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Pain

Health + Wellness

3 Acupressure Points for Stress Relief

Feeling stressed out?  Do you ever wish there were a simple way to ease your tension and stress?

Guys, there is!

It’s called Acupressure and it works wonders!   I’ve been teaching my patients acupressure points for years and it’s been a great tool to help ease a lot of common discomforts that you can do on your own.

Watch my video below to learn the 3 easy stress relieving acupressure points that you can start doing NOW!

Health + Wellness

The Do’s and Don’ts of Foam Rolling

You’ve just finished your workout and as you make your way over to the stretching area you notice a woman moving her entire body over cylindrical piece of foam. She’s writhing over it, using several expletives and you wonder what the heck is she doing?! And more importantly, why?!?

Welcome to foam rolling my friend.

Foam rolling became trendy years ago when athletes used to roll out tight muscles and fascia (more on fascia here). It’s a form of myofasical release (like a massage), you do to yourself – call it self-massage.   Basically by using the foam roller and your own bodyweight you are releasing tight muscles via trigger points and increasing circulation and blood to that particular area of your body.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will have you foam rolling like a pro in no time!

DO pick a foam roller that’s right for you! Foam rollers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with knobs for added torture….I mean, relief.   To be honest, I always suggest a longer foam roller so it’s easier to use to roll out your glutes, ITB and back. Of course, if you are traveling, you may want to get a shorter one as well for ease of packing!

DON’T roll directly on a joint or bone.  Ouchy!

DO roll slowly and with even pressure, spending a few seconds on each area of the body.  Enjoy each and every sensation!

DON’T overdo it!  It is not an exercise in pain tolerance. Placing too much sustained pressure on one body part can result in damage.

DO expect a little bit of discomfort.  It should be a “good” hurt, but never unbearable. If an area is too sore or tender, try rolling on surrounding muscles first to help loosen things up.

DON’T try to foam roll your neck. It’s awkward for a reason. The neck is a very sensitive part of the body and a difficult area to position your foam roller. If you are suffering from neck pain, seek the help of a health professional (like your chiropractor, wink wink).

DO it often. Being consistent with rolling is key. It’s not enough to just roll when you are in acute pain. Try rolling every other day! You will notice a difference!

What is your favourite body part to foam roll?  Let me know!

Happy Rolling everyone!

xo

Dr Aliya

 

 

 

Health + Wellness

What to Expect during a Chiropractic Treatment

New to chiropractic?  Ever wonder what to expect during chiropractic treatment and initial consultation?

You’re in luck!

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Tina (@mombossof3) – she’s a busy mama of 3, daily vlogger and youtube sensation!  She’s also a typical mama with typical mom posture – or “Mom – sture” (copyright pending lol).

She came into the Toronto  Yoga Mamas studio and wellness centre for her first EVER chiropractic treatment and she graciously agreed to having us film it!  Thank you, Tina!

So in case you ever thought – “gee, I wonder what happens during a chiropractic consult and treatment?” I’ve got you covered!

Check out our video below.  (it’s also got a few out-takes as well…for your viewing pleasure) 

PS Don’t forget to “like” and “subscribe” for more videos!   (pretty please!)

Hope you enjoyed this video!

Visit Tina’s channel at @mombossof3 for her hilarious daily VLOGs.

xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness

Mother’s Wrist: A common “new mama” pain!

You’re a new mom to a gorgeous little babe!  Yay!

But you’ve started to notice your body is slowly deteriorating….oh no….  You thought the hard part was over (eg. giving birth)?  And despite all of your “war wounds” – tearing, abdominal separation, weakened pelvic floor muscles, cracked/sore nipples….you’ve now noticed an intense pain in your wrists, hands and thumbs!  Things get super sore when you pick up your beautiful beaming babe…ouchy!  Feels like your body is broken!  Sound familiar?

If so, don’t panic yet!

The wrist/hand/thumb pain you are describing sounds like a condition called De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis or as its commonly called, “mother’s wrist” or “mommy thumb”. De Quervain’s results from irritation and inflammation of the tendons that run from the base of the thumb to the wrist and forearm. As the tendons become more inflamed they rub against the “tunnel” that encloses them causing pain along the thumb side of the wrist.

Although anyone can develop De Quervain’s, it is most common in new moms (and a few new dads too). The repetition of lifting a baby numerous times during the day adds undue stress to a fatigued wrist.

