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May 1, 2018

Concussion Baseline Testing at Back Works!

With summer fast approaching and sports season gearing up, Back Works is now running concussion baseline testing for athletes of all ages. Baseline testing is a series of tests that provide an overview of healthy brain function before concussion. In the event of a concussion, a baseline test provides a point of comparison and helps health care practitioners make a better decision on return to play recommendations.  We will be running baseline tests on a few Saturdays over the next few months. Athletes and their families can call the clinic (519-746-8172) or stop in to sign up.

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 8:43 PM
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September 25, 2017

What is TMJ Disorder?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a very common problem affecting up to 33% of individuals within their lifetime.1  TMD occurs as a result of problems within the joint complex that connects your jaw to your skull.1,2 The joint is composed of a capsule, articular disc, bones (mandibular and temporal) and three ligaments (temporomandibular, stylomandibular and sphenomandibular). In addition, four muscles of mastication (masseter, medial/lateral pterygoid and temporalis muscle) allow for movement of your jaw during speaking and chewing. 1, 2 Dysfunction to any part of these structures can contribute to TMD.2 Most common symptoms are localized pain to the joint or muscles of mastication and painful or painless clicking/popping of the jaw.1, 2 Further, TMD can contribute to:


Ear pain/ache
Popping in ears
Stiff or sore muscles of the jaw
Pain in temple area
Locking of the jaw


What causes TMD?

Typically, TMD is caused by injury to the jaw or teeth, misalignment of the teeth/ jaw, teeth grinding, poor posture, stress, arthritis and excessive gum chewing.2 In addition, improper mechanics of the jaw during chewing can lead to TMD by loading the tissues inappropriately.2 Further, TMD may present itself alongside neck dysfunction that may be contributing to symptoms (i.e. headache and pain in temple area).2


What can physiotherapy do for TMD?

Physiotherapy can help individuals with TMD understand the underlying cause of their symptoms to help control and limit them. 1,3 In addition, physiotherapy will strive to educate you and equip you with the tools to manage tackle your symptoms on your own. 1,3 Specifically, physical therapy can help control pain; ensure proper mechanics of the TMJ, and increase strength, range and proper control of the joint. 1,3 Techniques used include but are not limited to:


Individualized therapeutic exercise (strengthening and motor control) 1,3
Manual therapy1,3
Myofascial release1,3
Friction point massage3
Ultrasound 1,3
Dry needling 1,3
Postural retraining 1
Cervical Spine management3


Call us to see how we can help your TMJ disorder. 


Evgeny Manuylov, UWO PT Student



Wright, E., & North, S. (2009). Management and treatment of temporomandibular disorders: A clinical perspective. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 17(4), 247-254. doi:10.1179/106698109791352184
Shaffer, S. M., Brisme, J., Sizer, P. S., & Courtney, C. A. (2014). Temporomandibular disorders. part 1: Anatomy and examination/diagnosis. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 22(1), 2-12. doi:10.1179/2042618613Y.0000000060
Shaffer, S. M., Brisme, J., Sizer, P. S., & Courtney, C. A. (2014). Temporomandibular disorders. part 2: Conservative management. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 22(1), 13-23. doi:10.1179/2042618613Y.0000000061

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 11:04 AM
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August 29, 2017

What is a Lumbar Disc Herniation?


Low Back Anatomy


Our spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of each other. Together, the vertebrae function to provide upright stability and create a structure called the spinal canal, which encases and protects the spinal cord (1). In between each vertebra are intervertebral discs which function to absorb shock as well as allow movement between the vertebrae (1). Each disc is made up of the nucleus pulposus, a jelly-like substance in the middle of the disc, and the annulus fibrosis which encases the nucleus (1).  Entering and exiting at the back of each of the vertebrae are nerve roots which function to stimulate muscles for the production of movement as well as to detect sensations such as touch in our lower limbs (2). The majority of disc herniations occur in the low back. The low back consists of the lumbar spine, which is composed of 5 vertebrae, as well as the sacrum bone which contains 4 vertebrae.


What happens when a disc herniates?


