Do your legs tingle, become numb, or feel weak? You may be experiencing Sciatica. The term Sciatica describes leg pain that originates from the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself –it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Common lower back problems such as: lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis can cause sciatica symptoms. Sciatica is often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
• Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
• Pain that becomes worse when sitting
• Leg pain that is described as burning, tingling, or searing
• Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot, and/or toes
• A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
• Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes
Physiotherapy exercises incorporating a combination of strengthening, stretching, and aerobic conditioning are a central component of almost any sciatica treatment plan.
• Strengthening exercises- Most of these back exercises focus not only on the lower back, but also the abdominal muscles, and the buttock and hip muscles.
• Stretching exercises- Stretches for sciatica are designed to target muscles that cause pain when they are tight and inflexible.
• Low-impact aerobic exercise- Some form of low-impact cardiovascular exercise such as: walking, swimming, or pool therapy is usually a component of recovery, as aerobic activity encourages the exchange of fluids and nutrients to help create a better healing environment.
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When patients engage in a regular program of gentle exercises, they can recover more quickly from sciatica pain and are less likely to have future episodes of pain. As sciatica is due to pressure on the sciatic nerve, it stands to reason that treatment involves removing this pressure. Your physiotherapy treatment aims to achieve this by reducing nerve pressure caused by poorly moving spinal joints as well as easing muscular tension in the lower spine, buttock, and leg.
If you are suffering from sciatica please do not delay. You can achieve the best results when you address the symptoms early!
There are many forms of fractures, each causing a dilemma in our lives and requiring the help of a physiotherapist in order to heal safely and properly. One of the most common types of fractures seen in sports medicine today is called a “hairline” or “stress” fracture. Hairline fractures are caused by repetitive strain and excess training. Hairline fractures are minute cracks on the bones, which can become severe if not immediately treated. The main causes of a hairline fractures are:
- Traumatic Incidents
- Repetitive Stress
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Basically, hairline fractures are caused by the depressed response of the bone with the ground reaction forces that are applied to the bones during certain activities such as: running, jumping, or walking. Symptoms may include pain and tenderness to the affected bone. Repetitive stress or a sudden fall or strike to the area can also cause hairline fractures.
The best way to treat a hairline fracture is to refrain from any activities that can aggravate the injury. Recovery time can span from two weeks to a month and a half. Once the bone is healed from its minute cracks, you can gradually resume normal activities. In extreme circumstances, the affected area must be put at rest and must be immobilized by casting or bracing. The stages of healing a fracture through physiotherapy are as follows:
- Muscle Assessment
- Joint Mobilisation
- Massage Therapy
- Heat and Electro Therapy
- Gait Education
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Shoe inserts like supportive orthotics and walking crutches may also be recommended by your physiotherapist. Treatment through physiotherapy is advised through strengthening exercises that are non-weight bearing like swimming. Luckily, hairline fractures rarely need surgery because they can easily be mended with just two weeks of rest. However, the injury can worsen if not given the proper medical attention.
If you happen to suffer from a hairline fracture and you are looking for a way to relieve pain, and recover from an injury, adding physiotherapy to a routine wellness plan can maximize recovery time and optimize your healing process. Our physiotherapists at Triangle Physiotherapy can be a powerful ally when combating daily stress, muscle pain, and general health issues when it comes to hairline fractures. Not only does physicaoherapy relieve pain, increase energy levels, and improve overall physical and mental performance, it prevents further injuries. The experienced, professional physiotherapists at Triangle Physiotherapy are available at five convenient locations: Etobicoke, Oakville, Mississauga, North York and Toronto. At Triangle we customize your physiotherapy sessions to address your individual needs.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common type of adult- onset motor neuron disease. Neurological disorders are characterized primarily by progressive degeneration and loss of motor neurons. ALS involves upper and lower motor neurons and presents as an idiopathic , progressive degeneration of anterior horn cells and their associated neurons, resulting in progressive muscle weakness, atrophy, and fasciluations.
ALS is a gradual onset disease. The first initial symptoms of ALS varies person to person. One person may have trouble with their grip, such as holding a cup or pen, while another person may experience change in pitch in their voice while speaking. The rate at which ALS develops also varies person to person, with the mean survival time ranging three to five years. Although there are cases in which people have lived five, and ten or more years. Onset symptoms can begin in the muscles that control speech and swallowing, or in the hands, arms, legs or feet. Not all people who suffer from ALS experience the same symptoms as others or the same sequences or patterns of progression. Although, universally progressive muscle weakness and paralysis is experienced.
