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Introducing Body Co.

Have you noticed our new look? If you have visited our Instagram or facebook pages recently you may have noticed some flashes of our new logo, new name and some pretty new images.

Aside from the vanity of a facelift, you may also be wondering why we are messing with a good thing? Why am I going out of my way to confuse our clients with all of these changes? The short answer is because we are committed to you and are making short term changes to meet the long term needs of our clients.

In the next week, RPM Physiotherapy will become Body Co. When I started the business as a sole practitioner it made sense to co-brand with RPM Total Fitness, our dear friends and home for the last 4 years. However, since that time we have grown. We have listened to our clients and incorporated services that collectively address your whole health and your whole family. While we continue to work, thrive and collaborate with RPM Total Fitness, our old name no longer represents all the amazing ways we can support your health. We wanted a name and vision that was more inclusive of all of the practitioners and services you have come to trust. As such, Body Co. was born.

 

So why Body Co?

The scope of our practitioners may be broad but we are all ultimately students of the human body.   

Our vision is to empower strength, celebrate diversity and nurture potential in the human body.

Just like the systems of the body, we don’t operate as independent entities. We work collectively, supporting whole systems, whole minds and whole bodies.

We believe in specialized and individualized care that is specific to the needs, strengths and challenges of every body.

We are excited for things to come. We are honoured every day by what you have helped us build and welcome this new phase of our business with open arms. Mostly, we are thankful for your continued loyalty, support and community and can’t wait for you to join us on this journey.

 

We will be releasing our new website in the next week and I hope that you will love the new look as much as we do.

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to learn more about health and wellness from our team of expert practitioners, sign up for our mailing list or follow us on facebook and Instagram.

 

Demystifying Diastasis-Rectus Abdominus

The first year of mother-hood is accompanied by vast physical, hormonal and emotional changes. The female body undergoes remarkable transformation during pregnancy, the most obvious change being the growth of the abdomen, stretching to accommodate the growing fetus. In fact, studies show that during the third trimester around 70% of pregnant women develop a condition of over-stretched abdominal muscles (Boissonnault & Blaschak, 1988). This over-stretching is medically referred to as Diastasis-Rectus Abdominus (DRA) and occurs along the linea alba, the tendon that cuts through the middle of your “six-pack muscle.”

 

DRA is most commonly identified by measuring the space between the two inner edges of your rectus abdominus muscle (six-pack muscle). This is referred to as Inter-Recti Distance (IRD). In a clinical setting, finger widths are often used to measure this space. An IRD of two or more fingers widths is considered to be a DRA (Noble, 1982). However, IRD is not the only measurement to consider when diagnosing DRA. More recent studies have been focusing on the tension that one is able to generate along the abdominal wall and the linea alba. What that means is that the distance between your six-pack muscles is not the be all and end all. The ability of the abdomen to generate force, fully contract and maintain its structural integrity is more relevant than finger widths.

 

 

Identifying Diastasis-Rectus Abdominus

 

Let me be perfectly clear, DRA is a normal change that occurs during pregnancy. Your lower ribs will flare, the pelvis will broaden and your abdominal wall must expand to accommodate the watermelon-sized uterus underneath. It is the persistence of a DRA in the postnatal period which is not ideal. This is because the lack of abdominal tone, endurance or integrity can lead to dysfunctions elsewhere in the body. Many of the symptoms reported by women during their first year of mother hood can be explained by an underlying DRA. Some of these common symptoms include low back pain, pelvic area pain, stress urinary incontinence and urogynecological discomfort. Researchers Parker, Millar and Dugan (2009) found that 74% of women seeking care for low back and pelvic pain had a DRA. Multiple pregnancies very close together, previous abdominal surgeries and a mean maternal age greater than 34 years old have been shown to increase one’s risk of developing a DRA.

 

Currently, postpartum care consists of a six-week follow-up with a family physician. Granted there are no complications with delivery, surgical incisions or perineal sutures, the majority of women are cleared by their physicians at six weeks to resume all regular activity. Sperstad, Tennfjord, Hilde, Ellstrom-Engh and Bo (2016) observed a DRA present in 60% of the women at six weeks postpartum. Diastasis-Rectus Abdominus is often overlooked by physicians, although the awareness around the condition is growing, it is important for women to advocate for themselves and ensure they are getting the right care.

 

Steps to Core Restoration:

In the case of repairing Diastasis-Rectus Abdominus it is vital to strengthen the deep core muscles and to establish functional thoracic and pelvic floor mechanics. Diaphragmatic breathing and correct kegel work are important places to start for new moms looking to fix DRA. Following your six-week check up with your physician, I would recommend booking with a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. They will help you to restore all the muscles of the pelvis and pelvic floor, which are often significantly impacted by pregnancy and birth. It is well understood that the maximal contraction of the transversus abdominus muscle (your deep corset-like abdominal muscle) relies on the full contraction of the muscles of your pelvic floor. In other words, you can perform plenty of Rocky Balboa-style crunches (strongly NOT recommended) without actually engaging the right muscles because your pelvic floor has not fully recovered. Osteopathic manual therapy can offer additional relief and restoration by increasing the mobility of the thoracic spine, thoracic diaphragm and pelvis.  

