All Posts tagged Back Care Tips

Recreational activities to minimize stress and prevent back pain

Recreational activities to minimize stress and prevent back pain

Going to the chiropractor can help relieve pain and prevent injuries, but being active is also a great way to help keep your spine healthy. Just going for a brisk 10 minute walk each day is enough to help improve your health and prevent conditions of the spine, joints and supporting structures of the body. But there are also a few other recreational activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine to prevent back pain and reduce stress.

Here are a few suggestions and why you may benefit from them:

Yoga and Pilates:

Yoga and Pilates are forms of exercise that typically focus on moving the body while focusing on breathing and body awareness. The poses are purposeful and usually work a few areas of the body at once, including the back and leg muscles to build a stronger foundation for other movements. Also, the poses often focus on balance which can be important to prevent falls and injuries as we age. Compared to higher impact activities that cause added strain to the body, Yoga and Pilates are known to be ‘safe’ for healthy and even injured individuals. Yet, with most practices being keenly aware of your body is important and adapting movement to your skill level. However, regular practice has been shown to decrease back pain1. The great thing about Yoga and Pilates is that there are several types of classes catered to your specific skill and comfort level.

Aquafitness

Aquafitness is a dynamic, low impact activity that usually involves the entire body in movement, including the abdominals, gluteal, and leg muscles. Since the movements are done in water, the water adds extra resistance to strengthen muscles but also minimizes impact on your joints. Aquafitness has been shown to be an effective management tool for those suffering from certain MSK injuries allowing them to keep active. Notably, people suffering from low back pain2 may particularly benefit from aquafitness or gently swimming in water. Contact your local community centre or gym to see if aquafitness is part of their regular programming.

Tai Chi

This Chinese martial art focuses on meditative, deep breathing combined with methodical practice of slow movement enhancing mobility and balance among those who practice the art. Tai Chi is known to have major health benefits – even for those with back pain. Tai Chi can improve pain and function, while decreasing likelihood of chronic pain. It is a safe and effective activity for those experiencing long-term back pain symptoms3.

Other activities you may want to consider are low-impact cardiovascular exercises such as walking or striding on the elliptical machine. There are always alternatives to staying active, even when you experience pain. Some of these can even help relieve the pain.

If you’re looking for ways to stay active and relieve pain, meet with our team to discuss more options.

Sourced from CCA

1Sherman K,  Cherkin D, Wellman R, Cook A, Hawkes R,  Delaney K, Deyo R. A Randomized Trial Comparing Yoga, Stretching, and a Self-care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Dec 12; 171(22): 2019–2026.

2Ariyoshi MSonoda KNagata KMashima TZenmyo MPaku CTakamiya YYoshimatsu HHirai YYasunaga HAkashi H,Imayama HShimokobe TInoue AMutoh Y. Efficacy of aquatic exercises for patients with low-back pain. Kurume Med J. 1999;46(2):91-6.

3Hall AMMaher CGLam PFerreira MLatimer J. Tai chi exercise for treatment of pain and disability in people with persistent low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 Nov;63(11):1576-83.
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10 Chiropractic Research updates you need to know

10 Chiropractic Research updates you need to know

What impact is research having to advance healthcare, the chiropractic profession and patient care?

For the last decade, the Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation was working to achieve one goal—to place chiropractic researchers in Canadian universities for the first time in history. With the help of generous donors, this goal was successfully achieved in 2017.

Check out for yourself how donations are making a difference!

University Affiliation

  • 13 CCRF Research Chairs placed in universities across Canada—seven are tenured; two are tenure-track.
  • Chiropractic researchers are working with multidisciplinary health teams, educating medical students, breaking down barriers and building inter-professional networks.

Disease & Disability Prevention

  • Discovery of a therapy halting the progression of Degenerative Disc Disease, a condition that creates significant disability, expense and the highest number of disability-affected years globally.
  • Evidence-based treatment protocols developed for mechanical, degenerative and inflammatory spinal disorders.

Multidisciplinary Collaboration

  • Working with healthcare teams in Denmark, U.S, Switzerland, Australia, Cuba, Hong Kong, UK, South America and more.
  • Industry collaborations with CCGI, CCA, Provincial Associations, Research Manitoba, World Federation of Chiropractic, World Spine Care Research Committee, Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) and more.

