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sports injuries osteopathy ottawa

Sports Injuries, Young athletes and Osteopathy

Many teenagers and young adults are practising sports, some of them at a high level. Often trying to balance sport with school/studies can cause stress. Spending many hours at practice each week can also lead to sports injuries for young athletes.

Sports injuries and Osteopathy

Osteopathy can help young people to control their body and mind. In fact, the osteopath will check joints, muscle tension, visceral and cranial tensions. Pursuing treatment prior to the start of the season will release imbalances, and following an ongoing treatment regime throughout the season can improve performance and prepare the body for competition.

It is advisable for young people who pursue regular sporting activities to consider prevention, maintenance and treatment for any injuries that do occur.

Prevention may consist of one treatment at the start of the year and then one per trimester. With additional treatment before an important event if needed (2-3 weeks before a marathon for example), and also should there be a change in sport's shoes or other equipment, such as a racquet.

Treatments can be effective for:

  • Repetitive joint sprains - ankle, knee, hip, elbow, shoulder
  • Low back pain
  • Difficulty with specific movements or postures within a sport
  • Muscle tension …
  • Stress and Fatigue

The osteopath will refer as indicated other modalities including to a naturopath for a better balance of the body, to a podologist to address an imbalance of feet, knees, pelvis or spine such as scoliosis.

Recurrent tendonitis, especially for upper limbs, could be related to the jaw and dental issues or triggered by food including dairy products and grains.

Seeking help from a hypnotherapist or sports psychologist can also help young athletes to manage stress before and between competitions.

Osteopathy in collaboration with other health professionals can help young athletes and sports enthusiasts to produce their best performance!

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lower back pain exercises

Lower Back Pain Exercises

Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal problem I see in my osteopathic practice. Sometimes the pain travels into the buttocks, thigh or leg. There are many causes of low back pain including digestive, mechanical, nervous, posture, psychosomatic, disc hernia, and traumatic. Whatever the cause of your lower back pain I find exercises are an effective way for you to manage your symptoms. In this blog I outline the types of lower back pain, it’s importance to the body and the three most common lower back exercises I give to my clients.

Types of lower back pain

There are three different types of lower back pain:

  1. Sharp pain or lumbago: the pain appeared less than one month
  2. Subacute pain: between one and three months
  3. Chronic pain: more than three months

The importance of your lower back

Your lower back is an important area for your body; it is the link between your upper and lower body. Your lower back is a composed of 5 vertebrae. Ligaments connect bone to bone, whereas tendons connect muscles to bone. Some nerves also emerge from your lower spine and innervate your digestive system.

Lower back pain exercises

Below are three lower back pain exercises I regularly give to my client.

Exercise 1: The cat – cow stretch

Begin on all fours with your hands in line with your shoulders and your hips in line with your knees.

Contract abdominal muscles, flex your head (bend your head forward) and round your back. Come back to a neutral position, relax and keep breathing normally.


Relax your abdominals, extend your head and hollow your back. Maintain each position for 5 seconds each position. Repeat five times.


Exercise 2: Stretching of the psoas muscle

Psoas Stretch

Lie down on your back (on your couch or your bed), and let your right leg hang off the side of the bed/couch. Hold your left leg with your hands against your chest. And let your right leg going down. MAKE SURE YOUR SHOULDERS STAY ON YOUR BED/COUCH. You may feel a tightening in your groin (right side). Maintain the position for 30 seconds. Relax. Pull both your legs together into your chest. Do the same exercise again with your left leg (also maintain for 30 seconds). Repeat this stretch three times on each side.

Exercise 3: Stretching the piriformis muscle

Very often these muscles are very tight and close to the sciatic nerve, so could explain a part of your symptoms if you have sciatica.

piriformis muscle stretch

Lie down on the floor. Put a pillow under your head. Bend both of your legs. Cross your right leg over your left leg with your right ankle just above your left knee. Hold the back of your left thigh or knee with your hands. And try to bring your left knee to touch your chest.


You may feel a stretching in your right butt.

Maintain the position 30 seconds. Relax and do it again with your left leg crossing your right leg (also maintain the position 30 sec). Do this stretch three times each side.

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ice packs for pain relief

Ice packs for pain relief: how to use them for sprained ankles ?

You will never make a mistake if you use ice packs for pain relief. You can apply warm on a muscle or on an area that hurts but MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS NO HEMATOMA. Visit your doctor or a health professional to be sure. For example, it would be wrong to put a hot pack on a muscle tear. Your muscles fibres are already fragile, so take care and use ice!

