Monthly Archives: March 2013

What Is a Kinesiologist?

The study of kinesiology focuses on human movement and body function. At Movéo, we kinesiologists work largely with the chiropractors and physiotherapists to create a rehabilitation program tailored specifically to each individual patient. Because chiropractor appointments are only 2o minutes long–and our doctors prefer to spend as much time as possible being hands-on–we spend extra time after treatment to teach exercises and correct posture. These exercise programs strive to increase and maintain stability, strength, endurance, and range of motion. The continuation of exercises during the recovery stage of an injury is important for a number of reasons:

 

  • Once the acute stage has been resolved, we want to regain range of motion and re-strengthen the injured area to original health. We also want to continue exercising safely to retain strength; this is to prevent further muscle loss

 

  • To minimize the risk of recurrence or chronic pain, we mend any biomechanical errors or imbalances by addressing other weaknesses that are the result of, or reason for, the initial injury. This will increase overall strength and stability. 

 

  • We educate our clients on the mechanics of their specific injury. Our ultimate goal is to help you become conscious of your own body so you can make minor adjustments in positioning and movement to avoid re-injury.

 

We can also help you with chronic pain and discomfort throughout your daily life. Office ergonomics, mini breaks between work tasks, posture while driving–we will address these common issues and help you find relief within your busy life.

Of course, our expertise applies to more than just injuries. Aches and pains, yes–but we can also assist in modifying workouts to meet our previously mentioned criteria of building stability, strength, endurance, and range of motion. Our purpose is to correct posture and method in order to enhance performance and prevent future injury. We aim to give you confidence in your biomechanics and minimize any insecurity you may have in the gym, during swims, out running, on the field, or in whatever you love to do.

Ultrasound as a Rehabilitation Tool

Therapeutic Ultrasound

 

You may have been offered an ultrasound treatment during your physiotherapy or chiropractic session, and you probably accepted it without too much thought. You gave in to the cold dollop of blue gel and the circular rhythm of the wand for a couple minutes, then packed up and got going with your life. You may have not even felt anything! So what exactly is ultrasound, and how does it help?

Ultrasound is a device that sends ultrasonic (high frequency sound) waves through your skin into the tissues below. Frequencies of the wave can be adjusted depending on how deep the waves must penetrate.

There are two effects of therapeutic ultrasound: non-thermal and thermal. Non-thermally, the ultrasound works to break up scar tissue by using the vibration from the wave. This is called cavitation. A mass of scar tissue experiences a pressure change with the sound wave, causing it to break up into progressively smaller masses until finally disappearing for good. For example, lithotripsy is a procedure in which gall and kidney stones are broken up by using ultrasound.

 

The waves are absorbed by structures beneath the skin – such as ligaments, tendons, fascia, and even scar tissue. The absorption creates a thermal effect as the waves vibrate throughout the structure. This increases blood flow into the area to promote faster recovery. Blood vessels dilate due to the heat so that swelling and edema flush out, reducing pain. Fresh blood full of oxygen and nutrients can now flow through with ease to aid in rebuilding tissue.

 

Our practitioners find that ultrasound used in combination with other therapies—for example, Active Release Technique or manual therapy—is more effective than simply using ultrasound on its own. Often, our chiropractors do this with Graston. The ultrasound acts as a warm-up; it increases temperature and begins the scar tissue breakdown process. Then, the Graston tool can get in to further break down more efficiently.

 

Ultrasound is more effective than a heat pad because, as you may have experienced, the skin is in direct contact and may become unbearably hot; meanwhile, the deeper structures receive less heat. Ultrasound can be adjusted to actually reach its target without causing discomfort—or even any change in sensation—to the skin.

 

There are a number of other types of ultrasound used in the medical field as well. Perhaps the best-known type is for diagnostic purposes. The sound waves create an image of internal structures like babies or injured tissue. Shockwave therapy is similar to the cavitation effect of the ultrasound therapy. Its difference is in the strength of wave—shockwave therapy is at a higher intensity, which affect the tissue composition at a cellular level in a different way. Even deep structures such as bones can be stimulated to increase cell production and bone density.

 

Heat vs Ice: Injury Treatments and Rehabilitation

What does heat do?

  1. Local dilation of blood vessels

This increases blood flow to a specific area. Deoxygenated blood can flow out and flush away the built up metabolic waste. Meanwhile, new blood can flow in, bringing nutrients and oxygen to promote recovery.

 

  1. Decreased pain perception

Injury causes nerves to constantly send pain signals to the muscle. This nerve irritation can be distracted with overriding heat signals.

 

  1. Reduction of muscle tension & spasm

Muscles tend to tense up and spasm when there is pain. As explained above, heat diminishes pain signals from the nerves. Tension then declines due to the decrease in pain.

When should I use heat?

  • Chronic conditions
    • 2 weeks or more after initial injury
    • Fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis
  • Muscle tension headaches
    • Apply to upper back
  • Cold, sinusitis, respiratory tract infections
  • Before deep tissue treatment
    • Active Release Technique, myofascial release, massage therapy

* For optimum effects: heat 10 min, off for 10 min, repeat 2 – 3 times.

