oakville massage newsletter


In This Issue:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
The Battle of Ice vs Heat

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April 2017

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Dr. Tara Brown, (Hon) BA Kin, DC, ART®, D.Ac
Doctor of Chiropractic

dr tara brownCarpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is named for the carpal bones in the wrist that form a tunnel around the median nerve that goes to the hand. The median nerve controls the muscles around the base of the thumb and provides feeling to the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. CTS is a common condition that occurs when the nerve is compressed as it travels through the wrist. This nerve is commonly injured or irritated when repetitive and forceful movements occur in the wrist, resulting in swelling around the nerve. The swelling takes up space, putting pressure on the median nerve, which may ultimately result in pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the hand. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by a combination of factors. Women and the elderly are more likely to develop the condition. Other risk factors for CTS include:

  • Heredity – shape/size of carpal tunnel may be smaller in some people, a trait that can run in families
  • Repetitive hand use – aggravates tendons of wrist, which leads to swelling and pressure on the median nerve
  • Pregnancy – hormonal changes that cause swelling and pressure on the median nerve
  • Hand and wrist position – extreme ranges held for a prolonged period puts pressure on the nerve
  • Health conditions – various conditions associated with CTS, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalances

carpal tunnel syndromeSigns/Symptoms

  • Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain in the hand
  • Occasional shock-like feeling that radiates to the first four digits
  • Pain or tingling that may travel up the forearm toward the shoulder
  • Weakness/clumsiness in the hand
  • Pain at night in arms/hands due to sleep position
  • Symptoms relieved by moving/shaking hands

Chiropractic Treatment and CTS
Following a thorough history and physical examination, a chiropractor may suggest various forms of treatment to resolve the symptoms you are experiencing. It is possible for other conditions to mimic CTS, such as a tight neck or arm muscle that irritates similar nerves to CTS; therefore, it is important for the chiropractor to rule these conditions out so the correct treatment is applied. Chiropractors offer a conservative approach to treatment, which may include any of the following: joint mobilization/manipulation, Active Release Techniques® (soft tissue therapy), acupuncture, stretching exercises, work modifications, and nutritional advice.

Source: www.kamloopsactivehealth.ca/carpal-tunnel


If you would like to know more about how chiropractic treatment can help you, call us to book a free 10-minute consult, where one of our chiropractors will answer your questions before you commit to an initial visit. Call us at 905.465.4595 to book.

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Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom - Creating Physical and Emotional Health with Acupuncture

Hong Ma, R.Ac., R.TCMP
Registered Acupuncturist & TCM Practitioner

Hong MaMenopause does not need to be a dreaded curse of aging when we can only look forward to hot flashes and hormonal mood swings. Menopause often marks the beginning of a woman's most sexually passionate, creatively inspired, and professionally productive phase of life.

While this may sound like wishful thinking, examine how a woman's lifestyle, emotions, and beliefs are affected by menopause. With the right diet, attitude, and Oriental Medicine, women can look forward to a resurgence of energy and an opportunity for personal growth--one that rivals the hormonally driven period of adolescence.

What is Menopause?
Menopause is a transitional period marking the cessation of ovulation in a woman's body. This time of change may last a few months to several years. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and are brought on as our bodies try to adapt to decreasing amounts of estrogen. Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain.

According to Chinese Medical theory, menopause occurs when a woman's body begins to preserve blood and energy to sustain her vitality and allow for the maximum available nourishment for her body, especially her kidneys. The kidney is the organ Chinese Medicine sees as the root of life and longevity; therefore, the body, in its wisdom, reserves the flow of a channel in the center of the body that sends blood and energy down to the uterus. Instead, blood and essence from the kidneys are conserved and cycled through the body to nourish the woman's spirit and extend her longevity. Thus, in Chinese Medicine, menopause is a true change in life from mother to enlightened and wise being.

menopause and acupunctureDiagnosis and Treatment of Menopause
Few areas of women's health stir up as much confusion and debate as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which is normally started when the first symptoms of menopause appear. While they may alleviate hot flashes and prevent osteoporosis, they will also increase the risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer, and have a number of significant side-effects. HRT is not the only solution, especially since Menopause is an area in which Oriental Medicine shines. Evidence that Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine have been used for women's health can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3AD. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can detect energetic changes that occur in the body and quickly relieve symptoms, such as hot flashes, foggy mind, and irritability.

