For many women, talking about menopause is like wearing a bikini -- the older you are the less you want to do it. But like most things in life the more you know, the better the experience will be. The truth is, your quality of life hangs in the balance.
How are Menopause and Pelvic Health Linked?
As you age your pelvis and every muscle in it gets weaker and thinner. Sometimes this is due to less activity, but for perimenopausal and menopausal women, there’s also a hormone responsible for this: estrogen.
Ever since puberty, estrogen has taken care of you. It has regulated muscle growth and maintenance, bone density, body weight, energy, and vaginal lubrication. But, in perimenopause your body slows down estrogen production, and it reaches new lows once you hit menopause.
This leaves your muscles weaker, your bones and tissues (including your urethra) thinner, and your vagina drier. Your whole pelvis is impacted and this can cause you significant discomfort.
As your estrogen declines, issues you’ve had in the past will become worse, or whole new issues will develop, including:
Have you experienced painful intercourse? You are not alone! Dyspareunia is a very common and distressing side effect of menopause – the result of several possible culprits, including declining estrogen production and vestibulodynia, a chronic pain syndrome that causes discomfort with any touch or pressure in the vaginal area. This common problem can affect sexual desire and pleasure and cause emotional distress. The good news is that these conditions are very treatable. Pelvic floor physical therapy can relax and stretch tightened muscles and strengthen the pelvic floor area.
Are these issues a result of having children? It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had children or not, any woman can experience these problems and each of these pelvic issues can reduce your quality of life.
When you first start to experience these changes, you may be embarrassed to talk about it. But, there are things you can do to mitigate the effects.
In the past, estrogen has kept your muscles relaxed and strong. Now, you need to step in and give your body some extra support. Here’s how:
Support Pelvic Health to Prevent and Relieve Issues
How do you support your pelvic health through menopause? Strengthening your muscles is one way. Stronger muscles will provide support to your pelvic organs, keeping everything in place and working well. Exercise can also help you lose weight, which will relieve pressure on your pelvis and help it stay healthy.
Relaxing your muscles is another way to encourage pelvic health. Sometimes increasing your exercise regime while you have tense or inflexible muscles (or even more serious conditions) can do more harm than good. You can further dislodge prolapsed organs, put strain on weakened muscles, or increase back pain by over-working already stressed muscles. In this case, you can benefit from massage or other techniques meant to relax stiff muscles.
Set Personal Goals
So, what should be your top priority? Increasing strength, flexibility, relaxation, or losing weight? A physiotherapist can help you identify what your primary goals should be, based on your personal circumstances. A physiotherapist can also help you achieve your goals safely, with specific techniques and exercises perfectly tailored to you. Contact Meadowlands Physiotherapy today to get tailored advice from our experienced physiotherapists on which exercises will help you improve your pelvic health.
We all have an image of yoga practitioners gracefully flowing into a pretzel-shape, and pausing for a deep breath. Some people make it look so easy you might wonder, is yoga really exercise? Oh yes!
Yoga is fantastic exercise, because you can make it as relaxed and peaceful, or as intense and energizing as you like-- without turning yourself into a pretzel. Anyone can participate in yoga, and as you get more skilled it continues to challenge you. Plus, there are amazing health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga offers health benefits that further both your physiotherapy goals and your goals for general health. Studies show that yoga:
In addition to these direct physical benefits, those who practice yoga also gain mental health benefits. Yoga can relieve anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. It can also boost memory and concentration.
What to Look for in a Yoga Class
An instructor who lets you go at your own pace is key to any yoga practice. A good yoga instructor is experienced enough to help you adjust any pose to your level of skill. They should recognize when you’ve achieved mastery of a pose, and should motivate you to take on new challenges.
You should also strive to find a yoga class with an atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Meadowlands’ yoga classes are held in a private, quiet, peaceful studio where you can focus on your breathing and yourself.
Lastly, you should look for a yoga style that fits with your goals and needs. At Absolute Pilates, we offer two kinds of yoga, one of which is certain to be right for you:
Restorative yoga is the best fit for those looking for a gentle yoga class that focuses on improving flexibility and balance. It also deeply relieves stress and improves focus.