ALS is a somewhat difficult disease to diagnose. There is not one test or procedure to instantly establish the diagnosis of ALS. Through the use of clinical examination, and a series of diagnostic tests, often ruling out other diseases that mimic ALS, that a diagnosis can be established. A comprehensive diagnostic check-list includes most, if not all, of all the following procedures:
- Electrodiagnostic tests- Electomyography (EMG) and Nerve conduction velocity (NCV)
- Blood & Urine studies
- Spinal tap
- X-rays including MRI
- Myleogram of cervical spine
- Muscle and/or nerve biopsy
- A thorough neurological examination
These tests are done at the discretion of the physician, usually based on the results of other diagnostic tests and the physical examination. There are several diseases that have some of the same symptoms as ALS, and most of these conditions are treatable.
Treatment of ALS can be done with physiotherapy, focusing on stretching and daily range of motion (ROM) exercises. Our physiotherapists at Triangle will focus on the emphasis of energy conservation and teach patients and caregivers methods for performing safe, efficient transfers. Our therapists at Triangle can also provide instruction for strengthening exercise programs. In one study, individualized, moderate-intensity, endurance-type exercises for the trunk and limbs performed 15 minutes twice daily was shown to significantly reduce spasticity as measured by the Ashworth scale. At Triangle, we may have to recommend wheel chairs to anticipate the patients future needs. Initially, a lightweight wheelchair should be rented, with future plans to purchase a heavier chair when the patient is no longer able to ambulate. Modifications will be recommended on the basis of the patients condition and tolerance for gadgets.
Are you feeling a bit of a pain in the neck lately? Does your neck feel stiff, painful, tender, or are you not able to turn it and move around as much as you used to? You may be victim to whiplash. Whiplash is most associated with traumatic events involving sudden acceleration-deceleration forces mainly on the neck. Whiplash can affect a variety of issues pertaining toyour muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, discs, and nerves. Whiplash is mostly associated with car accidents, but other causes may include roller-coasters, bungee jumping or a sports-related condition. Symptoms and severity of whiplash can vary significantly between people. The most common reported symptom is neck pain or stiffness. This can occur anywhere from immediately after the injury to several days after.
Symptoms may include:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Shoulder pain, arm pain, or upper back pain
- Altered sensation
- Visual disturbances
- Hearing difficulties
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Difficulty swallowing
Fortunately, most people recover from the pain and stiffness associate with whiplash in a matter of weeks, but some cases require longer recovery time and treatment from a physiotherapist. Healing time varies with the level of tissue damage and promptness of treatment.Most whiplash patients will start to feel better within a few weeks of the injury from physiotherapy treatment. At Triangle, our physiotherapists will aim to:
- Reduce neck pain, headaches, and inflammation
- Normalise joint range of motion
- Gain strength in your neck
- Strengthen your upper back muscles
- Improve neck posture
- Normalise your muscles lengths and resting muscle tension
- Resolve any deficit in neural tissue extensibility
- Improve neck proprioception, fine motor control and balance
- Improve your ability to cope with everyday activities
- Minimise your chance of future neck pain or disability
Whiplash injuries can take from a few days to several months to rehabilitate. Just as the symptoms and severity of whiplash can vary from person to person, so can the recovery time. The large majority of whiplash sufferers do recover with actively guided treatment. Depression and trauma-related anxiety may impact the healing process of whiplash. Please consult with a qualified health professional to give yourself the best chance of recovery.
For more advice or any questions, please contact one of our physiotherapists at Triangle Physiotherapy at: https://www.trianglephysiotherapy.com/mail/mail.html
Back pain? You are not alone. Over 80 % of Canadians will experience back pain atleast once in their life. However, about 90% of back pain is not caused by any serious injury or disease. That being said, it doesn’t make it any less painful or debilitating. For a lot of people traditional physiotherapy and massage therapy works well, but if it doesn’t don’t be discouraged… there is still hope! As a physiotherapist myself that has suffered from back pain, yoga has changed my life! It has helped me increase my flexibility, core strength, improve my posture and overall enhance my life.
The spine is meant to move in lots of different ways. If we don’t move or stretch it gets stiff and rusty. This can start to cause some aches and pains which can get worse over time if it is not addressed. It can also make you more susceptible to becoming that 10% of people that suffer from a more significant injury. “But it hurts to move” you say… Yes, often times it does cause some discomfort to move especially if you haven’t tried to move in certain directions for a long time but science now tells us that it is far better for your back to move in a controlled and safe way rather than not moving. This is where yoga can help…. Yoga is a very gentle and proven way to help loosen up your back and make sure it moves smoothly within all its normal ranges of motion.
