A physiotherapist pulls together essential information about your health and lifestyle, to strengthen, support and prepare you for what ever life throws your way. Regular physiotherapy visits are a great way to maintain your health and fitness. WIN Kinesiologist and Physiotherapy Assistant, Karen Evers, explains how.Read More
By WIN Contributor: Dr. Nicholas Slowinski, Chiropractor
Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a class of disorders, which affect the muscles we use for chewing and the hinge joint in our jaw, the temporomandibular joint. This type of condition is one of the most common causes of pain in the mouth and face and has the potential to produce persisting chronic pain in those who do not seek intervention. TMDs are often associated with other common conditions that people often visit their chiropractor for such as migraine or headache, neck pain, or even fibromyalgia, however few people are aware that similar to any other joint in the body chiropractors can help with jaw pain too!
The National Institutes of health has classified TMD into 3 major categories: myofascial pain, internal derangement or dysfunction and degenerative joint disease. In this case internal derangement includes such things as a dislocated jaw, or a displaced disc within the joint. Degenerative joint disease pertains to the idea of arthritis, or as we like to call them, wrinkles on the joint, simply meaning the result of using a joint often!
When this condition occurs individuals may often feel a clicking/popping when they move their jaw, difficulty or pain with opening or chewing, headache on the side of their head, ringing in their ear, and pain in their jaw which might be felt as discomfort in the muscles they use to move the jaw as well as the neck and shoulders.
Pharmacological interventions with the use of pain killers and muscle relaxants is common for the treatment of this type of condition, however there is substantial evidence that reliance on these types of medications can lead to alarming gastro-intestinal side effects. Many dentists will often prescribe a night splint or bite plate, which have offered patients a conservative method of some relief of these symptoms.
Manual therapy from either a chiropractor or physiotherapist have shown to be clinically effective in giving patients long term pain relief through soft tissue therapy, manipulation of the joint, acupuncture, therapeutic exercise and even laser therapy.
EFFECTIVE TMJ TREATMENT AT WIN
An exciting new way to treat TMD conditions is offered at WIN Health Solutions! This includes the use of localized vibration therapy, targeted at the muscles we use to chew! This type of treatment is completely safe and comfortable for patients! New research has even supported that as little as one treatment session with vibration can have a beneficial effect by increasing mouth opening and decreasing pain!
By using a combination of therapeutic interventions, members of our chiropractic and physiotherapy teams are able to offer each patient an individualized treatment option for TMD. This might include TMJ mobilization, soft tissue therapy of painful muscles, specific exercises to stretch, strengthen and stabilize the jaw, acupuncture and much more!
Visit us at WIN Health Solutions and we’ll work with you, and your dentist to take a bite out of jaw pain and TMD.
Did you notice the photos of Michael Phelps' during the Men's 4x100 freestyle relay swim which won him a gold. It's always riveting watching an Olympic swimming competition, but what's got just as much media buzz is the purple marks along his upper body.
Phelps' large purple dots are the result of a super old Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy known as "Cupping." Many athletes, celebrities, and yes, even many of us regular folks, have taken to Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies like acupuncture and cupping to address concerns and optimize health.
What Is Cupping?
Cupping involves applying a glass or plastic open ended globes to skin at different sites on the body. Classical methods involve heating the glass globes with a small flame to create a vacuum so it sticks to the skin. However, plastic options can be applied which do not require heat but use tiny levers to create suction.
The purpose of the suction is to lift of the soft tissue beneath the area it's on. Cups can be left in place or moved around a site of concern. This increases blood flow, kneads out tension and breaks up scar tissue.
Discolouration is due to the suction breaking superficial capillaries in the skin, however, this is temporary and usually fades within a week's time.
What Does It Feel Like?
You may associate this type of bruising with pain, but when cupping is done correctly *by a trained professional* it's not uncomfortable and can be relaxing. The sensation that people can expect when having cupping done properly is pressure, warmth and some tightness where the cup is placed but there shouldn't be intense discomfort. Think of it like a deep tissue massage.
