By definition osteoarthritis is a chronic degeneration of the articular cartilage and subchondral part of bone in joints. Healthy cartilage is resilient and able to yield under compression and recover when the weight has been removed. This is partially due to the fact that cartilage is 80% water! Osteoarthritis can be as a result of years of biomechanical stress or have no known cause. It is one of the oldest known conditions, and as a result massage has been it’s primary treatment for eons, with mention of massage as treatment in by Hippocrates in 400 BC and Chinese writings as far back as 3000 BC .
In the early stages the ends of the bone where the cartilage resides start to break down. Initially the response is for the joint to swell as the body attempts to heal itself. However because cartilage has little or no blood supply this inflammatory response is ineffective. This stage may last for years.
Over time the number cells that cause the inflammatory response lessen and the cartilage thins and softens, forming ridges and portions of the cartilage start to break off into the joint space. Eventually the more sensitive subchondral bone becomes exposed. Later as the subchondral bone remodels and thickens, and the exposed surface becomes polished from the constant bone on bone contact. Small fractures and cysts appear and weaken the bone structure. In an attempt to support the joint, new bone and cartilage grow at the ends of the joint called bone spurs or osteophytes altering the shape of the joint and restricting movement, as well as compressing nerve roots, such as in the spine. Muscles in both stages may tighten and go into spasm.
Massage can complement to a complete osteoarthritis pain management program(exercise, proper nutrition , drug therapies, stress management, hydrotherapy) -after correct medical diagnosis by your doctor or rheumatologist- for all stages by addressing the symptoms- loosening tight muscles, increasing local blood flow, and increasing range of motion-how far you can move! It can also help with the stress of the condition- by enhancing your sense of well being, so you can get on with your day, be it work or play!
To book a visit with Jennifer to see how she can help you with your osteoarthritis pain contact Ultimate Sports Therapy today!
Frozen shoulder aka adhesive capsulitius is a painful shoulder and arm condition that tends to affect women between the ages of 40-70. It is called this not because it makes you feel cold, but frozen and stiff in the sense of a frozen statue! It can resolve on its own in two years, but several studies have shown it can affect people for 5- 10 years. It generally happens in 3 stages. The first is the acute or “freezing” the shoulder is very painful and you are unable to move it much, if at all. The second is the “frozen” stage- lasting roughly 4-12 months-where the arm increases in motion, there is less pain, but there are adhesions within the joint capsule itself. The most notable area of adhesion is the biceps tendon with the subscapularis (the back of your rotator cuff) tendon. This results in the rotator cuff muscles adhering to the glenoid rim- the part of the shoulder blade that is attaches to the humerus ( arm bone) . Causing the joint to thicken and tighten the third is the “thawing phase” or chronic stage, where motion and function returns, however full motion entirely may not be regained. There is no longer pain at nighttimes.
What causes Frozen Shoulder?? In some cases, maintaining a hyperkyphotic posture (the position of sitting at a computer all day, taking care of babies or aging parents) can cause an alteration of the scapuohumeral (the shoulder blade and your arm) alignment. Systemic medical conditions seem to predispose people to it- such as diabetes, thyroid conditions, and Parkinsons
It is important to seek treatment in the acute phase as soon as possible as this corresponds heavily to the recovery time required. I have treated several clients in the past with this condition successfully, by giving clients a compressive treatment plan.
Book your appointment today to see how I can help you!
Hyper -what? Being prone to sports injuries: sprains, and the pains getting on your nerves.
I would definitely say that at least ten percent of my clients suffer from the consequences of hypermobility. Seven of those due to body type, and three percent because they were pregnant or are currently.
The definition is an increased range of motion (ROM) at a joint. This can occur in one spot or be an overall condition. Hypermobility can be graded by utilizing a point system that measures the flexibility of specific joints called The Brighton Scale- to determine the extent of their Hypermobility. I use it when I suspect someone’s discomfort or injury may be due to this condition.
They may be further at risk for musculoskeletal symptoms and injuries such as sprains, tendinitis, and nerve entrapments (like carpal tunnel syndrome). Of these approximately five percent of these present with Hypermobility Syndrome- muscle and joint pain, tendonitis, hyperextensible skin, and structural heart problems. Women and children tend to be more susceptible than men, especially when pregnant. This is due to the fact that a hormone named relaxin is released during pregnancy to allow the joints and ligaments to help with the labour and delivery of the child. This hypermobility remains noticeable in the pelvis, ankle and feet.
