Chiropractic and plantar fasciitis

Chiropractic and plantar fasciitisThe subject of this article concerns a fairly common condition called plantar fasciitis. I received the question of whether this condition could be treated in chiropractic. Well yes, chiropractic may be effective in treating this condition.

First, what is a plantar fasciitis? This is actually an irritation of a ligament (fascia, hence the name fasciitis) located under the foot (in the arch of the foot). The fascia attaches on a small area of the heel bone and then expand and attaches again under all the toes. When there is an irritation of the fascia, pain is usually felt under the heel. The pain is particularly intense after a prolonged period of immobility, such as getting out of bed in the morning. Patients often feel like if they have a needle under their heel. It may happen that the pain is also felt in the arch of the foot or on the sides of the heel. Generally, pain decreases as the fascia is warming up (ex: walking for a few minutes).

Causes of plantar fasciitis are numerous. For example, prolonged walking on a hard surface, wearing shoes that do not have a good support (ex: high heels), mechanical problems of the foot, ankle, knee and even the pelvis, excess weight, etc.

If the plantar fasciitis persists for an extended period, a calcium deposit can develop where the fascia attaches on the heel, thus causing a bone spur, also known as the Lenoir’s spur (épine de Lenoir).

The good news is that this condition could be improved through chiropractic care. First, a physical examination is necessary to determine the exact cause of irritation. As mentioned earlier, the problem could be limited to the foot, but it is also possible that an imbalance of the pelvis causes the irritation of fascia (caused by the difference of weight on each foot). Your chiropractor will be able to assess the problem. Once the origin of the problem established, chiropractic treatment usually consists of restoring the proper mechanical function of the pelvis, knees, ankles and feet. Muscle techniques are used to reduce the tension in the fascia. Your chiropractor will also be able to give you exercises to do at home in order to help the fascia regain more flexibility. For example, you can massage the fascia by placing a tennis ball on the floor and roll your foot on it. Stretching the muscles of the leg and foot are also necessary to treat the condition. If your chiropractor believes that orthotics might help you resolve the condition, he could refer you to a podiatrist for custom foot orthotics. Applying ice under the foot could also help reduce the inflammation of the fascia.

Typically, this condition responds well to chiropractic care. In the event that the results would be limited to conservative care, other interventions are possible. For example, taking anti-inflammatory or having injections in the foot could be considered (a consultation with your medical doctor will be necessary).

If you suffer from this condition, consult a chiropractor today. Not only the condition might take less time to treat, but you will also prevent the irritation of other related structures such as your knees or even your back.

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Chiropractic and golf

Chiropractic and golfA lot of people were impatiently waiting for the nice weather in order to be able to play golf. However, before rushing to the golf course, it is important to have some knowledge to avoid some injuries that could keep you from practicing your sport.

First, many people rush to the golf course without having previously made some warmups. Why warmups are so important? Mainly because they help ensure that the muscles are ready to do the exercise and the blood supply will be sufficient in the muscles. They also ensure a proper lubrication of all the joints. To warm up, you can make some golf swings without a ball. In addition to helping your muscles, warming up allows your brain and your nervous system to remember the right way to the golf swing. You can also jump up and do a bit of jogging in place to raise your heart rate. To prepare your shoulders to the effort, you can do some rotations with your arms for 15 seconds.

In addition to warmups, there is something else you can do before playing golf: consulting your chiropractor. What is the link between chiropractic and golf do you ask? In fact, the execution of a golf swing requires a good overall flexibility, good mobility of all joints of your body, good movement coordination, good balance and a precise activation of the muscles of the legs, back and shoulders. The chiropractor is an expert of the posture and of the biomechanics of your body. Therefore, your chiropractor will be able to detect movement restrictions in some of your joints and help you fix them. This way, each joint will be able to function properly and allow you a better swing. If you have posture problems that affect your golf swing, the chiropractor will also be able to help you fix them and contribute to improving your performance. Chiropractic treatments also prevent mechanical disorders that may predispose you to injury.

