Reducing Respiratory Tract Infections With Mushrooms

Along with the colder weather, winter also brings an increase in colds, flus, and other infectious diseases. Respiratory illnesses are at particularly higher levels than normally seen this time of year. Respiratory tract infections are infections of part of the body that affect breathing, sinuses, throat, airway, and lungs. Prevention is a great way to avoid the suffering coupled with acquiring one of these seasonal illnesses and that involves strengthening our defences, namely, ensuring we have a well functioning immune system. Thankfully, a little know polysaccharide (carbohydrate molecule) called Beta-Glucans which can be found in high concentrations in mushrooms, can be a very helpful tool in helping us avoid illness and respiratory tract infections.

 

What are beta-glucans?
Beta-glucans are a type of fiber found in the cell walls of certain yeasts, bacteria, fungi, algae, plants like oats, barley, wheat, rye, and mushrooms. Beta-glucans are a unique family of fibres that are biologically active, meaning they go beyond providing nutritional value and can impact body function. In the case of beta-glucans, they can positively impact immune function.

 

How do beta-glucans affect or immune system?
Beta-Glucans are believed to stimulate the immune system, modulating humoral and cellular immunity, and thereby have beneficial effects in fighting infectious diseases, such as bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic diseases. Beta-Glucans can stimulate specific receptors involved in immunoregulation. They improve the body’s immune system defence against foreign invaders by enhancing the ability of key immune cells such as macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells. They also increase in production of salivary immunoglobulins, and improve in mucosal immunity in our airways and digestive tract.
They achieve this through their unique molecular structure which allows interaction with several cell surface receptors such as complement receptor 3 (CR3; CD11b/CD18), lactosylceramide, selected scavenger receptors, and dectin-1 (betaGR).Additionally, beta-glucans have high levels of antioxidants which reduce oxidative stress on the body as well as improve digestion and elimination through its fibre content and positive impact on healthy strains of intestinal bacteria.

What does the research say about beta-glucans effects on respiratory tract infections?
Several studies looking at children as young as 3 years of age show significant reduction in recurrent respiratory tract infections (RRTIs), and respiratory diseases such as laryngitis, common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Beta-glucans have also been demonstrated to reduce upper respiratory tract infections and fatigue in marathon runners and high to moderately stressed adults.
Using beta-glucans in a preventative way may decrease the frequency of various forms of respiratory tract infection, support protective immune mechanisms, and possibly provide other beneficial effects such as increased well-being, decreased sick days and reduction in medication or antibiotic use.

Where to find Beta-glucans?
Not all supplements are created equal, and this couldn’t be more true for mushroom supplements.
The therapeutic polysaccharides in mushrooms (beta glucans) are found inside indigestible cell walls (made of chitin). Only when properly extracted can they maintain their structural integrity and be concentrated to therapeutically useful levels.

An extract is critical to guarantee bioavailability and to create the potency needed for therapeutic effectiveness.  The bulk of the mushroom supplements available in the U.S. and Canada are ground up mushrooms (un-extracted), put in capsules or tinctures. These supplements are significantly less potent than extracts used in clinical research needed to achieve a therapeutic response. Therefore, it is important to find mushroom supplements that have used the appropriate methods of extraction and are ideally not grown on grains, such as brown rice, which is common. A good quality health food store should have plenty of options to choose from. Additionally, mushroom fruiting body extracts offer a more potent and higher quality product than mycelium extracts. Concentrated fruiting body extracts contain more bioactive levels of beta-glucans and a wider array of nutritional components compared to the mycelium.

 

Best mushrooms for beta-glucans
• Reishi
• Cordyceps
• Chaga
• Lions Mane
• Turkey Tail
• Maitake

 

Best Brands
• Harmonic Arts
• Four Sigmatic
• Teelixir
• Host Defense
• Hybrid Herbs

 

Written by: Jared Cox

 

