January 15, 2016

breast cancerPain and tightness suffered post mastectomy/ lumpectomy can limit one’s life drastically. Myofascial Release can help create vast changes by softening dense scars and fibrosed fascia that remain unchanged with traditional therapy and stretching.

 

Axillary Cording

Axillary cording is a web of thick, rope-like structures under the skin of your inner arm. These cords usually start near the site of your scarring in the underarm region and extend down the inner arm to the inside of the elbow (sometimes they can continue down to the palm of your hand, or in to the chest wall instead of, or in addition to, the inner arm.

Traumatized tissue can have a cascading effect on the body.  Locally, tightened and fibrous fascia can restrict blood flow and lymphatic flow resulting in lymphedema.  Auxiliary cording can also occur, causing a significant loss of range of motion in the shoulder, leading to a loss of function.  Pain and weakness can occur in the shoulder, arm and chest wall.  Burning, pins and needles, numbness, or spasms can also occur in these areas.

Tightness, with time, can start to effect areas not associated with the scar even if these areas are far removed from the local site.  Symptoms not “normal” to mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction, or augmentation can start to occur.  Headaches, jaw pain, low back pain, pelvic pain, digestive issues, postural changes, hormonal imbalances, etc, may become a “common” occurrence for you.

The inability to move, or the pain suffered with common range of motion and activity can become debilitating.  This might happen immediately, or it might occur 6 years down the road.  In real life it might look like the inability to wash your hair in the shower, get dressed in the morning, pick your child up out of the crib, hug a loved one, carry your groceries, drive your car, work at your computer, or reach up and grab the sugar out of the cupboard.  No matter the role you have as a woman – mom, worker, grandma – your life is impacted.

breast mfrPain management and rehabilitation using Myofascial Release can help.  Gentle and slow work done at the fascial barrier (on the scar and surrounding areas) can assist in restoring functional patterns by decreasing the restrictions.

Whether you had surgery, chemo, or radiation last month or 10 years ago, Myofascial Release should be added to your recovery process.

 

 

IMG_8104cropbwTara Hagan-Fields is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Tara is a Women’s Health Specialist and Myofascial Release Therapist.  She focuses on the body as a whole and teaches you to do the same.  More about Tara here or find her on Facebook Tara Hagan-Fields RMT

 

April 29, 2015

It is the last weekend of April and as you know, the theme of April is “Letting Go”. I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about some of my bad habits because physiotherapists are people too! In the spirit of starting fresh this coming May, here are some of MY bad habits which some of you may relate too! And try not to hold them against me! Haha

1) Chewing my nails. Disgusting, I know. I don’t even know I’m doing it. I’m pretty sure I chewed my nails in the womb, that’s how bad this habit is. Have I tried to quit? Yes. Have I been successful? Not even a little bit. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to quit, leave a comment!

What have I tried? Well my parents offered me $1000.nail biting meme00 to quit for a whole 12 months when I was much younger. I was able to go about 8 months before my nerves got the best of me. I was participating in a cross-country race in The Grove located in my hometown of Arnprior, ON. Fortunately (or, unfortunately) I won the race, but lost the war when it came to my nails. It just took one race and my nails were GONE! I have also tried using that disgusting stuff that makes your nails taste terrible, and guess what? I got USED to the taste and just kept on biting. Biting and biting and BITING. Now, I have no nerve endings left in my fingers for me to even feel pain! Talk about hopeless!

2) Slouching. Ironically, I’m the self-proclaimed posture police when it comes to my clients. I’m especially strict when it comes to my clients who sit at a desk all day! Slouching can lead to loads of dysfunction in your neck and shoulders. Take my shoulder for instance: My poor right shoulder has been getting quite “ouchie” over the last few months. This is because I tend to sit/stand with my shoulders in a forward, rounded position. I am also right hand dominant, making me more inclined to use my right hand for essentially EVERYTHING. Because my shoulders have been creeping forward, the back of my right shoulder has gotten pathologically tight. As a result, my ability to put my hand behind my back is restricted and painful. Overhead movements can be often uncomfortable.

Thankfully, I work with a great team who is able to help me restore my passive accessory movement back to normal. Even though I’m a physiotherapist, sometimes you just need another set of eyes and hands to help resolve some of your issues!

3) Don’t wait! Procrastinate now! Take this post for instance: My boss likes me to post things every Wednesday morning. Heaven forbid I try to have something written BEFORE Wednesday! I like to think I thrive under the pressure of having a deadline. Realistically though, instead of “thriving” I often find myself stressed! There is enough stress in the world without procrastination. My goal in May is to try and set aside some time each day to do something productive (i.e. study for my Level 3 Manual Therapy Course). A half hour is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Maybe my goal should be to de-activate Pinterest? I’m sure I’d get a lot of my life back after doing that!

