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.

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”

Chiropractic and pelvic pain

Chiropractic and pelvic painOne of the most common source of pain in the lower back is probably the irritation of the pelvic joint, also known as a “sacroiliac syndrome”. The pain associated with this problem can be intense enough for the patient to be forced to stop some of his common daily activities. The pain is generally localized just above the buttock and can shoot down in the buttock, the thigh or even to the ankle. Even if the pain pattern could be different from one patient to another, the aggravating factors are usually: sitting for a long period of time, bending forward or sideways, turning in bed, standing for a long time, etc.

Why is it so frequent? Probably because this condition can be caused by so many reasons: sitting the wrong way, sleeping with a torsion in the lower back, playing sports stressful for the lower back (hockey or golf, for example), bad posture, wrong movements, repetitive movements, accidents, pregnancy, etc. Also, there is no age group for this condition. As a chiropractor, I’m treating as many young teenagers for this problem because they are playing soccer for example, that I’m treating adults working in a sitting position the whole day or construction workers. This problem is also very common among pregnant women, mainly because of the increased laxity of the ligaments of the back and because of the increasing weight of the baby.

What is the solution for this problem? Good news! Chiropractic care is usually very effective for this condition. After making sure the pain you have is caused by an irritation of the pelvic joint, the chiropractor will perform a manipulation of the affected joint. The goal of the treatment is to correct the alignment and the movement of the sacroiliac joint in order to stop the production of inflammation. The chiropractor will also work the muscles around the joint because they could also represent a source of pain. Also, the chiropractor will review your activities and your habits with you in order to identify the possible reasons why you developed the problem. Therefore, you will be able to apply the changes needed to avoid a recurrence of the problem. You and your chiropractor are working as a team to not only correct the problem, but also prevent the recurrence of it.

If you think you are suffering from an irritation of the pelvis, contact your chiropractor today. There is not point of suffering from a condition like this when a solution so simple and effective exists.

Enjoy the spring!

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 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):

The carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome

If you have numbness in your hands, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are suffering from a carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, there are many health conditions causing those symptoms. If you are suffering from those symptoms, you should consult a chiropractor in order to determine the exact source of your problem.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The carpal tunnel syndrome represents a compression of the median nerve, the nerve responsible for the sensitivity of the thumb, the index, the middle finger and a small part of the ring finger. The median nerve could be compressed at the wrist when traveling towards the fingers. Generally, the symptoms associated with a carpal tunnel syndrome are numbness and pain in the first four fingers of the hand. The pain is frequently felt at night and could even affect the patient’s sleep. In severe cases, some muscle weaknesses could be found in the hand.

The pronator teres syndrome

The pronator teres syndrome looks similar to the carpal tunnel syndrome. In both cases, the median nerve is affected. However, in the pronator teres syndrome, the median nerve is compressed at the forearm by a muscle called the pronator teres instead of at the wrist. The symptoms are usually not common at night and muscle weaknesses are rare.

Compression of blood vessels

The blood vessels traveling from the shoulder to the hand could become compressed by different structures like muscles or ligaments. If it is the case, numbness and a swelling feeling in the fingers could be felt. The name of this condition is a thoracic outlet syndrome.

As you can see, many conditions could be responsible for numbness in the hands. The chiropractor is trained to perform different tests in order to make the difference between one condition and another. The type of treatment needed will then be determined. As usual, if you have those symptoms, don’t wait before consulting a chiropractor. It is usually easier to correct a health condition right when it starts.

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.

The healing process

Healing process

In this article, I decided to answer to a very common question I have at the office: how long will it take to treat my condition? Here is the answer to that question.

The time is takes to treat your health condition depends on the following factors:

– The nature of your injury

– Your general health condition and your habits

– The goals you want to achieve concerning this injury

– Your implication in your care

The nature of your condition

Of course, the time it takes to treat your injury depends on its nature. For example, a muscle injury heals generally faster than a ligament injury, simply because of the good blood flow found in the muscle compare to the ligament. The same phenomenon if you have a disc injury versus a pelvic injury, the disc injury will usually take more time to heal. This is why the chiropractor will take the time to perform a complete chiropractic exam, in order to establish a precise chiropractic diagnosis. Based on the established chiropractic diagnosis, the chiropractor will be able to give you a better evaluation of the healing time it usually takes for the condition. It is also important to consider the time that passed by between the beginning of the condition and your consultation. Usually, a recent problem is easier to treat compared to a chronic condition, in other words a problem you had for many weeks or months.

Your general health condition and your habits

The nature of your injury isn’t the only factor to consider. Your general health condition and your habits are also very important. Researches showed that smoking decreases the blood flow to the disc between the vertebrae. Therefore, if you are a smoker and you have a disc injury, your condition may take more time to heal and the risk of recurrence may be higher. Other factors could increase the healing time like: if you have a very strenuous work, if you had the same problem a few times in the past or if you have a poor general health condition (especially cardiovascular). It is exactly to evaluate those factors that the chiropractor will ask you many questions concerning your general health and habits.

Your objective concerning this injury

When the nature of your injury will be determined, the chiropractor will want to know your objective concerning this problem. For example, is your main goal to get rid of the pain or do you want to fix the weaknesses responsible for the recurrence of this problem?

Based on your objective, the chiropractor will be able to recommend you the type of chiropractic care you need. You’ll have the choice between symptomatic care, corrective care or preventive care.

Symptomatic care:  The main goal of this type of chiropractic care is to decrease the pain as fast as possible so you can go back to your normal activities. Generally, the frequency of care is higher with this type of care in order to improve your condition as quickly as possible.

Corrective care: The absence of pain doesn’t mean that the healing process is over. The improvement of your symptoms may indicate that the irritation decreased but doesn’t indicate that the condition is healed. It is exactly for this reason that some patients hurt themselves again not long after being back at their regular activities. For those who want to decrease the risk of recurrence of their condition, corrective care is for them. Generally, in this type of care, the frequency of care is decreased and exercises are prescribed in order to strengthen the weaknesses responsible for relapses.

Preventive care: This type of care represents a regular check up of your condition in order to detect and correct dysfunctions right at the beginning. As mentioned earlier, it is usually easier to treat a recent problem than a chronic problem.

Your implication in your care

The last factor is your implication in your care. The chiropractor’s responsibility is to give you the most adapted treatment for your condition and the best recommendations possible. However, you have the choice to follow the recommendations or not. Usually, the healing time is faster if you follow the recommended advices.

As you can see, the time it takes to treat an injury depends on many factors. After the initial exam at the chiropractic office, the chiropractor will be able to give a better idea of the time it’ll take to treat your condition. Don’t forget that you are always free to start or stop your care. The chiropractor’s goal is to give you all the tools you need to get better, but you are always free to use them or not.