Also certain other conditions predispose people to Hypermobility. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA- an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joints causing inflammation and breakdown of connective tissues) results in Hypermobility of the affected joints. Ehlers-Danolos Syndromes is an inherited disorder that are hallmarked by overall excessive joint hypermobility often to the point of dislocations. Those that have Marfans syndrome-generally unusually tall and thin body types-where elastin (the protein that is found in connective tissue)- is fragmented, characterized by symptoms ranging from eye and to heart problems.
Other causes of hypermobility would be due to occupation or activity- such as an acrobatics or gymnast, Compensation due to lack of motion elsewhere in the body, or trauma to a joint- such as an ankle sprain. This can result in sore and tight muscles as they rally to hold the joint together in an attempt to compensate for the lack of stability formerly provided by the ligaments that have overstretched. The joint capsule itself can become overstretched. This is why strengthening and always maintaining that muscle strength becomes important, and where I evaluate the clients’ relative strength and provide appropriate exercise.
If you suspect you suffer from this condition, be it in your shoulders or all over, feel free to contact me at Ultimate Sports Therapy for your free initial assessment as how I can help you with your pain today!
Myofascial Release has gained enormous popularity among osteopathic and manual therapy practitioners in recent years. There has been an enormous amount of research and information of the effectiveness of these techniques, and they all point to breakthroughs in therapy for patients. Let’s break down what Myofascial release is and explore why it is so effective.
Myofascial release can be broken down into two words. “Myo” meaning muscle, and “fascial” which is relating to the fascia. Since most of you know what muscle is, I will spend the next few minutes discussing what fascia is and its importance in the body.
So, basically, every little piece of connective tissue in the body is called fascia. All of the extra “stuff” between the muscles and between the organs is of incredible importance to the body. There is so much fascia in the body that if you were to take strip everything else away, you would still see a perfect silhouette of the human body. Muscles glide along fascia, fascia holds organs together, and connect them to the body wall, fascia separates the sections of the brain and covers the spinal cord literally from head to tailbone.
What therapists have discovered is that a restriction in the movement of the fascia significantly reduces the efficiency of anything that is attached to it…which is everything! For example, if the fascia between the stomach and the liver (called the lesser omentum) is extremely tight, the functions of the liver and the stomach are both directly affected. If the fascia between the bones of the leg, the tibia and fibula, is extremely tight, then the knee, hip, ankle, and foot are all directly affected. And, since there are arteries and veins that pierce this fascia, even the blood supply and nervous flow are compromised.
And that’s not all…years of research on fascia have confirmed that there are what are commonly called “Myofascial Chains”. There are direct lines of fascia, single long pieces of connective tissue that literally run from head to toe. This means that tension of the fascia in one area of the body can cause debilitating dysfunction in other areas of the body.
As a therapist who knows and understands these Myofascial chains assesses the body in a global manner, meaning they do not just look at the area that is sore or injured, I quickly see strain patterns that are causing misalignments and postural problems. A prime example of this is commonly known as “forward head posture”. The patients chin is more forward than it should be, they are rounded in the upper back and shoulders, and have a lot of neck pain and stiffness. They commonly feel they need to “stretch it out” but never can. The reason they feel this way is because they are stretching the symptom area, not the problem area. It is very common to find low back, stomach, and intestinal/digestive problems with these same patients. The fascia around organs in the mid or low back are causing the entire head to be pulled forward out of alignment. Place your hand just under your ribs on your stomach, and press in and down…do you feel what happens to your head and neck. The chin instantly moves forward out of alignment…you can just picture the rest…tension in the back of the neck and shoulders, knots in the upper back between the shoulder blades that are trying to compensate, and on , and on. All this from a Myofascial pull from lower in the abdomen. I literally see this every day. Every day.
Now you can begin to see why utilizing Myofascial techniques is so incredibly powerful. More often than not, it is the most effective tools to effectively treat our patients. Used in conjunction with all of the other Osteopathic assessment and treatment tools, you can begin to see why Osteopathy is the fastest growing manual therapy in Canada.
Jason Brandow, BSc TR, CST
Osteopathy Current Study & Thesis Writer
It has been a while since I have written anything. I have been busy studying and learning from the people I have been working with.
I have really learned about health and wellness looking at what I call the different bodies.
