Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain

I wanted to do a new video for you guys regarding some elbow pain. If you have pain in your elbow, it’s most often diagnosed as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. Tennis elbow is usually associated with pain on the outside of the elbow and golfer’s elbow which is pain on the inside.

This kind of pain are super common and make it difficult to grip things or perform simple tasks with your hands. Essentially, you’ve got tendonitis of your elbow. So there’s a cord that attaches your forearm muscles to the bone. When it tears, it can be extremely painful and they take forever to heal.

Are there some things that you should be doing on your own to help to heal this problem? Yes. If the problem just persists without doing anything, it just will never heal well and it just gets worse and worse with time.

If we diagnose you with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. It’s worthwhile to pick one of these bands up at our Clinic…. what these bands do is they take some of the pressure off your elbow. I do not recommend doing this at night time. But when you’re working throughout the day, put one of these bands on just below your elbow and put it really tight ….it will take some of the pressure off and make it easier for you to work and stop irritating it temporarily and give it a little bit of a break to heal. So this is a must if you got that kind of a problem. I would I buy one of these right away.

The nerves that control the muscles in this area come from your neck. So have a chiropractor check your elbow joints and spinal joints to make sure they’re functioning appropriately. If the joints are restricted, stuck or jammed, it’s possible that you might be making your elbow problem worse by having these other issues.

In addition to other things that I mentioned, we should also be looking at getting massage therapy of the elbow and neck muscles. When you have tendonitis, there’s a lot of soft tissue swelling and scarring that happens within the tendon and within the muscle that goes to it. So what you want to do is have some the focused massage on that area, (which we offer at the clinic) and it’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable and painful to get some the blood flowing and attract some healing to the area.

So, you’ve got the band, chiropractic adjustments (if needed), massage therapy . Now the other thing is buying a simple TENS unit. TENS is basically short for electrical muscle stimulation and it allows the affected muscle to contracted and relax over and over repeatedly. You can pick one of these up at our clinic. This will help stop the muscles from atrophying the research shows that if you’ve been having tendonitis, the muscles surrounding the joint can start to atrophy really quickly and if it’s not addressed properly, it will continue to give you problems down the road.

Now we come to Shockwave therapy. We have a machine that punches sound waves through your injured tissue to help to break up old scarring. The last thing we’ll mention today is we recommend doing some laser treatment. We do have laser in some of the offices and the laser will help to reduce some inflammation locally in the area.

Ask us in the office as we may have bundled these things together to save your some money and time.

If you’ve got elbow pain, follow this protocol to help and if you have questions, just let us know.

Range of Motion Exercise

Daily Range of Motion Exercise from Healthstar Chiropractic in Millwoods, Edmonton.

I want to teach you how to do some neck exercises. So, for those of you with neck issues, one of the big things we want to do is an adjustment that unlocks the joints.

We use our hands and specific instruments to create motion in your spine and there are some simple exercises that we want to give you to help maintain some of the Correction we made. This movement is good for your joints in general. It’s not just about pain, but it’s also both preserving your joint function.
This exercise in the video link below is one of the easiest ways and think the easiest things you do at home. So after the adjustment, you’ll notice you’ll have more range of motion, and the more you can keep that range of motion, the better off you’re going to be. We have these simple exercises where you’re turning your head to your right as far as you can. Then, you turn your head left as far as you can. Hold it in each direction for about 20 seconds. Then you tilt your ear to your shoulder on each side. As well, don’t forget to bring your chin to your chest and also look up at the ceiling for the 20 seconds.
Besides that, make sure you continue to breath all the way through it and allow your ]neck to go as far as you can go while you’re breathing.
Here’s the link to the video:

Neck Band Exercises

Neck Band Exercise

Neck Band Exercise from Healthstar chiropractic in Millwoods, Edmonton.

So, what do we do the adjustment? We are unlocking the joints using our hands and specific instruments…this creates motion in the joints.

