Don’t be a sore sport: delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

SPRING! Fiiiiinally, am I right? After a long winter, your body has probably been craving some good, hard, outdoor workouts…and if you spent the winter huddled under warm blankies, you’re probably feeling a wee bit sore.

Wondering what your aches and pains are about? Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), that’s what. Here are some more things DOMS related you’re probably wondering about:

What causes DOMS?! Uh, not lactic acid in your muscles. A recent study found DOMS is actually due to the microtrauma your muscles and connective tissue go through during exercise. The tiny tears your muscles endure during exercise become inflamed, and that’s  what causes the soreness.

Muscle damage is bad! It sounds bad, but it isn’t. The muscle trauma you experience stimulates protein production and muscle growth, which helps your muscles repair themselves. That means they’ll be a little bigger and stronger; their mechanism to keep the inflammation/soreness at bay.

No Pain No Gain! Not exactly. Studies show being sore the next day isn’t a good indicator of how effective your workout was. Plus too much soreness can be a bad thing – say three days after crushing a workout you immediately go into muscle failure doing the same exercise: you probably did too much the first time around.

Fit people don’t DOMS! Nope. While working out regularly will cause you to feel less sore as your body adapts to your workouts (see above), change it up and you’ll likely find your good friend DOMS again. It’s also genetic: some people are way more sensitive to pain and soreness, no matter how fit they are/aren’t.

How to deal with DOMS?! There are lots of options: sports massage, foam rolling, hot/cold showers, epsom salt baths, topical magnesium and sleeeep.

Think you’re struggling with pain that’s beyond DOMS? You can schedule an appointment with any of our physiotherapists by calling the Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office of Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics.

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

acupuncture orleans

For those who are skeptical, Orleans 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.

How to get rid of neck pain? Back pain? Put down your phone, and straighten up Canada!

Your mother always told you not to stare at a screen for too long because it’d ruin your eyes. Turns out it’s doing a lot more than that. As people are using more screen-based technology (computers, smart phones, tablets, etc.), health professionals are seeing an increase in problems like headaches, neck pain, back pain, and even pain felt the face. Not good.

Why exactly are these gadgets causing a problem? People’s posture is often horrible while they use them. Heads forward, eyes cast down, shoulders forward – these can all spell bad news. Staring at a screen often takes your head off the vertical, bending it forward up to 45° – moving your head forward just an inch increases the pressure on your neck by 10 pounds. Sitting with your shoulders forward causes tightness in both the pectoral and back muscles – it can also compress the veins and nerves of the arms which increases the chances of problems like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Getting rid of technology isn’t going to happen, so what can you do? Seeing a massage therapist can help with tightness and pain. To really fix the problem though, you’ll need to actively work on your posture. Stretches and exercises to strengthen your muscles are essential and here’s a great video series to get you started.

If you’re looking for solutions specific to your posture and mobility, give us a call and any of our physiotherapists can help find the exercises that will work best for you.

Treatment for vertigo and dizziness: Physiotherapy!

Vertigo. Dizziness. 50% of people will deal with it at some point in their lives, and it’s the main reason people will go to see a doctor after the age of 60. Have you experienced either? Suffering with it now? Your first course of action is to go and see your GP, and if their diagnosis is that the problem stems from your vestibular apparatus (an organ in your inner ear), physiotherapy treatments might help balance you out.

There are lots of reasons that someone might get dizzy for time to time. However if rolling over in bed or tying your shoes makes you feel like the room is spinning, something is up. Symptoms like nausea or vomiting are also a bad sign. But don’t panic!!! We can help!!! For vertigo, the first physiotherapy treatment is about 88% effective, and after 3 the treatments are 98% effective. There’s no reason for you to continue to suffer.

If it’s not your vestibular apparatus that’s the problem, a neck injury can also lead to dizziness. Physiotherapy can also lead to relief from that. Tinnitus? Yep, another problem that physiotherapy can treat. It’s not just for sore backs or sports injuries people!

WOD: Physiotherapy for Crossfit

crossfit

You Crossfit. We get it. You don’t need to define AMRAPs or WODs to us. We know an injury keeping you out of the box just isn’t going to cut it. Whether you’ve hurt yourself on your very first kettlebell swing or have been to the Crossfit Games (like the team at Physics Crossfit who we’re very proud to be treating), we’re here to help.

Crossfit gets a bad rep for being injury prone, but it doesn’t have to be. People get injured because they don’t do the following:

1. Listen to your coach – This is a biggie. You want to get more reps in, lift heavier, go harder, so you won’t slow down or stop to fix up your technique. Let something slide in the beginning and it can lead to big problems as you advance in the sport. Want to get more reps in, lift heavier, go harder? Listen to your coach.

