Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Dr. Caren Fortin, BHK, DC – Doctor of Chiropractic

I have been out of the school environment for a “few years” but every year at the start of September, it always takes me back to freshly sharpened pencils, a new backpack and excitement to see friends and start learning. So, with that in mind, I thought a little refresher on spinal anatomy would be fitting.

Spine
The spine is made up of bones, called vertebrae, that are stacked on top of one another and house the spinal cord. The areas of the spine are as follows:

  • Cervical spine (neck) = 7 vertebrae. The main function is to support the head.
  • Thoracic spine (midback) = 12 vertebrae. The main function is to protect the heart and lungs. This region also has ribs attached to the front at the sternum and back to the vertebrae, to make up the ribcage.
  • Low back (lumber spine) = 5 vertebrae. This region mainly bears the weight of the body.
  • Sacrum = 5 fused vertebrae. This area joins the spine to the pelvis.
  • Coccyx (tail bone) = 4 fused vertebrae. These provide ligament attachment of the pelvic floor.

Intervertebral Discs
In between the vertebrae are little cushions called intervertebral discs. They are similar to a tire on the outside with a nucleus of gel in the middle. As we age, the discs become a little less forgiving and become flatter. Repetitive stress and strain on the spine can cause injury to the discs. Terms such as disc bugle or disc herniation are used to describe such injuries, where the gel of the disc finds its way towards the outer rim, causing pain and sometimes numbness or tingling in the leg if a nerve has been affected.

Facet Joints
The bony connections between the vertebrae in the spine are called facet joints. Each vertebrae joins with the one above it and below it, with a joint on each side, making for four joints per vertebra. The movement resulting from these joints allows for all the twisting, turning and bending that our bodies are able to achieve.

Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is the super highway of information to and from the brain to the rest of the body. It is housed in the spine and protected by the bony vertebrae. The brain sends movement messages to the body and the brain receives messages from the body about everything we see, touch and feel. The spinal cord sends out branches of nerves, called spinal nerves, at each vertebral level. The nerves carry sensory and motor information and supply or innervate specific areas of the body. They can be mapped out on the body as a guide and if there is pain, numbness or weakness for example, a doctor can trace which area of the spine it may be coming from.

Ligaments
Ligaments are large, fibrous bands that join bone to bone, protect the discs and stabilize the spine by limiting excessive movement. There are three main ligaments in the spine that run the length of it.

On a last note, muscles are one of the areas not covered in our anatomy lesson. This is purposeful as there are so many muscles that it would take all day to name them! But, if you would like to chat further about muscles in the back, or have questions that you would like answered, feel free to ask Dr. Tara or myself, Dr. Caren. One of us can be reached at Wellness for the Body 6 days a week at 905.465.4595.

spinal cord

 

Advertisements

Hong Shen, RMT – Registered Massage Therapist

In reality, the line between a relaxation-oriented massage and deep tissue work is not so clear. Even a gentle massage can be made more beneficial by including deep work and a good deep tissue massage should include considerable time spent on relaxing and nurturing strokes.

Deep tissue and deep pressure massage is sometimes confused. Below describes the elements of deep tissue that I focus on in a treatment, so there have a clearier understaning moving forward.

Use Little Oil
Oil or lotion is necessary to prevent skin friction. However, too much lubricant dissipates energy at the layer of the skin rather than at the depth where the massage therapist is trying to work, requiring them to waste their energy. Lotions are usually less slippery than oils and allow them to more easily grab tissue without applying too much pressure.

Work Slowly
Working deeply requires a relationship between the speed of stroke and the depth of work. The more deeply your massage therapist works or the greater the resistance of the muscles to relaxing, the more slowly they must work. Have a clear intention of what you want to accomplish. Your massage therapist should evaluate you visually, by palpation, and by asking questions to determine the major areas where tension is held. The therapist is then able to direct attention to the layer of the body at which they want to work and continue at that layer. The nerve system is sensitive to the depths of stimulation it receives. The therapist will slowly sink to the layer where they intend to work, continue working at that layer and then slowly withdraw. They will then let the body react and stabilize before moving on.

Work Tendinous Insertion of Muscles in Addition to Working the Belly of Muscles
Often the stress of overworked or chronically short and inflexible muscles manifests itself at the attachment of the tendon to the bone. Softening the tendon and stimulating the stretch receptors (Golgi tendon organs) is important to effect a relaxation of the muscles. This is particularly important with long muscles such as the hamstrings. Working the insertion may relax the muscle enough that less time will be needed with meticulous work on the belly of the muscle.

