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!
Going on vacation is supposed to be a relaxing experience, but that doesn’t mean that you can (or should) neglect your exercise regime. Besides, if you are bringing the kids along then you might need to take a quick vacation from your vacation, and what better way to relax than with a quick workout, or yoga session!
3 Exercises you can do in a hotel room
Burn off your overindulgence and work on your muscles with this basic workout that can be completed in a hotel room:
1) Pushups: Lower your body down toward the ground, keep your back flat, and your elbows tucked in. To focus on your chest do wider pushups, to hit your triceps go narrow. For a more difficult workout elevate your feet on a chair or bed, or go onehanded if you can manage it.
2) Plank: Go into the pushup position, bend your elbows and support yourself on your forearms. Keep your body flat, and flex your abs and your glutes. Hold the position for as long as you can. Plank works your abs and back. Try side plank or other variations to target your workout.
3) Squats: Brace your abs and stand with your legs about shoulder width apart in the squat position. Lower yourself down and back up, keeping your back flat.
These three exercises will cover most of your body, and are a great way to keep in shape, even without any resources. Pushups work your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Plank engages your abs, back, and glutes. Squats use your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors.
Pilates without equipment
The benefits of Pilates are well established –greater balance, flexibility, and control – for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation start your day with Pilates:
1) Breast stroke prep: Lay flat on your stomach and lift your head while flexing your core. Remember to time your breathing. Inhale as you lift your head and exhale as you relax.
2) Rear leg raises: Go into the plank position as described above, but instead of keeping your legs straight, support yourself on your knees which should be directly under your hips. Flex your core, inhale and extend your leg backwards in a ‘kick’ motion. Exhale and bring your knee back to position. Switch legs after ten reps.
3) Shoulder bridge: Roll onto your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Concentrate on using your core muscles while you inhale and lift your pelvis up. Continue to lift your pelvis until only your shoulders are on the floor. Hold the position, exhale, and slowly lower yourself down.
Yoga is perfect for staying active on vacation. It doesn’t take up too much time or space and can be as intense or relaxing as you like. There are almost too many different combinations of poses and routines to count. So before leaving on vacation why not build your own routine? Pick your top five yoga poses to stay in shape, or just to stay centered in the middle of hectic vacation!
The benefits of physio for seniors are well established. Yet many people still think that physiotherapy is only for athletes recovering from injury. In reality physiotherapy is just as focused on preventing injuries and increasing mobility as it is on recovery and restoration.
Older adults may suffer from a range of issues, including arthritis, back pain, joint pain, muscle stiffness, ligament damage, inflammation, and lack of mobility. There are hundreds of issues related to aging that can be prevented, treated, or managed by physiotherapy as part of a comprehensive wellness regime. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to explore them all here, so let’s look at the top eight benefits:
Treatment of pain
Neck, back, and joint pain are often the result of tight or weak muscles, limited blood flow, and inactivity. Physiotherapy can increase blood flow, flexibility, core strength, and mobility.
Exercise is important for people of all ages, but it can also pose a risk to older adults, especially those with heart disease, osteoporosis or other common health issues. Physio is the perfect way for seniors to exercise under the careful direction of wellness professionals – reducing the risk of exercise-related injuries.
Build strength and stability
Slips and falls are dangerous at any age, but particularly common and dangerous for seniors. Physiotherapy helps older adults build the strength and stability needed to live life on their terms, without the fear of falling or slipping.
Physiotherapy is also a social experience. Seniors will work one-on-one with a physiotherapist who is dedicated to helping them achieve their well-being and health goals.
Non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical treatment option
Physiotherapy is an excellent non-invasive, and non-pharmaceutical treatment option. Building strength and flexibility will help treat a range of issues, and also prevent injuries (and thus prevent the invasive treatments they may require). Surgical options become increasingly risky as people age, staying off the treatment table has to be a top priority for any senior.
Another factor to consider is that pain medication (even over-the-counter options) can sometimes interfere with other medications taken for chronic illnesses. Avoiding having to take additional medication is an important consideration of any health and wellness plan.
Pre and post-surgery
Sometimes surgery is unavoidable. Physiotherapy aids in recovery after surgery, and can build strength before surgery. Exercise of any kind protects and enhances cardio vascular capacity and circulation. Post-surgery physio will help patients recover their strength and mobility.
Mental health benefits
Exercise has well established mental health benefits. For seniors who may be dealing with physical pain, adjusting to retirement, or changes in their lifestyle, maintaining mental health is just as important as physical health. Exercise can alleviate anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins.