You’re not a golf fan? No problem! The recommendations mentioned above apply to all sports and physical activities that you are planning to do this summer. So for an active and painfree summer, call your chiropractor immediately.

Article inspired by a text published by the Association des chiropraticiens du Québec: “Performer au golf”

How to prevent injuries while traveling

How to avoid injuries while travelingFor this article, I decided to give a few recommendations to those of you who will have the chance to travel during the March break.

First, it is very frequent to get injured after lifting our luggages. To avoid injuries, try to lift using your legs and thighs instead of your back. The muscles in your legs are strong enough for this task compared to your back muscles. Also, remember to avoid doing any twisting movement of your back, especially if you have something heavy in your hands (your luggages). This type of movement creates a big stress on the back, especially on the small cushions (the intervertebral disc) located between the vertebrae.

If you travel by plane, it is recommended to use a pillow, a cushion or a rolled sweater to put on your lower back. This way, your back will be supported even if the seats are not comfortable. You can do the same on the beach if you use one of their lawn chairs, since this type of chair doesn’t provide much support for the lower back.

If you have enough space in your luggages, it could be a good idea to bring your own pillow. Since you can’t control the quality of the mattress you will have at the hotel, at least you will make sure to have a proper support for your neck.

For those of you traveling south, you will probably be tempted to wear scandals more than regular shoes. Be careful because some types of scandals are not providing much support for your feet and ankles. It could be a good idea to wear  a good pair of running shoes  once in a while to give your feet some rest.

Finally, there is no problem to enjoy a drink while relaxing on the beach. Just make sure to drink enough water to avoid any heat stroke or dehydration.

Happy March break to all travelers!

Chiropractic and winter sports

Chiropractic and winter sportsThis winter, even if the weather is unpredictable, some of us will practice sports like skiing or snowboarding. This article will give you a few tips to prevent you some sport-related injuries.

First, like in any other sports, it is very important to warm up before beginning to ski.  This step will make sure that your muscles are ready to perform the physical activity and will make sure that a signal is sent to your body to ensure proper blood flow in the muscles. To do so, you can go for a fast walk or you can hop up and down a few times.

Fortunately, there is more people now wearing helmet on ski hills. We evaluate to 77%* the proportion of skiers and snowboarders wearing helmet. Wearing a helmet helps to decrease cranial and cervical injuries, the two most common injuries related to skiing or snowboarding. In the past, a lot of people were hesitant about using a helmet because they were heavy, bulky and uncomfortable. However, the new generation of helmet has improved a lot. The helmets are now lighter and comfortable and they contribute to keep you warm. Consider buying one, it will be an investment for your health.

If you fall while skiing or snowboarding, it is recommended to consult a chiropractor in order for him to evaluate your spine. Don’t wait to have pain before consulting. Like any other condition, it is always easier to treat the problem when it starts instead of waiting for the condition to get worse. The chiropractor is trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting not only the spine but any joints of your body.

Have a good season!

This article is inspired by the publication: Sur les pistes, on se protège, de l’Association des chiropraticiens du Québec.

Chiropractic and benign positional vertigo

Chiropractic and benign positional vertigoToday’s article is on vertigo. Vertigo is usually described as a spinning sensation (loss of balance, dizziness). It is important to know that many health conditions can cause vertigo, from benign conditions to more severe conditions. This article talks about the most common form of vertigo: the benign positional vertigo.

This type of vertigo generally affects more women than men and is more frequent between 50 and 57 years old.

Many theories exist to explain the benign positional vertigo. One of the theories is the formation of small “particles” called “otoliths” in the semicircular canals of the inner ear. Those canals are filled with liquid and are responsible for sending signals to the brain concerning our position, thus contributing to our balance. When there are particles in the canals, wrong signals are sent to the brain, causing the spinning sensation.

The symptoms usually last a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the patient. Vertigo can be associated with nausea and vomiting. Generally, the vertigo is influenced by the position of the head.