One of the things that we always want to do is give you things to do at home. So, one of the great things that you can do is what we call Pro lordotic neck exercises.  After we adjust you, we’ll take some of the pressure off the spine, increase the range of motion of your joints and this neck band exercises will help allow you to maintain your correction.  Do maybe 4 to 10 repetitions of each variation of the exercise.  The video link is attached below.  The band will be put at 3 different areas in your neck (again, see the video).  Start with the band at the bottom of your neck, then you move it up to the middle of your neck, and finally it will be placed right up underneath the back of your skull.  You’ll use your arms to push straight out across while extending your head backward (looking up toward the ceiling).

If you got the time, it’s always wise to also start going straight back with your head but also add a little side movement (again, see the video link below) in all three band positions. And then of course what we do to the right side, we’re going to want to do to the left side as well back like this. So, essentially this exercise really shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes a day.

How to Fix Knee Pain

Good day, everybody. It’s after hours here at the office…  I often see patients come in and they have a particular concern.  Today, I wanted to do a little at talk and just briefly show you a few things about knee problems.  So many people are needing knee replacements because they have osteoarthritis.

There is a point when you might need surgery to repair it, and we’re thankful we have that.  But that said for a lot of you out there, let’s say you’re maybe you’re 25 years old, maybe 35, 45, 55, maybe you’re not ready for that replacement yet.  Of course, they also won’t do it because you’re too young and the wait list in Edmonton is long.  So, the biggest thing to watch out for is what you’re doing on a daily basis. Of course, if you’re kneeling a lot, get some knee pads.  Secondly unless you had a lot of damage in the past (you played a sport or you failed in an accident…maybe you tore some knee ligaments… the great part about the knee is that in most cases, no matter what you’ve done to your knee, the vast majority of knee conditions respond well to some very basic fundamental exercises and and treatments.  I want to highlight a few of those things because they’re just totally easy to do and you should be doing exercises daily if you’ve got knee problems.

One of the things that is really really important is improving the nerve flow.   What the heck does that mean?  So, it’s how your brain controls the muscles surrounding the knee goes hand-in-hand with a healthy knee joint.  You can’t really affect one without the other.

Knee Exercise #1:

One exercise I recommend that everyone do daily is the single leg balance.  Okay, so you’re balancing on one leg and with your eyes open to start now.  With eyes open, for a minute straight, balance on one leg (the bad one first) for one minute… set your iPhone timer or whatever timer that you’ve got for a minute each leg and do that.

Now a better way to do this exercise is with the eyes closed!  That said, if you’re older or you have poor balance to start with, doing it with eyes closed can be tough.  In this case, just make sure that you’re close to something so that you don’t fall over of course.  But for those of you like myself, I do with eyes closed every day- just one minute each side..and I do both legs.  Now, it’s not that I even have a lot of knee pain or problems, but I don’t want any!

Knee Exercise #2:

Number two is actually doing the daily back exercises that are is on our YouTube account as well.   The reason is, it will help work your butt muscles…weak butt and back muscles can impact a knee.  If you want to be sent to that video right to you cellphone, just text the phrase “daily back exercises” to the phone number 69922, and it will send you a direct link to the short 4 minute video.  That’s something that some of you are a lot of you might already be doing, so if you’re doing the daily back exercises, don’t stop!

There’s a few other things that you can do for painful knees.

  1. Spinal adjustments: we can adjust your knees but we’ll probably do less knee adjusting than you’d think. Most often, we’ll work on adjusting your ankles and feet in addition to the sacroiliac or lower back joints.  The reason is, the nerves from your lower back go down and they control the glutes (your butt muscles) and control the muscles surrounding the knee.  If you’ve got irritated or injured nerves in your lower back, they could be buggering up all the muscular control around your knee which is making your knee worse!  So, to just treat the knee without treating the lower back is not wise. So that’s why it’s important get the lower back looked at, and adjusted accordingly.
  2. In normal walking, the foot is supposed to hit the heel first on the outside and roll inward. But some of you guys are a bit older or perhaps you’ve had a prior foot injury/fracture or something like that. In that case, the foot doesn’t roll and absorb shock the right way.  Because the foot is rigid, there’s a bunch of extra shock and stress (*that normally is absorbed by your foot and ankle) that’s going to go right up to your knee and making in worse!  So, we also adjust feet and ankle joints to make sure that there are freely movable.