In 2009, a study from the University of Colorado found that women were four times more likely to develop De Quervain’s than men.  In addition, some women experience symptoms during pregnancy as a result of fluid retention and hormonal changes causing the tissues around the tendons to swell and become inflamed.

Research has suggested that between 25-50% of new moms develop de Quervain’s during their baby’s first few months. Early recognition and treatment is key. If you are experiencing wrist or thumb pain, see your chiropractor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment options.

Unfortunately, mommy thumb seldom resolves on its own, however there are a few things you can do to get a grip on the pain.

01 / Use a different lifting technique – “the scoop”. One of the most important things you can do to prevent further injury is to modify your lifting technique. Instead of picking up your baby under his arms using primarily the thumb and index finger (in an “L” shape), try “the scoop” technique. Keep the palm of your hand up and try scooping him up by lifting under his bottom with one hand (keeping your thumb and index finger glued together) and supporting the back of his head with the other hand.

02/ Check breastfeeding position. Many women report that breastfeeding can irritate an already painful wrist, particularly during breast compressions (to help milk flow). Supporting or cradling baby’s head puts a strain on the wrist. Use a pillow to support the weight of the baby’s head so it isn’t resting in your hand.

03/ Rest & Ice. Ok so maybe resting your wrist is out of the question if you have a new baby. However, when your partner or a friend/relative is at home with you, hand over the baby and rest your wrist. This will allow some healing to occur. Icing frequently to decrease inflammation is also helpful.

04/ Try using a splint. A splint or brace that prevents the thumb and wrist from moving will help decrease swelling and discomfort. Wearing the brace consistently is important and many moms see an improvement in just a couple of weeks.

05/ Rehabilitative Exercises/Stretches.  Stretching your wrist muscles and gently massaging the area may help.  In addition, your chiropractor can help provide some key strengthening exercises that can help increase the strength in your muscles.  See my video below for some quick easy stretches and exercises that can help!

06/ Avoid texting.  Put your smartphone down and slowly back away.  Texting is a sure fire way to re-aggravate an already sore wrist and thumb.

07/ Consult with a health practitioner. A chiropractor can definitely help guide your treatment and recovery. Acupuncture has been shown to help!  Often this condition takes some time to get better, so be patient with yourself and your body.

A few easy stretches and exercises that will help!

Hang in there mama!  As your baby becomes a bit more mobile, your wrist pain will likely decrease.  This may bring a whole host of other issues – but that’s for another day!

xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness

Do your feet need some support?

The AMAZING weather this past weekend had everyone out in their summer apparel –  shorts, tees and the quintessential summer footwear – flip flops!

Despite their cute styles, colours and easy-breezy appeal, flip flop wear for extended periods of time can cause a range of physical ailments from plantar fasciitis and muscle soreness to lower back and knee pain.

The popularity of these no-fuss flats had me thinking of the importance of proper footwear and specifically, orthotic inserts.

Now, I know they sound like something your grandparents wear in their loafers  but custom orthotic inserts are becoming a popular first line therapy for many injuries and conditions.

If you think of your feet as the foundation for your whole body, similar to the foundation of a house, our feet support the weight of everything above them.  If the foundation is cracked or unstable in any way this could affect the structure all the way up!

The primary goal of an orthotic is to help reduce unnecessary stresses and strains in your feet, lower limbs and lower back by re-aligning your lower extremity.

Custom orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes – they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. By improving this alignment, the body is able to function more efficiently with less stress on the muscles and ligaments that hold the rest of you together.

A foot orthotic may be effective in helping to actually treat a number of lower limb dysfunctions. In fact, research shows that orthotics can treat and actually prevent mechanically induced foot problems leading to common injuries like knee pain, shin splints, and pain along the bottom of the foot.

Sound familiar?

Many people experience this pain but don’t really know what to do about it!

Custom foot orthotics can also help with pain and complications related to health conditions such as diabetes or arthritis.

Plus, orthotics can help with these very common complaints:

  • Plantar fasciitis (pain in the sole of the foot)
  • Knee Pain
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Bunions and Neuromas
  • Achilles tendonopathy
  • Shin splints
  • Iliotibial pain syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Sacroilliac (SI) Joint pain

Although orthotics are a great option for many people and help improve biomechanics of various injuries and complaints, they may not be ideal for everyone!

