Chiropractors often utilize instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization therapy (IASTT) when managing certain conditions as part of their treatment plans. We often get questions about how IASTM works, and to whom it may benefit.
What is IASTT/IASTM?
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Therapy is an evidence informed approach to the management of soft tissue conditions. Practitioners will use a stainless steel tool to work on any areas they feel demonstrate scar tissue or restrictions within the fascia and underlying soft tissue. With the specifically designed tools which have bevelled edges, your chiropractor effectively detects and treats areas which may have tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. In conjunction with exercises and other therapies it can decrease your overall healing time and assist in resolving chronic inflammatory concerns.
What types of conditions can be treated with IASTT?
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy is well researched, and is known to help improve range of motion and improve soft tissue healing and repair. We can treat a wide range of conditions with IASTT, often in cases of ligament/tendon/muscle injury or nerve entrapment conditions. Some examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, knee injury/inflammation, and shoulder injuries.
Case example: Ankle Inversion Sprain
Following an ankle sprain, your chiropractor may utilize instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization to aid in the healing process of the ligaments and other soft tissues within the ankle. Your injured ligaments are mobilized with the metal tool to decrease inflammation and decrease the development of tissue fibrosis. The tool is strategically run along the ligaments and through surrounding soft tissue as part of the treatment. This technique is usually part of a larger treatment plan which would also include rehabilitative exercises, and may also be done as the patient moves the ankle through weighted/unweighted ranges of motion. Generally, some soreness or short term aggravation of symptoms may be felt following treatment, however a quicker resolution of pain and increase in function is to be expected.
If you would like to learn more, book a free consultation to discuss with Dr Hamilton. For more information please check out: http://www.grastontechnique.com/AboutUs/ASynopsis.html
Chiropractic care is not promoted enough as an option to people suffering pain or injuries. Many patients I see say things like "I wish I knew to see you sooner" or "I can't believe I waited so long". Unfortunately our profession is shrouded in many myths, and there are some out there not practicing under an Evidence-Based paradigm. I would like to help bring a spotlight on the positive benefits of care (and what the research says), and ways in which chiropractors can help! Here's a great article on what to expect during your first visit, from the CCA:
Here's a great infographic from Precision Nutrition to help guide you in exercising while pregnant. If you experience back pain during pregnancy, remember that chiropractic care is safe and recommended. Connect with a Webster trained chiro, like myself ; )
There is almost nothing more enjoyable this time of year than spending a warm afternoon outside perfecting the garden. Gardening provides an excellent outlet for stress relief, and it also allows us to gain some of the much needed vitamin D we have all been lacking over the long and harsh winter. It is really common for gardening to be a source of aches and pains for many people, although many don’t realize this until it’s too late! With a little bit of planning, it is possible to avoid the aches and pains that we see pop up with gardening and yard work. Here are five tips to help you get started:
1. Prepare your work area
Before you jump right into your gardening tasks, consider where you will be working and what you might need to make the job easier. If you are planting in containers, consider placing them up on a higher surface, level with your waist to avoid crouching or reaching. Bring your equipment close by so that you can avoid awkward positions or prolonged hunching. When planting flower beds, many people stoop over in awkward positions for sustained periods of time, which in turn can lead to a sore back. Plan where you will sit and what you will be doing ahead of time.
2. Prepare your body
Believe it or not, your body needs a warm up to prepare for some of the new and sustained movements you will be doing as you garden. Make sure to warm up your sides, thighs, hamstrings, wrists, back, and arms. As you take breaks, stretch out your forearms to avoid tightness later on.
3. Practice mindful awareness of your work positions
It’s really easy to get caught up in digging and planting sections of your garden, and before long you’ve spent over an hour in a very awkward position. To avoid this, plan a good variety in tasks- consider alternating heavy and light tasks throughout the day. Listen closely to your body, and if you start to ache, consider switching what you are doing. Changing hands to reduce strain is a good option. Aches are generally a sign that the body needs to change its position.
4. Take breaks and replenish
Pace yourself when gardening to build in planned breaks. Some people do this by carrying around a timer while others pace themselves according to tasks (“2 more bunches of geraniums before I stop”). A good starting point is to consider taking a posture break every 20 minutes, the way you would at work. Plan to rehydrate during your breaks, and remember to re-apply sunscreen if you need to as well. Light stretching and active ranges of movement help to keep away potential aches and pains.
5. Be aware of how you lift heavy loads
If you must lift something heavy and awkward, such as a bag of soil or mulch, be mindful of how to lift properly to avoid injury. Keep the load close to your body, bend your knees and keep your low back neutral (avoid bending from the waist). Consider breaking heavy loads into smaller more manageable loads –your back will thank you later!