All of these benefits add up to one vital component of seniors’ lives: independence. Maintaining independence is key to seniors’ quality of life, dignity, and happiness. Effective physiotherapy will keep you out of a wheelchair, and even behind the wheel longer. That is the difference between living on your own, and requiring in-house care, or even having to live in a retirement home. Independence, mobility, and quality of life provide a huge mental health benefit, in addition to the direct mental health benefits that regular exercise provide.
Get started today!
You are never too young or too old to better your physical and mental well-being through physiotherapy. If you’re considering physiotherapy in Ancaster, contact the friendly and experienced team at Meadowlands Physiotherapy. We’re ready to help you on the road to better health.
Here at Meadowlands Physiotherapy we offer a relaxing massage that will not only help mothers-to-be feel better, but the baby as well. Pre-natal and post-natal massage is beneficial for mothers as well as their growing or newborn baby, and we offer both services to new moms and moms-to-be in Ancaster and the surrounding area.
Is pre-natal massage right for me?
According to the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario, “research has shown that pregnancy massage can be an integral part of a woman’s prenatal care, and is a safe and effective way to assist in a woman’s positive experience of pregnancy.”
Studies have shown that receiving massage care while pregnant has been associated with improved pregnancy outcomes and a lower rate of premature birth. A mother’s safety and comfort are always our top priority, which is why we recommend you talk with your doctor about any concerns you may have before visiting a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT).
Benefits for mom and baby include:
I’ve just had my baby, what should I know about post-natal massage?
First of all, congratulations! With the help of our Registered Massage Therapists you can begin post-natal massage as early as 24-hours after giving birth. Experts believe this relaxing experience also helps the body recover faster so you can be back to your pre-baby self in no time.
What are the benefits of post-natal massage?
Post-natal massage assists with flushing out lactic acid build up within the tissues from labour
How often should I schedule a post-natal massage?
As each patient is different it will truly be up to you to decide on a schedule you prefer. It is suggested that treatments can take place every 3-4 weeks, but can be adjusted if needed. After months of carrying a child inside you, take the time to focus on caring for yourself. You’ll be surprised to find that an hour can recharge and revitalize your body and mind.
Each massage will be gentle and uniquely adapted to your unique situation. Do you prefer a soft pampering? Are you experiencing swelling and discomfort that you would like relief from? Post-natal massage is a highly enjoyable and beneficial post-baby experience geared to meeting your needs. Contact us today with your questions, to book your pre or post-natal massage.
On Chinese New Year, what better time to explore the history of this deeply important cultural event, and its relationship to acupuncture?
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year, also known as the “Spring Festival” or “Lunar New Year” celebrates the turn of the traditional lunar calendar used in ancient China. Today the festival is celebrated around the world but is traditionally found in China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Japan.
The festival generally runs from the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar New Year to the first day of the Lunar New Year. It is a time to honour deceased relatives and ancient deities. Other traditional celebrations include:
When is Chinese New Year?
Since the traditional Chinese calendar is based on the movement of the sun and moon, the specific dates change every year. In 2015 the New Year began on February 19th, in 2016 it began on February 8th, and this year (2017) it will fall on the 28th of January.
Each year has a specific Chinese Zodiac. 2016 was the year of the monkey, and 2017 will be the year of the rooster. There are 12 zodiacs which change every year.
According to tradition, people born in the year of the rooster tend to be observant, confident, talented, frank, honest, and hardworking.
Acupuncture also Rooted in Ancient Traditions
Like the Lunar New Year, acupuncture has its root in ancient traditions. Acupuncture is one of the oldest Chinese medical practices. Its exact origin is lost to time, but it has been practiced for at least 2000 years, (and likely considerably longer than that). The earliest recorded evidence of acupuncture comes from around 100 BC.
In the traditional Chinese tradition, needles are inserted along specific points on the body in order to alleviate a range of symptoms and ailments. The ancient practice used needles to balance qi (pronounced chee, a life force energy) which travelled through “meridians” in the body.
Modern acupuncture is not restricted to China - it spread rapidly throughout the world beginning in the 19th century (and is now available in Ancaster at Meadowlands Physiotherapy). Today, modern practitioners take a more scientific approach to acupuncture. Rather than ‘balancing qi’ the object of modern acupuncture is to alleviate a range of symptoms by increasing blood flow to specific points on the body and releasing muscle hypertension.
Acupuncture needles are sterile and used only once. Although acupuncture is virtually painless the process also releases plain blocking signals which spread to the targeted area. Micro abrasions caused by the needle also trigger natural healing processes in the body.
Chinese New Year and acupuncture both have ancient roots, but both also retain modern relevance. Chinese New Year is celebrated by billions of people every year, and today, modern acupuncture continues to help millions of people alleviate pain and recover from injury. Looking for a safe and effective way to remove pain and other ailments? Contact Meadowlands Physiotherapy to book your acupuncture consultation.
