, and resist, slowly; swing through for those tennis players, golfers look down the tubing and finish with the wrists. You could even work in your ‘address position’, batting stance or fore- or backhand pose Winnipeg!

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Finally, give yourself some space, create  your own ‘weighted pillow’ and get into some plyometrics! Down to the floor, up to the sky or against that concrete wall in the basement; a great way to include functional, sport force into your movement. Throw n catch against a mini-trampoline for extra challenge or get a partner!

Get ready Winnipeg for these functional, standing core exercises and get more from your company benefit plan or private insurance with Physiotherapy Winnipeg today! Check out our clinical facility at 201 Portage today (ask security for directions or call ahead.

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Golf Season in Winnipeg, are you prepared?

The ‘Stabilized Spine’ golf swing, initially developed by H.J. Ferrante PT,and Tommy Nix (PGA Class A Professional), the stabilized golf swing allows golfers to be able to swing
without injury. The body oriented swing reduces the side bending and
rotation of the spine, and uses the muscles of the trunk, hips, and legs to
produce a powerful golf shot. There are two major principles of a stabilized golf swing.
Rotation should occur in the joints designed for these motions
The golf swing is a rotary action, and the lumbar spine (low back) is not well
suited for rotation. The hip joints, shoulder joints, and thoracic spine
(mid-back) are built to withstand rotational forces. Therefore, most of
the rotary motions of the golf swing should be taken through these joints
instead of twisting through your low back. A physiotherapist can teach you
how to get the most mobility out of your hips, thoracic spine and
shoulders, and how to strengthen the large trunk and leg muscles responsible
for generating a powerful golf swing.
Maintaining the lumbar spine in a neutral position can prevent
injury and low back pain Recent back pain research has shown
us the vital importance of our trunk “core muscles” in stabilizing the spine
and avoiding back pain.
The Stabilized Golf Swingimages-1images

1. A good golf swing starts with the grip
Your grip on the club should be balanced
between both hands, using a slight amount of
pressure and producing a V pointing down the
shaft of the club. Avoid the “grip of death” and
your arms and neck will thank you.
2. Your stance is equally important
Place your feet shoulder width apart, and bend
your knees slightly. Pull in your “core
muscles”, holding your back and pelvis in
neutral. Keep your head down and maintain
eye contact with the ball at all times.
3. Concentrate on your backswing
as well as the downswing
The back swing is primarily derived from
the shoulders. Keep your core muscles
pulled in as you turn your shoulders and
upper back to the right (for a right-handed
swing) while maintaining a straight left
elbow. You may also get some motion by
slight rotation through your hip joints. You
should maintain a stable stance with both
feet on the ground, your weight shifted
slightly to your right foot, and your hips
pointing in the same direction as your belly
button.
During the down swing, do not try to kill
the ball. With your core muscles activated,
begin to shift your weight back to your left
foot while keeping your eyes on the ball
and head still. Allow the momentum of
your arms and upper back to accelerate the
club head down to contact the ball. Resist
the urge to rush the shot. As you approach
contact with the ball, your core muscles
should still be pulled in, and your arms and
hips should be pointing in the same
direction. You will end up back where you
were when you addressed the ball.
4. Don’t forget to follow through
As you accelerate through the impact area,
your arm and hips should now pull you
through, and you will complete an arc. It
should feel like a natural motion, with your
hips, shoulders, and knees pointing toward
the target at the end of the swing. With
your core muscle contraction maintained,
your hips should do a natural pivot motion,
and your right foot should be lifted slightly
from the ground. You should not feel a
twisting motion or sense of strain through
your low back or pelvis.
After 20 years of teaching ‘core’ exercises to Manitoba golfers, a more stable, safe swing is possible. Some have advanced to yoga and pilates programs, but golf and the strengthening required to play has not changed. Many professionals have adopted the fitness routines to demonstrate the advantage of an ‘athletic swing’ and swing speed.
Let’s talk swing biomechanics soon.
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Foam Rolling your way to less Back Pain Winnipeg

As benefit dollars remain tight, we’re all looking for ways to DIY…whether it be online diagnosis, nutrition or exercise plans. Lately, in Downtown Winnipeg; ‘everyone’s asking about foam rollers’ and how to use them.