Restorative yoga focuses on five or six poses, allowing you to hold the positions for several minutes before moving to the next one. It requires minimal flow, or movement between the poses.
People who suffer from chronic pain, especially in the neck or back will benefit from a restorative yoga class. Those with anxiety, high blood pressure, or depression will also find solace in these classes.
Hatha yoga classes involve 20 to 30 poses, asking you to flow between each one. Hatha yoga will increase your strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Like all the yoga classes we offer, a beginner will feel right at home here.
Hatha yoga offers a faster pace than restorative yoga, offering more benefits to your cardiovascular health and weight loss efforts. You’ll feel rejuvenated after these classes, and may find your overall energy levels increase!
Whether you’re interested in hatha, restorative yoga, or both, sign up for our classes here.
Canada’s sport provides physical and mental challenge like no other. But, like all sports, hockey makes specific areas of the body more vulnerable to injury than others. As you play, you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself from injury. And, if you suffer even a minor injury, you need to make sure you’re treating it properly, to ensure it heals properly and doesn’t re-occur.
How to avoid hockey injuries
Properly fitting equipment is the first step to avoiding injury. All equipment must be CSA approved. Helmets are your most important, though gloves are sometimes overlooked, the hand is very vulnerable in hockey and should get special attention.
Next, taking the time to warm-up is crucial to preventing injury. When you’re late or otherwise in a rush, you’re less likely to spend the time getting limber that you should.
Even if you always take the time to warm-up and stretch, you need to make sure you’re warming up effectively and targeting the right areas. We can work with you to develop the correct stretches you need to properly warm up before your practice or game.
Another key to avoiding injury is balancing hockey with other sports. This will allow you to move in different ways and develop muscles that play a secondary role in hockey-- but which are susceptible to injury. Our Pilates class is a great way to focus on other muscles, especially in the core, which hockey players may neglect.
Dry-land strength training is another great option for ensuring you're not just strong, but have balanced strength on both sides of your body. Depending on which area you’re most likely to injure, we can suggest various preventative exercises.
To avoid pulls and strains, which are common in hockey, especially those of the hip and groin, massage therapy is very helpful. It can improve your joint mobility and increase your bodily awareness of your vulnerable areas.
What to do after injury
After you’re injured do not jump right back on the ice. You should get medical attention quickly, rest the injury, and then seek rehabilitation to re-strengthen the injured area and the areas which support it. These steps are all crucial to preventing the injury from occurring again.
Especially in the early stages post-injury, massage therapy can help you find relief from the pain of your injury while improving circulation and immune function in the pained area.
Once you’re ready to start building strength in the injured area you should start dry-land strength training. While players are excited to get back on the ice, it’s important to take this stage slowly to be sure you fully recover.
A common hockey injury which needs special treatment is lower back strain. It tends to impact experienced players who have developed posture issues or who have failed to develop strength in their back. We can help you to identify and correct posture issues, especially in our Stott Pilates® classes, which are aimed to decrease back pain. These classes also provide cardiovascular exercise to help you regain endurance.
Another excellent option for injuries is our manipulative physiotherapy, a unique hands-on approach that can speed up your recovery. We are one of the only physiotherapy clinics to offer this approach in the Greater Hamilton area.
If you have a fresh or recurring injury, reach out to us at Meadowlands as soon as possible. Our team of professionals will work on a holistic approach to ensuring your recovery is complete, and that you’re preventing further injuries too.
Concussions are becoming well recognized as a serious health issue thanks to news coverage and movies like Concussion starring Will Smith. A recent study revealed that 90% of ex-football players suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to suffer from CTE, a concussion or its potentially dangerous long term consequences.
Suffering a blow to the head, violent shaking, or rapid acceleration or deceleration can result in a concussion. In each of these cases your brain knocks against the inside of your skull, causing the type of damage which we refer to as a concussion.
