WIN Physiotherapy Niagara Focus On Core Strength

By WIN Contributor: Karen Evers, Reg. Kin, OTA, PTA

The transverse abdominis muscle is the deepest stomach muscle before you reach the organs. It runs horizontally from front to back between the pelvis and ribs. The primary function of this muscle is to compress the ribs and viscera, stabilizing the pelvis and spine.  When this muscle contracts it increases intra abdominal pressure, resulting in significantly lower loads on the joints and discs of the lumbar spine. This contraction creates a natural “corset for the spine”. When the TA is weak it is often indicated in low back pain.

Low back pain can arise after a person lifts an object with poor body mechanics causing excessive stress on lumbar spine. Over time this can cause discs to bulge, prolapse or completely herniate. Many workers wear weight belts around their waists. These belts serve the same function as the TA. Someone with a strong core including the TA will not need to use the belt.

When patients come to WIN Physiotherapy Niagara to seek physiotherapy for their low back pain we always start with teaching them how to properly activate the transverse abdominis muscle. This is the building block for any further core strengthening program.

To activate your TA muscle:

-        Begin by lying on back with knees bent.

-        Draw your belly button upwards and inwards towards your spine.

-        Make sure to breathe normally.

-        Your rib cage should remain relaxed and should not elevate during this process.

-        If you place fingers inside hip bone, you should feel a muscle contraction.

-        To start, hold the contraction for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Positioning for Transverse Abdominis strengthening exercise.

Positioning for Transverse Abdominis strengthening exercise.

Our WIN Physiotherapy Niagara team can give you individualized advice for core strengthening.  

Book your appointment at WIN Health Solutions to help you build a stronger core! 

Spinal Manipulation and Postural Control

By WIN Contributor: Dr. Matthew Bird

The fact that humans are able to stand against gravity in the vertical plane is a miracle in itself. Viewed as an inverted pendulum, the human body almost defies basic physical elements of force. Further complicating this fact are the multiple linkages within the body (joints) and the numerous guy wires (muscles) that control them. The basis of stability in a mechanical system is defined as requiring its center of mass to be within its base of support and, when assessing the human body, the base of support is relatively small (1 square foot). Thus, numerous fine-tuning interactions must occur to maintain a vertical posture.


Balance is continuously monitored by three distinct systems:

1)   Vestibular System

2)   Vision

3)   Proprioception

All three systems are heavily integrated within the central/spinal nervous system to maintain desired postures.

Chiropractic spinal adjustments and soft tissue therapies are utilized to help an individual maintain a functional basis of mobility and maintain a vertical posture.  The chiropractic adjustment helps to fine-tune proprioceptor activity, sense organs within the musculoskeletal system, so that one may improve:

1)   Muscle activity bypassing human consciousness;

2)   The sense of awareness of limb placement, tactile sense and perceiving the weight of a load;

3)   And the internal system of coordinates that can be used by the brain to plan and execute movements.

Poor posture leads to a decrease in joint and muscle health/function, which compounds over time and may not necessarily be perceived as pain until the degenerative changes have become advanced.  Spinal health, as well as the health of all the joints within the body, relies on its structural integrity to maintain function just as much as its function maintains its structure.

Therefore, do not wait for symptoms to come about before booking with a WIN Health Chiropractor! We are here to help you in all your health goals!

Therapeutic Ultrasound In Physiotherapy

By WIN Contributor: Jenn Lepere, DPT

When most people think of ultrasound, they think of their doctors using a machine with cold gel probing around an injured area looking for a tear, or of an expectant mother's belly looking for the baby.  What most people don’t realize is that ultrasound has other therapeutic uses that physiotherapists have been using for years. 

What’s the difference?

Diagnostic  ultrasound, like the one used to investigate injuries or the health of a baby during pregnancy, uses high frequency sound waves that bounce off structures under the skin giving us a picture. 

Therapeutic ultrasound uses low frequency sound waves that causes small vibrations of local tissue that can help with injury.  

How does it help?

The sound waves that pass through the skin cause a vibration of the local tissues. This vibration can cause a deep local heating, even though patients usually do not sense the warmth. Ultrasound can produce many effects other than just the potential heating effect. It has been shown to cause increases in tissue relaxation, local blood flow, and scar tissue breakdown. The effect of the increase in local blood flow can be used to help reduce local swelling and chronic inflammation, and, according to some studies, promote bone fracture healing. The intensity or power density of the ultrasound can be adjusted depending on the desired effect.

Conditions treated?

The most common conditions treated with ultrasound include soft tissue injuries such as tendonitis or sprain/strains, joint swelling and muscle spasm. 

Come on into WIN to see one of our therapists to see if ultrasounds therapy will help with your pain.

Why Do We Use Acupuncture In Our Treatment Model At WIN?

WIN Contributor: Dr. Ernie Bagnulo

acupuncture treatment

Why Do We Use Acupuncture In Our Treatment Model At WIN?

The answer is simple: it works! 

Many people wonder... what exactly does acupuncture do? 

Acupuncture regulates and optimizes our body and nervous system in a way that we cannot conscientiously make happen.

For instance, if you close your eyes and think really hard about increasing or decreasing the size of your blood vessels, can you do so?  Can you make your brain produce chemicals that will help your body control pain?  

The answer to these questions is NO!  The only way these functions happen is when our body is told to do so by various stimuli and the results occur automatically.

Perhaps an even better example is that of human digestion.  When food is eaten and it enters the digestive tract, the body just knows what to do.  The gut pulls the nutrition from the food we eat and expels the waste we do not need.

In this case, the acupuncture needles are the food (stimuli) and they cause the body to change in a desirable way (digestion).

When incorporating acupuncture into a musculoskeletal treatment, it allows for the treatment to reach a much higher level, because ultimately, the nervous system is responsible for the state and function of our muscles and our muscles are responsible for how our joints move.

Acupuncture enables the desirable goal of decreasing pain and increasing function.