What is chiropractic care?

It focuses on restoring and maintaining the human body’s musculoskeletal system. This includes muscles, joints, nerves, and other related soft tissues. Treatments assist the patient in reaching a functional, structural, and systemic state of balance. Joint mobilization and manipulation, soft tissue therapy, exercise prescription, and patient education all work together.

Traditionally, chiropractic has been seen as treating only spine (neck and back) related concerns, but the profession’s scope of practice covers the entire body and all its moving components. Chiropractic does not rely on drug prescription or surgical interventions; rather, it centers on the effective use of manual therapies to assist tissue healing and recovery. Chiropractors often work closely with medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists to optimize patient outcomes.

If you have pain, joint trauma, soft tissue damage, or general stiffness, chiropractic therapy can help. Whether your problem is acute or chronic it can lead to a disruption in structural balance and joint function.

Chiropractic adjustments help to realign joints to their correct orientation. This enhances healing, leads to proper joint movement, and helps return challenged systems to a normal state. In cases of chronic disuse, misuse, or over-use, certain body tissues eventually become rigid, shortened, and sometimes brittle. As a result, ranges of motion are limited and often lead to further chronic injury and degeneration.

Appropriate chiropractic adjustments assist in freeing these restrictions working against scar tissue and encouraging proper nerve conduction and blood flow. Treatments may be done with a low amplitude, high velocity manual thrust, or if the patient prefers, with a mechanical adjusting instrument. Either approach is only administered with full patient awareness and approval.

Absolutely! Many recreational and elite athletes worldwide (runners and triathletes in particular) make regular chiropractic care a vital part of their push to success. This enables their core, pelvis, and lower limbs to work in unison without having to compensate for abnormal muscle tension or joint restrictions. Due to the high degree of repetitive strain involved in both training and competing, runners often experience unique imbalances which can be relieved with appropriate correction.

Dr. Stefani combines his personal journey as a health clinician and performance triathlete with twenty-five years of run coaching experience to address the many issues runners face. His care includes clinical therapy for all running injuries, biomechanical video gait analysis for proper running form, injury prevention protocols and training program direction for the full range of running and triathlon distance events.

  • As the third leading health care discipline in Canada next to medicine and dentistry, chiropractic is a highly regulated profession. Doctors of chiropractic complete a minimum of seven years of university study in a program similar to that of medicine. Chiropractors are required to complete further yearly professional education and often receive subsequent qualifications in specific areas of interest.For this reason, there are a wide variety of practitioners who focus on a range of different body areas and conditions. Chiropractic is recognized around the world and is strongly represented by our Canadian educational and research community.

Soft Tissue Management

The term ‘soft tissue’ generally refers to all the structural components of the human body other than rigid bone. This may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint cartilage, joint capsules, and connective fascia. Bone provides the skeletal frame on which all soft tissues act. Healthy soft tissues generate both stability and movement. Movements that we marvel at when watching skilled athletes, that we appreciate when enjoying accomplished artists performing, but also all the motion we take for granted in our everyday life.

Soft tissue damage usually occurs in one of four ways. These include:

  1. Misuse/overuse trauma
  2. Externally caused trauma
  3. Disease trauma
  4. Disuse-inactivity damage

1. When an activity excessively stresses soft tissue structures it leads to misuse/overuse trauma. This is caused by movements being done too often, too intensely, too long or with poor form. Injury usually builds up as a combination of these factors. ‘Repetitive strain injuries’ at work or in sports fit into this category.

2. Externally caused traumas occur when the body must absorb unexpected forces beyond its capacity. Resulting damage is either through a cutting or crushing blow or from a tearing action. These mechanisms leave local soft tissues dysfunctional but also affect body structures further from the injury site. Some surgeries (joint replacements specifically) can negatively affect soft tissue function.

3. Many diseases can cause damage to soft tissues. Various Infections, cancers, autoimmune conditions, and chronic nutritional deficiencies attack healthy soft tissue cells and result in chronic and sometimes life-threatening situations. Many forms of arthritis and connective tissue disorders will severely limit human movement.

4. The body is happiest and healthiest when it’s moving. Cell growth, repair, and maintenance depend on frequent and consistent motion. Inactivity and the lack of body-loading movement lead to gradual deterioration of all cell types. Soft tissue structures are especially vulnerable to disuse. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint cartilage will become weak, rigid, and dysfunctional, eventually degenerating to a state of perpetual pain and injury.

Soft tissue therapy (STT) encompasses a wide range of treatment options. At Island Running Doc Clinic, our main objectives are to reduce pain, decrease inflammation, restore healthy tissue, and optimize function.

We begin by assessing the mechanical stress that may have caused the issue. Once the cause (mechanism of injury) is understood, an effective treatment strategy can begin. We accomplish this by using manual therapies including ‘Active Release Techniques®’, myofascial release, positional release, and joint mobilization. Low Intensity Therapeutic Laser and Electro therapies (Interferential current, Russian stimulation, Biphasic, and Micro current) combine with traction therapy and Kinesiology Athletic Taping to accelerate healing and enhance recovered performance.

Since soft tissues form the functional basis for all human movement, developing an appropriate soft tissue injury treatment plan unique to each individual is important. Further to the actual treatment is the prescription of restorative exercises, training programs, and specific running technique coaching. These are essential to maintain and anchor the gains made during the initial therapy.

As runners, our bodies, and specifically our lower limbs and backs, experience high degrees of load and wear. Of course with appropriate training routines and proper technique, most running injuries can be avoided; however, when trouble strikes it usually involves soft tissue. We treat conditions such as:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Shin splints
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Patellofemoral issues
  • Hamstring and calf strains
  • Illiotibial band syndrome
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Hip impingement

A comprehensive “running injury rehabilitation” approach will yield the most successful long term return to your running goals. Dr. Stefani is a certified “super specialist” with “The Running Clinic”, (web site link insert) and as such receives the newest research concerning run training, running injuries, and running recovery. Our goal is to assist you in running better than you have ever run before!