Healthcare Integration

Patient Care and Practice Development

Sourced from CCA Blog

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High- and Low-Impact Activities for Everyone

High- and Low-Impact Activities for Everyone

It is no secret that at the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) we often promote the benefits of regular physical activity as a way to stay healthy and happy. In fact, the CCA thinks it’s so important that we’ve created a free app: Straighten Up Canada! The app is currently available for download via Apple StoreGoogle Play and Blackberry World. Featuring easy-to-follow exercises, it helps to improve your posture and allows you to stay active during your day!

Investing time to do activities or sports that you enjoy is key to healthy aging and an active lifestyle. Being physically active is often a good way to prevent and manage musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries as well as helping maintain strength and mobility. Varying your routine between high- and low-impact activities is a great way to modify your workouts and challenge the body. We’ve outlined some great suggestions for both so you can get up and get moving!

High Impact

High-impact exercise is typically described as an (often aerobic) activity where both feet leave the ground at the same time1. Often, high-impact activities may include exercise classes which involve jumping, leaping, or jogging in place. Doing high-impact exercise can put you at greater risk of injury if your body is not prepared, especially if you’re just starting out. Be cautious and adapt to a lower impact version of the activity if in doubt. Otherwise, before starting high-impact exercises make sure you have warmed-up.

Good examples of high-impact exercises are:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Jumping rope
  • Running or jogging on a treadmill (or outdoors)
  • Performing plyometric exercises

High-impact exercises tend to be more intense and expend more energy, so it’s important that if you’re doing high-impact exercises that you’re well-prepared. For some, high-impact exercises are not appropriate: they may increase the risk of injury, commonly to the ankles, knees, hips, and even the back. That being said, high-impact exercises can have a lot of great benefits too2:

  • Improves bone density
  • Increases an individual’s heart rate more quickly, thereby burning more calories
  • Improves a person’s stability, balance, and coordination
  • Strengthens the heart and lungs

Low Impact3

Low-impact exercise tends to be less jarring on the body and joints, and less intense overall. According to the American Council on Exercise, keeping at least one foot on the ground at all times also reduces your risk of musculoskeletal injury. Some examples include4:

  • Working out on an elliptical machine
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Using a rowing machine
  • Home exercise
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Nordic walking

It’s important to realize that low impact doesn’t mean low intensity (unless purposely designed to be so) because you can still get an intense workout keeping both feet on the ground. Low-impact exercises are great for beginners, people with arthritis or osteoporosis, older adults, individuals who are obese, pregnant women, and people with bone, joint, or connective tissue injuries.

Whichever form of physical activity you choose, make sure you do it safely.

Provided by the Canadian Chiropractic Association

References

1Amy Gonsalves, “High Impact versus low impact.” Diabetes Outside blog. April 19, 2011. https://blog.diabetesoutside.com/?p=1060

2Paige Waehner, “High Impact Exercise—Is High Impact Exercise Right for You?” VeryWell.com. May 2, 2016. https://www.verywell.com/is-high-impact-exercise-right-for-you-1230821

3Nicole Nichols, “low impact vs. high impact exercise: Which is right for you?” SparkPeople.com. April 14, 2010. https://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=fitness_defined_lowimpact_and_highimpact_exercises

4NHS, “Easy exercises.” NHS Choices. Page last reviewed: 01/03/2016. https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Lowimpact.aspx
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A beginner’s guide to outdoor running

A beginner’s guide to outdoor running

Chiropractor-approved tips

You’ve made the decision to take your cardio routine from the treadmill to the sidewalk – congratulations! You’re on your way to reaping some amazing benefits. If you’re feeling wary about transitioning your routine to a new location, we’ve got you covered. With a good pair of running shoes and some healthy preparation, you can get the most out of your running session outdoors.

Note: Running is a high-impact activity. If you’ve never run before, please consult a chiropractor/medical practitioner to ensure you won’t worsen any pre-existing conditions or cause injury to your joints.

Here are some tips to help get you started:

Warm up and cool down: Make sure you stretch before and after your run. Stretches are an essential part of your running routine to avoid injuries. Some important points to keep in mind:

  • Never stretch a cold muscle
  • Hold each stretch for a slow count of 30
  • Repeat twice on each side
  • Don’t overstretch—be comfortable
  • Don’t bounce when stretching

Pick a road or trail you are familiar with: When starting out, the last thing you want to worry about is getting lost. Before you lace up your sneakers, do some research: ask friends where they like to run, use online running forums to find popular routes, and check to see if your park has designated trails. The more popular and visible the trail, the better.