References:
Akramiene D, Kondrotas A, Didziapetriene J, Kevelaitis E. Effects of beta-glucans on the immune system. Medicina (Kaunas). 2007;43(8):597-606. PMID: 17895634.
Talbott S., Talbott J. Effect of β 1,3/1,6 glucan on upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and mood state in marathon athletes. J. Sport Sci. Med. 2009;8:509–515.
Bashir KMI, Choi JS. Clinical and Physiological Perspectives of β-Glucans: The Past, Present, and Future. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Sep 5;18(9):1906. doi: 10.3390/ijms18091906. PMID: 28872611; PMCID: PMC5618555.
Talbott, S. and Talbott, J., 2010. Beta 1, 3/1, 6 glucan decreases upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and improves psychological well-being in moderate to highly-stressed subjects. Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech, 21(1), pp.21-24
Vetvicka V, Richter J, Svozil V, Rajnohová Dobiášová L, Král V. Placebo-driven clinical trials of yeast-derived β-(1-3) glucan in children with chronic respiratory problems. Ann Transl Med. 2013 Oct;1(3):26. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2305- 5839.2013.07.01. PMID: 25332970; PMCID: PMC4200675.
Richter J, Svozil V, Král V, Rajnohová Dobiášová L, Stiborová I, Vetvicka V. Clinical trials of yeast-derived β-(1,3) glucan in children: effects on innate immunity. Ann Transl Med. 2014 Feb;2(2):15. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2305- 5839.2014.02.01. PMID: 25332991; PMCID: PMC4202474.
Richter J, Svozil V, Král V, Rajnohová Dobiášová L, Vetvicka V. β-glucan affects mucosal immunity in children with chronic respiratory problems under physical stress: clinical trials. Ann Transl Med. 2015 Mar;3(4):52. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2305-5839.2015.03.20. PMID: 25861607; PMCID: PMC4381477.
Jesenak M, Majtan J, Rennerova Z, Kyselovic J, Banovcin P, Hrubisko M. Immunomodulatory effect of pleuran (βglucan from Pleurotus ostreatus) in children with recurrent respiratory tract infections. Int Immunopharmacol. 2013 Feb;15(2):395-9. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2012.11.020. Epub 2012 Dec 20. PMID: 23261366.
Grau, J.S., Sirvent, L.P., Ingles, M.M. and Urgell, M.R., 2015. Beta-glucans from Pleurotus ostreatus for prevention of recurrent respiratory tract infections. Acta Pediatrica Espanola, 73, pp.186-93.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when your body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that converts glucose into energy, usually keeping your blood glucose levels in check. You may have heard of diabetes, but are you familiar with the signs and symptoms? And did you know that there are different types of diabetes?

 

What are the types of diabetes?

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin. The cause is unknown and there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes develops gradually when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin and loses the capacity to produce enough insulin. There are strong links to genetics and lifestyle risk factors.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It is characterised by higher-than-normal glucose levels, usually around 24-28 weeks.

 

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst and constant hunger
  • Passing more urine
  • Unexplained weight loss (Type 1)
  • Gradual weight gain (Type 2)
  • Vision changes/blurred vision
  • Fatigue and lethargy

Type 1 diabetes has a rapid onset of symptoms, and most people are diagnosed before they reach adulthood. Type 2 diabetes is harder to detect. The symptoms are not as pronounced, so it can go unnoticed for long periods of time.

 

How is diabetes treated and managed?

Type 1 diabetes requires insulin replacement through injections or a pump. Daily doses of insulin are required to control blood glucose levels. Lifestyle changes cannot prevent Type 1 diabetes, however maintaining a healthy lifestyle after diagnosis can reduce your risk of developing serious complications (e.g. kidney disease or eye damage).

 

Through changes to diet and increased physical activity you can slow or halt the progression of Type 2 diabetes. You may also need medicine to manage glucose levels.

 

Can osteopathic treatment help to manage diabetes?

As osteopaths, we take a holistic approach to healthcare. Whether you have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes or are working to slow the onset of Type 2 diabetes, we can provide diet, exercise, stress-management and lifestyle advice to help.

 

Osteopathic treatment can also help to relieve some of the musculoskeletal symptoms/dysfunction caused by diabetes. We will work with you to understand your symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan to get you back to feeling your best.