And how each can affect your health individually and in combination with each other. If one is affected it can and will over time affect the other ones.
That is why it is so important to look after each body and make sure they are in harmony.
To give you some examples
Energy Body – is the body that takes on positive and negative energy be it your cell phone, computer, power wires, positive or negative people, places or things just to give you an example. Will affect your energy body positively or negatively depending on the situation.
Emotional body—when you think of emotions of being positive, happy, grateful, in love vs being negative mad, sad, depressed.
Mental body- this is important like a muscle you have to work it out but not over due it. Make sure you are living towards a dream and enjoying the journey.
Physical Body – This is one that is most talked about in the media, books, articles…etc using the physical body you have to make sure you are exercising and using your body daily. If you do not use it you lose it. Also you have to make sure you do not over train.
The reason why I wanted to give you a little foundation about this is because working with people all across the world I have found that if you do not harmonize all bodies then the issue will come back.
I have seen this with health issue, business, relationships challenges you name it. When I first started working with people I was working on the Physical by making sure people were eating the right foods, sleeping properly, hydrating themselves, exercising properly, then I would work on the mental emotional challenges because I know hormonally the body was balancing out nutritionally. I had some success but I found that there were certain people that would fall back into the same routine. Which I would have to go back through the process and make sure they were on track until I started to work on all the bodies. Once I incorporated energy work and balancing with all the other coaching my success rate increased. The people were getting better result while feeling amazing through the process.
What I recommend if you are dealing with any life challenges is to do this first work on the
1 st Energy body- have some energy work done from a Reiki Practitioner to help you get balanced out
2nd Physical body – get on the right nutrition plan and exercise program to help balance out your energy, hormones and focus
3 rd Mental body – have an over arching dream that you are working towards by learning your Legacy, your values and setting proper goals
4 th Emotional body- make sure you doing the above and your emotional state will change if not see a professional that can help teach you why your emotions are not serving you and how you can manage them.
I am going to go into more detail for each body and how to achieve success in each area.
Recently I had a discussion with a client regarding Micheal J. Fox, he of 80’s hits Back to the Future and the TV show Family Ties. These days he is also recognized as the self-appointed spokesperson for those who suffer from Parkinson’s. Many of us have a relative or know someone that has been affected by Parkinson’s, and most people also seem to have many misunderstandings of how this affects people and what can be done for treatment.
Named for the Doctor who first clinically documented in 1817, it kills the cells that create a chemical called dopamine in the part of the brain (the basal ganglia) that is responsible for balance and co-ordination. Generally it does not occur until mid to late 60’s, but can affect some between 21 and 39, such as our dear Canadian-born Micheal J. The main difference being that the younger group characteristically has twisting movements and tend to respond better to drug therapy.
Parkinson’s often begins as something as simple as more hunched shoulders or a shaky little finger. It can progress into postural changes from contractures, slow shuffling gait and tremors at rest (when the person is attempting to be still), and eventually immobility. Other symptoms can appear such as fatigue, constipation, depression, problems swallowing and speech difficulties. The cause is unknown and there is no cure though research is ongoing, and through the success of symptom treating drugs such as Levodopa, over 50% of of those affected can now live to average life expectancy. It is no longer a disabling death sentence.
I can hear you already- Jennifer, what the heck does massage have to do with a disorder that attacks the central nervous system?? Massage techniques can aid where the body’s functions have become limited- such as poor tissue health by encouraging venous return(blood) and lymphatic flow(waste). Feedback during the treatment is important as there can be sensory changes, in that some areas may be painful that are normally not. Manually moving joints and stretching of the muscles and tissue by the therapist to maintain their range of motion and the clients body awareness is also recommended. This also helps to limit the contractures that can form. Standard abdominal massage can also help with any constipation, all done slowly and gently as to not overstimulate the nervous system. One hour weekly massage treatments are recommended.
What can the Parkinson’s client do on their own? Any movement programs such as Tai-chi and Yoga to help with flexibility, balance and co-ordination. To maintain cardiovascular health, regular walks and gentle exercise programs within the clients tolerance and avoid fatigue.
If you have Parkinson’s, or know someone who does, feel free to contact me at the clinic for a free clinical assessment today.
