We may focus on the common sites of back pain when it first happens, for example neck pain or low back. However, as our WIN Physiotherapist, Jennifer Lapierre, shares in her latest article, there can be a cause to neck and low back pain that’s rooted in the mid-spine, the Thoracic Spine. She reviews how this is possible.Read More
By WIN Contributor: Phil Rowland, RMT, ART provider, Certified Personal Trainer
Most people would agree a massage makes them feel good. But many probably don't realize exactly how good a regular massage is for their overall health. Massage can improve performance, aid recovery, prevent and eliminate injuries, reduce stress and enhance metabolism and circulation! While new health therapies continue to emerge, think about this, massage therapy in Asian cultures date back to 5,000BC!
For Health: Massage Therapy...
· Dramatically aids lymph movement, which together with blood, supplies nutrients and oxygen and rids wastes and toxins
- Increases the blood's oxygen capacity by 10-15%
- Helps loosen contracted, shortened muscles and stimulate weak, flaccid muscles
- Speeds recovery from exercise-induced fatigue
- Increases production of gastric juices, saliva and urine
- Increases excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus, and sodium chloride.
- Balances the nervous system by soothing or stimulating it, depending on which effect is needed
- Improves function of the oil and sweat glands that lubricate, clean and cool the skin
For Sport: Massage Therapy...
· Can reduce or eliminate exercise-induced pain
· Can increase endurance and control fatigue and aid recovery
· Can speed muscle recovery rates as it eliminates irritation from waste
· Enables more productive training, with longer, more effective workouts
· Results in better performance with fewer injuries
For Injuries: Massage Therapy can help with...
- Headaches & migraines (decreases both frequency and severity)
- Frozen shoulder
- Sore shoulder and neck
- Back pain & sciatica
- Tennis and golfers elbow
- Sprains, strains and tears
- Over-use injuries
- Shin splints
For the Elderly: Massage Therapy...
· Promotes well nourished and healthy skin
· Improves circulation of blood and lymph
· Improves immune system functioning
· Enhances general relaxation
· Reduces muscular tension and associated discomfort
· Improves sleep
· Increases feelings of well-being
· Enhances flexibility and strength
· Reduces discomfort from arthritis
For the Office Workers:
Massage Therapy counteracts the effects sitting. If you work sitting down all day, odds are your posture has suffered. Shoulders and neck hold tension when stressed, while prolonged sitting leads to weak gluteals and a weak low back. These muscular imbalances can lead to pain and dysfunction. Getting a massage regularly can correct these imbalances, encourage proper muscle function, and reduce pain. That means less muscular pain, less exercise-induced injury, and greater range of motion all from something as simple and pleasant as massage.
Increase the Benefits with Regular Visits to WIN Registered Massage Therapy:
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting a massage frequently can do even more. Just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn't mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your WIN Massage Therapist to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
By WIN Contributor: Jennifer Lepere, PT, DPT
Winter is around the corner in the Niagara area and that means snow is also on its way. With snow comes shovelling. The combination of the activity of shovelling and the frigid cold weather puts you at risk for potential back pain/soreness or even injury. At WIN Health Solutions Niagara, we promote a healthy lifestyle which includes prevention. One of the best ways to prevent back injury is daily stretching. A few minutes of stretching before and after shovelling your driveway or any activity during this time of year can make quite a difference to the overall health of your back.
Here are the Top Ten stretches to prevent back pain or injury:
1. Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Draw your belly button towards your spine and gentle flatten your back in a pain-free range.
2. Lumbar Rotations
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently rock from side to side in a pain-free range.
3. Knee to Chest
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently bring one knee towards your chest until a stretch is felt in your buttock. Hold 5-10 seconds and return to starting position.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently bring your belly towards your spine and then lift your buttock up from the bed in a pain-free range. Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position.
5. Piriformis Stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place one ankle on the opposite knee and bring that knee towards your chest until a stretch is felt in your buttocks. Hold 5-10 seconds.
6. Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back with a towel or belt around one foot. Keeping your knee straight, lift your leg up until a stretch is felt in the back of your leg. Hold 10-15 seconds. Repeat on opposite leg.
7. Prone Press Up
Lie on our stomach and gently extend your arms until you feel a stretch in your back. If you are unable to get into this position without pain, try propping up on your elbows. Hold 3-5 seconds.
8. Bird Dog
Start on all fours as shown in top picture. Draw your belly button towards your spine and extend one arm and opposite leg. May sure not to arch your back or turn your hips. Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side.
9. Standing Back Extensions
Start with your hands place in the small of your back. Keeping your knees straight, gently and slowly lean back until a stretch is felt in your low back in a pain-free range. Hold 3-5 seconds.
10. Deep Squat
Start in a standing position, keeping the weight on your heels and your feet flat, try to squat as far down as you can without falling, staying in a pain-free range.
Try these top ten stretches before and after going out in the snow to prevent low back pain. Come into to WIN Health Solutions Niagara to see one of our therapists for more ways to keep your back healthy this coming winter season.