Contrary to popular belief you do not necessarily lose conciousness when you are concussed. In some cases the patient may be knocked out cold, and in others they may be completely conscious during the entire course of suffering from their head injury.
Even more remarkably, according to the Mayo Clinic, there does not appear to be any link between the severity of the post-concussion syndrome and whether or not the patient lost consciousness at any point.
Some of the long term effects of these brain injuries include, memory loss, depression, confusion and dementia. To minimize the potentially life-altering, long-term consequences, concussion rehab is vital and it should begin as soon as you recognize that you or someone else is suffering from a concussion.
Often symptoms of a concussion occur within the first ten days of suffering from a head injury.
According to Cleveland Clinic, symptoms may include:
● Nausea and vomiting
● Large or unequally sized pupils
● Uncharacteristic, unusual, or strange behaviour
● Anxiety and irritability
● Confusion, inability to recognize people or places, or difficulty performing other basic cognitive tasks like counting, or reciting basic information
● Rining ears
● Headache (particularly a worsening headache)
● Slurred speech
● Difficulty waking up
● Excessive drowsiness
In cases where the person who has suffered a head injury is confused or suffering from lapses in memory you should seek out medical attention immediately. Under no circumstance should a concussed person return to the game if they suffered their injury while playing sports. Further head injuries could increase the severity of the injury and put their eventual recover in jeopardy.
If you believe that a concussion has occurred then you should start taking concussion rehab steps immediately. Take a break from mental and physical activities and avoid anything that triggers your symptoms. For severe concussions this could mean avoiding light and noise if they cause headaches.
● Return to the field of play
● Engage in strenuous physical or mental activity
● Drive for at least 24 hours or longer if symptoms persist
● Do not take pain relievers like ibuprofen as they may cause bleeding
No amount of rehab will make your brain heal faster, but it can prevent you from doing further damage and help treat symptoms.
Persistent headaches, stress, anxiety, and depression can all be addressed through massage and acupuncture. Concussions may impact motor functions which can be improved through physiotherapy. Cognitive function, often the most frightening side effect of a concussion can also be treated through occupational or speech therapy.
If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion speak to your doctor immediately, and then explore long-term concussion rehab options through your physiotherapist.
Over the course of our lives, we all accumulate aches and pains. Even though you must accept some changes as you age, you should also take a moment to listen to your body, as some of those seemingly unexplained moments of discomfort might be within your power to fix. Your physiotherapist may use trigger point release to help manage and prevent muscle pain.
What is a trigger point?
A trigger point is a hyperirritable spot in your fascia, the connective tissue attached to your muscles. Trigger points are formed when muscles grow tight into ‘knots’ due to constant tension. These knots usually correspond to referred pain, which is pain felt at a different point than where the injury occurred.
What kind of pain can trigger point release treat?
After an injury, the functions of an affected muscle are carried out by other nearby muscles. When our bodies become accustomed to this new pattern we tend to develop chronic pain.
Trigger point release is a technique physiotherapists use to counter these patterns. This treatment uses pressure applied either manually or through dry-needling, physiotherapy, massage, heat or a combination. Often trigger point release addresses back, hip, shoulder, neck, knee and other muscle pain. It can even reduce headaches and other tension related conditions.
Is trigger point release right for me?
The root cause of pain can often be difficult to diagnose and referred pain from trigger points can be similar to many other conditions. Since there is still some controversy about trigger point release and it is not usually included in medical training, doctors don’t often recommend this form of treatment.
However trigger point release can be one of the most effective methods for relieving common, everyday pain. With time, trigger point release may help you to avoid using pain medication (depending on your condition), and can also be used alongside more traditional treatments.
How much trigger point release is needed?
That depends entirely on what type of pain you’re experiencing. Recent injuries may require only a few sessions of trigger point release, but for more serious, chronic issues you may require intense treatment, followed by ongoing check-ups.
What to expect
Trigger point release comes with some discomfort. Your physiotherapist will be working with affected areas, compressing muscles related to your pain. However, this initial discomfort will aid in the greater flexibility and function of these muscles.