Diabetes and the Management by a Naturopathic Doctor

Diabetes is the results of poorly controlled blood glucose levels. It is not an uncommon occurrence in the Canadian population. This is concerning because of symptoms that can negatively impact quality of life, such as fatigue, cravings and weight gain. Even more severe is that excessive blood sugars and insulin resistance can damage many organs in the body, in particular the nervous tissue, cardiovascular system, kidneys and eyes.

The first step out Naturopathic Doctor will take a full health intake to determine what stage you are at. He will also recommend getting lab work done which will solidify the stage of insulin resistance you are in.

Once results are in supplements, diet and lifestyle changes will be recommended. Follow up appointments are highly recommended to adjust the plan as you progress back to normal. Re testing of certain labs may also be recommend to monitor progress. We may also work with your other health care practitioners to help with changes medications or dosages.

If you need help managing diabetes symptoms, give us a call on (416) 546-4887, or email us at [email protected] to book an appointment.

 

 

References:

  1. Health Direct (2022). Diabetes. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/diabetes (Accessed 5 April 2022).
  2. Diabetes Australia (2022). What is Diabetes [Online]. Available at: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes/what-is-diabetes/ (Accessed 5 April 2022).
  3. World Health Organization. (2022). Diabetes [Online]. Available at:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/diabetes (Accessed 5 April 2022).

Exercise For Osteoporosis

It’s World Osteoporosis Day  this month (on October 20th) so let’s look at the benefits of exercise for bone health and osteoporosis.

 

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that causes a person’s bones to become weak and brittle, making them susceptible to fracture from minor falls or injuries. While your bones naturally become weaker as you age, osteoporosis can speed this process up.

 

You may be at higher risk if you are over 70 years old, female, experienced early menopause, or have a family history of hip fractures. Lifestyle factors that increase your risk include being sedentary, not doing weight-bearing or resistance training, having a low body weight and low muscle mass, eating a diet poor in nutrients, or having a high alcohol intake.

 

Benefits of exercise for osteoporosis

Exercise is beneficial if you have osteoporosis, because it can slow the rate of bone loss, strengthen your muscles, improve your balance to reduce your risk of falls, increase mobility, improve your mood and help to manage pain.

 

Regular physical activity throughout your life reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis in your later years. Regular activity combined with a healthy balanced diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, which puts less pressure on your bones and joints.

 

What type of exercise for osteoporosis?

There are three types of exercise you should incorporate into your routine: weight-bearing exercise, resistance training, and exercises to improve your balance.

 

Weight-bearing exercise is defined as aerobic activity conducted when you are on your feet with your bones supporting your weight, working against gravity. Examples of weight-bearing exercises:

  • High impact: Jogging, jump rope/skipping, step aerobics, tennis, high knees, jump squats
  • Moderate impact: stair climbing, hiking, dancing
  • Low impact: stair step machines, low-impact aerobics

 

Resistance training makes your muscles work against a weight or force to build strength. These should be tailored to your ability and capacity with proper form to avoid injury. Examples of resistance training:

  • Free weights (dumbbell and barbells)
  • Resistance bands
  • Body-weight resistance
  • Weight training machines

 

Exercises to improve your balance and prevent falls:

  • Tai Chi
  • Standing on one leg
  • Standing with your feet close together
  • Walking backwards

 

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s important to exercise within your ability and seek supervision from a trained professional to ensure your exercise routine is safe for you and to reduce the risk of fractures.

Our Physiotherapist is an expert in movement and exercise. Book an appointment today to see how it can benefit your body and osteoporosis.

 

If you need help managing your symptoms and would like to find out how physio pilates could help, come and see us. Give us a call on (416) 546-4887 or email us at [email protected] to make an appointment.

 

 

 

References:

  1. Healthy Bones Australia (2021). Exercise & Bone Health [Online]. Available at: https://healthybonesaustralia.org.au/your-bone-health/exercise-bone-health/ (Accessed 29 August 2022).
  2. Better Health Channel (2015). Osteoporosis and exercise. [Online]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis-and-exercise (Accessed 29 August 2022).
  3. Health Direct (2020). [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/osteoporosis (Accessed 29 August 2022).

Osteopathic Treatment For Arthritis

Arthritis comes from the Greek word ‘arthron’ (meaning joint) and the ending ‘itis’ (meaning inflammation of). The term arthritis describes over a hundred conditions that cause inflammation of the joints. Read on to find out more about the main types of arthritis and how osteopathic treatment could help to manage your symptoms to improve your quality of life.