A disc herniation occurs when the nucleus pulposus is forced (due to wear and tear or sudden movement) outside of the intervertebral disc space (3). This can damage or tear the outer portion of the disc, causing pain and inflammation (4). This inflammation can damage the nerve root exiting near the vertebra in which the injury occurred (4). Additionally, the disc may put pressure on the nerve root (3). These two mechanisms can cause pain in the low back which can radiate down the lower limbs (3). Loss of sensation and muscle weakness may also occur in the lower limbs (3)


Are symptoms always present with a disc herniation?


Having a disc herniation in the lumbar spine does not necessarily mean that one will experience the symptoms listed above. Disc herniations are commonly seen on MRI in individuals who experience no symptoms. 


Physical Therapy Treatment


Patients with a herniation typically respond well to physical therapy treatment (6). When treating a herniation, Physical Therapists use techniques to reduce pain, improve mobility and decrease the chances of experiencing similar injuries in the future. Physical Therapists incorporate the use of modalities such as interferential current, acupuncture and dry needling; manual therapy including soft tissue, dural and fascial release, traction, mobilization and manipulation; as well as therapeutic exercise prescription to reduce pain and associated symptoms (4). Additionally, Physical Therapists can use techniques to re-train core stability muscles to prevent further injury. The re-training of these muscles allow for the stabilization of the spine and a greater degree of control over spinal movement (6).




Raj, P. P. (2008). Intervertebral Disc: Anatomy‐Physiology‐Pathophysiology‐Treatment. Pain Practice, 8(1), 18-44.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (2012, November). Herniated Disk in the Lower Back. Retrieved from
Jordan, J. L., Konstantinou, K., & O'Dowd, J. (2011). Herniated lumbar disc. BMJ clinical evidence, 2011.
Shahbandar, L., & Press, J. (2005). Diagnosis and nonoperative management of lumbar disk herniation. Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine, 13(2), 114-121.
Brinjikji, W., Luetmer, P. H., Comstock, B., Bresnahan, B. W., Chen, L. E., Deyo, R. A., ... & Wald, J. T. (2015). Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 36(4), 811-816.
Hahne, A. J., Ford, J. J., & McMeeken, J. M. (2010). Conservative management of lumbar disc herniation with associated radiculopathy: a systematic review. Spine, 35(11), E488-E504.

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 2:50 PM
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June 26, 2017

Congrats Eoghan!

A big congratulations to Eoghan on setting a personal best in the Mount Tremblant half Ironman this past weekend!



Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 1:14 PM
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June 14, 2017

Concussion Assessment and Management

Concussion injuries result in rapid onset of short-lived neurological impairment that resolves usually within 7-10 days (Marshall, 2012).  Concussions present with a wide range of signs and symptoms and imaging studies, such as CT scan or MRI, do not seem to show any detectable injury.  This can make concussion diagnosis quite challenging.  The symptoms an athlete presents with immediately following the impact gives a good indication of whether a concussion has occurred.  The most commonly reported symptoms are headache, dizziness/unsteadiness, difficulty concentrating, confusion/disorientation, and visual disturbance/sensitivity to light.   Loss of consciousness is reported in less than 5% of cases (Marshall, 2012) and is not considered to be indicative of a more severe injury.  It is thought that the symptoms that we see following a concussion are due to a reversible functional deficit rather than actual structural damage.  According to the 3rd International Conference on Concussion in Sport, if an athlete shows any signs of a concussion following an impact, they must be removed from play immediately and assessed appropriately.  Although concussion is primarily a head injury, the cervical spine is often also affected.  It is important that your Physiotherapist is qualified to properly assess and treat your concussion symptoms as well as any possible neck injury. 


Back Works is a certified Complete Concussion Management clinic (CCM) which means we have Physiotherapists who have training through CCM in providing evidenced-based and up to date concussion management. We also provide baseline testing for athletes BEFORE a concussion has occurred.  This test measures multiple areas of brain function that are commonly affected following a concussion, including memory, concentration, visual processing, balance, reaction time and motor strength.  If an athlete has a concussion, we are able to compare their post-injury state to their baseline measures to help make a more accurate diagnosis and provide information on their readiness to return to sport.  We use the most current evidence-based therapies to assess and treat your concussion and any other injuries resulting from the impact, and assist you with a safe and successful return to activity.


To book your baseline testing or concussion assessment please contact us at 519-746-8172.

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 3:53 PM
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January 20, 2017

Welcome Jon!


Back Works is so pleased to introduce the newest member of our Team, Jon Godfrey.