Trigger point release can be used in conjunction with other treatment options. In fact, your physiotherapist will likely prescribe exercises to follow at home so that you can continue repairing and strengthening your muscles.
For many, this form of treatment can feel miraculous. After enduring painful and ineffective treatments due to misdiagnosis, the relief of tension associated with trigger point release can make sufferers of chronic pain feel like they’ve found the answer. However, it is important to remember that physiotherapy relieves pain by helping to restore body function, so you need to remain diligent and committed to your recovery plan.
Trigger point release gives you the opportunity to address pain that feels like an unfortunate reality of day to day life. With dedication and commitment, you and your physiotherapist can work to relieve back, shoulder, hip, joint and many other kinds of pain. Contact Meadowlands Physiotherapy today to discuss the best treatment plan for you.
Why do we need to talk about it? To start, it could dramatically improve your well-being.
The only thing is, well, a lot of us are embarrassed to talk about it.
What is Pelvic Floor Rehab?
Right, first things first, the pelvic floor is a network of muscles that support your pelvic organs. For a man, that means the bladder and bowels, and for women it also supports the vagina and uterus.
Pelvic floor and perinatal rehab aim to strengthen these muscles to treat issues relating to incontinence and sexual dysfunction. These issues may be uncomfortable to talk about, but are undoubtedly better to address and resolve.
Pelvic Floor Issues
You may benefit from pelvic rehab if you experience:
These conditions can be caused by hypertonicity (tight muscles), hypotonicity (weak muscles), or a combination of the two. Pelvic floor rehab begins with a physiotherapist working with you to identify the root of your issues and then designing plan to address those causes directly.
The Trouble with Kegels
You might be familiar with Kegel exercises and think that they are the answer. That is where a physiotherapist’s guidance can prove useful. Kegel exercises strengthen weak or unresponsive muscles, however if your pelvic floor rehab concerns include tight muscles or involves a tear in pelvic muscles, Kegel exercises might do more harm than good.
Both sexes can benefit from pelvic floor rehab, but perinatal rehab keeps women healthy during and after pregnancy (gents can visit this site for more pelvic floor rehab info).
Perinatal rehab helps pregnant women relieve or even pre-empt some of the strain caused by the changes to their bodies during pregnancy. By learning how to move or exercise correctly, women can lower the risk of bladder and bowel incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and relieve back, pelvic, and groin pain.
Perinatal rehab can also help a pregnant woman learn to relax her pelvic floor in anticipation of delivery. A relaxed pelvic floor allows the uterus to expel the baby with minimal strain to the body.
The Role of a Physiotherapist
During perinatal and pelvic floor rehab, a physiotherapist can help you both recover from the strains of pregnancy, and adjust your lifestyle for continued health. Perinatal rehab begins with an examination and discussion about your condition and lifestyle.
Exercises will often focus on spinal alignment and breathing techniques, as well as an emphasis on how you can safely activate your muscles. It may also include advice on how to accomplish everyday tasks safely. Your perinatal rehab also includes prescribed exercise.
Your physiotherapist will also be able to advise you on self-management and help you determine when it is safe to return to high intensity activities like running, jumping, etc.
Men and women of all ages can benefit from pelvic floor rehab, and perinatal rehab can play a role in safe pregnancies. Contact Meadowlands Physiotherapy today to speak with a physiotherapist about exercises that are the best fit for you!
Manual therapy is a hands-on form of physiotherapy that is a great option for people recovering from injury or seeking relief from chronic pain. Manual therapists manipulate joints and apply pressure to muscles to relieve pain and promote recovery. This form of physiotherapy differs from other popular forms in that the therapeutic techniques are administered by hand, rather than with machines or other devices.
What is Manual Therapy?
Manual Therapy is intended to treat soft tissue, joint inflammation and pain, as well as increase range of motion, facilitate movement and improve function. Those practicing manual therapy rely on their hands to “feel out” different tissue consistencies, as well as employ a comprehensive understanding of human anatomy to make diagnoses and administer treatment.