Wear the appropriate footwear: Adapt your shoes to your environment. A regular running sneaker works for the flat, predictable surface of a treadmill. But once you are outdoors, make sure the sneaker’s tread can handle the gravel, dirt roads, and slick trails. Runners should get a sneaker that supports the feet while having the appropriate sole to help maneuver and provide support over uneven surfaces.

Start slow: Running outside is more taxing on your muscles, joints and bones, making you more prone to injuries like shin splints. Start off with shorter distances on flat roads or trails. As your endurance improves, gradually increase your mileage and hill work.

Maintain a constant pace: Don’t feel compelled to push yourself to run at the same pace that you would on a treadmill. Start with moderate and comfortable pace that allows you to run safely, and gradually increase your speed over several weeks as your body allows.

If you’ve been running on a treadmill for a while, transitioning to the outdoors may take time. The mechanics of running on a stationary treadmill are different than running outside on an uneven surface.

Originally published June 2016 by the Canadian Chiropractic Association

1Shape Magazine, “Don’t make these mistakes when running. https://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/dont-make-these-mistakes-when-running-outdoors

2Popsugar, 4 things you need to know before running outside. https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Tips-Running-Outside-28328027
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The top 6 common myths about chiropractic treatment

The top 6 common myths about chiropractic treatment

Many Canadians continue to have questions about the role that chiropractors play in the healthcare team, and what benefit chiropractic care may have to their health.

1. Once you see a chiropractor you have to keep going back

This is false. When seeking care from a chiropractor, we will perform an assessment including a history and physical examination to determine the cause of the pain or dysfunction. From these observations, a diagnosis will be made and the treatment plan developed in collaboration with the patient – according to their needs and goals. The treatment plan will recommend a number of initial visits to see if the patient responds to care and scheduled re-evaluations. Depending on the patient and the condition, the recommended course of care may vary. Ultimately, the decision to continue care is yours. As a patient, if you have questions or concerns about care, you should feel comfortable to ask the chiropractor for more information on the recommendations made and address any concerns. The care plan should be part of a shared decision-making between the patient and practitioner.

 2. Chiropractors are not ‘real’ doctors

Chiropractors are regulated in all 10 Canadian provinces, and are designated to use the title “doctor” similar to physicians, optometrists and dentists after completing the extensive Doctor of Chiropractic degree program. Those professions who are recognized to use the “doctor” title have extensive training in their area of expertise that allows them to be diagnosticians – to provide a diagnosis.

Chiropractic care in Canada

 3. A medical doctor must refer you to a chiropractor

In all provinces in Canada, chiropractors are primary contact providers, which means you can access them directly. Due to the extensive training of chiropractors as diagnosticians, chiropractors will perform a comprehensive assessment to help determine a diagnosis or clinical impressions. Depending on the outcome, the chiropractor can discuss a course of care or refer to another healthcare professional, as needed. However, in some cases, you may need a referral to access coverage depending on your benefits provider.

4. There is no evidence to support the effectiveness of chiropractic care

Chiropractic treatment is at times questioned on its effectiveness. Yet, the chiropractic profession and others have invested significant resources to build a robust body of evidence studying the impact of manual therapies on MSK conditions. For example, spinal and joint manipulation has been shown to be effective treatment for acute and chronic MSK conditions, like back pain. In fact, spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is recommended as first line intervention for back pain in numerous clinical practice guidelines including the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force1, the American College of Physicians and American Pain Society2 as well as Britain’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence3.

 5. Chiropractors can only treat back pain

Chiropractors are musculoskeletal (MSK) experts and are trained in assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing biomechanical disorders that originate from the muscular, skeletal and nervous system. In addition to the evidence that supports chiropractic care in managing musculoskeletal complaints of the spine, there is also evidence that it supports chiropractic management of the extremities, headaches and even TMJ pain,5,6. Chiropractors are also able to provide lifestyle counselling about nutrition, fitness and ergonomics among others that may be useful in managing or preventing a variety of health conditions. The health of your MSK system doesn’t just start with a healthy spine, you need to be fully aware of your health to maintain a well-rounded healthy lifestyle!

 6. Adjustments are painful

In general, adjustments or joint manipulations do not hurt. In fact, many patients report immediate pain relief. Patients may be nervous about the ‘cracking’ or popping sound that may occur during an adjustment. The sound is believed to result from the release of gas bubbles from the joint – similar to cracking your knuckles!