Keeping it real everyone! With the warm weather approaching, now is the time to make those much needed changes to better yourself! I’m going to try, so should you!

Bailey Gresham is a registered physiotherapist for Whole Therapy. She specializes in manual therapy and movement-based therapy. She likes bridging the gap between rehabilitation and performance training and has really really REALLY short nails.  More about Bailey here.

Bailey

 

February 25, 2015

So you’ve gone and hurt yourself, huh?  You’re a gung-ho weekend warrior with a twinge in your back and aren’t sure what to do about it.  This isn’t unusual.

We get all kinds of people coming through our doors who’ve injured themselves in brilliant and creative ways.

As I sit here compiling this literary masterpiece, a client walks in with back spasms that are causing him visible discomfort.  “How’d that happen?” I say.  “I was choking on some long grain rice and coughed so violently that I threw my back out” he replies.  Believe me when I say we’ve seen and heard it all.  You may find yourself asking “What kind of treatment am I supposed to get?”  With all the various types of sprains and strains you may be unlucky enough to receive, where to start can be an overwhelming decision.   Here are a few things to consider:

“Yer aff yer heid!”

1.What is your level of pain?

If you’ve got a full-scale broken back, you’re going to want the emergency room and not deep tissue massage.  An honest evaluation of the pain you are in/damage you have done is important at this stage.  Open wound?  Hospital.  Arm dangling at a weird angle where you KNOW there isn’t a joint?  Hospital.  Tightness in the lower back after trying the caber toss for the first time?  Whole Therapy!  While our therapists are often told that they have magic hands, they cannot perform lifesaving surgeries or repair broken bones.  We’ve had people come in to see us that could barely move let alone stand being touched or physically manipulated in any way.  Not being a hero at this point and seeking medical attention is best.  On the reverse side of the coin, going and waiting in an ER for 10 hours only to have a Dr. tell you to see a physiotherapist isn’t a lot of fun either.

It can be tricky sometimes to gauge the type of potential damage that may have been done after you landed on your back in the middle of the Rideau Canal whilst distracted by that delicious Beaver Tail in your hands. We get that.  While it’s always best to err on the side of caution, be realistic.  The hospital staff won’t thank you either for taking up their time with a minor scrape or the proverbial bobo.

Now that you’ve determined you don’t require immediate medical attention, you’re looking for some pain relief, rehabilitation, and a plan of action for your recovery.  The next step is to..

2. Consider the type of injury.

Chances are, if you’ve rolled your ankle you’re going to want a more rehabilitative and active treatment; most likely a visit with our physiotherapist, or our chiropractors.  If you feel the situation is more muscle or tissue related, you could also consider our team of massage therapists.

One of the great things about our multi-disciplinary approach is how perfectly our services complement each other.  We often have clients come in for “the double”.  This usually consists of a massage treatment to soften you up followed by a chiropractic adjustment to straighten you out!   We also double up on the physio and acupuncture fairly often.  Perhaps the most effective combination of all though, is the combination of our minds.  Each practitioner here will view things in a slightly different way as their training and expertise dictates.  It’s common practice amongst them to pick each other’s’ brains for answers to tricky questions involving your rehabilitation.  It’s this collaboration upon which the Whole Therapy philosophy is based.

3. What can I afford?

Another thing to consider when booking an appointment is your insurance coverage.  Many of you will have private insurance that allows for some spending on different types of clinical services.  Maybe you’ve got coverage for physiotherapy but not chiropractic.  Perhaps it’s the other way around.  Perhaps you’ve only got coverage for one type of service or perhaps you’ve got everything under the sun covered.  It’s worth finding out before you call in so that we can better serve your budget AND your needs.  That being said, sometimes your maintenance program will continue after your benefits have expired.  Don’t worry.  We want to see you as little as possible but as much as necessary.  That means finding out together what a maintenance plan looks like for you.  The initial treatment and following few appointments will likely be closer together, but as you progress from injured to pain-free to functional, the frequency with which you attend will likely decrease. Benefits are wonderful in that they can mitigate the cost of rehab, but they should not dictate the extent of your rehab.  Consider this.

So don’t worry.  Hurting yourself happens, whether it be from coughing up rice, tossing around cabers, or falling while skating.  We’ve seen it all, remember?

Hopefully this information helps you figure out where to start.  If you’re still stumped, give me a call. We can figure out together how to get the ball rolling.

Pat Moore is the office manager at Whole Therapy.  Pat works alongside a team of dedicated professionals and is here to help ensure that your visit at Whole Therapy is as pleasant as possible.  For more about Pat, click here!