Traditional Chinese Medicine does not recognize menopause as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques, such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. If 10 women are treated with Oriental medicine for hot flashes, each of these 10 women will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs, and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.

How Acupuncture Works
The mental and emotional symptoms that you are experiencing will help create a clear picture on which your practitioners can create a treatment plan specifically for you. The foundation for Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body, which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin, which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect.

Lifestyle and Dietary Instructions
Menopause patients are encouraged to lose extra weight and to follow a diet with a high content of raw foods, fruits, and vegetables to stabilize blood sugar. Some foods may exacerbate hot flashes or increase mood swings. Steer clear of dairy products, red meats, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, caffeine, and don't smoke. Lastly, try to eliminate stress, tension, and anxiety, or learn techniques to cope with stress so that you can diminish the effects that it has on your body and mind.


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information and to book your appointment.

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The Battle of Ice vs Heat

Joseph Wilson, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist, Sports Injury Therapist & Yoga Therapist In-Training

Joseph Wilson RMT My clients always ask me, “Should I apply ice or heat to an injury?”

My response is always the same, “Adult diapers.” And then there are a few moments of awkward silence, after which I add, “Depends…”

As a general rule, only use ice if the injury is fresh, you are playing quarterback in the Superbowl, and there are millions of dollars on the line. Ice is a good ‘battlefield’ remedy for when the mission is more important than the soldier and the later stages of healing are not as important as your immediate survival. Sometimes, you just need to apply some ice to take the swelling down, block out the pain, and get back to your hotel room where you can apply the other aspects of that old first aid acronym RICE – rest, compression, and elevation.

However, there is new science to indicate that ice may prevent the body’s mechanism of tissue protection from working -- pain and swelling are the ways your body inhibits movement so you don’t damage your silly-self any further! Furthermore, ice may interrupt or change the inflammatory process, which is the body’s way of starting the process of tissue repair and healing. So, using ice on that knee that has been flaring up for years every time you hit the golf course, is like bad political party policy -- it is creating the problem it is attempting to solve.

These days, there is a new anacronym for acute injury management: METH – which stands for Movement, Elevation, Traction and Heat

I am a big fan of Movement. Movement (pain free only!) is good because it keeps blood circulating and keeps changing the mind’s experience of the pain, preventing it from becoming habitual. Much of our experience of pain is in the mind. This is a long topic, but, in a nutshell, our pain is often more about our fear of pain, the anticipation of pain, and the memory of pain, rather than actual damage occurring in our body parts in the present moment. Movement, especially mindful movement, is key to working with pain and injury and preventing it from becoming something that scares us away from our favorite activities.

Elevation is good when there is swelling present. Position the swollen body part above the heart to encourage circulation and prevent pooling of inflammation in the tissues. For example, if your knee is swelling up, you could lay on your back on the floor and rest your heel on a wall, gently bending and straightening the knee. This is also a good time to breathe deeply and de-stress. Deep breathing helps us vent-off carbon dioxide, which will raise blood pH and encourage the clearing of metabolic waste from our tissues, including the injured ones. Also, when we are stressed, we become more sensitive to pain. In turn, pain increases inflammation and elevates stress. De-stressing post-injury (or anytime!) is a way to bring the pain and swelling under control.

Heat is always good as it increases circulation and sends a pleasurable sensation up the nervous system, which temporarily blocks out the pain signal. Hot packs or hot tubs are great options.

Traction is a bit tricky as it is can be difficult to apply accurately and safely without the help of a trained therapist. On that note, a Registered Massage Therapist is someone who can apply traction, heat, movement, and de-stress you when you are injured. Seeing your massage therapist after you have won the Superbowl or stepped off the battlefield is highly recommended!


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information and to book your appointment.

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