Asking questions about your health and treatment options are very important. You are a partner in your care and your participation is critical to helping us provide the best care to meet your goal. To do so, as a profession, we strive to better understand what information you need to make those important decisions. We want to hear from you! If you have any questions beyond this blog about chiropractic treatment, visit a chiropractor in your area. To learn more about what to expect at your first chiropractic treatment, you can take a look at our online videos.

1Haldeman, S., Carroll, L., Cassidy, J., Schubert, J., & Nygren, A. (2008). The bone and joint decade 2000–2010 task force on neck pain and its associated disorders: Executive summary. Spine, 33(4S), S5-S7. 

2Chou, E., Qaseem, A., Snow, V., Casey, D., Cross, T., Shekelle, P., & Owens, D. (2007). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: A joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of Internal Medicine, 147(7), 478-491. 

3National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. (2009). Low back pain early management of persistent non-specific low back pain. Londres, Angleterre. 

4Hoskins, W., McHardy, A., Pollard, H., Windsham, R., & Onley, R. (2006). Chiropractic treatment of lower extremity conditions: a literature review. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 29(8), 658-671. 

5McHardy, A., Hoskins, W., Pollard, H., Onley, R., & Windsham, R. (2008). Chiropractic treatment of upper extremity conditions: a systematic review. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 31(2), 146-159. 

6Bryans, R., Descarreaux, M., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Reugg, R., White, E., & , (2011). Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 34(5), 274-289.
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7 Tips to Add Mindfulness to Your Routine and Reduce Stress

7 Tips to Add Mindfulness to Your Routine and Reduce Stress

Mindfulness; it’s become a popular topic for mental health and well-being, but what does it actually mean, and where does it come from? Mindfulness, a form of meditation, has its roots in Buddhism. It is one group of many meditation techniques that originated in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. Today, it is often practised to help with stress reduction.1

Most commonly, mindfulness meditation is used to help modify a person’s response to stress. A growing body of research shows that the practice is effective in reducing stress and improving mood, and may even help to improve cognition in older adults.2 It has also been shown to improve anxiety, sleep disturbances, stress, and chronic pain.

There are a few other reasons why mindfulness meditation is gaining in popularity: it involves low physical and emotional risk, is easy to implement, is not expensive, and it has the potential to empower people to be more actively engaged in their mental health.2

Many mindfulness exercises involve practising just that—being mindful. It involves focusing on breath, posture, and the space you occupy at the present moment. Often, even just adding a few minutes of meditation to your routine per day can make a big difference in your overall sense of mental well-being. Here are some tips to help add meditation to your daily routine3:

  1. Choose a time. Morning is a calm time in many people’s days, but choose what’s easiest for you and stick to it.
  2. Choose a place. Consistency of space can be helpful to ground your practice. Preferably choose a place that’s quiet and where you can sit quietly and relax for a few minutes each day.
  3. Choose a duration. It’s good to decide before you start how long you’re committed to. Start with five minutes, and slowly build upon it.
  4. Set an intention. At the beginning of each meditation, remind yourself why you are meditating that day.
  5. Set your posture. This is about more than spinal health: having a healthy posture increases alertness in your meditation, and it helps keep you focused. (There are more posture tips below.)
  6. Take a few deep inhales, and a few deep exhales, allowing your body to unwind. As you breathe out, focus on relaxing different muscles and areas of the body with each breath, moving in one direction up (or down) the body.
  7. Choose an object of attention. Not necessarily a physical object, but a point of focus, such as the breath as it flows in and out of the nostrils, or the chest, as it rises and falls with each breath. With a relaxed body and an open posture, this keeps your meditation focused on the present.

Remember, concentration involves placing your attention on one thing or in one place. Mindfulness is noticing everything in its purest form, moment-to-moment. Neither of these things come easily. Meditation is a practice, not just an activity, so it takes time to develop it as a skill unto itself.3

Here are a few tips for setting your posture: try sitting on a chair or cushion. When you first start each meditation, it’s best to find back support in a chair or sit with your back against a wall to maintain a straight-back position. In this position, let the rest of your body hang freely. You can rest your hands on your knees or lap. When you let your eyes close, you allow yourself to bring the attention inward to the body, and to the present moment.3

If you’re able to sit a little bit each day and be mindful of the present moment, not only will you experience noticeable benefits like the ones listed above, the practice will become easier. Commit to what’s possible for you, and stick with it. Happy meditating!

