Comox Valley Chiropractor – Tips for your Health

Health tips from your Comox Valley Chiropractor

Knee Pain Kinesiotaping January 11, 2009

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Ever since I started using kinesiotape in my office, I seem to be using it more and more for knee conditions. There are so many different ways to apply the tape, but I find sometimes that the most simple applications make the most difference. Here are some quick and easy applications of kinesiotape for knee pain. They are modifications of the listed technique that can be found in the kinesiotaping manual:

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1. ACL instability

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2. MCL strain (inner knee strain)

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3. Patello-femoral syndrome (kneecap pain)

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Its best to seek out an accurate diagnosis first for your knee pain. If you find that kinesiotape works, it is a safe and effective way to control your symptoms and allow you to ultimately rehabilitate the knee.

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Dr. Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

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Chronic Foot Pain – Its Plantar Fasciitis! December 7, 2008

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The Plantar Fascia

The Plantar Fascia

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The plantar fascia of the foot is a thick band of connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. It runs from the heel up towards the toes on the bottom of the foot. Excessive wear and tear on this structure can lead to inflammation and results in pain on the bottom of the foot or heel, which is often worse first thing in the morning or with too much walking. In certain cases, it can lead to the formation of a heel spur on the heel bone.

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In my experience, this condition usually builds up slowly over long periods of time. Excess stress on the plantar fascia due to fallen arches (flat feet), improper footwear or excess time spent on the feet can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis. Treatment is aimed at reducing the inflammation and supporting the arch of the foot if it needs it.

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In my office, anyone presenting with plantar fasciitis receives a low back, hip, knee, ankle and foot examination including gait (walking). Depending on the state of the arch, over the counter or custom made orthotics may be prescribed. Apart from restoring proper motion of the back, hip, knee and ankle, I tend to pay special attention to the movement of the foot bones that make up the arch (navicular and cuboid). I use active release therapy and/or muscle stripping with biofreeze to reduce the inflammation in the plantar fascia itself. Finally, I always end a session with application of Kinesiotape which often works wonders.

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A thorough home stretch plan is very important in this case, as you are on your feet all day. I usually suggest stretching the plantar fascia (pull back on your toes), calf muscles and shins. I recommend icing at the end of the day, which is best done by freezing water in a 500 ml plastic water bottle and proceeding to roll your foot forward and backwards on it. Further self-massage can be done with some moisturizer and your thumbs. For severe or stubborn cases, I will recommend that my patient wear a good supportive pair of running shoes at all times when in the house. Finally, low intensity laser therapy is a great option to boost healing of the plantar fascia especially when recovery is slow.

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I think that one thing all health professionals will agree upon is that you don’t want to let plantar fasciitis go. As with most problems, it is much easier to treat in the early stages. Listen to your body before it forces you to pay attention!

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Dr Debbie Wright is a practicing Comox Valley Chiropractor.

 

Chronic Shoulder Pain? Probably Rotator Cuff Tendonitis… September 3, 2008

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One of the most common things that this Comox Valley Chiropractor sees in my practice is rotator cuff tendonitis. I’ll treat at least 2-3 per day, sometimes as a primary complaint but usually as an add-on to other complaints. Most often, the problem with be chronic and will have been around for many months. Most people believe that since the pain is not too bad, it will go away on its own. Sadly, it often doesn’t, but progressively gets worse as time goes on.

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The rotator cuff of your shoulder is a group of small muscles which help to co-ordinate the movement of your arm bone in your shoulder socket. When they aren’t functioning properly, the head of the arm bone doesn’t rotate smoothly in the socket and you will get clicking, clunking and pinching of the tendon of one of the muscles. This will result in pain with certain arm movements such as lifting it up to the side, putting on your coat or opening the door. Often it will be accompanied by night pain, resulting from sleeping on the sore side.

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Rotator cuff problems are fairly straightforward to diagnose with a proper orthopedic examination. Once diagnosed, the goal of therapy should be to restore proper functioning of the rotator cuff and the shoulder joint. In our Comox Valley Chiropractic office, this entails active release therapy for the muscles, joint mobilization and manipulation, kinesiotaping and many home stretching and strengthening exercises. Once the shoulder has regained a full and painless range of motion, it is imperative that the muscles are strengthened in order to prevent the problem from coming back.