All of us have heard that if you have back pain you should strengthen your core, right? Yoga creates a great way of functionally strengthening your core. What that means is instead of isolating certain muscles, the yoga poses (asanas) that you are taken through will help you learn how to use all the muscles of your core together (including your diaphragm and pelvic floor!). If you continue strengthening your core on the ground then your body doesn’t get stronger in the positions it needs for every day activities. For example vacuuming your house requires you to be slightly bent over and pushing/pulling. Yoga poses that can simulate that will force you to strengthen your core muscles in the positions it is needed so that once you get stronger, vacuuming won’t be painful.
There are many other benefits of yoga that can help with pain from breathing techniques (if it works for women in labour then it can work for your back pain too!) Also, mind-body awareness and connection is developed to help you realize if there are postures or positions that you are doing out of habit that you don’t realize can be harming your body. Yoga can correct imbalances of your musculoskeletal system that you didn’t even know existed.
What to expect…
As a physiotherapist and yoga therapist I will go through a thorough assessment with you to make sure yoga is right for you. Our class sizes are extremely small so we can make sure you are safe, feel comfortable and we can work on your specific goals and achieve them! Alternatively, we have one-on-one sessions that are great if you haven’t tried yoga before or if you are not sure if yoga is right for you. I have had many people say to me “Oh I can’t do yoga… I’m not flexible at all!” You are actually the perfect candidate for yoga, you just need some direction and guidance on how to make it work for you.
If you are still unsure if this is right for you, please book your FREE consultation with me and we can discuss your specific condition and concerns.
Reg. Physiotherapist & Yoga Therapist
Stats taken from the Bone and Joint Health Network of Canada and the Ministry of Health.
Low Back Pain/ Hip Dysfunction caused by poor posture
The average person’s work week consists approximately of 40 hours, for a lot of those the majority of that time can consist of them sitting at a desk on a phone or computer. That time doesn’t even factor in commute time as well as dinner and lounging at home. Experts say that the average person can spend more than half their waking hours in a sedentary state.
It is well known that sitting for long periods of time can cause a lot of negative effects such as strain on your cardiovascular system as well as an increase risk in colon cancer. But what a lot of people don’t know about it is the actual physical disorders that come with sitting for long periods of time, such as weaker/underused abdominal muscles, weak glutes whiles shortening your hip flexors making them tight and decreasing Range Of Motion in your hip. This muscular imbalance can begin to force other muscles that are not commonly used to become overworked and tired and furthermore contributing to a muscle imbalance, which can cause hyperlordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis, as well as a twisted pelvis. Tight low back muscles can pull and twist your spine which could lead to degenerative disk disorder (DDD), or a subluxation of one or several vertebrae. When you decrease the activity of muscles you begin to decrease the electrical activity going to those muscles which begins to make them weak and under developed which could lead to atonic muscles. The decreased angle in the hip while sitting for long periods can cause a decrease in blood flow to your legs decreasing the amount of blood, oxygen, and nutrients that can feed your muscles making for leg cramps and sometimes swelling in the feet due to lack of venous return.
Luckily Massage and Physiotherapy can be used as a preventative as well as therapy for the many conditions that sitting for long periods of time can cause. The main focus of both is too focus on the muscular imbalance and to bring you back to your norm as much as humanly possible. Some of the main areas of focus during treating is to loosen tight hip flexors, increase neurological function in the low back, glutes, and abdominals, loosen up Para spinal muscles which will decrease the risk of DDD and subluxation of the spine. During a massage the pressure and direction of stroke will help to increase blood flow to your low back and hip as well as into your legs providing oxygen and nutrients to areas that are being malnourished due to lack of blood flow.
The best was to prevent any disorders caused by sitting to long is simply to stand up and move around. Experts say you should stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour to get muscles working and blood flowing. Staying hydrating is very important during any point of the day for it helps keep muscles elastic (including your heart muscles), the spine works like a pump while moving bringing fresh water to your vertebral disks keeping them hydrated. Some offices have implemented standing desks or the use of exercise balls in place of regular chairs which can keep workers constantly moving, keeping blood flowing and muscles working. Stretching and strengthening exercises are very important to maintain healthy muscles, stretching out hip flexors to maintain full ROM in the hip, strengthening core either by doing push ups or the plank, stretching out your low back and abdominal area by doing both the cat and cow pose, and finally strengthen your back by doing rows and one arm rows.
Written by: Sean Cameron, RMT