References

  1. Horowitz S. Health Benefits of Meditation: What the Newest Research Shows. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2010; 16(4): 223-8. doi:10.1089/act.2010.16402.
  1. Morone N, Greco C, Weiner D. Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: A randomized controlled pilot study. Pain. 2008; 134(3): 310-9. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2007.04.038.
  1. How to Meditate | New York Insight Meditation Center. Nyimcorg. 2016. Available at: https://www.nyimc.org/how-to-meditate/. Accessed November 4, 2016.

Source: CCA Blog

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How a Lack of Sunshine in the Winter Can Impact Your Bone Health

How a Lack of Sunshine in the Winter Can Impact Your Bone Health

Vitamin D, often known as the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in your bone health.1 It is mostly made by the body through exposure to sunlight. This is unique to vitamin D since most vitamins come from the foods you eat.1 Having too much or too little vitamin D in your body can affect the amount of calcium in your bones and can take a toll on your overall bone health:

  • Low levels of vitamin D can lead to decreased bone mass (osteoporosis) which can increase your risk of fractures.1
  • Too much vitamin D can lead to calcium deposits in the kidneys (kidney stones), or calcium build-up in other soft tissues like the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.2

More than 90% of a person’s vitamin D requirement tends to come from casual exposure to sunlight.3This poses some unique challenges for those whose environments limit their exposure to the sun.2 For example, in Canada and other countries in the northern hemisphere during the winter months, people are exposed to less ultraviolet light. This means in the winter in Canada our bodies produce little to no vitamin D.1 Statistics Canada reported that, in the winter months, 40% of Canadians had vitamin D levels that were below the recommended range.1 In the summer, that number is much smaller, but still a whopping 25%.1 This means that as a northern country, we often lack the exposure to ultraviolet light that is needed for enough vitamin D to be made in the body year-round.

You can get vitamin D naturally from a few foods, including egg yolks or fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel.1 In Canada, some foods are fortified with vitamin D by law to prevent the risk of vitamin D deficiency in the general population, including milk, soy milk, rice beverages, and margarine.4

This winter, increase your vitamin D intake and keep your bones strong by reading nutritional labels and seeking out products during your regular grocery shop that are fortified with vitamin D. It also never hurts to add a little bit more sunlight to your day!

For questions about keeping your bones (and the rest of your spine, muscle, and nervous system) in good health this winter (and throughout the year), you can ask Dr. Luciano Di  Loreto & Associates.

 

References

  1. Vitamin D blood levels of Canadians. Statcangcca. 2015. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm. Accessed October 17, 2016.
  1. Vitamin d and calcium: updated dietary reference intakes – nutrition and healthy eating – health Canada. Hc-scgcca. 2016. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/vitamin/vita-d-eng.php. Accessed October 17, 2016.
  1. Holick M. Vitamin D: important for prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers. Southern Medical Journal. 2005;98(10):1024-1026. doi:10.1097/01.smj.0000140865.32054.db.
  1. Food sources of vitamin D. Dietitians of Canada. 2014. Available at: http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx. Accessed October 17, 2016.
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3 Easy Core Exercises to Support Your Low Back

3 Easy Core Exercises to Support Your Low Back

Your core muscles are essential for supporting your back, stabilizing nearby joints, and reducing the risk  of injury.1 A stable core helps to maintain the integrity of the spinal column and if it isn’t stable, you may experience low back pain.2 The good news is that there are a few exercises you can do to help reduce or even prevent low back pain.3,4

Below are three core exercises developed by Dr. Stuart McGill designed to increase your endurance, support your core, and, ultimately, protect your back5:

  1. Modified Curl-up: Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other straight. Place your hands under the arch of the low back and maintain the arch during the modified curl-up. Start by bracing your abdomen by bearing down through your belly and focus your gaze at one point in the ceiling. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground about 30° while keeping your neck and spine in line. Make sure your chin remains tucked, rather than pointing at the ceiling during the movement. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 curl-ups.5 

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  1. Side Bridge: Lie on your side and prop yourself up on your elbow, which should be placed directly under your shoulder. Keep your legs straight, and put your top foot on the ground in front of your bottom foot. Place your top hand on your bottom shoulder. Maintain the natural curve of your spine, brace your abdomen, squeeze your gluteal muscles, and lift your hips off the ground. Hold for 8 to 10 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side. If that’s too easy, increase the number of repetitions rather than the length of time.5 

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  1. Bird Dog: Begin on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Brace your abdomen and squeeze your gluteal muscles. Lift your right arm straight in front of you until it is level with your shoulder and squeeze your muscles between your shoulder blades. At the same time, straighten your left leg straight back until it is level with your hips, keeping your hips square to the floor. Return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner and switch sides. That is one repetition. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.5 

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Core exercises are just one of many ways to support your back and to help with back pain. Dr. Luciano Di Loreto & Associates at Fit for Life Wellness & Rehabilitation Centre are is trained to offer a range of treatments which includes guidance on strengthening exercises.

