Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

Craniosacral Therapy: The In's and Out's

Date: June 13, 2017 | Time: 9:00am | Posted By: Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

How does CranioSacral Therapy work?
CranioSacral Therapy works by helping the body's natural healing mechanisms dissipate the negative effects of stress on the central nervous system. This is accomplished by utilizing a physiological body system called the craniosacral system, which maintains the environment in which the central nervous system functions. The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, extending from the cranium (head) down to the tailbone area (or sacrum). The role of this system in the development and performance of the brain and spinal cord is so vital that an imbalance or dysfunction in it can cause sensory, motor and/or neurological disabilities. For example, if the bite (or jaw) is out of balance, the whole head is out of balance, and often the whole body.

How can something so gentle be so powerful?
The craniosacral system has a rhythm that can be felt throughout the body, just like the pulse. I use a very light touch to monitor this rhythm from head to feet to pinpoint the source of an obstruction or stress. I can then encourage the natural movement of the fluid and soft tissues to help the body self-correct. This simple action is often all it takes to remove a restriction. Sometimes, like peeling layers of an onion, once some restrictions have released and balanced, others may show themselves and need attention.

Jeannette Raskin practices at Family First Chiropractic, 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer, Alberta. 403-347-3261.

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Treatment for Tendinitis/ Tendinosis

Date: June 6, 2017 | Time: 8:30am | Posted By: Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

Last blog we discussed the differences between tendinitis and tendinosis, now we will discuss treatments. By the time you feel pain from tendinosis, your injury has been gradually building for many weeks or months. Remember that tendons heal slowly, due to limited blood supply. You will probably need to wait several months before a reasonable amount of repair has occurred, so have patience with this slow healing process. While both conditions are classically treated with conservative measures, the difference in care is absolutely critical to resolution of the problem. Conservative management stems around rest and anti-inflammatory medication for tendinitis, while conservative management of tendinosis aims to restore tendon regrowth and strength through manual therapy and eccentric exercise.

You'll need to avoid activities that cause pain, which can be a problem when some of those activities involve your work. Keep doing the normal daily activities that don't cause you pain. Treatment for tendinitis can be simply RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) to reduce inflammation and allow healing.

Braces are often used for the wrist, elbow, knee, and ankle. Some people find that braces can add stability and support during activity. Braces should not be worn all the time because you can lose strength and flexibility, but they can be helpful if worn part-time. This can be done for work or at night with wrist braces for carpal tunnel symptoms.

Stretching and strengthening with emphasis on eccentric exercise is especially helpful for tendinosis. Muscle is forced to lengthen while it contracts because it is being used as a brake or to absorb energy while doing "negative work." On the other hand, concentric exercise is when a muscle shortens as it contracts because it is acting as an engine doing "positive work."

140915124228 photobCorrecting ergonomic problems can be very helpful in healing workplace tendinosis. Some foods and supplements, such as ginger and turmeric, can help reduce inflammation.

Your best bet is to maintain a healthy weight and eat a plant-based diet with plenty of antioxidant-rich whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains, while eating minimal amounts of trans-fats, saturated fats, and simple carbohydrates.

Traditional treatments involve use of anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid injections, and/or pain medication for the treatment of tendonitis. It has been proven that these can actually further the degeneration of tendons and increase the risk of recurrence of the condition as well as increase the risk of tendon rupture. That being said, corticosteroid injections and anti-inflammatory medications have been shown to be effective in short term pain reduction for tendinitis.

Soft tissue mobilization can speed healing, restore proper collagen synthesis, strength and function. Chiropractic helps by aligning joints properly around the problem area which puts less stress on tendons. You then can break down the adhesions / restrictions and allows the tendons to heal properly. After an injury the body makes scar tissue to heal the area quickly but this must be broken down to allow proper healing of the tendon. If this is not done, tendons can weaken and rupture. I utilize soft tissue techniques such as Graston and ART and ultrasound therapy. These help breakdown adhesions/ scar tissue andstimulates collagen synthesis to heal tendinosis. If you or a loved one is having these problems call to book an appointment to get on the road to recovery.