What should you do if you are suffering from vertigo? It is recommended to consult your chiropractor in order for him to evaluate your condition. The chiropractor will try to determine the source of the vertigo. If the vertigo is caused by a condition that cannot be treated with chiropractic care, the chiropractor will be able to refer you to the appropriate health professional.  However, if you are suffering from benign positional vertigo, your chiropractor could be able to help you. A special maneuver called “Epley’s maneuver” exists in order to decrease the vertigo. Your chiropractor will be able to show you the technique and will give you recommendations to prevent the recurrence of the symptoms.

Chiropractic and posture at work

Chiropractic and posture at work

Lots of people spend most of their day sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. It is important to know that the sitting position causes lots of stress on the spine, even more if you are not sitting properly. Without being an ergonomist, it would be beneficial for many of us to take a few minutes in order to make sure our workstation is properly fitted. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Make sure your knees are flexed at 90 degrees.

2. Avoid sitting on the tip of your chair. Your back should be in contact with the back support. Also, it is always better to have a chair with a lumbar support (a small bump in the lower part of the back support that fits the lower back). If your chair doesn’t have a lumbar support, you can always use a cushion or a rolled towel to put on your lower back.

3. Your shoulders should be relaxed, your elbows bend at 90 degrees and your wrist in line with your forearm.

4. Make sure your computer screen is at the height of your eyes. This way, you won’t have to bend forward in order to see properly.

5. It is recommended to have a work desk with a keyboard tray large enough to put the keyboard and the mouse on it. When the keyboard or the mouse are on the top of the desk, your shoulder muscles (ex. The Trapezius muscles) are always under stress. This could lead to different problems like tendonitis, discomforts or headaches and migraines.

In addition to the evaluation of your workstation, it is also recommended to consult a chiropractor for a checkup of your spine. Even if you don’t have any pain or symptom, the prolonged sitting position may have created restrictions of movement of some vertebrae of your spine. The chiropractor will be able to evaluate your spine and correct those problems before they become more important.

The CSST (Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail) published an excellent document on the ergonomy of the workstation. Here’s  the link to have access to the document (this document was only available in French):

http://www.csst.qc.ca/publications/200/Pages/dc_200_614.aspx

School bags

school bag

School bags

It is already the beginning of September indicating the back to school season. On the shopping list for your kid’s school supplies, you probably have to purchase a school bag. The following text will guide you to buy the proper school bag.

A backpack or a bag with a shoulder strap?

While shopping for school supplies, you will see different kind of school bags. It is important to know that your best choice is always a backpack compare to a bag with a shoulder strap. The reason is simple, there are two straps on the backpack in order to distribute the weight evenly on both shoulders. Compare to the backpack, the bag with only one strap will put all the weight of the bag on only one shoulder, thus increasing the risk of causing posture problems or problems with some vertebrae of the spine.

The characteristics of a good backpack are:

– Padded straps in order to absorb the weight of the bag and for more comfort

– It is always better to have a small school bag ( this way you will keep the bag lighter)

– The bag should have a waist strap to transfer some of the weight on the pelvis

It is also very important to fit the bag properly. To do so, make sure that the top of the bag isn’t higher that the shoulders and that the bottom of the bag is at the pelvis height (the bag should not rub on the buttocks or the back of the thigh.

Don’t forget to keep the weight of the bag as light as possible. In fact, the weight of the bag shouldn’t be more than 10% to 15% of your child’s weight. Therefore, if your child’s weight is 100 pounds, the bag including all the school supplies shouldn’t be more than 10 to 15 pounds.

You may have thought about buying a bag with wheels. This may look like a good idea at first because you pull the weight instead of lifting it. However, sooner or later, you will have to lift the bag to go up the stairs or to put the bag in the car or the school bus.

It is also recommended to consult a chiropractor at the beginning of the school year for your kids. This way, the chiropractor will be able to verify the health of your kid’s spine and will be able to confirm the proper fit of their school bag.

Recommendations to prevent injury if you’re planning to get back to training

Getting back to training

For most of us, January is the best time of the year to get back into a good lifestyle, like eating properly and training on a regular basis. However, few things are important to remember when you are planning to get back to training.