What Are The Benefits of Cupping?
Can you believe that cupping is a 3,000 year old practice? People find that cupping helps to reduce muscle soreness, increase range of motion, speed healing and improve mobility. Many providers of this therapy have also used it to help with other things such as poor circulation, immune health and anxiety.
Cupping At WIN
Our Registered Massage Therapist, Amanda Cajucom, utilizes cupping. It is another example of how our providers maintain an eclectic approach in their health care so they can better help the patients they are working with.
If you want to try cupping for your sore muscles or to see what all the fuss is about, contact us to arrange a time to meet and discuss this therapy with Amanda at WIN Health Solutions Niagara.
Or... If you want to use acupuncture in your care, visit one of our physiotherapists, chiropractors or our naturopathic doctor as all the WIN providers have extensive experience using acupuncture to help people address their health concerns.
I am excited to be part of a new service coming to WIN Health Solutions Niagara Falls! Patients will be able to obtain extra guidance and support by a Registered Kinesiologist on each visit. In case I have not had the opportunity to meet you, my name is Karen Evers and I am a Registered Kinesiologist.
I have been working the last two years with the Niagara Falls Physiotherapy team at WIN Health Solutions as a Physiotherapy Assistant. I am also a Registered Kinesiologist. To be a Kinesiologist in Ontario, I had to earn a University degree, and then complete and pass the Provincial Exam to work as a Kinesiologist in the province.
You may be wondering what Kinesiology can offer a patient in the clinical setting. We are human movement professionals. We assess patients to rehabilitate and/or enhance human performance. My goal at WIN Health Solutions is to work with our team of professionals to provide care to those who suffer from musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, individuals injured at work or people who have had motor vehicle accidents.
WIN Health Solutions is unique because it offers a wide range of health care services to the community under one roof. This is of great benefit for patients because with a team approach the WIN Health Solutions Practitioners can collaborate to ensure you get the best and most comprehensive care possible.
My vision as a Kinesiologist at WIN is to provide patients with injuries or conditions extra health strategies and support to round out what they will receive from the clinician they are working with at WIN. I will also offer guidance with regard to specific exercises that will help relieve pain, increase range of motion and gain back strength so they can take control of their own health.
My approach is always individualized and will complement the treatment your Chiropractor or Physiotherapist has given you. Another added benefit is that some insurance companies offer coverage for Kinesiologist visits.
I look forward to working with the WIN Practitioners to help our patients achieve their optimal health goals!
By WIN Contributor: Scott Paul, Personal Trainer
A hockey player skates down the ice, a sprinter runs the 100m, an older adult stands on their toes reaching for something up high and another person tries to keep control after stepping off the side of the curb. What do all these things have in common? They all require a degree of balance.
Balance is important in our everyday lives and the balance we have deceases as we age. That is one reason why we need to work on it. It is trainable. You can become better at it. Gymnasts who hop and jump on one leg onto a narrow beam do so with practice. You can get better, just as they do. I start to do a balance drill and have heard almost every time “oh, my balance isn’t very good”. I think “well, you’re in luck, that’s why we’re going to work on it." And that’s the thing; even those with the best of balance need to work on it.
I was at a conference years ago and the instructor leading the presentation said something that has stuck with me ever since. “To train balance, you need to put the body OUT OF BALANCE.”
It is like the Principle of Overload, where you must lift heavier and heavier, to get stronger. As you stand there, doing dishes, with two feet on the ground and about shoulder width apart, you’re not really working on balance are you? Just as you’re not working on strength by lifting your cell phone off the table.
There are many exercises we can do to work on balance, which for some might be just standing on a single foot, while others may need an unstable surface.
There’s the reaching drill, I often do with my clients at our wellness clinic niagara falls, where you reach to the front, to the side and to the back with one foot while standing on the other.
Also, try doing the dishes standing on one foot. That makes dishwashing a bit more challenging. Then try balancing with your eyes closed, or balancing while playing catch. There are tons of ways to keep it challenging and interesting.