Florence is due to begin her research on “The effects of global osteopathic treatment on diastasis-rectus abdominus in postnatal women” in the fall. If you are interested in participating in her research or learning more, please contact her via e-mail at: Florence@rpmstudio.ca

 

FLORENCE BOWEN

Florence was first introduced to alternative therapeutic modalities in her teens, as a dancer and competitive athlete. After high school, Florence furthered her dance training and obtained her Honors Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from McMaster University. Teaming up with the artistic director of the McMaster University contemporary dance company, she developed introductory dance classes for children and teens across Hamilton. Inspired to further her teaching skill-set, she obtained her yoga teacher certification in Hatha yoga. Florence teaches across the city and combines her knowledge of human kinetics, dance, strength and conditioning, and yoga. Teaching movement to pre and postnatal women, and coaching as a birth doula, she gained a unique perspective into the supportive systems available to new and expecting mothers. Florence has an affinity for the holistic approach to women’s care. She is passionate about the assimilation of progressive knowledge to educate and empower women at any stage of life including: pre-conception, pregnancy and recovery after birth. Most recently, Florence completed her five years of study at the Canadian College of Osteopathy in Toronto. As a manual therapist, she believes in having her patients actively participate in their healing. She currently is working to complete her thesis which will examine how osteopathic treatment effects diastasis-recti abdominus in postnatal women.

 

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to learn more about health and wellness from our team of expert practitioners, sign up for our mailing list or follow us on facebook and Instagram.

 

 

Golf Drive Power and Back Pain – How to Improve Both

Improving your golf drive distance – The Pros and Cons Relating to Back pain

 

Golf season is now upon us!  You’ve dusted off the old clubs, hit the driving range, maybe, and are back on the course.  And then WAM!, that nagging back pain returns after a handful of rounds. Of course, it isn’t enough to stop you, but immediately, and sub-consciously, your swing changes and so does your ball flight path and velocity.  Inevitably, you submit your game to the will of the “golf gods”, and carry on playing mediocre golf with occasional lower back pain being par-for-the-course.

 

So what can you do right now to reduce your injury risk, maintain that explosive power, and break beyond the threshold of mediocre golf (no guarantees on this last stipulation)? Well, probably a lot of things, but I’d like to focus on one, torso-pelvic separation – the controlled and coordinated movement mechanics of your torso (your upper body NOT including your arms) and your pelvis. So what does this mean in relation to the golf swing?:

 

Backswing: initiated by simultaneous UPPER torso and arm rotation, followed by some pelvic rotation (look up “x-factor” for videos on this) 1

 

Downswing: initiated by pelvic rotation back to the impact position, followed by UPPER torso rotation and lastly arm rotation1

 

There are some critical factors to consider here:

 

First off, rotation of the torso (during both the backswing and downswing) should be in the upper portion as highlighted above. Often times, we find that clients have restricted rotation in this part of their torso and compensate by rotating through the lower torso [read: lower back]. Repeat this every time you swing (maybe 100-200 times a round) and the result is lower back pain due to repetitive strain, among other possibilities.

 

Second, pelvic rotation in the back swing should be less than that of the upper torso. This generates potential energy – think about the tension created in an elastic band as you pull it – which you can translate into power if harnessed correctly in the downswing.

 

So let’s assume you currently do not have back pain and you’ve been told that you need to work on this aspect of your golf swing. Here are a few targeted exercise suggestions that will help improve your upper back mobility, activate your core, and improve your pelvic movement control.

 

Thoracic clock stretch (see link): this stretch is designed to focus your torso rotation to the upper and NOT the lower back. Not a bad idea to complete this stretch on both sides of your body, 2 sets of 15 repetitions per day.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11814p3Kazk)

 

Pallof press with rotation (see link): this strengthening exercise is designed to help dissociate trunk from pelvic rotation. So try your best to twist with your upper body/torso WITHOUT letting your pelvis and hips rotate with you. 3 sets of 15 repetitions per day would be a good goal, using a resistance that feels challenging over the last 3-5 repetitions of each set.

 

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoYwuVw3kkQ)

 

Pelvic rotation drill (see link): This exercise can be a tricky one to implement, especially if you already have back pain… so I would avoid it if you have any concerns at this time. One of the challenges with maximizing torso-pelvic separation is that rotation at the pelvis often results in some rotation of the lower back, which overtime can lead to injury. You can reduce your exposure to lower back rotation by moving your torso and pelvis together during your swing, thus sacrificing power. But, if you are really focused on increasing your power you can utilize this drill safely by maintaining strong core activation and building up the amplitude of motion. Try and complete 15-20 repetitions total while standing on your lead leg.

 

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFK_xC9y8SE)

 

Finally, remember that we have discussed only one element of the golf swing and one golf-related injury, to which there are MANY of both. If you have concerns regarding your swing, injury, or pains affecting your golf game, coming in for a detailed biomechanical assessment will bring you one step closer to avoiding injury and improving your bodies tolerance of the sport. Highlighting and resolving biomechanical and strength deficits is something that can’t be done by reading this blog, so please use our expertise appropriately.

 

Thanks for reading and happy golfing! 

 

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to learn more about health and wellness from our team of expert practitioners, sign up for our mailing list or follow us on facebook and Instagram.

 

References:

  1. Myers, J., Lephart, S., Tsai, Y., Sell, T., Smoliga, J., and Jolly, J. The role of upper torso and pelvis rotation in driving performance during the golf swing. Journal of Sports Sciences. Jan. 2008; 26 (2): 181-188.

Manager of Clinical Services / Registered Physiotherapist

Jordan is a graduate of the University of Toronto Physiotherapy program and has since been practicing in orthopaedic settings. He has developed an interest in sports physiotherapy through his many years as an athlete, participating in baseball, golf, snowboarding, and more recently rock-climbing, cycling, and strength training.  He is dedicated to improving mobility, optimizing function, and strengthening to help achieve your goals through the use of manual therapy and individualized exercise prescription. He also has additional training in acupuncture and sports taping.

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