 

References

  1. Abdelraouf OR, Abdel-aziem AA. The relationship between core endurance and back dysfunction in collegiate male athletes with and without nonspecific low back pain. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016; 11(3): 337-44.
  2. Gordon R, Bloxham S. A systematic review of the effects of exercise and physical activity on non-specific chronic low back pain. Healthcare. 2016; 4(2): 22.
  3. Willson JD, Dougherty CP, Ireland ML, Davis IM. Core stability and its relationship to lower extremity function and injury. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2005; 13(5): 316-25.
  4. Chang WD, Lin HY, Lai PT. Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015; 27(3): 619-22. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.619.
  5. Callaghan J. ‘THE BIG 3’ EXERCISES FOR YOUR CORE – RunWaterloo [Internet]. RunWaterloo. 2014 [cited 8 September 2016]. Available from: http://runwaterloo.com/the-big-3-exercises-for-your-core/. Accessed November 18, 2016.

Sourced from the CCA Blog

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Understanding Osteoarthritis: Learn more about the risks

Understanding Osteoarthritis: Learn more about the risks

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. In fact, it is a growing epidemic in Canada which is only expected to rise as the population ages. Osteoarthritis is described as the “degeneration of joint cartilage and underlying bone” often resulting in pain and stiffness. Even though osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, the most commonly affected joints are in the hands, knees, hips and spine. It is often considered as “wear and tear”; however, it is believed instead that it may be due to abnormal stress or injury to the joint(s).

What we know is that osteoarthritis affects one in ten Canadians. By 2040, it is estimated that approximately 470,000 Canadians will suffer from osteoarthritis1. Unfortunately, for many, osteoarthritis is a painful condition that can make daily activities very difficult.

To best manage the symptoms and prevent the progression of the condition, it is important to pay attention to early signs. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are options that can reduce the risk and relieve pain, stiffness and improve function.

Here are some early signs to take note of2:

  • Joint stiffness: Aching, pain and/or stiffness usually occur in the morning or after a period of inactivity and once movement resumes. Typically, stiffness may decrease after about 30 minutes.
  • Joint swelling: A person may notice some swelling in the joints and a reduction in range of motion.
  • Joint crepitus: The joint may grind, grate or experience a crackling sensation, commonly accompanied by a cracking sound.
  • Pain: Pain is usually worse after activity and improves with rest. Early on, the pain may only be triggered by high-impact activities but as it progresses, there may be more frequent episodes of pain. The joint pain or discomfort may affect the person throughout day.

Here are some tips to help manage the condition and prevent progression:

Exercise: Exercise can help manage symptoms while increasing your endurance and strengthening the muscles that help support the joints. Good options for activity include walking, biking and swimming. Download the Straighten Up Canada app for easy to follow exercise videos. Get moving!

Weight management: Excess weight can be an important risk factor due to the additional stress put on your weight-bearing joints. Even a small amount of weight-loss can help reduce pain and limit further joint damage.

Mobility: Gentle stretching may help improve flexibility and mobility, while decreasing stiffness and pain. Exercises like yoga and tai chi can help manage stiffness.

Heat and cold: Applying heat and cold can help relieve pain when aggravated. Heat can relieve stiffness, while ice may help with pain.

Manual therapy: Manual therapy can help provide treatment not only for pain management, but help improve function and prevent progression. Addressing biomechanical dysfunctions can help relieve pressure on joints.

Positive attitude: Studies have demonstrated that a positive attitude can help increase a person’s ability to manage pain.

Like all medical conditions, it’s important to ask questions and get the appropriate information to best manage the symptoms and slow down progression. Osteoarthritis can alter the way you live your life, speak to chiropractor Dr. Luciano Di Loreto & Associates today.

Sourced from Canadian Chiropractic Association

References

1 Claire Bombardier, The Impact of Arthritis in Canada: Today and over the Next 30 Years, https://www.ergoresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Impact%20on%20arthrisis%20in%20Canada_Today%20and%20over%20the%20next%2030%20years.pdf 

2Arthritis Society of Canada, Osteoarthritis, https://arthritis.ca/understand-arthritis/types-of-arthritis/osteoarthritis
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