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Another option which works well, especially for chronic and stubborn cases, is low intensity laser therapy. Although current research has variable results, I have had great success with laser therapy in my practice. Once specific case involved complete resolution of left-sided shoulder pain in two treatments, and no further recurrence in the last 6 months. What makes this case more remarkable is that the patient had previously had rotator cuff surgery on the other shoulder, and was slated to follow the same course for the left side.

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The most important thing to remember about rotator cuff problems is that the sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the faster they get better. Leaving a rotator cuff for too long can make recovery a longer process, and can increase your chances of developing frozen shoulder syndrome which has a recovery time measured in years. If you have any questions about rotator cuff pain, feel free to contact your Comox Valley Chiropractor.

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Healing IT Band Syndrome August 24, 2008

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Iliotibial Band

Iliotibial Band

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Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) can be described as outside (lateral) knee pain that is made worse by any lower limb activities, most notably running and cycling.  The incidence of this injury is on the rise in my practice, but research also shows that ITBS is the most common running injury in the lateral knee, with an incidence of 1.6-12%. In cycling, ITBS may account for up to 15-24% of all overuse injuries.

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It is thought that ITBS is an overuse injury in which the portion of the iliotibial band which runs over the outside knee rubs over the femoral bone with repetitive knee bending and straightening. This results accumulated tissue damage and irritation of the ITB. Specifically with running, as each leg comes forward before heel strike, the tensor fascia latae (TFL) and gluteus maximus/medius are contracting to slow down the leg, which can result in a large amount of tissue tension generated in the ITB.

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A study published in Manual Therapy systematically reviewed all studies on ITB treatment in order to determine which was the most successful method. What they found is that there is a marked lack of good evidence to support any one given treatment for ITBS. All forms reviewed – ultrasound, friction massage, medication or ice all had very little benefit on the condition.

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Part of the reason for this is that different treatments could work for different subsets of people (i.e. older cyclists respond better to one thing, while runners with chronic ITBS respond better to another). This Comox Valley Chiropractor will often see good results with ART (active release therapy) and other such soft tissue therapies, kinesiotaping,  and chiropractic adjustments to restore proper function of the pelvis, hips and back. Of course, one must always look above the problem (pelvis) as well as below the problem (feet) for a source of dysfunction.

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So the bottom line of this post? So far, the evidence doesn’t point to one therapy being better than another. So when seeking out treatment, be sure to set an appropriate treatment plan that includes regular re-evaluation with your therapist. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to move on and try another modality once you’ve given the first one a good shot.

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If you have any questions about ITBS, feel free to contact your Comox Valley Chiropractor for more information.

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Kinesiotape – A Great Pain Reliever! August 15, 2008

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Many of you have been watching the Olympics. If you’ve been watching beach volleyball, you’ve no doubt spotted the peculiar black tape all over the shoulder of one of the American women. This taping method which was developed by a chiropractor, called Kinesiotaping, is very popular amongst trainers and chiropractors especially when working with elite athletes. I’ve been using Kinesiotape in my office for about 6 months now with great results.

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From the Kinesiotaping website:

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The Kinesio Taping® Method has taken the Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine world by storm. This amazing taping method was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase over 25 years ago in Japan. Kinesio Taping® has quickly become the gold, or should we say “platinum” standard, for therapeutic rehabilitative taping. The proprietary method of taping uses a uniquely designed and patented tape for treatment of muscular disorders and lymphedema reduction.

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The Kinesio Taping® Method involves taping over and around muscles in order to assist and give support or to prevent over-contraction. The first technique gives the practitioner the opportunity to actually give support while maintaining full range of motion. This enables the individual to participate in their normal physical activity with functional assistance. The second technique, which is most commonly used in the acute stage of rehabilitation, helps prevent overuse or over-contraction and helps provide facilitation of lymph flow for an entire 24 hour period.

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On a personal note, I have been using Kinesiotape for my knee sprain. When the tape is not applied, I have alot of pain walking, standing for long periods of time, and going from a sitting to a standing position. As soon as the tape is applied over the inside surface of my knee, I get instant relief from pain which enables me to strengthen and heal the injury quicker.

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I have used this method on various injuries in my office. Just yesterday, the tape was used to reduce the inflammation of biceps tendonitis, pregnancy-related pelvic pain and shin splints. If you have any questions about how Kinesiotape can help you, feel free to contact your Comox Valley Chiropractor.

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