Put Muscles Into a Stretched Position to Effect a Release
The majority of problems we encounter are a result of short, contracted muscles. Most massage therapists are often hesitant to move limbs or reposition clients for fear of disturbing the state of relaxation. However, if a tight muscle is placed in an easy stretch near its end range, when the muscle relaxes, it will lengthen. For example, extending the elbow to stretch the biceps while they are working would actually lengthen the muscle.

Don’t Use Thumbs for Any Deep Work
The thumbs are too important a tool in general massage to be exhausted or injured performing deep work. Therapists will use knuckles, fists or even elbows which will feel as comfortable and effective as thumbs.

deep tissue massage

Andrea Nederveen, RMT – Registered Massage Therapist

The endocrine system is made up of many different glands. On a chemical level, these glands make hormones which influence and regulate our bodies. This is a very large and important task. It assists in our growth, development, metabolism, reproduction and our responses to stress. The endocrine system and the nervous system work together to control and co-ordinate our bodily functions and maintain the internal balanced state, also known as homeostasis. The glands in the endocrine system are known as ductless because the hormones released by these glands are not topical but go directly into our blood stream and are carried to their intended target. What an absolutely amazing body we have! The detail is so intricate and perfect. Our body works very hard to balance and maintain us as we physically change or as our environment changes.

Massage therapy naturally increases blood and lymphatic flow in the body. Since hormones are released into the blood stream, massage will naturally assist in transporting hormones to their intended target and will indirectly aid our immune system. Massage is a smart way to assist our body. Sometimes it is difficult to see a physical change after massage, but be assured that there is a chemical change happening inside you.

endocrine system

 

Dr. Tara Brown, (Hon) BA Kin, DC, ART®, D.Ac – Doctor of Chiropractic

At the end of a treatment session, I usually provide my patients with stretches that they can do at home. Listed are the most common stretches and mobility exercises that I tend to prescribe.

  • Doorway Lean Stretch
    This is great after a long drive or day at the computer as it stretches out the chest and muscles at the front of the shoulders. To begin, face an open doorway. Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees with your arms raised to shoulder height. Rest your hands and forearms against the doorway. Then, lean forward slightly and you should feel a stretch across your chest and shoulders. Hold this for 5-15 seconds, making sure to continue breathing normally. Repeat 2-3 times.
  • Cat and Camel Pose
    This is great for anyone feeling stiff through his/her low or mid back. Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Your wrists, elbows and shoulders should be in one line and your knees underneath the hips with your toes curled under. As you breathe in, slowly lift your head and tailbone to the sky, while at the same time gently dropping your stomach towards the floor. This is the “camel” pose. As you breathe out, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest. This is the “cat” pose. Continue to flow between these 2 positions 10 times. This is not to be done quickly, but rather in a controlled and fluid manner.
  • Hip Flexor Stretch
    This is great for those sitting for long hours each day. Stretching the hip flexors takes tension off of the low back and hips. In order to do this stretch, start by standing in a lunge position with one leg in front of the other. For the purpose of this, lets say you are stretching your right side. The hip you are working to stretch is the back leg (so the right leg/hip). From the lunge position, you will drive your right hip forward and your right knee towards the ground. Then, you will reach up and over with your right arm to the opposite side to fully stretch out the right hip. Hold this for 5-15 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side and complete the stretch 2-3 times per side.
  • Lower Back Flexion Stretch
    This stretch helps to open up the spine and relieve tension in all muscles along the back. To do this stretch, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. One at a time, hug each knee to the chest or grasp both knees together and pull them to your chest. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.

If any of the stretches cause pain or if you can’t complete them because of existing pain, do not push yourself. Consult myself, or Dr. Caren, to see if these stretches are right for you!

cat pose stretch

 

Dr. Caren Fortin, BHK, DC – Doctor of Chiropractic

The statistic on low back pain is that 80% of people will have low back pain at some point in their life. Being a chiropractor, I would suggest visiting one of us if you ever do have low back pain. However, there are some exercises and stretches that you can do at home or at the gym to keep you mobile and healthy. These stretches cover the major muscle groups and joints, starting with the shoulders and moving down to the hips. The exercises below are available to view online and are courtesy of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA).

Shoulder Mobility Stretch
Standing or kneeling with your feet hip width apart and maintaining neutral spine, hold a stretch band or yoga strap wider than shoulder width apart. If your shoulders are more flexible, try bringing your hands closer together.

From this position, raise the band over your head without bending at the elbows or arching the low back. Keep moving your arms back, bringing them down behind your back until your hands are close to or near your hips, then reverse the circle back to the starting point.