Foam rollers, therapy balls, self massage toys are all a form of self-myofascial release. All muscles have a ’tissue wrap’, the fascia; and it too can become bound, thick and lumpy. This can create painful, trigger points. A common example for runners; the dreaded Iliotibial Band, from hip to knee, with connections to both our quadriceps and hamstring muscles. It can influence pelvic biomechanics and contribute to back pain.

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Foam rollers can be used to ‘roll out’ or lengthen, and relax our tight muscles. You can even break those lumps or adhesions in the tissue, causing minor swelling, but increased blood flow which will help feed, and relax your achey muscles

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Technique is important. Many clients have just ‘jumped on’ the roll bandwagon and created more pain or injury. We’ve used a spinal orientation to improve trunk and shoulder mobility for golfers. Body rotations in baseball, tennis, hockey, bowling…could all benefit from this routine.

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Foam rollers come in various sizes, surfaces and can even be travel friendly for those on vacation or work travel. Check out our foam roller offer. Learn how to proceed safely at home, your foam roller can become a nightly ritual in front of the television.

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Computer or Mouse or Tennis Elbow pain in Winnipeg

If you ‘sit-for-a-living’ at a computer, with ‘mouse oriented’ software; you are at risk of developing a painful condition called ‘computer or mouse or tennis elbow’.

Since 1991, we have been the ‘ergonomic resource’ for many Winnipeg companies and individuals in, and around Downtown Winnipeg. The traditional ‘tennis elbow’ or lateral epicondylitis is a major problem at Portage & Main; given the dominant finance, legal and civil service hub of Manitoba.

The mouse and keyboard dictate an ‘extended wrist-hand’ position, that many function in for upwards of 6-8 hours per day. This static posture, with eccentric load on the extensor muscles takes advantage of the ‘design flaw’ of our wrist-forearm tendons. They basically originate at the elbow in a single tendon junction. It is at this tendon-bone junction that the ‘epicondylitis’ refers to; inflammation of the area of bone, deep to that tendon.

DO NOT REST YOUR WRIST! Using your hand-fingers, from a ‘rested wrist’ will NOT reduce the force strain of the task load on your hand-wrist. It will amplify the extensor work required only.

The most common accessory I recommend for early or acute computer, mouse elbow pain is a ‘support brace’; the brand we use the most is the Bandit Elbow brace. It is meant to help reduce the tensile force and load at the tendon origins, whether is be outside or inside the elbow.

Remember with any medical appliance, get educated on its use, variability of function and durability.

Know your ergonomics too; a vertical mouse may be required for those chronic conditions that keep re-occurring…you only have so many sick days!

Stretch to prepare for your work, and strengthen to perform it effectively. We can teach you the proper stretches and strengthening exercises for work, home and play.

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Shop Physiotherapy Winnipeg for the Bandit
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Buy your next car or truck on Ergonomic Value Winnipeg

Is it really the best time to buy a car right now in Winnipeg? Deals on 2015’s…but that pothole filled test drive will make any salesperson cringe.

What about the fit? We fit shoes; there’s a size, function, support, brand, color…sound familiar? Your vehicle’s ‘ergonomics’, how you interact with it’s controls as you drive are of more importance to the manufacturers’ than to you, the consumer. They are taken for granted. We change the seat position, and expect everything else to be just right.

Remember the ‘adjustable foot pedals’? It may still be an option. Some vehicles have ‘memory settings’ on the multiple-way adjustable seats, but none, have adjustable control boards. Some have placed inexplicable number of functions into a ‘knob control’ in the center console, that requires significant memory work or line of sight to the central dash screen. Hopefully the brand does not allow you do do this while driving!

Now the ongoing SUV, CUV, ARV…’baby boomer convenience’ battle…

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really? stairs to enter a large SUV?

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vehicles designed in one country, may not fit another demographic of people! The typical Asian car is designed around the average 5’7″ person, not the North American 6′ footer!

neck and upper back pain of whiplash

Whiplash, postural tension, the dreaded forward head posture…because we do most tasks in front of the body, and the computer dominant task posture has been dictating neck and back problems since the 1980’s. One example of ‘postural mediation’ the Posture Medic; can be rented or purchased with physiotherapy instruction, and/or ergonomic assessment.

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Know your Ergonomics, and test your next car/truck from the inside out before making a purchase.