Talk to your chiropractor or other health care provider to discuss if they are a right fit for you!

Women experience foot problems 4 times more often than men

Health + Wellness

Q&A: Is tailbone pain after childbirth normal?

Q.  After delivering my baby a few weeks ago, I’ve been experiencing pain in and around my tailbone. Sitting for any length of time is extremely uncomfortable and transferring from a seated to standing position is difficult. Is it normal to feel pain in this area after childbirth? Is there anything I can do to help ease this pain?

A.  Pain in the tailbone region is referred to as coccydynia and childbirth is thought to be one of the most common causes of this condition.

The coccyx is the anatomical term used for tailbone, which is the bone at the very bottom of the spine, in the buttock region. Some of the pelvic floor muscles as well as the big butt muscle, called the gluteus maximus, have attachments to the coccyx. As well, there are numerous ligaments that connect the coccyx to the sacrum, which create strength and stability at the base of the spine.

Coccydynia occurs when there is damage to the coccyx itself and/or the surrounding structures. Childbirth can cause the muscles and ligaments around the coccyx to overstretch and become unstable, no longer supporting and stabilizing the lower spine, sacrum and coccyx. In addition, the tailbone itself can be damaged due to shear physical trauma of the baby traveling through the birth canal.

Coccyx or tail bone pain is very common post delivery.

Increased inflammation and tenderness of the soft tissues in the area leave many women feeling increased pain and discomfort when sitting, even for short periods of time. Some women find moving from sitting to standing difficult and performing everyday activities, such as driving, bending over and lifting can also be quite challenging. Other symptoms of coccydynia may include: back pain, shooting pain down the legs, increased pain when passing stools, and pain during sex.

In most cases, coccydynia does resolve after a few months depending on the extent of injury. Manual therapy such as chiropractic, acupuncture and exercises can help relieve pain and sensitivity, restore mobility, reduce inflammation and improve strength. Specific exercises can help to strengthen the core muscles and stabilize joints in the tailbone area.

Strengthening the core and stabilizing the pelvis helps to relieve pain

Here are few self-care tips you can try at home that may help ease pain and discomfort:

  • Sitting—there are specifically designed “donut” pillows or cushions that can reduce pain when sitting.  It may also help to sit on a hard surface rather than a soft cushion chair or sofa.
  •  Sleeping—many people with coccydynia find sleeping on their sides more comfortable with a pillow placed between the knees.
  • Avoid high impact activity—avoiding activities such as running and jumping can help improve healing.

Read my Q&A expert column and get amazing pregnancy, post-pregnancy and baby advice & resources at BabyPost.com.

(Original post at babypost.com)

Pregnancy

3 Awesome Exercises for Pregnancy!

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the lovely Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health at her office in Toronto.   Joy is a holistic nutritionist and author of Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well without Dieting {her book is amazing}!  She’s also a glowing mama-to-be and an awesome patient of mine.

We put together a video for her blog of three amazing pregnancy exercises mamas can do at home. Performing these exercises daily will help maintain mobility and strength in your spine and pelvis during pregnancy and help prepare your body for labour and delivery {in addition to seeing a chiropractor, of course!}.

So grab a fitness ball and watch our video here!  Also check out Joy’s website at joyoushealth.com for loads of other amazing recipes and neat health and wellness tips!

 

{image by joyoushealth.com}

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babies + Kids

Fevers: Friend or Foe?

A few months ago, my 14 month old daughter Rose woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. She went to bed easily and a few hours later, she was awake, crying and heating up. Her temperature was 103°F and rising. Like any parents, my husband and I were both worried. However, as a chiropractor treating many infants and children, I know that fevers are a part of our body’s healthy immune response. But that didn’t stop us from being slightly panicked anyway.

Many parents misinterpret the dangers of a high fever and believe they should be suppressed immediately, at all costs. We often confuse fever with being a sign of illness instead of a sign of our normal immune response. In fact, fevers are one of the body’s natural and effective protective mechanisms. Temperatures between 100° and 104° F (37.8° – 40° C) are generally a sign of functioning immune system and are good for sick children helping their bodies fight infections.

