Acupuncture helps Neck Pain!

Acupuncture has been practised for centuries in China and surrounding countries for treatment and management of pain. Over the last few decades, there has been a growing amount of research conducted in Asia, North America and Europe in the area of dry needling and acupuncture which involves the use of thin filiform needles applied to various areas of the body.

In the case of chronic neck pain, nerve signals that were active during initial acute injury continue to send signals to the body that it is in pain long after the initial injury has healed - lasting anywhere from weeks to years. New research has suggested that it may be due to a malfunction in the way the brain maps sensory information. Not only can acupuncture modulate the signals to the brain through neuropathways, but it can improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension and trigger points, decrease inflammation as well as increase body's own opioid production. Its ability to regulate sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems explains why acupuncture can also be effective for stress or anxiety related neck tension.

In a 2015 randomized control trial comparing 12 acupuncture sessions performed within 3-4 months plus usual care (prescribed medications and visits to GPs, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals) vs. usual care alone for individuals with an average of 6 years of neck pain, found that the acupuncture group showed a significant reduction in pain and improved function at 12 months. It was also found that at 6 and 12 months, self efficacy was greater with the acupuncture plus usual care group compared to usual care alone.

Your therapist at EQ Physio can use acupuncture to treat your chronic neck pain. A detailed assessment carried out will determine if you are a good candidate for acupuncture. Typically, you will experience significant changes after the first two weeks (4 sessions) of acupuncture. This would follow with two more weeks of bi-weekly sessions and a gradual decrease in frequency with frequent re-evaluation of your condition.

If you are having problems with your neck, contact the clinic today so we can get you on a path to recovery as soon as possible. We're conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Judy Wu

Juny Wu is a Registered Physiotherapist. She has an advanced certification in neuroanatomical acupuncture and is involved with teaching at a Neuro-meridian Acupuncture program.

Achilles tendon pain

What is it the Achilles tendon?

The Achilles tendon is the large cord-like structure at the back of the ankle. It is responsible for transferring the muscle forces generated by the calf, which in turn allows you to roll onto the ball of your foot during walking and running. This tendon can withstand tremendous stress – it can tolerate forces of greater than 1000 pounds. However, it is also a tendon that can become inflamed and injured. Most tendon injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear from overuse or aging. Anyone can have a tendon injury but people who make repetitive movements in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon.

Signs you are having a problem with your Achilles?

Symptoms include pain (in the tendon or where it attaches to the heel bone), swelling, weakness in the leg, and morning stiffness. Discomfort that resolves as the day progresses, is common.

What can we do?

At EQ Physio we often see clients that experience chronic Achilles pain. Recent studies have shown that a certain Achilles condition called tendinosis, responds very well to a specific program of eccentric loading to stretch and strengthen the tendons. Given enough time and proper technique, we can help these patients recover from a problem that may have been bothersome for several months.

Who do you know that is experiencing Achilles or some other type of foot pain? There is a good chance that we can help – contact us today! Our clinic is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Aquatic exercise benefits

Aquatic exercise is one of the best ways to take the load off your joints while enjoying a cardio and strength-building workout. Here are some fun facts: did you know that you weigh 50% less when you stand in waist deep water? Did you know you weigh 90% less when you are submerged in water up to your neck?

Here are some great reasons to try water-based exercise:

  • Increase muscle strength– a recent study found that after 12 weeks of regular aquatic aerobic exercise, participants had made significant gains in strength, flexibility and agility.
  • Build endurance – Unlike traditional weights, which require the human body to push and pull against the weight plus gravity, water resistance is a more natural resistance which requires the body to strain through the water rather than against it.
  • Increase flexibility – As the body is subject to water resistance during water aerobic exercise – which requires movement in various directions while adjusting to the push and pull of water – the joints naturally increase their range of motion and your flexibility improves.
  • Low-impact exercise – the impact on your joints during weight-bearing exercise can be hard on your joints. The buoyancy that happens during water exercise lessens the impact on joints. This is very beneficial to people with arthritis or anyone undergoing physical rehabilitation.
  • Relieve stress and decrease anxiety – engaging in water-related activities is great for reducing stress, and can help alleviate anxiety and depression.
  • Burn calories – your body gets a full workout in water as it combines strength training and cardio, with the bonus of water resistance, it’s possible to burn between 400 to 500 calories an hour.
  • Reduce blood pressure – the water resistance works with your blood and enables it to flow and circulate more effectively throughout the body, effectively decreasing blood pressure and decreasing your heart rate – so your heart is being productive with less stress.
  • Cooling exercise – water aerobics are a cool activity no matter what time of year it is.
  • Social fun – since they aren’t limited to any age group or skill level, water aerobics are a great activity for anyone!

If you have aching, arthritic joints, do yourself a favour, and book an assessment with us to see if an aquatic exercise program is right for you. It could be one of the best things you ever do for yourself! Contact our clinic today – we’re conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Strength training

Muscular strength is a muscle’s ability to generate force. The purpose of strength training is to increase muscle and connective tissue size, density, and toughness. Bigger muscles and stronger connective tissues are less prone to injury and aid in long term weight management. Muscle tissue also burns more calories than fat when the body is at rest.