**Do not heat an acute/recent injury! The vessels at the injury site are still weakened and cannot handle an increase in flow.

 


What does ice do?

  1. Local constriction of blood vessels

The cold constricts the blood vessels. Blood flow to the injury site lessens when ice is applied, thus lessening swelling and pain.

 

  1. Slows swelling
    Fluid accumulates in the injured site, leading to inflammation. The addition of blood to the area would further hinder the injury; thus, ice is used to control the blood flow by vasoconstriction (see above).
  2. Decreased pain

The ice will numb the nerves in the area, decreasing soreness. It will also slow the nerve impulses, thus lessening the degree of pain and pain-spasm reaction.


When should I use ice?

  • Acute injuries
    • Sprains, strains, bruises
    • From the moment of injury – 72 hrs later
  • Flare-up of overuse conditions

e.g. Tendonitis

  • Migraine headaches
    • Apply to neck when headache occurs
  • After deep tissue treatment


*For optimum effect: ice until skin is pink (10 min), off 10 min, repeat 2 – 3 times

**Use a wet towel as a barrier between your skin and the ice to avoid freezing the skin.

 


Alternating hot, then cold: A Flushing Effect


Heat allows the blood vessels to dilate; cold then contracts them. Alternating between the two acts as a pump and increases the circulation in the area to:

  • Push the excess fluid out from the area, thereby decreasing swelling
  • Allow blood to bring in nutrients and oxygen, which increases healing


The ratio of heat to cold should be 3 min : 1 min.

Repeat 3 times.

Always end with cold.
Ending with heat leaves the blood vessels dilated, allowing for fluid to accumulate again. Rather than re-aggravating the injury, end with cold to constrict the vessels. This will minimize the return of any swelling.

 


When should I use both?

  • Sub-acute stage of healing
    • Considerably less swelling and heat than at time of injury

(Depends on injury/person; 2 days – 2weeks)

 

Seed & Auricular Therapy

by Dr. Kim Graham, Dr. TCM
Source: medicinal roots

Dr. Kim Graham

When, after their acupuncture treatment, I tell my patients for the first time how I would like to apply seeds to various points in their ears, I get a look that simultaneously asks if I am joking, and perhaps more importantly, if they heard me correctly. The question that usually follows is “You want to put WHAT in my EARS?”

I understand their apprehension. After all, we have been taught from a very young age about the dangers of putting anything smaller than our elbows into our ears! So the idea of letting someone tape small seeds to his or her ears can be cause for some trepidation.

Firstly I should clarify that seed therapy can be used anywhere on the body, at specific acu-points, but more commonly, seeds are used as part of a specific type of treatment known as auricular (ear) therapy.

Auricular acupuncture and the use of the ear as a diagnostic tool are documented in some of the earliest texts on traditional Chinese medicine. The theories and methods of treatment described in these texts have been studied and developed over time into the highly specialized therapy that is in use today. Over the past 30 years there has been extensive research into the effectiveness of auricular therapy in the treatment of various mental/emotional problems (including the disease of addiction and PTSD) with tremendous results in favour if its efficacy.

Eerily accurate as a diagnostic tool, patients are generally shocked when a trained therapist can tell immediately without asking questions which hip, knee, or limb is painful, if there have been any fractures in the body, or if they have trouble sleeping or are suffering from nightmares. It is not magic. The answer is simple. The body never lies.

The ear is a micro-system. A virtual map of the entire body that is reflected on its surface. A therapist trained in auricular therapy reads the information presented by the ear and translates it into valuable diagnostic information. In terms of TCM practice, various diagnostic clues are noted. Things such colour, temperature, and visible veins are observed in order to shed light on how the corresponding area of the body is being affected.

Applying seed therapy to the ears after an acupuncture treatment can extend the active phase of treatment, allowing the patient to self-administer pressure to the points as needed or at regular intervals as prescribed by the practitioner.

The type of seed used is called the Vaccaria seed (Semen Vaccariae), commonly known as Cowherb or Soapwort seeds in the West. In traditional Chinese medicine, these seeds are known as the herb Wang Bu Liu Xing and belong to a class of herbs known to invigorate blood and remove stagnation (Qi). According to TCM theory, the two dominant factors present in painful conditions are the stagnation of Qi and Blood. This herb in particular has an effect on both, with greater emphasis on the blood.

For use in the ear, and other body parts, these seeds were chosen primarily for their size and evenness (small, smooth and resilient to the body’s oils) enabling them to provide sustained local stimulation to specific acu-points. However, their Blood and Qi moving properties cannot be overlooked as potentiating factors in treatment. Seed therapy is invaluable in the treatment of patients who have a fear of needles, or otherwise have strong physiological reactions to acupuncture. Each seed is typically held in place with a small strip of either tan or clear tape, and are virtually undetectable.

The treatment applications for seed and auricular therapy are numerous, and when performed by a qualified trained practitioner can be enormously beneficial.

acupuncture ear photo