Continue back and forth 5 to 10 times, inhaling as you raise your arms towards the ceiling and exhaling as you move them over your head and behind you. You should feel a slight pull on your shoulders but the pain should not be unbearable.

shoulder mobility stretch

Reach Behind Stretch
In a seated position or kneeling, bring your right arm straight up over your head. Bend at the elbow letting your right hand come down past your neck. Now bring your left arm to your side and bend at the elbow, reaching your left hand up the spine, facing outward. Try to reach your two hands towards one another until they touch or clasp. If the hands can’t touch that just means there’s tightness in the shoulders, triceps, and chest. You can easily modify this stretch using a strap or stretch band. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths in this pose before switching sides.

reach behind stretch reach behind stretch

Doorway Lean Stretch
This is a great stretch for the chest and front of the shoulders. Begin by facing an open doorway. Keep your elbows bent at 90° with your arms raised to shoulder height. Rest your hands and forearms against the door jamb.

Lean forward slightly and you should feel a stretch across your chest. Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

doorway lean stretch

Cat and Cow Pose
Begin in table top position on your hands and knees, with your wrists, elbows and shoulders in one line and your knees underneath the hips with your toes curled under. As you inhale, lift your head and tailbone and gently drop the belly button towards the floor. Making sure the shoulders are away from your ears as you lift. This is cow pose. As you exhale, round your back, tuck your chin into your chest. This is cat pose. Continue the flow as you inhale to come into cow pose and exhale into cat.

cat cow stretch

Lower Back Flexion Stretch
There are many layers of muscles in your lower back, which helpto move your body in different directions. The muscles along either side of your spine start at the back of your skull and go all the way down to the pelvis. To properly stretch these muscles before doing any back-intensive workouts, try the Lower Back Flexion Stretch. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. One at a time hug each knee to the chest or grasp both knees together and pull them to your chest. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 2 to 3 times.

lower back flexion stretch

If you are unable to complete these exercises or have pain while doing them, do not push through them.

If you would like to book an initial assessment with one of the chiropractors to identify more exercises for a particular area of your body, please call the clinic at 905.465.4595.

Lisa Marie Foreman, B.Sc., RMT, DO-MTP, M.OMSc. – Osteopath

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms include: ringing, buzzing, roaring, swishing, humming, hissing, cracking or clicking. This noise can vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal and you may hear it in one or both ears. Patterns of tinnitus include steadily monotone, intermittent, pulsating, rising and falling or others.

A common cause of tinnitus is inner ear damage. Other causative factors include: excessive noise exposure, spontaneous without an event, whiplash injury, irregular movement, irregular posture, disorder of the teeth/jaw, stress and/or emotional strain.

Inner ear damage may influence the tiny delicate hairs in your inner ear that move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from your ear (auditory nerve) to your brain. Your brain interprets these signals as sounds. If the hairs inside your inner ear are bent or broken, they can “leak” random energetic impulses to your brain, causing tinnitus.

Medial compression of the cranial base may be a factor in a variety of symptoms. It is commonly a factor of tinnitus and vertigo. Bony dysfunction of the temporal bone and compressions with its bony tissue are commonly involved. (Franklyn Sulls)

The temporal bones are a very common cause of cranio-sacral system problems, not only because of their numerous muscle, dural and membrane attachments but also because of the extensive cranial articulations which are present around their boundaries. The temporal bones articulate with the occipital, parietals, sphenoid, mandible and zygomatic bones. As well, there are 8 nerves and 9 blood vessels that are intimately related to these bones.

Several mechanisms underlying sutural dysfunction are possible. One which has been almost completely overlooked is hypertonus or contraction (tension) of the temporal muscle. This muscle is chronically contracted under conditions of emotional stress, dental malocclusion and/or TMJ dysfunction.

TEMPORAL BONE DECOMPRESSION: THE “EAR PULL” TECHNIQUE

The external ear (pinna) is attached by fibres to the osseous part of the external ear canal as this penetrates the temporal bone. To perform the ear pull technique, simply place gentle traction postero-laterally on both external ears.  Once the traction has begun, the directions will become self-determining. Begin the traction equally and bilaterally, allowing the direction of the movement to be determined by the inherent pattern of the tissues. Begin the force of traction very lightly and gradually increase it until you feel a motion response.