The more freely movable your ankle and foot is, the less stress and strain is gonna go to your knee.

In summary, for knee pain, you must look at:

Back, foot and ankle function. Knee exercises.  And the last thing that I usually recommend to people with knee pain is custom orthotics. The reason why is because you might have really flat feet.  Your ankles might be tilted inward so that you’re constantly walking on the instep of your foot.  Normally, feet should have a relatively nice arch to absorb shock.

When your feet are flat, your knees will turn in (see the video link below) and start damaging the knee cartilage, not to mention give you pain on your heels and bottoms of feet.  You’ll also stress the joints improperly contributing to more foot, ankle and knee osteoarthritis.  So, if you’ve got flat feet, they must have better alignment and we help that by prescribing custom foot orthotics?

We don’t recommend the really hard plastic orthotics in the vast majority of cases because they don’t give all that much shock absorption.  The ones that we prescribe in our office give the right amount of arch support, and yet allow for enough foot and ankle movement to absorb the shock of walking and running.  If we can prop your arches up, and you do the simple exercises we recommend, it’s going to allow your ankles and feet to be more comfortable. You also probably won’t get as much plantar fasciitis (pain along your heels and bottom of feet).   By following our recommendations, you’re also going to reduce the wear and tear on your knees and hips.

So let’s say you’re the type of person that’s having ongoing knee pain, you aren’t wearing any special foot orthotics and you’re not doing the proper exercises regularly for your muscles around the knee…. and you haven’t had your back and other joints assessed by a chiropractor…. That’s a perfect storm…. And it ain’t a good one.  If that describes you, you’re going to run into a knee, ankle or foot problem nearly guaranteed at some point.  So, if that’s you, then talk to us next time you’re in our office and will address it for you.  We’ll see exactly what we can do to help solve that nagging knee pain. That said, here’s some links for the exercises I described earlier.

Related exercise videos

Daily back exercises:   https://youtu.be/XHEayzvDIPA

One leg balance exercises:  https://youtu.be/MULqwsAS6JU





Sciatica Exercises

Hey guys, Dr. Gervais here once again! I wanted to show you something about sciatica.  This is for those of you who are having an extreme amount of pain, either in your rear-end, or going down one or both legs.

There’s an additional exercise that we’ll do in addition to the regular daily back exercises that we teach (here’s the link if you want to watch those! https://youtu.be/XHEayzvDIPA  )

I’m gonna go over those couple things right now… so the first position that you want to adopt if you’re really having a lot of pain down the legs is laying on your stomach propped up up on your elbows.  This is the position that will help to force your disc material away from the nerve to relieve the pressure down your legs.

This should be done several times throughout the day for maybe five to ten minutes at a time….perhaps more if you’re really experiencing a really terrible bout of sciatica.

The second thing that I want you to do is called nerve flossing.

To do nerve flossing, sit on a chair or table and look down (chin to chest) as far as you can and slowly extend one leg out…now you’re probably gonna feel this pull along your leg and maybe pull quite heavily into your back and that’s okay…

So when you feel maximum pull, then lift your head up slowly to release the pressure (your leg should still be extended at this time).  Then slowly lower the leg to further reduce the tension/pain.  What that’s gonna do is move the sciatic nerve in and out of the hole where it comes out of the spine… You should be doing this daily and remember that when doing nerve flossing you want to do it slowly!  Going to full tension should take about five seconds.  Also releasing the tension should also be done slowly over 5 seconds.  I want you to do this – it can be a valuable exercise to help your sciatica get better.  If there’s any questions just talk to us at the office and we’ll chat with you later.