Dr. Stephen Kelly practices at Family First Chiropractic, 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer, Alberta. 403-347-3261.

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The World Of Tendons

Date: May 30, 2017 | Time: 9:00am | Posted By: Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

A tendon is a cord or band of dense, tough, inelastic, white, fibrous tissue, serving to connect a muscle with a bone. Think Achilles tendon, which attaches your calf muscle to the heel. Damage or injury to tendons is quite common. There is two different issues-tendinitis and tendinosis. One you've probably heard of before. The other, probably not. While they both sound the same, in reality they are worlds apart.

Tendinitis is, by definition, inflammation of a tendon. Tendinosis on the other hand is defined as chronic tendinitis without inflammation and implies chronic tendon degeneration at the cellular level. Basically, one is short-term with inflammation, the other long-term, without inflammation, though both are caused typically by overuse. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) goes by a lot of names - it can also be called tenosynovitis or chronic tendinopathy by doctors. Don't let their fancy jargon scare you! It's kind of simple - tendinitis happens when you repeat a motion frequently on tight tissues and when the rate of damage exceeds your body's natural rate of repair.

NORMAL TENDON Uniform, Organized, & Parallel


FRAYED TENDON (TENDINOSIS) Unorganized, Tangled, & Random


Tendinitis, the most popular diagnosis of the two, usually presents with swelling and tenderness at the sight of pain, often accompanied by stiffness, and less often by weakness. Tendinosis presents most often with stiffness, tenderness to the touch, and weakness-almost identical to tendinitis. Recovery of tendinitis lasts anywhere from days to six weeks, a relatively "quick fix." Tendinosis recovery can last a few short weeks to a couple months or more depending on the level of degeneration. If left untreated, tendinosis often leads to "tear" injuries

Tendinitis and tendinosis, both, occur most often in the Achilles tendon (ankle), patellar tendon (knee), proximal hamstring (high hamstring), common extensor tendon (elbow), and the supraspinatus tendon (shoulder). With both of these problems being so relatively close, while treatment is vastly different, proper diagnosis is vital to the recovery process! So which one do you have? Let's go to the research.

While tendinitis is the wildly over-popular diagnosis among general practitioners, it may not be the case. Most research coming out on this topic is now showing that at a cellular level, once believed tendinitis actually is, in fact, tendinosis.

According to Almekinders and Temple, "Most currently practicing general practitioners were taught, and many still believe, that patients who present with overuse tendinitis have a largely inflammatory condition and will benefit from anti-inflammatory medication. Unfortunately this dogma is deeply entrenched. 10 of 11 readily available sports medicine texts specifically recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs despite the lack of clinical evidence."

In light of this, chances are that if you have been diagnosed with tendinitis the diagnosis was incorrect. Furthermore, traditional, conservative treatment, of such, with the use of anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid injections, and/or pain medication may have left you worse off long term even though pain may have dissipated short term. This is because these drugs inhibit collagen repair and are designed to eliminate inflammation, not regrow tendon. As mentioned above, treatment of tendinosis should be aimed at restoring tendon function and strength. Drugs will not help solve the problem! With all this said, while we cannot assume a tendinitis diagnosis was incorrect, lingering, worsening, or reoccurrence of pain would suggest that it may in fact be tendinosis. It is recommended that treatment plans geared toward tendinitis, in these cases, be re-evaluated.

Tendinitis is one of the most commonly diagnosed injuries and all too many struggle to find relief. With the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, it doesn't have to be that way!

The next blog will discuss treatments for tendinitis/tendinosis. Stay tuned!

Dr. Stephen Kelly practices at Family First Chiropractic, 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer, Alberta.

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Do you have Sciatica? How we can help.

Date: May 23, 2017 | Time: 6:48am | Posted By: Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

piriformis syndrome sciatic nerve 256x300Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body. Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve.