Pat

February 23, 2015

Jen

I’m not a fan of relaxation massage.  I know, as a massage therapist myself, I should be open to all types of therapy, but in my own personal experience, getting a “relaxation” massage is akin to an eighth of a back scratch, or a bowl of a low-calorie ice cream: unsatisfying, incomplete.

To me, a massage is relaxing when it relieves you of your problems.  Tight shoulders? Check.  Trigger points giving you a headache? Check.  Sticky fascia around the hips? Check.  Get my kinks out and I’m a happy girl.

Melissa knows of my proclivity for the therapeutic, but she needed people to practice her Thai skills on.  And lo and behold, we both ended up with a free hour at the same time this week.

“Trust me,” she said, “this is not your typical relaxation massage.”

She was so, so right.

I got my comfy yoga clothes on and lay on a spongy, sheet-covered mat on the floor.  Not what I was expecting, but nice.  The room was dimly lit as always, and the normal zen music played in the background.  I was in familiar territory.  So far so good.

Ahhh. Bye-bye kinks!

Ahhh. Bye-bye kinks!

Melissa began at my feet and worked upward, rocking me, kneading my muscles, stretching and moving me gently but deliberately.  Some movements, like the hip-focused stretches, were intense and required me to concentrate, breathe (are my hamstrings really this tight?).  Others, like the rhythmic single-shoulder rolls where she had me lying on my side, were so surprisingly relaxing that even despite being in constant motion I found myself nodding off.

Wait, nodding off?

This was not familiar territory, but I was really enjoying myself.  I wasn’t just getting a fluffy rubdown with sweet-smelling oil.  This massage was more like a one-sided dance, a choreographed routine which she led and I had no choice but to follow.  But oddly, even though she was doing the moving, I had a strong sense that my own body was dictating the rhythm of things.  Almost unbeknownst to me, my body had chosen, and it had chosen to (ahem) relax.

Man. This girl is good.

I was almost comatose by this point.

I was almost comatose by this point.

I never once felt that she stretched me too deeply, moved me too fast or pressed me too hard.  I was able to fully let go and trust that she would take care of me. I’m normally not so great at that.

The hour passed so quickly, I couldn’t believe it.  Normally I’m fidgety by the end of an hour on the massage table, but not so on the Thai mat, apparently.  I was groggy and unwound and wanted to snuggle on the couch (Melissa told me she doesn’t provide that service, though). 🙂

Awesome.  24 hours later I could still feel the lack of tension in my shoulders and neck, and I could touch my toes without grunting.  Awesome again.

The verdict: My first try with Thai was a resounding success. I will find myself on that Thai mat again sometime in the very near future!

The blog Indelicate Flower: A collaborative blog between three fitness gals originally had it’s home here.  It is a blog about fitness and health, and three womens’ journey to the competition stage.  We decided to make IF’s new home here on the Whole Therapy site, where it would reach even more people.  We hope you like it!

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

February 5, 2015

Ladies ladies ladies! Let’s talk about bras and how they support us, or don’t.  They are meant to aid a beautiful part of our body!  However, I have been seeing a running theme in my practice lately and even out and about on the street.  Ladies, why are you wearing ill-fitting bras with absolutely no support?

I hear all the excuses…”oh this is just my lazy day”, or “this is my bad bra”, or “my other one is in the laundry”, or “I just came from a work out”…again, all the excuses! Bras that you bought 10 years ago, throw them out! Even ones you bought 2 years ago, look at them closely! Does the elastic still support you the same way? Does the cup?  Have you washed them…and dried them?  How many do you have in a rotation?

Why do I bring up this subject? We can’t take our breasts off like we can our bras.  We need to support them!  We honour our bodies with exercise and nutrition, so why do our breasts hang low and depressed!? If you have not been fitted, go get fitted!  If you continue to wear the ill fitting bras, the drag will exacerbate poor posture, which can put aberrant stresses on your neck, shoulders and back. Poor posture can also impair breathing capabilities.

There are some wonderful places here in Ottawa that are both fabulous and more importantly educated on proper fitting.  Check out Brachic (www.brachicbras.com), and Mariannes  (www.mariannesboutique.ca) for more information on how to get your fitting underway.

Whether you’ve just had a baby, have goals to get back to a certain size, or are in the process of losing weight, have ongoing neck and shoulder pain, or headaches…whatever the reason, if you have never been sized by a professional, set up an appointment and go.  If you were sized 5 years ago, 2 years ago, go again.  I promise you, the relief of a proper fitting bra is worth it! And the satisfaction of looking good is even better! No more excuses!

 

Tara Hagan-Fields is an RMT with Whole Therapy.  Tara is a Women’s Health Specialist and Myofascial Release Therapist.  She focuses on the body as a whole and teaches you to do the same.  More about Tara here

Tara3