Training in boxing for numerous years has made me accustom to warming up and using a jump rope for conditioning in training. I think I have used almost every type of rope imaginable from multi-coloured beaded ropes, leather, PVC rope to 2 to 5 pound weighted ropes and enjoyed learning foot work, doubles, triples, crossovers and 180 to 360 turns. There are many benefits to taking up jumping rope. It can be used as a very cheap and easy way to train the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems or as variety to spice up any training program as well as an activity for the enhancement of any sports or athletic program. I also use it in mid to late stages of healing and into a return to sports phases of rehab.
To elicit an aerobic training response with rope jumping you must maintain a consistence speed that holds your heart rate between 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – your maximum heart rate can be calculated by taking 220 and misusing your age i.e. if you were 30 years old you take 220 – 30 which gives you a maximum heart rate of 190 beats per minute in peak exertion.
However rope jumping has its best benefits in a power phase of training when the anaerobic system is being utilized. In this phase the greatest gains are capitalized on to peak competitive advantage in speed which is quickness over a sustained period of time, agility which is one’s ability to accelerate, decelerate and make quick changes in direction as balance, speed and control is maintained and in an athletic explosiveness.
The best surface to jump rope on is a hard non-slip surface. Soft surfaces provide more give but require more energy to push off which slows down the speed and momentum much like running in sand does. This will increase muscular endurance and strength but does not capitalize the plyomentric effect of speed rope work. This works by using gravity to store potential energy in the muscles which immediately turn this stored energy into kinetic energy.
But what rope is best? Just as with choosing any other exercise equipment quality and material matter. Jump rope made from leather have been around for 90 years but waste energy on turning the rope and the rope is not adjustable making one have to turn the rope in wide circles if to big or hunch over if the rope is to short promoting poor posture and injury. Thick cord, beaded, heavy, cotton or nylon ropes are made from slow turning materials and slow the speed of each turn create drag therefore no matter how fast you try and turn the rope the rope will not turn fast enough to benefit hand and foot speed needed in sports. A speed rope like a hyperformance swivel ball bearing rope will help develop and produce lightning fast reflexes.
An easy guide to measuring your rope to ensure it is the right height for you is to stand on the center of the rope with one foot and pull the two handles to measure up with the armpit. A more experienced jumper can use a shorter rope, one that extends from the foot to the upper chest.
Book; Jump Rope Training techniques and programs for improved fitness and performance by Buddy Lee
Ever since I took action to enhance my career by studying osteopathy at Canadian College of Osteopathy my patients have been asking me what exactly it is I’m studying. Some of my patients have been adventurous and attempted to put a defining word to what it is which usual ends up being “osteo means bone right? or “oh osteopathy, you do treats on bones?” My answer is always “yes along with the rest of the body.”
The profession of osteopathy is so vast in its entirety that it is difficult to give a brief explanation as to what exactly it is, but I am going to attempt this great feat!
Let’s start by saying that osteopathy is a science and an art. Curious statement I know, but when you see that it is a science because it requires a keen and in depth knowledge of anatomy and an art because through the use of trained hands an assessment of the entirety of the patient can be gained that statement starts to make sense. Osteopathy comes from the word “osteome” which means structures of all living matter i.e. bone, soft tissue, organs, veins, arteries, etc. and “pathos” which translates into “a profound emotion” or “an emotion which needs to be expressed”. So when you put “Osteome” and “Pathos” together to form the word “Osteopathy” you have a word that implies that the whole person and how they express themselves must be taken into consideration as that person is treatment in their entirety. It is the job of the osteopathy to restore mobility to each system so the body can be balanced both in its internal and external environments.
Over the past 3 months I have been incorporation osteopathic techniques into my patient’s treatment plans with great success. I had a new patient a few weeks back that came into the clinic with a hamstring strain that normally takes 6 weeks of rehab to heal. In three treatments over a week and a half I used a few osteopathic techniques to regain balance in the lower back, hip area and balanced out the body to create homeostasis. My patient can back for their 4th treatment and had regained their normal range of motion back in their hamstring and their pain was down from 6/10 to 2/10 and I had not even touched their hamstring yet! Another patient I had not seeing in a while came in last weekend for treatment after a car accident. Their body was achy and they were visibly tired. I did an hour treatment for them. A few days later they came in and looked wonderful. Their colour was back and the dark circles under their eyes where gone along with their stooped posture.
If you have not had a change to be treated osteopathically now is the time. If you are unsure as to what an osteopath can treat just remember an osteopath is able to assess anything in the body and works with other health care professionals to ensure your greatest quality of health.