Chiropractors are well educated to effectively treat sciatica. Patients describe the pain as dull, achy, sharp, toothache-like, pins and needles, shooting pains or electric shocks. Other symptoms associated with sciatica include burning, numbness and tingling sensations sometimes at night while sleeping.

UnknownSciatica is caused by sciatic nerve compression or impingement. Health changes that can cause sciatic nerve pain include pregnancy and childbirth with the center of gravity biomechanical changes, lumbar spine subluxations, herniated or irritated discs, tumors, constipation and common cause of sciatica is piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is named after the piriformis muscle, this can refer pain into the low back are and mimic disc injury pain. The piriformis muscle is located in the lower part of the spine and sacrum and assists in hip rotation. The sciatic nerve runs most often beneath the piriformis muscle, it can however run over it or through the piriformis in some individuals. Injuries such as slips and falls can cause cramping and spasm to develop in the piriformis muscle, thereby pinching the sciatic nerve and causing inflammation and sciatic pain.

Unknown 1Chiropractors can fully assess and diagnose sciatica a piriformis syndrome, Since there are many disorders that cause sciatica, the chiropractor's first step is to do diagnostic testing which may include an x-ray, MRI, CT scan and other testing may be done.

A chiropractic sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments including chiropractic adjustments, stretches, strengthening, ART, heat or ice therapy, supplementation of omega 3's, B complex and magnesium. Some chiropractors may recommend a TENS unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to reduce the pain with out medications.

For more information call our office at 403-347-3261 and speak with Dr. Joelle Johnson at Family First Chiropractic and Wellness. 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer, T4R2C3

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Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

Date: May 16, 2017 | Time: 8:50am | Posted By: Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most common of the "entrapment neuropathies"-compression or trauma of the body's nerves in the extremities and the cause of patients loses in medical bill and time off work.

Freelancetypingdataentryjobs 2B 25281 2529Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition involving the median nerve. The median nerve originates in the cervical spine and runs into the forearm then the hand. If the median nerve were to get compressed somewhere along the nerve path CTS occurs. It is commonly thought that the nerve only gets trapped at the carpal ligament. This is a narrow tunnel at the wrist made up of bones and soft tissues, such as nerves, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. However, the nerve can also become impinged in the neck, elbow, or forearm. This could be a reason why all carpal tunnel surgeries sometimes don't get the results as expected. The compression may result in pain, weakness, and/or numbness in the hand and wrist, which radiates up into the forearm. CTS is the most common of the "entrapment neuropathies"-compression or trauma of the body's nerves in the extremities.

Patient's experience burning, tingling, itching, and/or numbness in the palm of the hand, thumb, index, and middle fingers. These are the most common symptoms. Since many people sleep with wrists flexed. Symptoms often first appear while sleeping. As symptoms progress, they may feel tingling during the day. In addition, weakened grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist or grasp small objects. Some people muscle atrophy at the base of the thumb, and are unable to distinguish hot from cold by touch. Usually occurs in adults, with women 3 times more likely to develop it than men. The dominant hand is usually affected first, and the pain is typically severe. CTS is common in assembly-line workers in manufacturing, sewing, finishing, cleaning, meatpacking, and similar industries, as well as pregnant women.

In addition patients that have smaller carpal tunnels than others, which makes the median nerve compression more likely. CTS can also develop because of an injury to the wrist that causes swelling. Over activity of the pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, mechanical problems in the wrist joint, poor work ergonomics, repeated use of vibrating hand tools, and fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause. All of which could cause CTS.

CTS should be diagnosed and treated early. A Chiropractic examination of the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck can help determine if your symptoms are related to daily activities or to an underlying structural disorder. Doctors of Chiropractic are able to use other specific tests to try to reproduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractic adjustments of the spine and extremities where the nerve pressure occurring is the treatment of choice. Other recommendations include stretching and strengthening exercises soft tissue mobilization techniques, resting the affected hand or wrist. Immobilization of the wrist through a splint and applying cold packs to reduce swelling due to inflammation is also recommended. Proper posture and movement as instructed by your doctor of chiropractic can help prevent CTS recurrences. For the majority of carpal tunnel cases come into Family First. If you or someone you know is suffering from CTS, feel free to email the clinic at or call us at 403-347-3261 for consultation and to set up a time to have your spine and nervous system checked.

