There has recently been a surge in popularity of a type of rehabilitation service that some of us Physical Therapists are offering. The surge was a result of an article that was posted in “Yahoo! Shine” about how actress Kim Cattrall claimed “Fizzy Yoga” saved her life. She was referring to “PhysiYoga”, a term that her Physical Therapist uses to describe her brilliantly combined skills and services of Physical Therapy and Yoga. Since I also offer the same type of therapy services, which I label as “PhysioYoga Therapy”, the reporter contacted me and included a quote from our interview. This has led to an influx of inquiries that has been nearly impossible for me to keep up with the replies, so I thought I would answer the most common questions here in this month’s blog!
For the full story and updated version of “What is PhysiYoga and PhysioYoga” please visit my new blog HERE!
Please see the updated article, “The Truth About Back Pain: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Treatment”
**This article is not meant to act as medical advice, nor to replace your current treatment. Please seek clearance and guidance from your licensed healthcare professional prior to participating in any of the tips, advice, practices or movements mentioned in this article.
Being physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy during pregnancy is something that most women realize is important. As Yoga becomes more popular and mainstream in our western world, it is a natural progression for pre-natal yoga classes to be offered to address a pregnant woman’s health holistically. However, there are some precautions that one should be aware of before participating in a yoga class when pregnant. Pregnancy results in many physical changes of a woman’s body and consequently can cause issues such as low back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence,
postural changes, and balance problems just to name a few. In fact, over 70% of pregnant women experience low back and pelvic pain (Mogren, 2005). Read more
Headaches. If you’ve had one, you understand how debilitating it can be. Did you know that migraine headaches alone are estimated to cost the Canadian economy $500 million annually in lost productivity and absenteeism? (Angus Reid Poll, 1990). This doesn’t even include other types of headaches such as sinus, cluster, or tension. If headaches are so common, why do they appear to be so poorly managed?
Chronic headache sufferers frequently do not receive the proper treatment and education on management because it can be very challenging for a health care practitioner to determine the root cause of the pain. Paying close attention to your headaches, including location, how long they last, quality of the pain and what reduces or triggers the pain, will help your doctor identify the type of headache you are experiencing, which will result in better overall treatment. Read more
You may be aware of the longstanding debate on stretching. In fact, there is some research that implies that static stretching before an athletic performance may actually be detrimental and play no role in decreasing risk of injury. However, we cannot assume that just because static stretching prior to an athletic event may not be recommended, doesn’t mean that static or other types of stretching aren’t beneficial at other times for other reasons; whether you are an athlete or not. For more information on the most current research surrounding the science of stretching and and what flexibility is all about as it relates to injury prevention, I would recommend checking out Jules Mitchell and Greg Lehman‘s work.
**This article is not intended to act as medical advice, nor to diagnose or replace your current treatment. Please seek clearance and guidance from your licensed healthcare professional prior to participating in any of the tips, advice, practices or movements mentioned in this article.
Yoga has become extremely popular and trendy in North America. More and more people are using yoga as a means to improve their health physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Yoga therapy is even being integrated into our modern healthcare system. So what is yoga and is it safe to use as a therapy?
Yoga is a system of health that was developed thousands of years ago that promotes using your body, mind, breath, and spirit as one unit, therefore enhancing and promoting an overall balanced lifestyle of health and wellness. There are a wide variety of yoga styles, approaches, and teachings. The most common yoga practices in our modern world involve yoga postures, breathing methods, meditation, philosophy and principles.
Yoga therapy applies yoga principles and techniques to help people enhance health in a more individual way, taking into consideration the person’s unique imbalances and concerns. It is an emerging profession that is growing likely because of its effectiveness in delivering a holistic approach to healing with a focus on self-empowerment. Research shows that yoga is among the most effective complementary health practices and even people suffering with chronic low back pain are seeking out yoga to help (American College of Physicians/American Pain Society, 2007).
PhysioYoga is a type of rehabilitation therapy that combines both evidence-based Physiotherapy and Yoga. Physiotherapists use evidence-based treatment methods to help you restore and maintain optimal movement and function as well as provide education on health maintenance and injury prevention. As licensed health care professionals, physiotherapists have extensive training and knowledge about how the body functions and moves, and use specialized manual skills to assess, diagnose, and treat a variety of injuries, disease symptoms, and disabilities. Read more
53% of women between the ages of 20-80 years old experience urinary incontinence (the inability to control the bladder) at some point in their lives (Culligan &Heit, 2000). Less than half of these women do not even mention it to their physician (Burgio, 1994) perhaps because they are too embarrassed, or simply because they think it is normal to experience ‘a bit of leakage’ when they sneeze or laugh. Or, that it is normal after pregnancy or with age. Or, that it is normal because their mom, sister, and best friend all experience a ‘bit of leakage’ too. But it is not normal. Yes, it is common, but not normal. Urinary incontinence can be prevented and treated in most cases.