Here are a few fever related questions I often get asked by parents:

Q.  When should I be concerned about my child’s fever?

A. Children can be warm for many reasons – they are basically giving off heat. Generally their temperatures should be back within normal ranges within 10 to 20 minutes. Normal ranges vary depending on the way the temperature was taken (eg. rectal, ear, oral, axillary).

Here are the guidelines for parents to seek medical attention when their infant or child has a fever (using the rectal or ear method of taking temperatures):

    • Infants 0-3 months with a temperature higher than 100.4°F (or 38°C); parents should seek care immediately and continue to breastfeed often while waiting for care.
    • Children 3-36 months with a temperature higher than 102.2°F (39°C), if they appear ill. Breastfeeding often while waiting for care.
    • Children older than 36 months with a temperature higher than 104.5°F (40.3°C)

For children not in the above three categroies, bed rest and fluids will support the fever and allow it to do the job that your child needs it to do.

Q. What are febrile seizures and are they harmful?

A. Febrile seizures are convulsions brought on by a fever in infants or small children. During a febrile seizure, a child often loses consciousness or shakes, moving limbs on both sides of the body. Seizures are very scary to watch but are over rather quickly and do not cause permanent harm.

An article in the medical journal, Neurology, concluded that most febrile seizures do not adversely affect global measures of intelligence, nor do they harm more specific functions such as memory in children older than 1 year of age.

Q. My child has a low grade fever. Should I give her some medication to reduce it? 

A. Most parents, myself included, want to do everything we can to help our children feel better. However in the case of a fever, the best medicine is to support the fever and let it run its course. A fever of 102°F to 103°F is considered the optimal defense against microbes.

Supporting your child’s fever means keeping him or her comfortable and resting. Offering plenty of fluids and keeping them cool by removing layers. Don’t force food. Generally children have reduced appetites when fighting infections – let her determine when and what she eats. Keep in mind, sugary foods often delay the natural immune response.

Medication is not always needed to reduce a child’s temperature. In fact, the best reason for giving your child medicine is not to reduce the fever, but to relieve any aches and pains.

Here is the American Academy of Pediatrics advice to parents as found on their website:

“Fevers generally do not need to be treated with medication unless your child is uncomfortable or has a history of febrile convulsions. The fever may be important in helping your child fight the infection”

Remember moms and dads: Fever is one of the good guys.

Suppressing a fever will only delay your child’s natural immune response to help fight the infection. Instead supporting a fever will help your child feel better, faster!

And we all want happy, healthy babies after all!

 

 

References:

Neurology (July 10 2001; 57:7-8, 37-42)

www.mercola.com (Dr. Mercola)

www.aap.org (American Academy of Pediatrics)

(graphic www.magicmum.com)

 

Pregnancy

Reflexology helps during pregnancy!

Recently, our clinic office manager, Aislinn completed her certification in Reflexology. In the past, I’ve often thought of Reflexology as an adjunctive technique to massage therapy. However, it’s so much more than that and is an amazing source of relaxation during pregnancy!

Thanks to Ais, here are some reflexology basics!

Q. What is reflexology?  How does it work?

Reflexology is an ancient holistic healing art that naturally stimulates every gland and organ in the body. By applying pressure to reflexes in the feet, tension is released, circulation is improved, and the body is assisted in regaining its state of harmony and balance.  It is theorized that it works because applying acupressure to the skin and peripheral nerve endings sends calming signals to the central nervous system, which in turn reduces tension in the body and engages the parasympathetic (rest and relaxation) response. When the body is relaxed, all body systems can function more optimally.

Q. What conditions can reflexology treat?

While reflexology does not claim to cure any specific illnesses or conditions, it can be used in conjunction with other health therapies as part of a holistic approach to wellness. Reflexology itself is a holistic therapy and as such all the body systems are treated in a reflexology session. Energy blockages throughout the body are addressed – areas that are tender or have significant uric acid crystal build up can be paid extra attention. Having said that, reflexology is a hugely beneficial therapy for a multitude of conditions from fibromyalgia to anxiety disorders. Studies have shown that relaxed states promote natural pain management – reflexology aids in achieving a state of relaxation and in turn this supports the body in self-healing and the release of tension and pain. Because reflexology increases blood and lymph circulation in the body it can also be useful treating acute and chronic conditions such as sinus congestion and digestion issues. It is also used frequently by women struggling with infertility.