Protocol for using ice packs for pain relief to a sprained ankle

Below is a RICE protocol you should use if you sprain your ankle. RICE stands for the following:

  • R: rest
  • I: ice
  • C: compression
  • E: elevation

Put some ice as soon as possible !!! If you don’t have some ice cubes or cold pack, put your foot in a water bowl. Ice will be effective in relieving your pain and will improve the healing. It helps to reduce the vessel diameter and avoid the hematoma to grow up! You have to apply the ice for 20 minutes. If it is less, it will not be as efficient.

Ideally, your foot should be raised (put a pillow under your heel for example).

Using a strapping is a wise measure. And for sure, consult a physiotherapist AND an osteopath as soon as possible!

Post Injury protocol

In the next few days following your injury, it could be advisable to continue to using some ice packs for pain. You can use the following timings:

  1. 15 minutes ice
  2. then make a break
  3. 15 minutes again
  4. make a break
  5. and a last 15 minutes again
  6. Ideally, your foot may be raised (put a pillow under your heel for example)

When you put some ice, it doesn’t have to be painful. Adapt your posture if it does.

You can also use green clay

You put green clay on your joint where it is painful, and then you roll up with plastic wrap. MAKE SURE it’s not painful or too compact. Keep it on the whole night.

Do it again (for these two steps) during over the next 6-7 days.

This protocol is also suitable for a knee, a wrist, an elbow, a shoulder.

You can also use this protocol if you have a tendinitis!

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Lower back pain treatment options

If you suffer from lower back pain, you are not alone. In a Canadian study, researchers found approximately 11% of the adult population studied had been disabled by lower back pain in the previous six months. If like myself in the past your lower back pain has stopped you in your tracks it is time to look for some professional help. But who should you go to first? In this blog, I outline the merits of different lower back pain treatment options with a specific emphasis on physical therapies.

A trusted professional healthcare practitioner

In the majority of cases, the cause of lower back pain is purely muscular there are occasions when it can be more serious in nature and require medical attention. Below is a list of some such conditions:

  • Kidney stones
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriatic and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Based on this information, it is important that you firstly consult a trusted professionally trained health care practitioner. For most this may be your family physician but I would also consider a chiropractor, physiotherapist or osteopathic manual practitioner. All these professions undergo extensive training in the proper diagnosis of lower back pain.

Lower back pain treatment options

Family Physician

If you have consulted with your family doctor and they have ruled out any underlying conditions they will often prescribe rest, muscle relaxants and pain killers. If the pain persists, they order an x-ray of your back, and eventually an MRI scan. If all else fails, then the final treatment option may be surgery especially if you have a herniated disc.


Chiropractors undergo extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Diagnosis of lower back pain is based on taking a comprehensive case history, physical examination and occasionally an x-ray. In general, a chiropractor will predominantly use spinal adjustments in the treatment of lower back pain, but they also employ other treatment modalities. For example, the chiropractor I see also uses the Graston method and acupuncture.

Massage Therapists

Although massage therapists are a regulated profession in Ontario, they are not allowed to diagnose any medical conditions. They do however undergo an intensive four-year training course. Massage therapy has a reputation for being just for relaxation; however, the massage therapist I see can treat specific conditions such as lower back pain. As well as using physical techniques, massage therapist will also give exercises.

Osteopathic Manual Practitioners

Just like Chiropractors, Osteopaths also receive extensive training. Osteopathy is a relatively new treatment option available in Canada while in Europe is much more established. Diagnosis of lower back pain is also based on a case history and thorough physical exam, but X-rays are only ordered if appropriate. Osteopaths can use many different techniques in the treatment of lower back pain including cranial osteopathy, massage, spinal manipulation, and visceral manipulations. They may also give you exercises and some lifestyle advice.


Typically you have to go to school for six years to become a physiotherapist. Like chiropractors and osteopaths, physiotherapists are taught how to differentiate between musculoskeletal and more dangerous causes of lower back pain.  For lower back pain, physiotherapists commonly use various types of medical equipment including tens machines and ultrasound as well as dry needling and advising on exercises.

Above I have described the different lower back pain treatment options with a specific emphasis on physical therapists. No matter what therapy you choose, it is critical that you get a proper diagnosis for your symptoms. If in any doubt I recommend first seeing you family physician. When choosing a particular therapy, if none of the above approaches appeals to you I suggest speaking to friends or family for a recommendation.

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