Dr. Elton Clemence is a Chiropractor at Family First Chiropractic and Wellness, located In Red Deer, AB 142 Erickson Dr , 403-347-3261 to book an appointment.
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Constipation in Infants

Date: May 9, 2017 | Time: 8:38am | Posted By: Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

Before we look at constipation in infants, let's remind ourselves just what constipation is.

A simple definition is the inability to have a comfortable and regular bowel movement. A normal range is having a bowel movement between 3 times a day to 3 times a week.

We all suffer from constipation from time to time but sometimes it becomes persistent and uncomfortable. While the most common causes of constipation are poor diet and lack of exercise (with adults), for some groups other factors also have an influence on our ability to eliminate waste from the body. As a craniosacral therapist I have found that constipation is a common problem among babies, toddlers and pregnant women. These groups have special needs and experiences that make them prone to constipation.

Let's now move on to looking at Constipation in infants and toddlers.
In my own experience, the following are the most common causes of constipation in babies:

. Both breast and bottle-fed babies may experience a difficulty in digesting components of milk.
. Switching between formulas can also cause constipation.

. Change in diet from breast to bottle.

. Moving on to solids at around 6 months and...

. Birth Trauma. This final cause is the common cause of constipation that I address directly as a craniosacral therapist.

baby 2B4
Let me explain a little about the connection between a traumatic birth and constipation. If intervention was necessary at birth, the baby is often left with a restricted spine and head. The compression on the baby's bones can prove excessive if the use of forceps or vacuum is needed. Or, indeed, the total lack of compression is also a problem if the baby is delivered by C-section.

Excessive compression on the head or neck leads to tension on the baby's nervous system which in turn triggers digestion and elimination problems. Craniosacral therapy can assist in helping your baby to recover from a heavy birth process which at the time was necessary for safe delivery. With the help of a craniosacral therapist the little head and spinal bones can slide gently into place freeing the vagus nerve which allows the baby to relax. Other problems clear up too! Baby is now happy to sit in their car seat, lie on their backs, sleep for longer periods and are happier and more content.

Jeannette Raskin practices at Family First Chiropractic, 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer, Alberta. 403-347-3261.

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Do you have Restless Leg Syndrome?

Date: May 2, 2017 | Time: 9:00am | Posted By: Family First Chiropractic and Wellness

Restless Leg Syndrome- RLS affects over 12 million people causing a strong urge to move ones legs especially at night. RLS is a neurological complaint causing a decrease of nerve impulse to the affected limb- most often the legs. This uncomfortable syndrome causes many people a lot of discomfort. A large portion of pregnant population suffers from this uncomfortable issue. RLS prevents you from getting adequate rest and good nights sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause weakening of the weakening of the immune system, mood swings, psychological effects and depression.

Symptoms of RLS

. Strange itching, tingling, or "crawling" sensations occurring deep within the legs; these sensations may also occur in the arms.

. A compelling urge to move the limbs to relieve these sensations

. Restlessness -- floor pacing, tossing and turning in bed, rubbing the legs

Many patients, pregnant and non-pregnant find relief from specific experienced chiropractic adjustments, especially when adjusting the pregnant spine. These adjustments remove any pressure, impingement or irritation to the affected nerves in the legs/limbs. A complete history, examination and assessment will rule out any other underlying issues that may cause RLS.

Home help: Stretching, Epsom salt baths, heat application, limb massage

Supplements: Folic acid, Magnesium, B12, B complex, homeopathies

Dr. Joelle Johnson has practiced in Central Alberta for over 17years in prenatal and pediatric chiropractic at Family First Chiropractic and Wellness, 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer T4R 2C3 403-347-3261

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