Here’s the link to the sciatica nerve flossing video:  https://youtu.be/Q9uurfyo3so

Here’s a link to the Healthstar Chiropractic general YouTube channel:   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQkvU-fS-xB34xDrf74l5kg

Here’s a link to our office website:  https://millwoodschiropractor.com

How to Get Rid of Neck Pain and Fix Posture

You may notice that your neck gets stuck.  When we do the examination, we see how much you can move your neck.  We can often see if your neck has had some problems before by looking at x-rays.

Get Rid of Neck Pain Video

We want to identify the areas in your spine which are malfunctioning…. we can easily identify these problem spots if there is something called spinal degeneration.  Spinal degeneration is seen when the discs get thinner and/or bone spurs are present.  Your discs get their nutrition through NORMAL spinal movements, so as soon as your joints aren’t moving or functioning properly, it’ll eventually degenerate.

The bone spurs we often see (sharp, pointy spikes that extend from some areas of the bone) are kind of like calluses…so just like if there’s abnormal stress on your skin, then calluses will form.  If there’s abnormal stresses on your bone and surrounding tissue then bone spurs will eventually form.

These conditions are often caused by the things you do every day.  For example, if you’re sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day or you’re driving a lot, it’s really impossible not to have some degree of spinal stress.

When we do the adjustment, we identify the areas where the joints are malfunctioning, and what we want to do is unlock the joint and create motion in the joint.  When you’re at home what you want to do is keep that joint in motion.  One of the best ways we can do it is through pro-lordotic neck exercises. This pro-lordotic exercise uses a specialized exercise band for your neck… we’ll tell you exactly where to put the band and you want to do a series of exercises as seen in the accompanying video.  We want you to do about 15 to 20 repetitions with each position.  So, there’s 3 basic positions the band will be in (again, please watch the video link below:)

When we do the adjustment, we unlock the joint …and now with this exercise, you’re creating higher stamina and strength in these muscles and this increased motion in your joint will allow the tissues to heal properly and function better.  This usually means less aches and pains.

The second exercise we want to do for your neck is range of motion exercises.  An easy way you can tell that the joint is stuck or if there’s a misalignment in there is you have a reduction of range of motion.  Range of motion is how far you can look in each direction.  You should be able to turn your head fully to both sides (about 80-90 degrees).  These head turns are good to practice after the pro-lordotic neck exercises.  Do this by turning your head all they way to your right hold it for 15-20 seconds…then turn it to the left and hold it for 15-20 seconds.  Now tilt your head to one side (ear to shoulder) and then the other side, holding each for 15-20 seconds.

Next, there’s the cervical orthotic.  We prescribe a cervical orthotic if your neck is very straight and your head sticks out too far in front of your body.  You want more of a curved neck, not straight from the side view.  This way, the neck is more balanced and it has less stress.

How do you use it?  When you have purchased this device at our office and are ready to use it, you take your index finger and find the largest, pokiest bone on the back of your neck (near where your neck meets your shoulders…there are instructions that come within the box if you get confused).  Make sure the side of the device that says “shoulders this side” is pointing toward your shoulders and feet (again consult the pics on the instructions if you get lost).  Ideally, this is done on a carpeted floor…if you don’t have a carpeted floor, then lay down a towel or a blanket…using this device on your bed is a little too soft so I wouldn’t do that.  When you lie on the orthotic, your head should hang back and stay in this position for approximately 5 minutes at first.  You might feel a little stiff or sore even after a few minutes…if it’s just too sore after a few minutes then get off early.  Ideally, do this for 5 minutes and every day you go up 1 minute, so the next day would be 6 minutes, the next day 7 minutes, etc….do this all the way up to a maximum of 20 minutes per day.