Q. Is it safe during pregnancy?  How does it help mamas-to-be?

Yes, reflexology treatments are considered safe during pregnancy. Adjustments are made in the treatment for pregnant women. They include the use of lighter pressure and modified body positioning during the treatment, especially late in pregnancy, to promote comfort and safety. Reflexology can be a welcome experience for moms-to-be as it encourages them to relax and connect with themselves thereby inducing a feeling of overall wellness.

Q. Can babies receive reflexology treatments?  What conditions does it help treat for little ones?

Yes! Babies can receive reflexology. Reduced pressure and shorter treatment lengths are best for tiny feet. Because reflexology is a soothing treatment it can be used for a variety of situations, such as; teething, colic, and constipation, to name a few. It can also be incorporated into the nap and bedtime routines of babies and toddlers as a natural means to aid in their relaxation.

Q. What can I expect during a treatment?

Clients report feelings of deep relaxation and contentment during and after the treatment. Many drift in and out of sleep while their feet are being worked on and end the treatment feeling refreshed and renewed. I have also been told that this relaxation carries on throughout the day and that sleeping patterns are improved after receiving a treatment. Reflexology should not be painful or uncomfortable, even though there may be tender areas in the foot  – these areas are addressed with gentle pressure within the clients comfort zone. The practitioner may suggest a treatment schedule and/or may recommend other complimentary therapies based on findings from the initial treatment.

 

For specifics on what you can expect from one of Aislinn’s treatments or to book a treatment, please visit www.solesmith.ca

 

 

 

Health + Wellness

The Science behind Cobra Pose: Why it helps back pain

A Case of Radiating Lower Back Pain

Back in March 2012, I first experienced lower back pain with tingling and aching in the back of my left leg and I had no clue what caused it. This sensation literally came out of no where. After many doctor’s visits and tests, it was determined that the lower back strain I experienced in November 2011 caused some nerve inflammation in my leg. My chiropractor, Dr. Aliya, suggested I couple my chiropractic treatments with weekly yoga classes.  Although hesitant at first, I started to notice that specific Yoga poses, in particular back bending and cobra pose always gave me some relief.

You may have experienced something similar to this patient if you have ever suffered from back pain, sciatica or nerve-related pain. Back bending (or extension) exercises have been found to provide relief to patients by helping ‘centralize’ or move pain away from one’s arms and legs towards the back, where it is usually better tolerated. The reasoning behind this mechanism of relief comes from a technique called the McKenzie Method or McKenzie Technique.

What is The McKenzie Method?

In the 1950s, physical therapist Robin McKenzie developed a system of assessment and treatment protocols based on observing how patient’s sitting, standing or moving positions or activities affected their pain.

McKenzie found that extension exercises helped centralize patient pain, moving it away from the extremities and towards the back. He theorized that centralizing the pain allows the source of the pain to be treated rather than the symptoms.

The McKenzie Method is a therapeutic approach that moves a patient through a series of activities and test movements to gauge the pain response.  The therapist then uses this information to develop an exercise protocol designed to ‘centralize’ the patient’s pain.

Think of it as bringing the pain back to the pain source.

Pain Centralization with Yoga

One of the centralization exercises for back pain utilized by the McKenzie method is the ‘Prone Press Up’.  Yogis call this ‘Cobra Pose’.  This pose provides relief from disc-related pain by alleviating compression of the disc on the nerve root (see last week’s post).

Named after the king cobra, said to have the strongest spine in the world, Cobra Pose is meant to resemble a snake before it strikes.  As mentioned, this pose is fantastic for your spinal health – but make sure you perform it correctly!

DOs and DON’Ts

The DOsPreview Changes

  • Squeeze your glutes tight and push your hips down into mat
  •  Use your eyes to start the movement – “where your eyes go, your body will follow”
  • Keep your heels together and lock your knees in order to lift them up from the floor

The DON’Ts

  • Avoid using all (100%) of your hand/arm strength; most of the strength comes from lower back muscles (remember it’s not a Push Up); Bikram recommends you use up to 15% of your hand/arm strength
  • Shrug your shoulders up to your ears; remember to drop your shoulders down
cobra pose

Cobra Pose performed by Bikram Choudhry (www.bikramyoga.com)

 

I continue to be amazed of the benefits of this Yoga and how it helps my patients get better and stay healthy.

Until next week…FEEL GOOD, BE GREAT!