Osteoarthritis facts

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common types of arthritis and is caused by wear and tear.
  • OA affects the cartilage lining of the joint (as well as other surrounding parts), limiting range of motion and causing pain and stiffness.
  • It is a progressive and chronic condition that mostly affects the hips, knees, spine, hands, and ankles.
  • OA is most prevalent in adults in their mid-40s and over. Your risk is higher if you have a family history of OA.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis facts

  • Another common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is an autoimmune condition, which means that pain and inflammation are caused by the immune system targeting the lining of the joints (the synovium if you really want to know!).
  • RA often affects the small joints of the body (the hands and feet) but affects the whole body.
  • Pain is one of the main symptoms of RA. It also causes fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
  • The most common age of onset is between 25-45 years.
  • RA is more common in females.

 

Gout facts

  • Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the blood which crystallises and deposits in the joints, creating severe, acute joint pain, most commonly in the big toe (but again can affect other joints).

Ankylosing spondylitis facts

  • Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that starts in the sacroiliac joints (i.e. the joints between your spine and pelvis) but can affect your whole body.
  • Symptoms include stiffness and lower back pain.
  • It can affect shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, and feet.
  • Onset occurs between 17 and 45 years of age.

Common arthritis symptoms

There are many types of arthritis that affect people in different ways, however there are some common symptoms, including:

  • Joint pain, stiffness and inflammation that is generally worse when you first get out of bed in the morning.
  • Reduced movement of joints.
  • Tiredness and fatigue.

 

How can osteopathic treatment help to treat arthritis?

Osteopathic treatment is tailored to your individual needs. This is important when it comes to arthritis-related symptoms because there are many types of arthritis that affect people in different ways.

Your treatment plan may include a combination of techniques, including joint mobilisation, exercise prescription, massage, and lifestyle advice.

  • We may use a range of soft tissue techniques, including massage, joint manipulation, and stretching to increase blood flow, reduce joint stiffness, and improve your range of motion.
  • Treatment may involve a plan to keep you active because exercise is an effective way to treat arthritis. Exercise can help by increasing mobility, reducing pain and joint stiffness, strengthening the muscles which support the joints, decreasing tiredness and improving your mood and sleep.
  • We may provide lifestyle advice to reduce stress and help to manage pain. Stress is known to increase pain and inflammation, so it is important to learn to reduce and manage stress as part of your treatment.
  • We can also provide advice to help you to maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy, balanced diet to reduce pressure on your joints.

 

If you need help managing arthritis-related symptoms, come and see us at the clinic. Call us on (416) 546-4887 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.

 

 

 

References:

  1. Health Direct (2020). [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/arthritis (Accessed 19 August 2022).
  2. Mayo Clinic (2021). [Online]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350772 (Accessed 19 August 2022).
  3. Healthline (2021). [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis (Accessed 19 August 2022).
  4. Arthritis Australia (2017). Understanding Arthritis. [Online]. Available at: https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/what-is-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/ (Accessed 19 August 2022)
  5. National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (2022). What is RA? [Online]. Available at: https://nras.org.uk/resource/what-is-ra/ (Accessed 28 August 2022)

Have you tried Pilates

Whether you’re a long-distance runner, returning to exercise from injury, or at the start of a new fitness routine, Pilates has something for everybody. Read on to learn about how to try it alongside osteopathy to get the most out of life!

What is Pilates?

The Pilates method uses a combination of exercises that can be adapted as gentle conditioning for rehabilitation from injury, or as a strenuous strength workout for seasoned athletes. It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century as a type of low-impact, body strengthening exercise.

It’s based on six principles:

● Concentration: Bringing full attention to each movement.

● Control: Muscle control and moving with intention.

● Centering: Bringing focus to the body’s centre, engaging the core muscles.

● Precision: Performing each move with correct technique.

● Breath: Steady and controlled breathing, coordinating the breath with each movement (i.e. breathing out on exertion).

● Flow: Moving between each exercise with fluidity and ease.

Are there different types?

Yes, the two most common types are matwork and reformer.