An external rotation of the temporal bone can leave the ear canal open resulting in a low pitch drone. An internal rotation of the temporal bone can lead to narrowing or even closure of the ear canal where high-pitched humming or even howling can be heard. (Magoun, 1976)

The temporal bone forms the stress susceptible joint socket of the jaw which is an immediate neighbour of the ear canal. A dysfunction resulting from trauma, the extraction of a wisdom tooth, patterns of tension through stress and so on have a direct effect on the function of the temporal bone. The result can be denture abnormalities, a growth disturbance of the teeth or bruxism. Because of the close connections to the cranial nerves, these dysfunctions can also result in hearing abnormalities such as tinnitus and a disturbance of balance. (Liem, 2003)

Still (1886) teaches that all vessels that lead to/from the heart have to be freed of all obstacles. No nerve can fulfil its tasks unless it is well nourished.

OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT

  • The osteopath eliminates vertebral dysfunction and relieves muscular tension in the cervical region. As a result, the blood flow in the main vessels of the head and neck is improved.
  • The osteopath checks the tension in the seams between the bones of the skull which affects the mobility of the dura mater and the functioning of brain structures.
  • In addition to working with the cervical department, the osteopath eliminates dysfunction in all other sections since the spine is a single structure, where each vertebra affects the others.

It is important to achieve balance in the case of non-physiological conditions of tension and a release of cranial sutures and fascia, the CNS and the ventricles (definition: The ventricular system is a set of four interconnected cavities (ventricles) in the brain, where the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced. Within each ventricle is a region of choroid plexus, a network of ependymal cells involved in the production of (CSF). This is to ensure the functioning of the lymphatic mechanism between the endolymphatic duct and the subarachnoidal space and to ensure the drainage of the inner ear via the venous sinuses. (Plothe, 2006)

In the case of most tinnitus patients, one finds compression in the segments C0/C1/C2 (base of skull). Also, there is typically an extension of the upper back which should be in flexion. Cranio-sacral therapy is very efficient especially in terms of the attachments to the temporal bone and the masseter muscle. CV4 is performed to regulate the longitudinal fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid. As this is performed, cranial membranes and fascia relax and there is drainage of the venous sinuses. (Arlot, 1998)

The nerves along the neck and upper back conduct and regulate the circulation to the sensory organs, including the ears. Pressure on these nerves can adversely influence hearing by distorting the sensory functions of the auditory nerves. Since these nerves also play a role in regulating blood and lymph circulation to the ears, impingements can cause auditory problems via disturbed circulation to the ears. This can be compounded by muscular tension and fascial restrictions of the shoulder girdle. Osteopaths seek to increase mobility in the upper spine to improve blood and lymphatic flow to the ears and reduce nerve irritation.

Understanding compensatory changes that occur to the musculoskeletal system can moreover help us understand the causes for the development of tinnitus. Between the ear and jaw there are muscular, fascial and joint connections (both are linked up by the temporal bones). The bones of the skull should be free in their movements but also the structures running through them, enclosed by them or connecting them like nerves, arteries, veins and sutures. Osteopaths can focus their efforts on improving the function and movement of the jaw and the bones of the skull by utilizing cranial osteopathy. Osteopathic treatment for tinnitus aims to release muscular and fascial tension and improve joint mobility, especially in the neck, upper back and jaw joint and the improvement of lymphatic local circulation. Early osteopathic treatment is recommended to improve the outcome of the tinnitus. Treatment by an Osteopath may be carried out in conjunction with medical or alternative interventions. (Rocha and Sanchez, 2007, 2008, 2012)

In conclusion, cranial manual therapy and myofascial release technique could be a potential treatment for somatic tinnitus in patients with no otic pathology or temporomandibular disorders.

tinnitus

 

Lisa Marie Foreman, B.Sc., RMT, DO-MTP, M.OMSc. – Osteopath

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears when no external sound is present. Symptoms include ringing, buzzing, roaring, swishing, humming, hissing, cracking or clicking. This can be experienced in one or both ears.

A common cause of tinnitus is inner ear damage. It can also be caused by excessive noise exposure, whiplash injury, irregular movement, irregular posture, disorder of the teeth/jaw, stress and/or emotional strain, dental malocclusion and/or TMJ dysfunction.

Osteopathic Treatment

  • An osteopath can help eliminate vertebral dysfunction and relieve muscular tension in the cervical region. As a result, the blood flow in the main vessels of the head and neck is improved.
  • An osteopath also checks the tension in the seams between the bones of the skull which affects the mobility of the neural membrane structures.
  • In addition to working with the head and neck, the osteopath can also eliminate dysfunction in all other sections of the spine.

Osteopathic treatment for tinnitus aims to release muscular and fascial tension and improve joint mobility, especially in the neck, upper back and jaw joint and the improvement of lymphatic local circulation. Early osteopathic treatment is recommended to improve the outcome of tinnitus.

** Above is a summary of Lisa Marie’s article. To read more, please click here. **

tinnitus