Comox Valley Chiropractor – Tips for your Health

Health tips from your Comox Valley Chiropractor

Gluteal Muscle Activation Exercises October 31, 2009

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It has been mentioned before in this Comox Valley Chiropractor Blog that improper activation of the gluteal muscle can lead to many lower limb issues such as knee pain (patello-femoral syndrome) or IT Band problems. A research study was recently published which sought to establish a group of exercises that were the most effective at activating the gluteal muscles.

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The study, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, measured the EMG (muscle electrical activation) of the gluteus maximus and medius during various exercises. They came up with a group of 5 exercises which are the most effective.

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1. Side lying hip abductions – abducting the top leg to 30 degrees.
2. Single leg squats – ensuring the knee stays above the second toe, and start with knee and hip at 30 degrees of flexion.
3. Single leg dead lifts – keep knee bent at 30 degrees to maximize hip and trunk flexion.
4. Lateral band walk – side-stepping against the resistance of a band tied around the ankles.
5. Side-hops – hopping sideways off the non-dominant leg to land on the dominant leg.

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These exercises may not be appropriate for all patients and all conditions. Consult a professional in order to determine your diagnosis and any other issues you may have. A good home program lets you achieve the results you desire in terms of stability, with exercises that are easy to do and won’t result in further injury.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

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Preventing Back Pain in Adults October 24, 2009

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If you have been reading this blog, you know by now that back pain is a huge problem in our society. In affects over 80% of people at least once in their lives, and can lead to high costs in terms of diagnostic testing/imaging, treatment, medication, decreased productivity and time off work.

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A systematic review was recently done in The Spine Journal to evaluate which methods were best for preventing back pain in adults. They evaluated studies including exercises, advice, back supports and other props, activity modification or social/workplace policy changes.

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What they found is that the only intervention that consistently showed good results in preventing the occurrence of back pain was exercise. This reinforces the general tenet that you must get your back in motion for it to be healthier.

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A simple, but consistent exercise plan is a vital component to healing existing back problems, and more importantly to stop them from recurring. Exercise, whether general aerobic or specific strengthening/mobilizing should be part of every patient’s plan of manangement.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

 

Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation October 18, 2009

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In the opinion of this Courtenay chiropractor, problems with internal rotation of the shoulder are often a major component of the rotator cuff issues seen in my office.

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In office, I will employ soft tissue therapy, chiropractic adjustments and taping to help restore proper function to the rotator cuff and surrounding structures. I also believe it is important to arm the patient with exercises to do at home. One of the most important stretches out there is the Sleeper Stretch.

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A great explanation of the sleeper stretch can be found here, with pictures to clarify.

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If you have pain putting on your coat, or unhooking a bra, then you may have problems with internal rotation and impingement in the back of your shoulder. See a professional for a correct diagnosis, and ask them about the Sleeper stretch. It can be used to help alleviate the problem, and as a precaution to prevent it from returning.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

 

Comox Valley Yoga October 5, 2009

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One thing I do love about the Comox Valley is the unbelievable number of fitness opportunities! Especially when it comes to yoga.

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I had the opportunity to check out a hatha class with Brian Hill in Cumberland the other day. Not only was his space warm, calming and comforting but he had all the latest equipment including some things I had never seen before. The lavender scented eye pillows were a step above.

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Besides teaching at his studio in Cumberland, Brian also does classes at the Lewis Centre in Courtenay. You can find all of his information and class schedules on his website at www.bhill.ca.

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I really enjoyed Brian’s class – he focused on technique and positioning thereby ensuring that nobody was in danger of injuring themselves. It was the perfect level for a Sunday morning, and I left feeling awake and refreshed.

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As I’ve said before, if more people took the time to do exercises that enhance stability and flexibility like yoga does, they would spend a lot less time in my office!

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

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Knee Pain? Look to the Hip! September 18, 2009

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Anytime someone comes into my Comox Valley Chiropractic office with knee pain, I always will look at their hips and pelvis for dysfunction. It is a logical step that most chiropractors will take.

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Now, new research is emerging which is showing that a measurable relationship does exist between patellofemoral joint (kneecap) pain and altered hip mechanics.

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This study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found a link between women with kneecap pain, increased internal hip rotation and weakness with hip extension. These subjects consistently showed weaker single leg squatting and jumping abilities, and had improper hip mechanics when running.

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A comprehensive treatment strategy would involve normalizing the hip and pelvic function with chiropractic adjustments, working on the muscular tension with soft tissue therapy, and addressing the hip weakness with a gluteus medius and maximus rehab program.

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The incidence of knee pain is very high in our society, especially in younger women. There are ways to help this condition, and it is not necessarily something you have to live with!

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Courtenay Chiropractor.

 

The Broken Spoke saves the day! September 10, 2009

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I’d like to extend a huge “Thank You!” to Mike and Tomiko over at The Broken Spoke in Courtenay. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of frequenting this new shop, its part coffee shop, part bike shop.

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The coffee shop is superb, and in my opinion ranks very high on list of good coffee shops in Courtenay. If you’re ever bored on a Saturday, swing by the shop at 2 pm for a round of “Cupping”. Its like wine tasting but with coffee. You’ll leave educated, buzzed, and with a larger appreciation for a simple cup of coffee.

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As for Mike in the bike shop, I have nothing but raves. Not only did he masterfully outfit my ancient 10-speed with paniers over the lunch hour, but he also managed to adjust my bike so I no longer get nagging leg pain. As a Courtenay Chiropractor, I knew that something about the bike’s setup was causing my pain – my knee was too bent when I started my downstroke. I didn’t think I could do anything since the bike is already pretty high for me, and raising the seat wasn’t an option. Mike took the time to watch me ride on my bike and adjust the handlebars and the seat. He somehow managed to move the seat further back and it instantly got rid of my problem. 5 months of pain gone in an instant – that’s even better than I can do!

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I encourage you to support a great local business and head out to The Broken Spoke. It may even entice you to dust off your bike and get out on the trails, thereby decreasing the chance you’ll end up in my office!

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

 

Computer Causing Neck Pain and Headaches? July 6, 2009

I can’t tell you the number of patients I see on a daily basis who have serious neck pain and headaches from sitting at their computers all day. Many people have horrible set-ups with low chairs, high screens or laptops. Others simply sit in the position for hours on end without moving, only to go home and play video games or do more work on the computer. Returning to the same position day after day causes these problems to build up to a point where they just won’t go away.

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A growing proportion of these people in my office tend to be students. That is why I was very interested in an article that recently was published in the journal Cephalalgia. 1,073 students were evaluated for neck pain and headaches, computer use and other associated factors.

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Results showed that 26% of students reported suffering from headaches (interestingly, twice as many females as males). 20% reported neck pain and 7% reported both. The median computer use time per week was listed as 8.5 hours, with the overall range being 0-28 hours. When psycho-social factors were surveyed, females scored higher than males (more problems).

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The researchers found that high hours of computer work was positively associated with neck pain, but not with headache pain. Higher psycho-social scores were found to be associated with higher incidence of neck pain.

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This study not only shines light on the negative impact of computer use on adolescent health, it also shows that people of this age group do report a high amount of pain and headache symptoms. It suggests that in addition to manual treatment to relieve symptoms, that sufficient time be spent by the clinician educating the adolescent on ergonomics, posture and stretching.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.