After your fun filled gardening day is over, remember to lightly stretch to avoid any lingering tightness. If you experience pain that lasts more than a couple of days, call your chiropractor for a check-up. Have fun out there, and remember to plan ahead to avoid those pesky strains!
After such a long harsh Canadian winter, signs of spring are finally all around us – green peeking through the grass, buds on the trees, and happy glowing pregnant moms to be! As a Webster trained chiropractor, I work with many pregnant women and often get asked questions about how to reduce the risk of back pain during pregnancy. Remaining active and healthy during and after pregnancy is one key way to keep your back aligned, and fortunately with High Park so close by, there are a number of community led groups who meet and exercise in the park.
The last trimester of pregnancy can be a very exciting and anxious time, and is unfortunately also when low back pain is most likely to make an appearance. It has been estimated that 50% of all pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy, however only 21% seek consultations with their physician or chiropractor (1). Back pain during pregnancy arises from mechanical, hormonal, and circulatory changes in the body. As your body works to adjust to the changes in your mechanics and a shift in your centre of gravity, your muscles and ligaments can work overtime to keep everything moving in proper alignment.
With the hormone Relaxin increasing in the body, ligaments and joints have greater laxity, and as a result can become much more sensitive to strain and dysfunction. The most common region to feel pain is in the sacroiliac joint area of the pelvis, which can lead to low back pain, hip, buttock, and sciatic nerve pain. Misalignment of the joints of the pelvis can result in tighter surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscles, and can also restrict your baby’s living quarters. There are things that you can do to manage your low back pain, for a more comfortable pregnancy, and gentle exercise is an important piece of the puzzle.
Chiropractors, particularly those of us who are trained in Webster Technique, can work alongside you to help you move with ease through all stages of pregnancy and post-partum. The Webster Technique, is a specific biomechanical analysis and chiropractic treatment protocol, which aims to assess the areas of dysfunction in your pelvis, with the goal of improving function, decreasing pain, and creating a more aligned and comfortable environment for the baby.
Chiropractic is safe and effective throughout pregnancy, and can bring some great relief from pain and discomfort. As health and wellness professionals, chiropractors can also recommend customized and safe exercises and help you return to normal biomechanics during and after pregnancy. Keeping your core strong will help support your spine at any stage in life, but most importantly during pregnancy. Your glute muscles also are important in keeping your pelvis stabilized and moving well. There are great benefits to participating in gentle exercise such as swimming, yoga, and other low-impact exercise. If you prefer the group atmosphere, consider one of the many awesome local groups out there, such as those on Meet-up! It’s important of course to discuss which options might work best for you with a healthcare provider.
Further reading: 1.Borggren CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007;6(2):70-74.
A sedentary lifestyle can take a physical toll on those who spend their days sitting at a desk for hours on end. Recent research has demonstrated a link between the amount of time you spend sitting during the day with poorer health outcomes, and a greater risk of disease. In my practice, it is common for me to see patients who experience muscle strains, neck pain, and headaches, all related to computer use and long hours spent sitting without a break. The human body needs to move! The longer you spend in one position, the more stress and strain your muscles, ligaments, and joints must endure.
Repetitive and long term strain on your back and neck can result in muscle imbalances, contributing to bad posture. A common condition that can be caused by long hours of computer use is known as Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS). UCS results from a pattern of weakened muscles of the mid-back and neck, alongside overused and tightened muscles trying to counteract the steady pull of gravity. People with UCS often have forward slumped shoulders, rounding of their upper back and a forward jutting head. Sounds familiar? Besides perpetuating bad posture, UCS has a number of consequences for the body, both short and long term, that are important to consider. In the short term, you can experience discomfort and pain and may also have headaches associated with muscle strains. The muscle imbalance pattern of the upper back and neck may also put you at risk for arm pain and injury to the shoulders. In the long term, you may be at greater risk for degenerative joint disease of the upper back and neck, and osteoarthritis.
So what can you do to help your body feel better? To counteract the effects of sedentary tasks, take a number of short breaks throughout your day to keep your body moving, and break up the time spent hunched over your desk. The Canadian Chiropractic Association has created a great free app called Straighten Up Canada to help motivate you to take posture breaks throughout the day (it’s free, and available for Apple and android mobile devices). Your plan should also include stretching your overworked muscles (pecs, and upper traps) and strengthening those that have become weak. Exercises for your mid back that involve drawing your shoulder blades down and together can help strengthen the key muscles that help you to sit up straighter and feel better. A little effort throughout the day can go a long way towards improving your posture and reducing the long term stress and strain put on the joints of your neck and back.
Green tea has been dubbed as the ‘healthiest beverage on the planet’ by some health magazines and bloggers, but how real are these claims? Can green tea help support your healthy lifestyle and goals for the new year? Surprisingly, green tea has four important health benefits that have been shown through research and clinical trials.