● Matwork: Pilates movements performed on a mat.

● Reformer: Pilates movements performed on a reformer machine (bed-like equipment, which has a sliding carriage controlled by springs).

If you are new to this type of exercise, it may be an idea to go to introductory classes with a certified instructor to make sure you are practicing correct technique and alignment. However, Pilates is versatile – you can find a studio that offers matwork and/or reformer classes, or you can also try it at home with an exercise mat and virtual class for instruction.

Who is Pilates suitable for?

Pilates can be adapted to suit all levels of fitness and ability. It’s a great low impact, strengthening workout to add to your daily life. Whether you’re recovering from injury, looking to strengthen your core to enhance your sporting performance, or starting a new exercise program as a beginner, it has something for everyone.

What are the benefits of doing Pilates regularly?

Much like regular osteopathic treatment, the benefits of regular Pilates can be applied to many aspects of your life.

 

Are there different types?

Yes, the two most common types are matwork and reformer.

● Matwork: Pilates movements performed on a mat.

● Reformer: Pilates movements performed on a reformer machine (bed-like equipment, which has a sliding carriage controlled by springs).

If you are new to this type of exercise, it may be an idea to go to introductory classes with a certified instructor to make sure you are practicing correct technique and alignment. However, Pilates is versatile – you can find a studio that offers matwork and/or reformer classes, or you can also try it at home with an exercise mat and virtual class for instruction.

Who is Pilates suitable for?

Pilates can be adapted to suit all levels of fitness and ability. It’s a great low impact, strengthening workout to add to your daily life. Whether you’re recovering from injury, looking to strengthen your core to enhance your sporting performance, or starting a new exercise program as a beginner, it has something for everyone.

What are the benefits of doing Pilates regularly?

Much like regular osteopathic treatment, the benefits of regular Pilates can be applied to many aspects of your life.

Some of the benefits you may see:

● Improvements in core strength and posture

● Reduction in back pain

● Increases in energy

● Decreases in stress

● Enhancement of body awareness

 

● Improvement in balance

Like osteopathy, Pilates can have a positive effect on your life and wellbeing. Beachealth offers both Physiotherapy Pilates using the reformer for rehabilitation issues or mat work pilates aimed at fitness.

Find out more about Pilates at Beachealth

Osteopathy For Neck Pain

Did you know that approximately 1 in 3 adults experience neck pain at least once a year? It’s not surprising that it is a common reason that our patients come into Beachealth seeking osteopathic treatment. Research shows that neck pain is more persistent in people who have experienced back pain. As osteos who regularly treat patients with neck and back pain, we’ll share some simple steps to follow to reduce the risk of strain in your daily life. Read on to find out about the types of neck pain, and how osteopathic treatment could help.

Function of the neck

The neck, or cervical spine, contains the smallest vertebrae in the spinal column. It has several very important functions: to support the head and its range of motion, to allow blood to flow to the brain, and to protect the spinal cord.

 

What are the common symptoms of neck pain?

Neck pain is usually acute, which means it resolves within a few days or weeks. If it persists for longer than 3 months, it is considered chronic.

The common symptoms of neck pain include:

  • Muscle tightness, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion
  • Persistent aching
  • Pain that worsens when moving
  • Stabbing or sharp pain
  • Pain that radiates to the head, shoulders, and arms
  • Headaches


What are the common causes of neck pain?

Neck aches can be caused by something minor like sleeping in an awkward position or sitting at your desk for too long.

Some common causes of neck pain include:

  • Poor posture
  • Overuse and strain from sitting for long periods at the computer, or straining while holding your smartphone
  • Slouching forward, or straining while driving
  • Tension/stress
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Awkward sleeping position
  • Whiplash caused by vehicle accidents
  • Sports injuries

 

Less commonly, neck pain can be caused by serious illness or infection. If you have severe pain accompanied by fever, or numbness in your arms or legs, or you have injured your neck in a fall or accident, be sure to seek medical treatment from a doctor promptly.

 

How to prevent neck pain?