Like anything else, while you don’t have to do it every day, the more frequently that you do it (i.e. daily), the faster your results will be. By doing this you’ll over time your spine will be better able to absorb weight and shock naturally.  Regaining that natural alignment or curvature helps to rebalance your head and take the stress off those muscles in your shoulders and upper back…that is why we need to do cervical orthotic bracing!  Your spinal joints are much like your teeth, so to straighten your teeth it takes repetition (braces over a long period of time) and the same goes with your spine!


How to Sit

I just had a couple of things I wanted to share with you regarding sitting because it’s patients unknowingly beat themselves up by sitting all day. Chiropractors encounter so many people that sit all day. In Edmonton, we have many so patients that commute from Edmonton to Fort Mac, and/or drive truck for 12 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week! The problem is: you’ve got to sit sometimes and you can’t just quit your job, so what are you going to do?

How to Sit Video

You’ve got to have something to be able limit the amount of stress that you’re experiencing during the day with you’re sitting… because if you’re going to be sitting 6, 8, 10 hours a day I can guarantee you that’s going to be hard on your spine. You need some strategy from day to day to figure out how to deal with this!

The first rule of thumb: when you’re sitting, make sure that you change positions frequently. We used to teach you to sit up straight and have good posture but it’s actually better to vary your posture frequently…Like having your hand rested on your head, then leaning on the other.. etc. It’s perfectly ok to do this! The most important part is that you’re changing positions frequently.

Secondly, have something behind your back: some chairs (if they’re really expensive) might have a really good lumbar support, but what you want is a special device (see the video) and place it right behind you There’s a lot of research to show that when you’re sitting and with a good curve behind your back it’s going to put less stress on your spine than if you’re just sitting without one of these devices… so it’s a simple thing that you can do.

Third, stand up then sit right back down every 8 to 10 minutes. Get a timer or your computer or phone and set it to go off every 10 minutes. When your timer goes off, stand up and sit back down -it’s as easy as that.

Now when you stand up, what you want to do is arch your back by pushing your belly button out locking your back while you stand up…if you’ve been sitting for some period of time the research shows that once you’ve stood up, it’s a great idea to gently arch your back (with belly button pushed out again – see the video). Do that arch for 30 to 40 seconds before you start walking away.

I just thought I’d give you guys a few tips those are some simple things that you can do on your own to help put off the stress and pain of a lower back problem –

Never Lift This Way

Welcome back!  I wanted to show you something that almost everybody gets wrong… if you walked down any Edmonton street and asked everyone: Hey, how do you lift the right way?  Every single person is gonna say: Well, you lift with your legs and not your back!  The reality is: Even though everyone “knows” that, but almost nobody can actually do it right.  As a chiropractor, I see people do it wrong every day, so let me show you the wrong way, then I’m gonna show you the right way.

The worst thing you can possibly do for your back is having your back bowed outwards while lifting.   If you’re leaning over to pick something up with your lower back bowed out to the back of you, you’re going to kill your discs.  Don’t do that!

When you’re lifting anything (even light things), get set with your feet, put your shoulders back, and have your back in a more neutral position so that your belly button pushes outwards like a pot-belly.  I don’t care if it’s a pencil, or if it’s something heavy… you want to make sure that you get set first, pick it up with a neutral back (belly pushed out like a pot-belly) and then get the object right close to you because the farther away you hold something, the more strain it puts on your spine.

People just tend to get lazy and reach over while not thinking about their posture, and every time you do that you increase the chances of wrecking your back.

One of the main things that you’re gonna have trouble with is being at work.  At work, you’re not going to be thinking about it because you’ll be doing this or that, and you won’t be focused.  It does take a little bit of effort to be aware of your lifting posture, but it’s totally worth it.  Keep practicing!  It’s something I practice every day…lifting the right way engages your core muscles and it’s gonna save you a lot of pain and hassle down the road…. anyways that’s it for today.

