Needles = pain?! Nope. Acupuncture = treatment for chronic pain!

acupuncture orleans

For those who are skeptical, acupuncture might conjure up anxieties about needles or an image of Pinhead from Hellraiser. For those who have found relief from chronic pain, acupuncture is a miracle. From your father’s ever-sore back to your bum right knee, many of us have struggled with the effects of chronic pain. From depression to sleeplessness to loss of mobility, it often goes far beyond the pain itself. Unable to ease the pain, people often try to learn to live with it, but there’s no need: acupuncture can effectively treat chronic pain.

What makes pain chronic? It lasts longer than 12 weeks, and can persist for months or more. While it is often the result of a known injury or trauma (ie. why you should come in and see us as soon as you get injured), sometimes illness or undiagnosed problems are the cause.

You might think “Aches and pains are a part of aging!”, and decide to just tough it out, but the localized pain itself isn’t the only problem. Pain has an effect on the nervous system that can cause you to become more sensitive to other pain, known as “central sensitization.” Even things that wouldn’t normally hurt can become painful, and it can persist far longer than in a pain-free individual. There’s also an emotional burden attached to constant pain, leading to anxiety, anger or fatigue. If that wasn’t bad enough, those emotions can decrease the body’s natural pain defenses, creating a vicious cycle. Oh, and long-term chronic pain has been shown to suppress the immune system. Bad on all counts.

Orleans Acupuncture may not be the treatment you think of, but you should really reconsider. It is currently being used to treat everything from headaches to cramps, back pain to asthma, and with good reason: a large scale study with data from over 18,000 people showed acupuncture to be an effective treatment for chronic back, neck and should pain, osteoarthritis and headaches. These were clinical studies, meaning it’s been proven to work.

If you or a loved one is dealing with chronic pain, any of our physiotherapists can help you figure out if acupuncture is the right way to go. No horror movies necessary.

Thumbs…down. Skier’s thumb is no fun.

Winter just. won’t. end. Good! That means you’re all still skiing, and today’s post is still relevant. 

Kidding! Of course this post is relevant, it’s about an injury commonly know as skier’s thumb, but it doesn’t actually discriminate. We’re referring to a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in the thumb after an extreme force pulls the thumb away from the palm of the hand. That extreme force could be you hurtling down a mountainside with a ski-pole in hand, bailing, and falling while holding onto the aforementioned pole. Or you could’ve been rock climbing, or you might’ve caught a ball funny, or were playing a ridiculously violent game of rock-paper-scissors. Doesn’t matter how it went down, we’re going to talk about your sore thumb.
About that thumb, it’s sore, yeah? Feels weak when you pinch or pick things up? See a bit of bruising around the joint? Run your other hand along it and maybe feel a little bump? Take a deep breath, and don’t panic. Our physiotherapists know just what to do.
If it’s a minor tear and you get in right away, you’ll probably be right as rain after a few physiotherapy sessions. You may need to immobilize your thumb with sports tape when doing activities, and your physiotherapist can give you some guidance. If your injury is more serious, you may need to immobilize the thumb with a “thumb spica” cast for a few weeks. Immobilization is important to let the ligament heal, and then treatment to help get your strength and range of motion back can begin.
Think you’ve got a case of skier’s thumb? Give any of our clinics a call to see a physiotherapist. Otherwise, thumbs up for a few more days of skiing!

Back to the Grind: Posture Tips

Yes folks, summer vacation is over. The weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change colour, and we’re once again chained to our computers to work, work, work. It’s likely most of your have experienced back pain at some point or another in your life, since it’s one of the most common reasons people come in for physio. If you’ve got back pain getting into see a physio ASAP is the first thing you should do, but what about preventing it to begin with? Check out these 4 tips to help keep your spine in line:

  1. Don’t sit still: if you’re sitting at a desk all day there’s increased pressure on your spine. Make sure to vary your position by getting up for a walk about every 30 minutes. It’s a good excuse to fill your water bottle or grab a quick breath of fresh air, and the mini break might help you focus on your work as well. There are also lots of office stretches you can do, and any of our physios would be happy to show ’em to you.
  2. Flexibility is key: Most people don’t realize that a flexible spine is a healthy spine. How do you know where your flexibility is at? You can check it: sit up straight on a chair with your arms crossed over your stomach. It should be easy to turn both ways and see behind you. If both sides aren’t even or your range or motion is limited (maybe you can only see to the side), you might want to give us a call. Our physiotherapists can assign the specific exercises to help get your mobility back to where it should be.
  3. Core is the core: Weak core muscles can be the culprit when it comes to back pain or injuries. If you’ve hurt your back doing sports or raking leaves, it could be because your core muscles aren’t pulling their weight. How do you strengthen them up? There are a variety of exercises, and they aren’t about 8-minute abs. Once your injury has been treated, our physiotherapists can assign exercises that will actually help strengthen your “core” core muscles (and might help tighten your abs up as an added bonus).
  4. Stop slouching!: alright, that seems obvious, but hear me out. We’ve all been told to stand up straight, but there are other postural habits that you should be working to avoid. Always leaning to one side, carrying your bag on one side, sitting cross legged, or slouching with your feet up are poor postures that might also indicate muscle weaknesses or stiffness in your body. Correcting them now is the first step to avoiding injury later.

Questions? Feel free to give any of the clinics a call. Now, get back to work!

Best Physiotherapy Clinic IN THE UNIVERSE!

That’s a pretty tall claim, and we certainly aren’t making it. We just want to talk a little about what a good physiotherapy clinic is. Every day, people are using Google to search “best physiotherapy clinic Ottawa.” They’re hoping to find a clinic to help them address their needs effectively and efficiently. Instead they’re getting a list of clinic names with nothing but location to distinguish one from another. Instead of telling you why we’re the best, we’re going to give you some things to look for in a good physiotherapy clinic. So whether you’re in Ottawa or Saskatoon, you’ll be making an informed decision when choosing where to seek treatment.

SEE A PHYSIOTHERAPIST: When you’re going to see a physiotherapist, you should be seeing a physiotherapist, right? Right. A lot of clinics have assistants, and while it helps them deal with a larger number of patients, it compromises client care. Assistants aren’t physiotherapists. Not just anyone can be a
physiotherapist, and if they could you wouldn’t need to look for the best one anyway. So when you’re choosing a clinic, make sure you’re going to be working one-on-one with a trained physiotherapist.

ACTUAL TREATMENTS: When you go to see a physiotherapist, it’s likely they may recommend
something other than just physiotherapy such as massage therapy, ultrasound, intramuscular stimulation or leprechaun magic. Alright, you probably wouldn’t go to a physiotherapist that recommends leprechaun
magic, but make sure you ask about the types of treatment an office uses. We’d strongly recommend a clinic that utilizes treatments proven to work (we’re talking treatments based in science, with studies and numbers to back the claims). Take passive based physiotherapy for instance: in our opinion it has limited validity. However, don’t just take our word for it! Look up a treatment’s effectiveness or ask the clinic lots of questions to see it it’s the type of physio you want.

If you’re having a hard time choosing a clinic in Ottawa, feel free to call us at any of our three locations: Barrhaven – 613.825.8548; Westboro – 613.728.4160; Orleans – 613.830.3466. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.