Strength training will also improve muscular endurance, or the muscles ability to perform repeated muscle contractions over a prolonged period. Muscle endurance is important for sitting, standing, walking, running, and any other activities of daily living. For example, consider sitting and surfing the web for an hour or more. Your neck muscles hold up your head (which weighs 12-15 pounds) for all that time. Now, that is muscular endurance!

Developing strength

A warm-up is important to increase tissue temperature and flexibility before heavy demands are placed on the muscles. Walk or cycle at a moderate intensity for 5-10 minutes before strength training.

  • Mix up your exercises – don’t work the same muscle groups every day.
  • Work slowly with a focus on proper technique-this will make you more efficient.
  • Strengthening activities can be temporarily painful (typically 24-48 hours later).
  • Concentrate on activities that isolate specific muscle groups.
  • A gentle progression of stress on muscles will increase muscular strength.
  • Moderation is key to avoiding injury
  • Perform 2-4 sets of 12-20 repetitions of an individual exercise (i.e. repeat the movement 24-80 times total).
  • It is important to rest. Your muscles need time to recover after a workout. When you strengthen, you break down the muscles; however, unlike any machine, the body recovers and becomes stronger in response to the stress.

Want to strengthen your muscles but not sure where to begin? Or worried about aggravating an injury? Contact us to book a physiotherapy assessment and we’ll get you on the right track. EQ Physio is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Take the Toe-ga foot test

Gabe Ho, Registered Massage Therapist is a graduate of the Royal Canadian College of Massage, McMaster Contemporary Medical Acupuncture, and McMaster Advanced Neurofunctional Sports Performance Programs and a member of the College of Massage Therapists. He uses a neurofunctional approach for his massage and acupuncture treatments to identify and correct the underlying causes of dysfunction.

 

When treating the foot, I always start by focusing there. Where do you feel the weight distribution – inside, outside, heel, mid-foot, toes? Calluses, bunions, Morton’s Neuroma, and bruised toe nails are signs that the foot is unable to distribute the weight properly. Now consider if the first point of contact to the ground can’t distribute the weight properly what that means for the rest of the body… knees, hip, back.

Then we discuss the importance of foot and toe mobility:

  • Can you move the toes?
  • Do the bones in the foot move?
  • Does the ankle have good control?
  • Are the muscles in the foot able to handle the forces?

Usually one or more of these aren’t performing optimally resulting in some sort of discomfort.

You can check some of this at home by doing some Controlled Articular Rotations or C.A.R.S. This is a seemingly simple exercise however in practice it can be very difficult. You need to isolate the ankle range of motion by preventing the shin from compensating – put your opposite arm under your bent knee, and hold on to other arm’s wrist. That hand will now hold the shin and prevent it from rotating when you turn your ankle. Now with the ankle make the biggest and slowest clock possible. Does the foot catch and skip? How much time have you lost from the ankle clock?

Another good test is the TOE-GA (click here to see video) can you move that big toe independently from the other toes?

As a Neurofunctional Practitioner I start by educating on shoe selection. Next, we aid in the foot correction by releasing the abnormal tension thereby allowing the bones to move more optimally and activating the inhibited muscles, so the foot does not collapse with the force of impact. The rest is up to you – TOE-GA HOMEWORK!!

Are you specifically having pain in your heels – check out our blog post here to see if it could be plantar fasciitis.

If you are having problems with your feet, contact the clinic today so we can get you on a path to recovery as soon as possible. We’re conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.

Balance prevents falls

Balance is something that we often take for granted. If you have ever had a fall, you know that it can happen without warning and can have serious consequences.
  • One in four people that live at home, and are over the age of 65, will fall within the next year.
  • Sixty percent of all falls occur in the home.
In the senior population, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. Falls are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. It isn’t surprising that so many seniors fall if you analyze their life situation. For example, many seniors are on medications, many of which have the side effects of dizziness or disorientation. Some seniors do not participate in any type of regular exercise program, so their bodies aren’t well-conditioned . They often suffer from arthritis pain, or might be overweight and sedentary. Considering these factors, it becomes clear why falls are so common.

How can you decrease your chance of falling?

  • Do not use loose rugs in your home.
  • Identify slippery conditions/uneven surfaces and eliminate them.
  • Secure any loose telephone and lighting cords.
  • Make sure rooms are well-lit and furniture is spaced so that it is easy to walk around.
Wood floors covered with carpet resulted in a significantly reduce risk of hip fractures in the elderly. When looking at forces generated with impact on carpet-covered wood floors verses other surfaces, results indicate that if a person lands on a carpet-covered wood floor, the odds of breaking a hip are significantly less and the impact forces were much lower. Balance is something that often declines with age. We become more sedentary and no longer challenge our body with physical activities. The good news is that balance can be regained and if you follow a few simple tips, you can reduce your chance or the chance of a loved one from falling. Good calf flexibility can help your ankle and foot work more efficiently, reduce impact, and decrease fatigue. A flexible arch and toes can reduce foot and heel pain. We can develop a program for you to increase your strength and flexibility today to help prevent in the future!

The physiotherapists at EQ Physio are balance experts!

Our modern clinic is accessible, with free parking right out front, and is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville – we’re here to help!