2. Perfect your technique BEFORE increasing your load – yes, we’re making this point again, it is THAT important to avoid injury. Better to do your WOD with a lower weight but perfect technique than increase the weight but do even one with poor technique. When are you going to get hurt? It’s during that one rep where your technique sucks. You’ll get to that higher weight much faster if you don’t have to take time off for an injury. Honest.

3. Listen to your body – Something hurts? Feels weird? Sort it out now. Give us a call and we can set you up with a mobility and stability program that’ll keep anything giving you trouble from getting any worse.

How will we help you stay sorted? It depends on your situation, but we’ll include the following in your physiotherapy sessions:

1. Biomechanical assessment looking for weakness, asymmetry or loss of mobility.
2. Hands on manual therapy for immediate symptom relief and restoration of mobility if you’re already injured, including diagnosis and management guidelines.
3. A personalised rehabilitation program designed and progressed while communicating with you and your trainer.
4. Education on how your body works, what you did to cause the injury/pain and how to prevent further episodes. We’ll also teach you stretching and release/rolling techniques to help with injury prevention.

You’re welcome to come into any of our clinics without a referral, but we do encourage a referral from your trainer so we can all work together to approach your injury prevention or rehabilitation. We want to keep you training, with modifications if required! If you do need to take a break, we want to get you back to the box in the shortest time possible!

Run as fast as you can. Seriously!

The Ottawa Race Weekend has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean running season is over. The river pathways are packed with people trudging along, all in the name of health and PRs. Trying to get faster? Want to run without injury for the rest of your days? Then a running evaluation might just be the thing for you.

A running evaluation starts with an hour long assessment in the clinic. One of our physiotherapists will give you a head-to-toe assessment to find out if you’ve got any tightness, stiffness or weakness. They’ll also get an idea of what your running style is. You’ll get exercises to make sure your muscles are where they need to be, so we can teach you how to use them properly when you run.

The next step is going off to the track, where the magic’s really going to happen. As far as we know, we’re the only clinic in the greater Ottawa area to take you outdoors as part of a running evaluation. We obviously want to take advantage of the nice weather, but more importantly, running drills are almost impossible to do on a treadmill. Some of them will cause you to fall right off, and we don’t want any of that: this is about getting you to run without injury. You also run differently on a treadmill than you do outdoors, since the treadmill helps you run. You time on the track will be spent running you through a series of drills (pun intended), and tweaking your running style based on YOUR body.

Why would you want this? Well, because we can get you running more efficiently. By the time your track session is up, you’ll be running with better form and less effort. That means it won’t take you as much energy to run, so technically you should be able to run longer and/or faster. We can almost guarantee that you will.

Everybody can run, but not everybody can run properly. For most people the differences between the two are some simple technique scenarios that just need to be tweaked. Our physiotherapists are more than happy to do the tweaking.

Pes Anserine Bursitis, or "My knee hurts!"

Knee and back pain are kinda like a really good steak: everyone has experienced it, or at least knows someone who has. The types with flashy names like “runner’s knee” (patellofemoral pain) or “lumbago” (lower back pain) get all sorts of attention, but what about poor old “hurt goose’s foot”?! An awkward way of describing for anserine bursitis, it doesn’t really tell you what’s going with your knee, does it? Not to worry, that’s what we’re here for.

Because it often pops up right alongside other knee problems (MCL tear anyone?), this injury is often overlooked. The “goose’s foot” refers to the pes anserinus, the conjoined leg tendons that connect to your tibia, just below your knee cap, on the inner side of your lower leg. They’re most there to flex the knee, but also stabilize it side-to-side.

Guess it’s not surprising then that pes anserine injuries are found most commonly in young individuals playing sports with lots of side-to-side movement. Risk is also increased in people with tight hamstrings, who overpronate when running, or who are obese. Pain normally creeps in when going from sitting to standing or climbing up stairs, but walking along a flat surface feels just fine. Especially when the injury is due to some feat of athletics, the pain can occur when stretching the hamstrings or reproduced with some stretches by your physiotherapist.

Not a young buck but still struggling with knee pain you think might fit that description? Pes anserine bursitis also occurs in older patients with articular cartilage damage. It often coincides with osteoarthritis of the knee, increasing the severity of pain and functional limitations.

So, hurty knees, what are you going to do? No matter the knee pain, it’s important to have it diagnosed, since there are SO many different things that could be going on. If it is pes anserine bursitis the first thing you’ll likely be prescribed is rest. Anti-inflammatory medications will help with swelling and pain, but won’t fix the problem. Physiotherapy is what you’ll need to correct the biomechanics that lead to your injury, and ultrasound or electrical stimulation will also help reduce inflammation.  Take action now and count your lucky stars: the need for surgical intervention is rare for this injury!