Staying fit isn’t always easy. Many of us spend most of our day behind a desk and in front of a computer. Fortunately, some technology is actually helping us get fitter, eat right, and exercise more.
Exercise is an important part of staying fit and healthy. If you live near Ancaster then you have access to some fantastic facilities, outdoor spaces, and the team at Meadowlands Physiotherapy. However, having access to great resources isn’t enough. You have to actually get up and use them! Need some support or encouragement to help you get out and get your daily exercise fix? These apps will help you stay on track to hit your 2017 fitness goals:
MyFitnessPal is probably the most popular fitness app in the world. It is free for both Android and iOS devices, and was rated the best fitness app over all by Consumer Reports.
MyFitnessPal allows you to track your food, so you know exactly how many calories and other nutrients you are eating at every meal – and how much you should be eating to meet your fitness goals. The app also tracks your daily exercise and can even be linked to a FitBit for maximum effectiveness.
RunKeeper tracks your runs so you can compete against yourself, track your progress, or even compare yourself to running buddies or monthly leaderboards. You’ll also benefit from training plans specifically built for the app, by some of the world’s best coaches. RunKeeper is available for both iOS and Android devices, and you have the option to share all of your activity on social media. Tag Meadowlands Physiotherapy on Facebook (@MeadowlandsPhysio) and we’ll encourage you to keep going!
Jillian Michaels Fitness Motivation
Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser has a new app that brings all of her expertise together in the palm of your hand. The app uses simple to follow video guides featuring Michaels herself, taking you through a range of her most effective exercises.
From stretches, to weights, to cardio, Jillian Michaels not only motivates you to exercise, but shows you exactly what you need to do to see results. You can mix and match exercises to build your own workout, tracks goals and progress, and even track your runs.
Six Pack App
Six Pack App is another exercise app, but it comes with a bit more intensity than the Jillian Michaels Fitness Motivation app. It is packed with exercises and workout routines that target your legs, abs, back, shoulders, chest, and more, as well as yoga and stretches to warm up and cool down. It features tips, tricks and advice. Unfortunately, the free version of the app features many ads, but buying the premium version eliminates this.
Not all health apps are about dieting and exercise. Sodium 101 is both a website and an app that helps you track your sodium intake. It is particularly useful for people who have, or are at risk of developing, high blood pressure.
Your first step to eating right and exercising more is to download which ever app best meets your need (or download a few and see what works best for you). The team at Meadowlands Physiotherapy is here to help support you with safe, effective exercise routines that will strengthen your body and help you prevent injury as you begin (or continue) on your road to better health.
Reason #5: The holidays are stressful
Taking time off work is supposed to be a relaxing experience. Most Canadians only get a week or two away from the office, and even then we are inundated with emails, missed calls, and “urgent” tasks (which turn out to not be as urgent as you thought). With such a limited amount of time off every year you want to be able to relax, recharge, and refocus.
The holidays are all about family, which is the most important thing in the world, but sometimes the most stressful. Rather than relieve your stress, the holidays may only amplify it. You have to find the perfect gifts, set up decorations, travel to see relatives, or host your in-laws. At the end of the holiday season it is always worth the extra work, but do you feel less stressed?
Taking a few hours over the course of the holiday season for a massage will help alleviate the stress and anxiety that accumulates from work and the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Reason #4: Your insurance will cover it… but have you made the most of it?
If you are covered by a health insurance plan through your employer, or your spouse then you are most likely covered for registered massage therapy. Check with either your insurance provider or your massage therapist to see if you are covered.
Most insurance plans will cover a maximum amount within a specific time period, usually a calendar year. So if you haven’t used all your massage therapy coverage this year, then you may have plenty of coverage just waiting to be used – coverage that will reset in January.
Reason #3: Massage relieves a host of physical symptoms
Massage therapy treats a range of physical symptoms including:
Registered massage therapy is also a hugely effective preventive measure to prevent injury in athletes, the elderly, and everyone in between. Strain from repetitive movements like sitting behind a computer or driving a vehicle can also cause long term pain and injury, which can be mitigated by effective massage therapy.
Reason #2: Improve your mental health
Registered massage therapy also has mental benefits:
Registered massage therapy is not a cure-all but it can certainly be an effective way to alleviate stress, anxiety and the physical symptoms these conditions sometimes cause.
Reason #1: You deserve it!
The main reason to get a massage this holiday season? You deserve it! The holidays are all about thinking about others, but once in a while the best thing you can do for everyone else is take care of yourself. Contact Meadowlands Physiotherapy today. There's still time to book a massage over the Christmas holidays so you can help your body relax and destress, feeling refreshed for the New Year.