Chiropractic is one of the largest primary-contact health care professions in Ontario. It is a non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on the neuromusculoskeletal system (specifically treating the nerves, muscles, joints and associated tissues of the body). Chiropractors provide a diagnosis, treatment and preventative care for these neuromusculoskeletal problems. So, while Chiropractors are well-known for treating lower back and neck injuries, we also see a lot of shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot injuries, as well as many other parts of the body.
Chiropractors use a combination of treatments, all of which are predicated on the specific needs of the individual patient. After taking a complete history and diagnosing a patient, a chiropractor can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment/management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other non-invasive therapies, and provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling. At Endorphins, we utilize ultrasound, electrotherapy, laser therapy, custom foot orthotics, soft tissue techniques, and hands-on joint manipulation. Further, we utilize Acupuncture as a modality to enhance our Chiropractic treatments.
Integrating acupuncture with chiropractic treatment often results in a quicker recovery for the patient. The chiropractic treatment works at a physical level by reducing muscle tension and nerve irritation, and restoring normal joint mobility. The acupuncture treatment plays a role in the reduction of pain and inflammation, and the promotion of healing. Together these two treatment approaches work synergistically, giving more improvement than either treatment could on their own.
As an example of how the treatments work together, consider someone with a lower back injury. The joints are locked and inflamed, allowing very limited movement. The nerves are irritated, resulting in pain shooting down the thigh. The muscles become tense in attempt to protect the injured area, with an overall aching feeling preventing any movements or positions that are free of pain. Using an integrated approach for a patient experiencing this type of problem would begin with the use of ultrasound and interferential current. This would help reduce the tension in the muscle, break down any scar tissue that has formed from the injury, and offer some pain relief. Acupuncture needles may also be inserted into the points that correspond with the nerves that supply the joints and muscles in the injured part of the lower back. This would help reduce the pain and inflammation, and promote healing in the area. Next the muscles would be massaged and stretched (without reducing the tension within the muscles, the recovery period would be delayed); this would be followed by spinal manipulation that would restore the normal movement to the joints of the lower back, providing pain free movements. Finally, recommendations may be given to maintain improved function, or rehabilitative exercises prescribed to address your specific issue. When all of these treatments are used together the recovery time is significantly reduced.
Acupuncture treatments involve the use of very thin, sterile, and disposable needles. These needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points, of which there are almost one thousand in the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that there are energy channels called meridians that run below the surface of the skin; energy flows through the body within these channels. When there is an imbalance, shortage, or blockage of the energy within the meridian, disease or pain results. It is thought that the stimulation of the various acupuncture points with the insertion of the needles results in a restoration of the normal flow of the energy within the meridian.
While the Chinese had been utilizing acupuncture for over three thousand years, it wasn’t until the early 1970’s until acupuncture came to North America. Western-trained health care professionals did not readily accept acupuncture, but there was a great deal of intrigue with the results that were obtained from this ancient form of healing. They saw that the treatment worked, they just didn’t accept the meridian theory. Since that time, volumes of research have been completed to get a better understanding of how and why this treatment works. One presently accepted theory is derived from the fact that a great deal of these acupuncture points correlate with the location of nerves within the body. When a needle is inserted into one of these acupuncture points, it stimulates the nerve, causing the release of neurotransmitters, which are special chemicals that the body produces to communicate with cells in the body. Endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller, is released causing a reduction in pain perception. It has also been shown that acupuncture causes a rise in Serotonin and Histamines levels, which are important to promote the healing response. As such, when treating a painful condition, the goals of treatment include pain relief, a reduction in inflammation within the tissue, increased circulation to the region, and the promotion of healing.
As well as the reduction of muscle tension and stress, massage therapy is widely used to treat many conditions including muscle strain or spasm, low back pain, migraine, arthritis, tendinitis, pain associated with pregnancy and labour, repetitive strain injuries, post -injury or post-surgical rehabilitation and whiplash.
Massage therapy is also an excellent adjunct to other forms of alternative healthcare. The training of an RMT includes over 2,200 hours in a recognized massage therapy program, consisting of courses in anatomy, pathology, neurology, physiology and experiences in a vast number of clinical settings. Upon successful completion of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) examinations, practitioners are given the title RMT. Massage therapists are registered by the CMTO and are regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
Modern massage techniques can be traced back to the 1700s and the development of Swedish massage, the first systematic method of therapeutic massage based on physiology. Today’s Massage Therapists use their knowledge of anatomy and physiology to combine traditional Swedish and modern Massage Therapy techniques with exercise and other therapies to treat their clients (*CMTO).