Everyone needs to work on balance. For some it may be to help them with everyday tasks and for others it may be to help them with a particular sport. Balance is something that diminishes with age, but something we can train and get better at.
By WIN Contributor: Nancy V, Reception Team Member
Just as we cheer on and encourage our patients to reach their highest potential and go for their own personal gold, the WIN team raced for gold to support Project Share. Under the Friday night lights, the WIN team set out to show off our driving skills at the go kart track.
With twelve teams, and four racers per team, the challenge was on to show how well WIN Health Solutions could steer around the competition.
Our Physiotherapy team member, Karen raced first, giving the rest of the WIN team an insight on how the track felt and widening the first corner quite nicely for the other drivers. We were off to a good start!
Then it was Dr. Matt's turn to show us all how go karts are meant to be driven, coming in first in his heat. Dr. Matt's a natural when it comes to excelling in sports, even racing! Dr Matt was on to the semi finals.
As luck would have it, our WIN Physiotherapist, Tania Mannella decided to show off her driving skills and was first in her heat for a lap or two, but was then bumped into the guard rail. She recovered, just like her patients at WIN Health Solutions do, and proudly finished the race.
Finally the Pit Boss, Dr Ernie was up. Just like at work, he was determined to give it his all. Passing cars and ending up second in his heat Dr Ernie was also off to the semi finals.
With only a few competitors left to race against, the WIN team put their heads together.
Smiling and laughing while we pooled our knowledge and shared some tricks and insights to figure out a strategy to pull off the victory.
Dr Ernie, putting the petal to the metal, raced in the semi but got bumped out while Dr Matt bumped and drifted his way into the finals.
As the final race began Dr Matt was determined to come out on top. Unfortunately, we were not destined to be champions this night, but it was a wonderfully fun night of team cheering and racing as the WINcredibles in support of Project Share.
Congratulations to the Project Share Grand Prix champions! Coming in at 3rd place was Big Wheels, 2nd place Past & Present, and 1st place Chippawa Presbyterian Church!
And now the track is set for next year ...
By WIN Contributor: Karen Evers, Reg. Kin, OTA, PTA
The phrase “no pain, no gain” is often mentioned by physiotherapy patients during their treatments. I thought it would be a great idea to discuss this concept and hopefully alleviate some fears patients have when coming to get treatment for their injuries. Many patients come in to WIN Health hearing stories that physiotherapy is painful and believe that this is the cost in order to feel better. Of course there are times when pain will be created through manual therapy to increase healing and mobility, but it does not make the pain worse.
When shouldn’t patients be pushed past their pain in physiotherapy?
During the acute phase of a patient’s injury, they should not be pushed beyond the pain they may already be feeling. During this phase the brain is telling the body it is in pain for a reason. Pushing beyond this pain can cause an inflammatory response resulting in increased tissue injury or prolonged soreness.
When is it ok to feel pain?
For some injuries or joint replacements it is necessary to relieve stiffness with increased stretching leading to some pain in order to avoid adhesions and scar tissue build up. This will enhance over all movement. It’s the extra “push” the therapist will need to do that may cause relative ‘pain’ but it short lived and often patients report feeling better at the end of treatment.
During an initial assessment, some testing may be used to mildly provoke pain to help determine the diagnosis, what is causing the pain or makes it feel better and what course of treatment will be required.
Our goal for each physiotherapy session at WIN is that you leave us feeling better. This could mean feeling loose or less pain. During your treatment we may have you stretch, strengthen or perform mobility exercises. These are performed to the point of pain, we are not trying to push past the pain. Discomfort can be felt while gaining back strength or range of motion but it should only be temporary. The discomfort felt after physiotherapy is usually due to strengthening weak muscles, which is similar to what someone would feel after a workout at the gym.
During your WIN appointment we want to know when you are feeling pain and how it feels. For example is it sharp, dull, throbbing, etc., as this will help us to determine another treatment course that will not irritate or exacerbate your symptoms. Open communication with the therapist is very important for successful outcomes. We look forward helping you reach your success at WIN health Solutions physiotherapy!!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.