The two main types of urinary incontinence are stress and urge. It is important to know the difference between the two, and know which one you may have, in order to treat it accurately. However, it is common to have a combination of the two as well.
Stress incontinence is what occurs when the pelvic floor muscles(PFM’s) are unable to stop the flow of urine during actions that put pressure or stress on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, twisting, or lifting. PFM function can be affected because of childbirth or even from low estrogen levels, such as during menstruation or menopause. Other factors that influence PFM function can be found HERE. Read more
Please visit: “The Truth About Back Pain” for more updated information and citations as they relate to ‘core stability’ and back pain.
**Edits to this post were made on May 31, 2017 regarding new information and knowledge I have accumulated since this post was written in 2011.**
Whether you are preparing to hit the ski hills this season, play golf next season, perform fall yard work, or simply are wanting to continue to walk and perform all your household chores with ease and efficiency, it might be helpful to be knowledgeable about the term ‘core’ and how timing of our core contributes to quality of movement whether we are participating in sports or activities of daily living.
The ‘core’ can be interpreted in many ways, depending on who is explaining it. Some leading spine researchers debate that a true ‘core’ even exists (O’Sullivan 2012 interview HERE). Scientific reviews of high level (level 1) evidence conclude that there is NOT any ONE superior exercise for chronic low back pain. The popular belief that core stability exercises are essential to prevent and address back pain is not supported by research (don’t shoot the messenger) (Smith et al 2014). Sure, these exercises may help some people; but not for the reasons we may think. This debate is for another post.
That said, we all likely have heard of the ‘inner core’ described as a group of muscles surrounding the trunk and described as a cylinder. The main function of these muscles is said to create spinal stability and control the intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) when the rest of the body is in motion. There are 4 main muscle groups that make up the inner core: Transversus Abdominus (TA), Multifidus (MF), Pelvic Floor muscles (PFM), and the respiratory diaphragm. TA is the deepest abdominal muscle that wraps around your abdomen like a corset, and is connected to tissue surrounding the spine. When TA engages, it assists in increasing the pressure inside the abdomen, which can be one of many factors that contribute to trunk stability. MF is a deep spinal muscle which makes up the back part of the core. It is a postural muscle that helps keep the spine erect. The PFM’s are the bottom part of the ‘cylinder’ or core. More information about the role of the pelvic floor and the factors that influence its function is HERE.
The respiratory diaphragm makes up the top part of the cylinder. When all of these muscles engage in a coordinated manner, they help to maintain the pressure in the abdomen which then provides the stability to the spine and pelvis. It is important to note that the timing of these muscle engagements is needed for efficiency of movement and function, which is why I often like to refer to this phenomenon as “core timing” instead of “core stability.” For optimal core function, these muscles will activate in a sophisticated and coordinated during movement and are ideally engaging at a variety of intensities, automatically, throughout all movement, all day! Julie Wiebe, PT, describes the core strategy system as ‘piston science.’ Antony Lo, PT, discusses the refined recruitment that continually changes in response to each task as “tension to task.” Read more
Do you experience pain in your jaw? Perhaps radiating to your ear, face, neck, and even your shoulder? Does this coincide with difficulty opening or closing your mouth while talking, chewing, laughing or yawning, or your jaw locking? You may be experiencing a dysfunction in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ joins the lower and upper jaws and is the joint responsible for opening and closing your mouth, as well as any side to side movement of the lower part of the jaw (which is important for chewing and articulation of speech). You have a right and left TMJ. You can actually feel the movement of the joint by palpating just in front of the ears as you open and close your mouth. There is a disc that is in between the joint that enables a smooth gliding motion. If this disc does not glide properly, you may experience clicking or popping sounds.
There are a variety of factors that can cause or contribute to TMJ disorders, and often times it is a combination of factors that need to be addressed in order for treatment to be effective. Some of the common causes include the following:
1) Postural alignment.
If you maintain a prolonged posture over a period of time where the position of your head and neck is creating chronic muscle tension, this might affect the function of your TMJ.
2) Behavioural habits that create muscle tension around the jaw muscles such as grinding or clenching
your teeth, excessive gum chewing or biting your nails. A common underlying cause of poor habits can be stress related.
3) Trauma to the joint.
4) Arthritis in the joint.
5) Dental problems such as abnormal alignment of the teeth when the upper and lower jaws are
brought together (malocclusion).
6) Hormonal changes. Research suggests that estrogen levels can also play a role in TMJ pain (Craft, 2007.) Read more