While it can’t always be avoided, there are some simple steps to reduce your risk of experiencing a strain, including:

  • Practice good posture when sitting and standing, especially for prolonged periods of time. If you need help to resolve postural issues, come and see us!
  • Reduce stress/tension by stretching, practicing yoga or meditating regularly.
  • Use a backpack instead of a shoulder bag when carrying a heavier load to distribute the weight evenly.
  • Check the ergonomic setup of your workstation – adjust your chair or screen to make sure the top of your monitor is at eye level. Keep your head straight, and your shoulders tracking directly above your hips.
  • Check your pillow – is it too soft or too firm? When was the last time you replaced it? You may need to try different pillows to find the right fit.

 

How to treat neck pain at home

You can manage some mild neck aches at home. Some of the treatments we like include:

  • Heat or ice therapy.
  • Modifying activities that aggravate or cause discomfort.
  • Gentle movement and stretching to prevent the area from tightening further.

 

How can osteopathic treatment help?

As osteos, we commonly treat neck and back aches in the clinic. Whether your symptoms are acute or chronic, osteopathic treatment could help get to the bottom of them. When a patient comes into the clinic with neck pain or discomfort, we will use a range of soft tissue techniques, including massage therapy, joint manipulation, and stretching which may help to increase blood flow to the area, reduce tightness, and restore your range of motion.

 

If you need help to manage your symptoms, come and see us. We will assess your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan to get you back to your best. Call us on (416) 546-4887 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.

 

 

 

 

References:

  1. Health Direct (2019). Neck Pain. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/neck-pain (Accessed 19 July 2022).
  2. Cleveland Clinic (2019). Neck Pain. [Online]. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21179-neck-pain (Accessed 19 July 2022).
  3. Healthline (2022). Neck pain: Symptoms, Causes and How to Treat it. [Online]. Available at:https://www.healthline.com/health/neck-pain (Accessed 19 July 2022

Calf Muscle Strain

You may not give them much thought, but your calf muscles are constantly working hard day-to-day when you’re walking around or exercising. This makes it really inconvenient – not to mention painful – when you strain a calf muscle. Muscle strains are a common reason our patients seek out osteopathic treatment. Read on to find out about the different causes and treatment options for calf injuries.

 

Calf anatomy facts

Before we dive into the injury, let’s take a moment to unpack the anatomy of the calf. Did you know that it is actually made up of three muscles? They are called the gastrocnemius, soleus, and plantaris (we know… what a mouthful!). The gastrocnemius is a two-pronged muscle that runs from just above your knee down to your heel. It is the largest of the three and is vital to movement of the knee and the ankle. It is more commonly injured than the soleus, which lies underneath the gastrocnemius.

 

What are the common causes of calf tightness and strain?

Our muscles lose flexibility as we age, making them more prone to injury. Short or tight calf muscles make you more susceptible to a strain, especially if you skip the warm-up before you start exercising. Participating in sports and activities like tennis, basketball, and football that involve sudden movements or changes in direction are common ways to strain a calf.

 

What are the symptoms of a strained calf muscle?

Calf strains are graded as mild (a minor strain), moderate (a partial muscle tear), or severe (a complete muscle tear).

 

Common symptoms of a strained calf muscle include:

  • Tenderness and pain in the area
  • Tightness and aching after exercise
  • Swelling and bruising of the muscle
  • Sharp pain or ‘popping’ during exercise
  • Pain when stretching the calf
  • With a severe tear, it will be very difficult to walk or stand on the affected leg

 

Symptoms will generally be more intense for a severe strain.

 

How to treat a strained calf muscle

Depending on the severity of the strain, your recovery could range from a few weeks for a mild strain, to several weeks or months for a moderate to severe strain.

 

What you can do to help

There are some steps you can take at home to treat a strained calf muscle.

For the first 2 – 3 days, RICER protocol is suggested:

  • Rest your leg as much as possible.
  • Ice therapy (apply ice packs for 20 minutes every two hours for the first 24 hours).
  • Compress the injured leg using a bandage wrapped firmly around the calf to minimize swelling.
  • Elevate the leg using a pillow for support, as much as possible.
  • Refer – if you are unable to walk, you should seek medical attention to determine if medical imaging is required.

 

How can osteopathic treatment help?