Soft tissue refers to muscles and connective tissues such tendons and ligaments. A manual therapist may use massage as a manual therapy technique to help relieve symptoms and treat conditions. Soft tissue mobilization is a more specific manual therapy technique. Practitioners apply different directions of pressure to release tension within fascia – thin tissue that encloses muscles and organs – and thereby increase range of motion.
Joints – the connective link between bones in the body – are also treated with the hands-on expertise of a manual therapist. A therapist uses movements of varying speed, forcefulness, and distance to correct the positioning of joints. Practitioners employ muscle energy techniques to guide you through specific muscle movements while providing resistance with their hands or body. This technique is performed repeatedly to encourage the lengthening of shortened or spastic muscles, or mobilize a restricted joint.
Choosing a Manual Therapist
When choosing a manual therapist to assist you with your recovery needs, it is important to take into consideration the skill level and training that the physiotherapist or massage therapist has. Reputable practitioners of manual therapy have completed post-graduate education in hands-on therapy. Look for a practitioner who has earned a FCAMPT designation - Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manual and Manipulative Physical Therapy. This designation is considered the highest level of manual therapy training that a physiotherapist can obtain and is both internationally recognized and regulated by a governing body - the International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapists.
Is Manual Therapy Right for You?
If you suffer from any of the following conditions, manual therapy can be an effective treatment to improve flexibility and relieve tension:
Contact Meadowlands Physiotherapy today to speak to a FCAMPT designated physiotherapist and discuss if manual therapy is the solution to relieving your pain and increasing your mobility.
A traumatic brain injury can change your life in an instant.
Safe to say we all agree on that statement, but not everyone thinks of a concussion as a traumatic brain injury. Concussions, though, certainly qualify. They may cause physical, mental, and emotional difficulties in both the short and long term.
Concussion rehab helps manage these long-term effects. So if you or a loved one becomes concussed consider exploring concussion therapy.
The 6 Steps to Concussion Rehab for Athletes
Depending on individual circumstances, the absolute soonest an athlete should return to play is one week. Children and young people are more susceptible to concussions, so a longer hiatus is advisable. However, it’s critical to receive medical clearance before returning to the game after a concussion.
How Physiotherapists Contribute to Your Recovery
A physiotherapist will create a customized concussion rehab program after assessing your symptoms. Everyone experiences concussions differently, so there are a variety of types of treatments your physiotherapists might recommend for a concussion rehab plan.
Vestibular Physical Therapy
This branch of physiotherapy deals with the inner ear and its connection to the brain. It’s valuable in concussion rehab because it aids concussion sufferers in their efforts to regain balance and reduce dizziness.
An experienced vestibular physiotherapist can perform special treatments or introduce you to at-home exercises, so that you can extend the extent of your concussion rehab.
Headaches are a common complaint, so physiotherapists often include ways to ease the pain and limit the frequency of headaches when designing your concussion rehab plan. Specialized massage techniques, stretches, acupuncture, and eye exercises are some of the most effective methods.
Regaining Strength and Endurance
Rest is essential to recovering from a concussion, but prolonged inactivity can lead to the weakening of some muscles. Physiotherapists work with you to bounce back and keep you safe by teaching you how to avoid aggravating your concussion.
Helping You Return to Sports and Everyday Activities
Complete rest is necessary at the beginning of your concussion rehabilitation because overloading your brain with tasks can interfere with the healing process. But once your concussion rehabilitation advances, a physiotherapist will help you incorporate everyday activities back into your lifestyle.
Having patience is key to managing your concussion. Without it, you risk rushing through your concussion rehab and slowing your own recovery process. Working with an experienced physiotherapist makes it easier to stay disciplined and stick to your concussion rehab plan. When it comes to your brain it’s important not to rush through the recovery process —you want to recover and stay recovered.
People with Parkinson’s usually have two priorities, their friends and family, and maintaining or improving their quality of life. These two goals are closely related. Your family and friends want the best for you which means that staying as healthy, mobile, and comfortable as possible is helping them as much as it is helping you.
