I am often asked "How would you help me with my muscle pain?" and often this leads me into a short blurb about the techniques I use in my practice and how my approach is unique and all encompassing. I do not just treat one aspect of your pain - I treat muscle, bone alignment, nerve function and nutritional deficiencies. Initially, there is an extensive hands-on assessment and we discuss the mechanism of action that is causing or has caused your injury or pain. I work to put your whole health picture together and to form a custom treatment plan that is not only inclusive of therapies such as trigger point therapy, procaine or aesthetic nerve retraining injections, adjustments and postural re-training of your body but also utilizes laboratory and specialized tests to check for nutritional deficiencies and hormone levels. In addition it is important to optimize your nutrient intake for speedy recovery and continued well being. Check out this quick video for more info!
Do you find yourself feeling really stiff in your hips? Do you get an achy pain at night preventing you from having a restful sleep? Do you have lower back pain? Experience hip pain during running or cycling?
Generally tight hips are quite painful and activity altering but occasionally there are no symptoms at all. Sometimes after assessing a patient for tight hips I will provide some trigger point release treatment and align their hip joints after which they notice how tight their hips really were. Most patients feel a real sense of relief after even the first treatment.
In my practice I see a ton of hip pain and tightness (what I tend to call dysfunction). The activities of our daily life require a significant amount of hip flexion on a regular basis. Some common examples of hip flexion are sitting at work or when watching TV, running, biking, walking, and yoga. I cannot emphasize enough how often I see tight hip muscles contributing substantially to lower back pain and also causing a lot of discomfort and pain in the groin region and hip joint itself.
The hip flexor muscles are difficult to release on your own especially if they are already very tight. They are challenging to release due to the hip being comprised of a few fairly large muscles. One of the primary muscles I usually treat is the iliopsoas muscle. As you can see in the image above the muscle attaches to the back of the spine and goes through the hip to attach on the inside of the femur. The psoas is one of the primary muscles responsible for hip flexion in the body. It also has a "buddy" muscle called the iliacus that cups the inside of the hip. Together the iliacus and the psoas make up the iliopsoas. When I work on this muscle group I stretch it and use trigger point therapy as the patient moves their hip through the complete range of motion to open up the hip. I pay attention to the specific points of pain or "knots" in the muscle and as the patient breathes through the motion I wait for these points to release and melt under the pressure of my hands. This technique helps the muscle to fully relax all of it's fibres and removes small "knots" or adhesions making the muscle fibres align properly and slide freely. For many of my patients the pain or discomfort is relieved almost immediately.
Trigger points are those "knots" or points in your muscles that refer pain when pressed on and they tend to form throughout the muscle. They form due to lack of use, overuse, injury/strain and poor posture habits. Trigger point release is a very effective method of relieving muscle pain and discomfort.
I am a strong believer in the power of removing adhesions from the muscles, aligning bones and resetting nerve patterns all of which require maximizing blood flow, a thorough assessment of the joint and body, and figuring out why the muscle pain occurred in the first place. All of my treatments start off with a thorough assessment, then a deep clay heat pack being applied over the area to be worked on to heat up the muscles and promote relaxation. I then apply a natural topical lotion made of camphor and menthol extracts to enhance blood flow and decrease pain. I always provide muscle work prior to any adjustments and ensure the body is releasing at all three levels: bone, muscle and nerve.
*photo shown is of Dr. Vizniak's Muscle Manual page on psoas major and minor
I am not sure about you, but every spring I get the desire to clean out my system and start the summer fresh! Here are some common FAQs about cleansing:
Why cleanse in the spring?
Spring is associated with the new growth of flower buds, trees, and the birth of many animals. Spring is the awaking of the earth after a long winter nap. A cleanse can be that reset button for your body and help you go into summer with a fresh perspective. It helps to shed the winter build-up and get you starting to feel great!
What does cleansing do?
The liver has two detoxification phases – phase I (Cytochrome P450 Enzymes) and phase II (Conjugation Pathways). Essentially, cleansing helps to support these processes so they function optimally. I often describe your liver as a recycling processing plant. It takes in a product and alters it or breaks it down and then either gets rid of it through your waste systems (excretory systems) or reuses it. A liver that is not functioning properly leads to a build-up of unwanted toxins or in the analogy of the recycling plant - recycling products build up and bog down the plant’s processing ability. Your elimination processes/excretory systems are urination, bowel movements, and through bile (secreted by the gallbladder).
What are the benefits of cleansing?
What side effects can I expect?
It is common to get some symptoms while on a cleanse: however, most disappear after the first few days.
Which cleanse should I do?
There are many cleanses available and choosing the right cleanse can be difficult:
I think the best cleanses are customized to your needs. Cleansing properly requires good support and is individualized to focus on your specific needs. There are many focuses/purposes for cleansing: hormone balancing, stomach repair/leaky gut, liver cleanse, weight-loss, juice fasting and many more.
Can everybody cleanse? Where can I go to learn about different cleanses and which one is best for me?
In short, cleansing may or may not be right for you.
It is best if you consult your naturopathic physician to decide what type of cleanse and intensity is best for you and your specific needs.
You may not know – but adjusting can be a big part of a naturopathic doctor’s practice. Like in my practice!
Adjusting is an extremely useful treatment tool and can relieve pain very quickly. Essentially, what can happen is that some form of trauma like: sleeping funny, doing an exercise poorly at the gym, or bad posture at work causes an unwanted type of movement in your joints. What we doctors call a malposition is just a fancy name for your joint slightly “slipping out” from its normal centered position - an action that tends to cause "pinching", limited movement, pain, associated muscle spasm and sometimes even nerve pain.
Here’s what you can expect if you see me for an adjustment:
There are many additional treatments that can be added to adjustment treatments to make them more effective and last longer. Some of these include: supplementing with magnesium or intravenously injecting it – the relaxing effects can be felt within minutes. Proper posture and stretching along with adequate water intake and hydration status. Also, IMS (intramuscular stimulation) or acupuncture can be helpful for relaxing tense muscle and reducing pain. I also often use botanical medicine to help decrease the inflammation and pain.
As dark clouds lure overhead and the sound of rain pattering on the office windows can be heard as wet dampness crawls into our bones and chills us. These weather conditions make it necessary for a nice warm soothing cup of tea or coffee to cheer up the day. How about you try a new tea this week!
Here are some of my top favourites and why I like them. Be bold! You might find something you like!
My top 3 current favourites:
Red Rooibos – a nutrient rich caffeine free easy drinking light herbal tea
Green Tea – juice up your day with an antioxidant rich caffeinated tea
White Tea – a very pleasantly tasting low caffeine option with protective and antimicrobial properties
Dr. Robyn Prescott, ND
I am very excited to be starting this blog as I have been thinking about writing it for many years now while I was studying for four years to become a naturopathic physician!
I would like to write about the many natural solutions and tips that I use to support healthy movement like (running, biking, hiking, skiing) and help people to understand what I can do as a Naturopathic Doctor focusing in physical medicine to help you be your best!
Happy healthy moving,