First, choose a physical activity that you really like. It could be walking, training at the gym or even starting to use that Treadmill collecting dust in the basement. If you choose an activity that you really enjoy, you are decreasing the risks of stopping after only a few weeks. The secret is to have fun while doing something good for you.

My second advice is mainly for those who will train in a gym. I strongly recommend that you use the services of a personal trainer in order to select the right exercises for you and to have some coaching on how to perform those exercises. After a few weeks of training, you’ll be able to train by yourself if you want. Some exercises seem easier than they really are.

It is also important to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. If the intensity of your workouts increases too quickly, your body won’t have enough time to adapt and you are increasing the risk of injury.

Warm-ups and stretchings are also important.  Warm-up is usually done before the workout to promote an optimal blood flow in the muscles. The stretchings are beneficial after the workout to relax the muscles and to drain the lactic acid accumulated in the muscles.

To conclude, be careful of the “No pain, no gain” theory. After a workout, it is normal to have few discomforts that could last between 24 and 48 hours. However, pain during the workout or after 48 hours after the workout aren’t normal. If it is your case, consult your chiropractor immediately. Your chiropractor will be able to identify and correct the problem and will help you prevent injuries.

Chiropractic care, not only for back pain

Chiropractic care, not only for back pain

Chiropractic care is useful for a lot more than just back pain. In fact, the chiropractor is trained to improve the movement of any joint of your body. Here’s an example of a real patient I have seen at the office.

This patient consulted me because of a right foot pain. Two years before, that patient fell on the ice and broke his right ankle. The fracture was bad enough that it required a surgery to install some screws and metal pieces to stabilize the bones. After the surgery, the patient did some physiotherapy treatments in order to improve the strength and flexibility of his ankle. However, the foot pain persists. Sometimes, the pain was intense enough that he would start limping.

In my initial exam with this patient, I evaluated the movement of all the bones in the foot. I noticed that the movement of one of those bones, the cuboid, was particularly restricted. Thus, I performed chiropractic treatments on the cuboid in order to improve the movement. Immediately after the first treatment, the foot pain decreased of 50%. After the first week of treatment, the limping was almost totally gone. For the first time in two years, the patient was able to walk for a few hours without having to sit down.

This is a typical example of what chiropractic care can do for a condition other than back pain. In this case, the patient fractured his ankle but probably affected the normal movement of the other bones in his ankle and his foot.

If you have pain or discomforts affecting areas other than your back, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor of chiropractic. The chiropractor is trained to treat conditions affecting the hips, knees, ankles, feet, shoulder, elbows, wrist, etc.

Ice or heat?

Ice or heat

In the past, you may have injured yourself by doing a wrong movement or lifting a heavy charge. Maybe you thought of applying ice or heat on the sore area? But when should we apply ice instead of heat?

You must know that after an injury, inflammation will occur at the site of the injury. Inflammation is a normal reaction involved in the healing process. Therefore, pain, swelling and redness are usually associated with inflammation.

The best way to control the level of inflammation is to apply ice. Ice will decrease the diameter of the blood vessels around the injury and will help decrease the amount of inflammatory cells. The end result will be less pain and less swelling. However, you must remember that ice application shouldn’t be more than 10-15 minutes according to the site of injury and you should wait at least 1 hour between two ice applications. Why only 10-15 minutes of ice? Simply because the diameter of blood vessels will increase after 15 minutes of ice, causing increased inflammation. The icepack should always be wrapped in a thin cloth or towel to avoid direct contact with the skin.

So when should we apply heat? Heat is useful to reduce muscle tension. For example, after intense training, your muscles may be sore. Heat application in that case could help you feel better.

It is not always easy to determine if pain is caused by inflammation or muscle tension. My advice is: if you are not sure what to apply, apply ice instead of heat. Generally, ice application will not increase the pain, which is not the case for heat application. However, should the application of ice or heat increase the pain, stop the application and consult a doctor of chiropractic. He will be able to assist you. Finally, if you have applied ice for 24 hours (10-15 minutes/hour) and your pain is still present, contact a doctor of chiropractic. It may be a sigh that your injury is more important than you thought it was. Chiropractic care helps promote fast healing and decrease the risk of recurrence.