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In This Issue:

The Supraspinatus Muscle
Osteopathic Considerations In Constipation

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August 2017

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The Supraspinatus Muscle

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

A muscle commonly creating issues in patients I treat is the supraspinatus muscle. The supraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder and is one of the most susceptible to injury contributing to pain and weakness in the arm.

As mentioned, the supraspinatus muscle is located in the shoulder. It runs along the top of the shoulder blade and then attaches into the top of the humerus, the arm bone. Before attaching to the humerus, the supraspinatus tendon runs under the collarbone. This is important to know, as this is a common place for the tendon to get caught or impinged, and can be a source of pain.

The function of the supraspinatus muscle is to raise the arm for the first 15 degrees. From there, the larger deltoid muscle should take over. The supraspinatus is also essential in most throwing actions, which is why it can become a problem for most athletes. It also helps to stabilize the shoulder joint by keeping the humerus close to the shoulder blade.

upraspinatus muscleThe supraspinatus muscle is the most common of the rotator cuff muscles to tear. In many cases, torn tendons begin by fraying. As damage progresses it can cause a complete tear of the tendon. There are two main causes of tears: injury (acute) and degeneration. Acute tears can occur when you fall onto an outstretched arm or lift something heavy too quickly. This type of tear can also occur alongside other shoulder injuries like a broken collarbone or dislocated shoulder. Degenerative tears are a result of a wearing down of the tendon that occurs slowly overtime.  Repetitive movements, lack of blood supply to muscle, and bone spurs are all causes for degenerative tears.

Symptoms of a tear include:

  • Pain at rest and at night, especially if laying on the affected shoulder
  • Pain when lifting and lowering the arm or other specific movements
  • Weakness when lifting or rotating the arm

Acute tears occur suddenly and pain can be intense and immediate. Pain from degenerative tears may start out as mild and only be present when lifting your arm. Overtime this pain becomes more noticeable at rest, eventually making routine activities more difficult.

If any of the above applies to you or anyone you know, I would encourage having the area assessed. Various testing on the shoulder can help determine the cause of pain, and recommendations can be made in regard to the next best steps to take. These may include treatment, imaging, exercises or a combination of the aforementioned.


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.

Request a free consultation online: click here     For pricing information: click here



Osteopathic Considerations In Constipation

Lisa Marie ForemanLisa Marie Foreman, B.Sc., RMT, DO-MTP, M.OMSc.

It is estimated that up to 25% of the western world has experienced constipation. This occurs when food moves too slowly through the digestive tract and as a consequence, stool becomes more solid and increasingly difficult to pass. It is one of the most common conditions affecting the digestive tract.

Naturopaths and Osteopaths agree that you need to have a good bowel movement at least once a day, and if you do so less frequently, you are constipated.

Causes of Constipation

  • Dietary: Eating too much pasta
    Not eating enough fruits, veggies, whole grains and other foods rich in fiber
  • A change in personal circumstances, lifestyle or eating habits
  • Stress at work or at home
  • Other mood disorders such as anxiety, feeling low in mood or depression
  • Certain medicines: Most commonly pain killing medicines (narcotics) based in codeine or morphine, sedatives, some anti-depressants or medications that lower blood pressure

Food Transit

Food enters the mouth and then passes down the esophagus to the stomach, to the small intestine, to the large intestine, to the colon and then to the toilet. Once food is in the stomach, digestive juices stimulate the rest of the tract to produce digestive secretions.

constipationThe main function of the colon is to re-absorb water from the purified food. The longer the bowel contents hang around, the more water is re-absorbed and the drier they become. These waste products become stagnant and start to putrefy. Toxins from stagnant waste products may be re-absorbed from the blood instead of leaving the body. The gut wall becomes inflamed by these toxic wastes and new food arriving irritates the inflamed area, possibly triggering diarrhea. Flatulence (passing gas) arises from stagnant and fermented foodstuffs. Consequences of this irritation may cause any of the following: fever, backache, headache, upset stomach, loss of appetite, gas, congestion of the spleen and pancreas.

Osteopathic Thought Process

Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) in bowl dysfunction is often directed toward improving blood and lymphatic flow to these tissues. An integral part to our approach is also balancing neural signals to and from the bowel. Specifically, these signals are the sympathetics (SNS) or the fight or flight response and the parasympathetics (PNS) or the rest and digest system.

Sympathetics (SNS)

Too much SNS or hyperactivity of the lower gastro-intestinal (GI) system is associated with symptoms of constipation, bloating and gas.

Parasympathetics (PNS)

Too little PNS or hypoactivity of the lower GI decreases bowel motility and glandular secretion as well as constipation.


Metabolic changes caused by dysfunction of the tissues of the colon can lead to increased fluids and tissue congestion. The result is an accumulation of waste products, reduced blood flow and decreased nutrition to the cells.

Osteopathic Manual Treatments

OMT enhances homeostatic mechanisms of the patient who has illness or dysfunction. Homeostasis is the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. In the case of constipation, the following issues will be addressed:

  • SNS – Rib raising produces the reflexes which clinically normalizes sympathetic activity. Also, paraspinal inhibitory soft tissue techniques are applied to decrease the SNS.
  • PNS – Cranial sacral techniques are applied to reduce PNS with focus to the head and upper neck.
  • Lymphatics – Indirect fascial (connective tissue) release to the thoracic outlet to improve lymphatic flow. Inhibition to the pelvic diaphragm to inhibit the pelvic PNS and improve lymphatic flow from the legs. Relax the abdominal diaphragm to improve blood and lymph flow throughout the entire body. Improve lymphatic flow to decrease congestion and increase nutrient absorption from the bowel.
  • Spinal – Access and treat any mobility restrictions of the spine to improve blood and neural signals from the spine.


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

Request a free consultation online: click here     For pricing information: click here



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