Muscle strains are one of the most common injuries we treat in the clinic. Our hands-on treatment takes a holistic approach to healing and recovery. If you have tight calf muscles or are experiencing a strain, we may use a range of soft tissue techniques, including massage therapy, joint manipulation and stretching. This helps by increasing blood flow to the area and reducing tightness. As part of your treatment, we may also develop a program of exercises and stretches for you to do at home, as well as getting you to follow a clean diet and adequate water intake. This is all to help with your recovery and to strengthen the muscles – and hopefully prevent the injury from reoccurring in the future!

 

If you are experiencing pain or tightness in the calf muscles, come and see us. We are here to help! We will assess your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan to get you back to your best. Call us on (416) 546-4887 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.

 

 

References:

  1. St Johns Ambulance Australia. (2020). First aid fact sheet. Sprain and strain. [Online]. Available at: https://stjohn.org.au/assets/uploads/fact%20sheets/english/Fact%20sheets_sprain%20and%20strain.pdf (Accessed 14 June 2022).
  2. Physiopedia (2021). Calf Strain. [Online]. Available at: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Calf_Strain (Accessed 14 June 2022).
  3. Cleveland Clinic (2021). Torn Calf Muscle. [Online]. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21696-torn-calf-muscle (Accessed 14 June 2022).
  4. Healthline (2019). How to heal, protect, and strengthen a strained calf muscle. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/pulled-calf-muscle (Accessed 14 June 2022).

Self-care isn’t selfish

You may have heard the saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’. When it comes to mental health and your wellbeing, self-care can be vital to help you recharge and take time out for yourself and your needs. If you’re constantly giving to other people, you risk burning out. Small, regular acts of self-care can have a significant impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Today we’re bringing you 4 self-care tips to help you recharge.

Sleep as self-care

Prioritise quality sleep as an act of self-care. Adults need on average between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Getting good quality sleep is vital for our mental and physical health.

 

Try to create a sleep routine and go to bed at roughly the same time every night. You might want to create a little sleep ritual to help you fall asleep easily. Make your bedroom a sleep haven, keep it tidy and get the lighting right for sleep. Some people are sensitive to caffeine, so if that’s you, limit your caffeine consumption after 3pm.

 

It can be tempting to stay up late binge-watching a new TV series, or scrolling on your phone; however, it’s a good idea to limit exposure to screens and blue-light leading into bedtime. Instead, you could have a meditation or relaxation ritual, maybe read a book or write in a journal, or even create a skin-care routine to help you wind down.

 

Hydrating for good health

Staying hydrated is a simple and effective daily act of self-care. We all know that we should drink more water for our health. Our bodies need water to survive – we can’t store it or produce it. Water has so many health benefits:

  • Improves mental clarity, helps brain function and increases your focus
  • Aids digestion by carrying nutrients and minerals through the body
  • Keeps your joints supple and lubricated
  • Promote healthy, hydrated skin
  • Helps to flush toxins from your vital organs

 

Most people need to drink around 8-10 glasses of water per day (that’s around 2-2.5L). Keep your drink bottle or glass of water handy throughout the day to ensure you are staying hydrated for your health and wellbeing.

 

Exercise for wellbeing and mental health

Exercise for self-care improves your mental health and wellbeing. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people worldwide live with a mental health disorder.

 

Research has proven that regular exercise has a positive impact on mental health:

 

  • reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
  • releases chemicals including endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood
  • improves mental clarity by increasing blood flow to the brain

 

There are so many ways to incorporate exercise in your day: a daily walk, an early morning home yoga session, workout at the park, stretching after a long day, an exercise class or power walk with a friend.

 

Investing in exercise as self-care has so many positive returns. Sometimes it feels as though we don’t have the energy to exercise. We forget that exercise invigorates our minds and bodies. When it comes to exercise for self-care, we get back so much more than what we put in!

 

If you need some advice on prioritising your health and wellbeing, we’re here to help you to live your best life! Give us a call on (416) 546-4887 or email us at [email protected] to book an appointment.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Are you experiencing wrist pain or numbness in the fingers and hands that worsens at night? Carpal tunnel syndrome could be to blame. It’s a painful and debilitating condition that causes hand and wrist pain due to pressure on the nerves in the wrist. Read on to learn about carpal tunnel syndrome, what causes it and how it can be managed with the help of osteopathic therapy.