Rib Pain

I want to talk to you guys about rib pain. From time to time, everyone will bend or twist the wrong way and what ends up happening is you start getting your chest pains and it feels like someone’s stabbing something sharp into your chest. Now that pain that you experience might go around the rib cage coming front to back or back to front, and sometimes when you breathe in really deep it gets even sharper! Twisting your upper body tends to make that a lot worse. What we see in our office is where the rib doesn’t move properly for various reasons. The ribs in the middle of the back are tightly attached to the vertebrae and what happens is if the vertebra stop moving properly, they become swollen …what happens is that the nerve comes right around the rib cage can get irritated and that’s where you’ll get the pain shooting around your ribs. When you get problems and through here into your middle back it can refer pain all the way around the front and that’s where you get that pain in your ribs. Sometimes it requires adjustment of the rib which we can certainly do, and we may also adjust the spine itself which is also very common.

People always wonder what else they can do to help their rib pains. The first thing you gotta remember is what not to do. So avoid twisting if possible. If your job has a lot of twisting motions, you know that might be hard for you and you can see why these problems might be painful and might go on for longer than you’d like it to. If your job is picking up baggage or something like that, and you twist and turn with it -well obviously you can see that’s going to be problematic for you. When you must twist, turn more with your feet rather than twisting and torquing your shoulders and upper body.

The second exercise we recommend that people do is simply start with the arms at your sides. With your palms facing the ceiling, slowly lift your arms up to the side, breathing in really deeply…. Bringing your arms all the way up until your palms touch each other keeping your elbows straight as you can. Then slowly let your arms down while breathing out.as your arms come down. I recommend doing that about 50 times a day…so when these problems happen to you, make sure you get adjuste…do this exercise and put some ice on it or take some anti-inflammatories. The ice and anti-inflammatories will temporarily get the swelling down so you can at least feel little bit better. Hat’s everything for today take care and have a great day!

Daily Back Exercises

We’re going to go over some basic exercises.  Now these are exercises that many of you should be doing particularly if you’ve got lower back troubles or sciatica. 

Sciatica is pain down your rear end or down into your leg.  There’s a few fundamental things you want to do:

  1.  The bird dog exercise.  You want to find a spot it on the floor.  Get on your hands and knees in the crawling position.  Looking slightly up, lift one arm and the opposite leg straight out.  Repeat this up and down. It doesn’t matter how high the arm or leg goes.  Ideally you want to completely relax after every repetition. Then do this again 20 times in a row on one side, and then 20 times in a row on the other side.  It’s really important to keep your pelvis level – imagine a glass of water placed on your lower back and you don’t want that glass to spill.
  2. Now the second exercise we want you to do is called a side plank.  If you have shoulder problems, there is a variation which will show in our video (link below).  Lie on your side, with your whole body held in the air propped up on one elbow. You can either put your feet staggered (one in front of the other) or on top of one another.   We lift our hips off the floor up toward the ceiling and hold for an eight count. Then relax your hips back down to the floor. Do it again for a total of 5 times on each side. If you find that the side plank difficult for your shoulders what I’m going to recommend that you do is simply do is lean up against a countertop or a wall instead of the ground.  This will make it easier. Make sure that you remember to do this on both sides.
  3. Lastly, we want you to do squats.  The research it shows that almost all people with lower back pain have weak butt muscles.  Do simple knee bends (also in our video link below). Have your feet about shoulder width apart with toes pointed slightly outwards (think 10 and 2).   Keeping your belly button pushed outward and maintaining a curve in your back, let your butt sink down until it touches the chair or bench. Now come straight up and then squeeze your your butt at the very top.

If you have bad knees and that gives you a lot of knee pain, then try a different version.  Lie on the ground with one leg straight or bent, hanging in the air. The other and knee will be bent with that foot flat on the ground.  Holding your hanging leg in the air and all you do is push your bum upwards with the opposite leg. Do that 20 times on one side and then 20 times on the other.

Those are the basic exercises that almost everyone should be doing that will help your middle back, lower back and it will help you heal faster.