Physiotherapy has been proven to help people with Parkinson’s maintain their quality of life, increase range of motion, improve mobility, and maintain their independence. Joyce Gordon, the CEO of the Parkinson Society of Canada says “how ironic that the symptoms Parkinson’s is most known for— loss of movement, balance, rigidity— improve with physical activity.”
Physiotherapy for Parkinson’s
As President of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Rob Werstine says, “staying active, improving balance, flexibility and strength are important to everyone’s health, but they are even more important for people with Parkinson’s because rigidity, poor balance and a tendency to fall are common with the condition.“ For people with Parkinson’s, physiotherapy is the safest and most effective method of achieving the necessary levels of physical activity.
Under the watchful eyes of trained professionals, people with Parkinson’s can stay active without the risks involved with exercising on their own.
Some of the common issues associated with Parkinson’s, which can be improved through physiotherapy include:
Home Physio for Parkinson’s
If you have Parkinson’s there are many basic exercises that you can do at home to help increase your activity level, and address some of the specific issues you may be dealing with.
Balance, Posture, Flexibility, and strength
Before undertaking any sort of exercise regime at home you should speak to a professional physiotherapist. Give the team at Meadowlands a call. Our physiotherapists have experience successfully treating patients with Parkinson’s.
Pelvic health issues are probably more common than you think, but if you have been paying attention then you’ve probably heard a lot more about pelvic health lately. Is there a sudden epidemic of pelvic floor dysfunction sweeping the country? No, fortunately not. You probably have heard more about pelvic floor dysfunction recently because slowly but surely pelvic health issues are coming out of the shadows and into the light to be discussed openly.
Incontinence, constipation, urinary frequency, and painful sex aren’t exactly considered fun topics of discussion, but if you suffer from these conditions, or other pelvic health issues then it is a discussion that is worth having.
The fact is that pelvic health issues affect millions of women and men around the world. Recognizing that pelvic health issues are completely common and sometimes dangerous is the first step to finding relief. Being proactive about your health is crucial: you have to be your own biggest advocate.
Common pelvic health issues
Some of the most common pelvic health issues are:
● Frequent/urgent urination
● Organ prolapse
● Sexual discomfort or pain (during or after intercourse)
● Pain in your lower back, pelvis, genitals, or rectum
● Urinary leakage
● Other issues relating to the bowels, bladder, or sexual organs
Broadly speaking pelvic health issues can be broken down into two categories:
1) Hypotonic: Weak pelvic floor muscles leading to incontinence, urinary leakage, or even organ prolapse.
2) Hypertonic: Tight pelvic floor muscles cause frequent urination, pain, inflammation, or constipation.
Physical pain aside, many people who suffer from pelvic health issues may find their condition embarrassing, causing them to avoid social situations, and putting a serious damper on their sex life. The emotional toll that these social and sexual side effects can have can be just as difficult to deal with as the condition itself.
Normalizing pelvic health, being confident of yourself, and supporting others with similar conditions is important. Many people fail to receive the treatment they need due to embarrassment or a lack of information. Over time pelvic health issues will only get worse, which is why it is important to catch them early.
Many pelvic health issues can be treated with physiotherapy, while others may require surgery followed by pelvic health physiotherapy.
Pelvic health physiotherapy has been described as ‘internal Pilates’ and like regular Pilates it is designed to strengthen, increase flexibility, and reduce tension. After an assessment from a trained pelvic health physiotherapist, you’ll be placed on a personalized plan to tackle your pelvic hypotonic, or hypertonic health issues.
Hypotonic pelvic physiotherapy aims to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles without causing tightness. Hypertonic pelvic physiotherapy, on the other hand, first stretches and reduces tension in your pelvic floor muscles, before also strengthening them.
Painful intercourse, incontinence, and other pelvic health issues can take a toll on your mental health, sex life, and your relationship. Pelvic health physio is as much a preventative therapy as a restorative one. Performing Kegels and other exercises regularly is a great way to maintain pelvic floor health, but for the best results you should consult with one of the pelvic health physiotherapists at Core Kinetics. Call us today to begin the path to better pelvic health!