The carpal tunnel

The carpal tunnel refers to the narrow part of the wrist that opens to the hand. The median nerve and flexor tendons run through the carpal tunnel, helping to give feeling and movement to our fingers and thumb. The carpal ligaments and wrist bones surround the carpal tunnel, creating a rigid boundary.

 

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the tunnel narrowing or the flexor tendons swelling with nowhere to go. This compresses the median nerve and reduces blood flow.

 

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Numbness and tingling in the thumb and fingers or palm that can feel like pins and needles.
  • Weakness in the muscles of the hands; difficulty gripping things.
  • Swollen fingers.
  • Nerve pain in your wrist or hand that can be severe.
  • Pain that radiates up your arm.

 

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

Inflammation can cause the swelling that compresses the median nerve. A number of conditions can cause this and are linked to carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Fluid retention in pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wrist fractures

The condition can be aggravated by repeated motion of the wrist when using a keyboard or mouse, using hand tools or power tools for extended periods of time or overextending the wrist when typing or playing piano.

 

Why is carpal tunnel syndrome common in pregnancy?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in pregnancy, with 3-5 out of every 10 women experiencing the condition. This is because pregnancy hormones promote fluid retention and swelling, and soften the ligaments. This causes the median nerve to be squashed in the carpal tunnel. It’s important to seek treatment to manage your symptoms, as the condition can continue after birth and be exacerbated by lifting and holding your baby in certain positions (e.g. while feeding).

 

How can osteopathic treatment help?

Osteopathic treatment can help to treat the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. As osteopaths, we will assess your symptoms and come up with an individualized care plan to reduce your symptoms and manage your pain.

Your treatment plan will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing and may include ice therapy, gentle soft tissue massage, and joint manipulation. Exercises and stretches may be included as part of your treatment. Commonly with carpal tunnel syndrome, it is advised to take regular breaks from repetitive tasks and reduce movement of the wrists. A splint may be used to help with this.

 

If you fear you’re experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, come and see us. We are here to help! We will assess your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan to help relieve the pain. Call us on (416) 546-4887 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.

  

 

 

References:

  1. Better Health Channel (2012). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/carpal-tunnel-syndrome  (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  2. Health Direct (2020). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/carpal-tunnel-syndrome (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  3. Healthline (2019). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/carpal-tunnel-syndrome (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  4. OrthoInfo (2021). Carpal tunnel syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/ (Accessed 9 April 2022).
  5. The Royal Women’s Hospital. (2019). Pregnancy-Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. [Online]. Available at: https://www.thewomens.org.au/images/uploads/fact-sheets/Pregnancy-related-carpal-tunnel-210319.pdf (Accessed 9 April 2022).

Headaches/migraines: Treatment and Prevention

Roughly 10% of the Canadian population suffer from one type of headache or migraine. This is a very high number, and what most people do not realize the cure for most is as simple as a glass of water.

The most common type is the tension headache. This is caused by tight muscles usually in the shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, insomnia, missed meals and dehydration. They are described as mild to moderate pain and feels like your head is being squeezed.

A migraine headaches is usually caused by a trigger such as certain foods, stress, anxiety, insomnia, light, hormones. It is often described as moderate to intense throbbing pain on one side of the head. It can also be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and visual disturbances.

 

Treatment options:

Acupuncture can be one of the most helpful for both acute headaches and prevention. Acupuncture can help relive pain by causing the release of endorphins and increasing circulation.

Supplements can also help relieve a headache and also prevent them. Butterbur, riboflavin and magnesium can all help reduce the frequency of headaches. Other supplements such as feverfew, omegas,  CoQ10 and melatonin have also been shown to help. Which supplement you go with depends on the root cause of your headaches, therefore consulting with a Naturopathic Doctor is key to your success.

When you see our Naturopathic Doctor a full medical history and relevant physical exam will be performed. He may then recommend blood work to rule out certain root cause such as diabetes, thyroid issues, and infection. Some imaging may also be suggested.

 

If you suffer from migraines or headaches book a consultation with Dr. Pace, Natururopathic Doctor.

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