Low intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) is a highly sophisticated, non-toxic and non-invasive therapy that uses light energy from a low intensity laser or an array of superluminous diodes placed in contact with the skin to allow the light to safely penetrate tissue. At the intracellular level, the light is transformed into biochemical energy the body can utilize. Cells use this light energy to repair and regenerate themselves, enhancing the body’s natural healing process.
At Endorphins, one of the Lasers we use is BioFlex Low Intensity Laser Therapy. This provides an effective solution for musculoskeletal injuries, chronic and degenerative conditions, dermatological problems and in the healing of open wounds. BioFlex Therapy can safely increase the rate of recovery and help patients reduce the need for pain medication. BioFlex also has the ability to promote rapid healing post surgery. The beneficial effects of LILT are cumulative over the course of a series of treatments.
LILT provides pain relief for a variety of pathologies, including: muscle and tendon tears, rheumatoid arthritis, golfer/tennis elbow, achilles tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, lower back pain, frozen shoulder, bursitis, neck pain, knee injuries, osteoarthritis, torn ligaments, plantar fasciitis, etc.
Low Intensity Laser Therapy has been proven to reduce the need for medication, improve the outcomes for conditions treated and increase the healing rates of affected tissues. Some of the specific effects of Low Intensity Laser Therapy include:
- Increase endorphin production, allowing for reduction in pain medication
- Elevated adenosine triphosphate production, more energy for the cells
- Modulation of white blood cells, improved immune response
- Stimulation of DNA production and cell division, increased rate of healing
- Promotes collagen synthesis, enhanced muscle, tendon and ligament strength
- Improved lymphatic drainage, reduction in swelling
- Angiogenesis and improved circulation, new blood vessels and improved blood flow
- Reduced inflammation/edema, less swelling leads to faster recover
- Reduction of fibrous tissue formation and scar tissue, promotes healthy tissue recovery
- LILT strengthens the overall immune system and increases the rate of healing.
Treatments with the BioFlex laser are typically 30 minutes to one hour in duration depending on the condition or patient. The number of treatments will depend on the presenting problem. Just as every medical condition varies, so will an individual’s response to LILT. On average, patients treated with the Bio Flex Professional LILT System require slightly less than 10 treatments to resolve their condition completely.
Unlike many pharmaceutical options, BioFlex is non-toxic; unlike surgical procedures, LILT is non-traumatic and most importantly, it is also non-invasive.
Rehabilitative exercise is increasingly recognized as an important element of manual therapy. Where physical therapies were commonly delivered passively (without patient involvement) in the early years of treatment, modern health care has identified that patient’s who play an active role in their recovery get better more quickly, more completely, and with greater satisfaction.
Sometimes this active role takes the form of general activities to complete at home, specific exercises to address a particular problem, easy stretches to address tight muscles, simple practices to help manage your condition outside the office, etc. Coupled with the treatment delivered by your health practitioner, these activities can enhance your recovery process significantly.
Much like acupuncture and other elements of patient care contribute to enhance the overall treatment effect at Endorphins, we utilize a number of therapeutic modalities in a similar manner. LILT is highlighted above, but we also use Interferential Current, Ultrasound, and Pulsed Electro-magnetic Field Therapy. Much like LILT, these modalities prime your cellular tissues chemically to promote healing, working synergistically to enhance you overall treatment.
Interferential Current therapy (IFC) is an alternating medium-frequency current amplitude applied at a low frequency, creating an electrical gradient across the skin and body tissues. This form of electrical therapy is typically considered more beneficial than other electrical modalities (such as transcutaneous nerve stimulation, or TENS) because it provides longer-lasting relief. Numerous theories have been proposed to explain the therapeutic benefits of IFC, including increased circulation, descending pain inhibition, nerve conduction blockage, and chemical pain relief. In a 2010 systematic review and meta-analysis of IFC effectiveness for musculoskeletal conditions, the effectiveness of IFC when used adjunctively with other treatment methods was clearly supported (Fuentes et al, 2010).
Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy is an advanced, state of the art physical therapeutic modality. This technology has been used since the early 1970’s to expedite bone fracture healing. With technological advances, the equipment can control the electromagnetic pulses to allow the clinician to direct the treatment to a specific, targeted tissue. The benefits to this treatment include stimulating the body to lay down new collagen fibres which will heal muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This has proven to be especially beneficial for old, chronic injuries that just won’t heal on their own.
Custom orthotics are available at Endorphins when deemed necessary by your health professional. We utilize a 3-Dimensional computerized gait analysis in addition to a 3-Dimensional cast of the foot to ensure an accurate assessment and proper determination of your needs. The collection of this data assists lab technicians in creating the most supportive and appropriate custom orthotic for you. Occasionally, custom orthotics need to be modified slightly to enhance comfort, and we are committed to working with our patients to make these changes until you are satisfied with your orthotic.