We first met Jon while he was completing one of his clinical placements at Back Works, and were so impressed by his skills, both clinical and professional, that we had to grab him up!


Jonathan, the youngest of four, grew up in a small southwestern Ontario town.  After graduating from high school at the top of his class and being honoured with the Governor General’s Academic bronze medal, he attended the University of Windsor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics (honours) and also gained valuable experience as a student therapist for the varsity cross country and track and field teams. During that time, he worked part time as a personal trainer and fitness class instructor. Following his undergraduate degree, Jonathan pursued his life-long dream of becoming a Physiotherapist and attended Western University for the Master of Physical Therapy program. He prides himself in being a life-long learner and plans on working toward his certification in Dr. L.J. Lee’s ConnectTherapyTM Series through the Institute for Physiotherapy and Movement as well as his manual therapy credentials through the Orthopaedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.  In his spare-time he likes to kick back and watch the Raptors or lace up his sneakers to play some pick-up basketball. Jonathan enjoys helping his clients to become aware of and unlock their own untapped potential through physiotherapy. 


Please contact us to book an appointment with Jon! 

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 2:46 PM
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January 20, 2017

Welcome Back Steph!


Back Works is happy to announce that Steph DaSilva has returned from maternity leave and is now accepting new patients.  Please contact us to book your appointment! 

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 2:38 PM
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August 11, 2016

What is a "pinched nerve"?

A "pinched nerve" in the neck can cause radiating pain into the shoulder, down the arm and into the hand.  The technical term for this is called "cervical radiculopathy" and is a common neurological disorder of the neck that results from problems with exiting nerve roots. Nerve roots are commonly altered by mechanical compression or chemical irritation (e.g. inflammation). Cervical radiculopathy often presents itself as neck, shoulder and arm pain, and may include symptoms such as numbness, pins and needles, weakness, and altered sensation in the neck and upper extremity1,2. Certain movements of the neck can increase or decrease the symptoms in the arm.

Cervical radiculopathy affects people of all ages, with men affected slightly more than women. The onset can be both gradual or sudden and often occurs with no specific trauma or physical exertion1,2.


What causes Cervical Radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy is caused by anything that impacts nerve roots exiting from the spine. This includes, but is not limited to factors such as spondylosis (degeneration of the spinal segment) and compression from tight musculature in the neck which narrows the opening where the nerve passes through, pinching exiting nerve roots. Herniated discs and inflammation can also impact exiting nerve roots1,2.


What can physiotherapy do for cervical radiculopathy?

Physiotherapy can help individuals with cervical radiculopathy to manage their symptoms and increase range of motion of the neck and arm by decreasing the compression at the spinal level as well as along the course of the nerve, improve mobility of the nerve, reduce pain and inflammation and correct the underlying factors that lead to the onset of the radiculopathy.  Techniques used to achieve these goals include but are not limited to:


Therapeutic exercise (strengthening, stretching and range of motion) 1,3,4,5
Postural education and exercise 3
Functional exercise 3,5
Manual therapy 1,3,4  (mobilization, manipulation and soft tissue release)
Massage therapy 2,3,4
Inferential current 2,3
Heat applications 2,3
Acupuncture and Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)


A comprehensive assessment is essential in determining the cause of the radiculopathy and to determine the best course of treatment for each individual.  Please contact us for more information on what physiotherapy can do for your neck and arm pain!




Henry Chan, UWO PT Student



Woods, Barrett I. and Alan S. Hilibrand. "Cervical Radiculopathy". Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques 28.5 (2015): E251-E259. Web.

Eubanks, Jason David. "Cervical Radiculopathy: Nonoperative Management Of Neck Pain And Radicular Symptoms". Am Fam Physician 81.1 (2010): 33-40. Web.

Hoving, Jan Lucas. "Manual Therapy, Physical Therapy, Or Continued Care By A General Practitioner For Patients With Neck Pain". Annals of Internal Medicine 136.10 (2002): 713. Web.

Boyles, Robert et al. "Effectiveness Of Manual Physical Therapy In The Treatment Of Cervical Radiculopathy: A Systematic Review". Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy 19.3 (2011): 135-142. Web.

Cheng, Chih-Hsiu et al. "Exercise Training For Non-Operative And Post-Operative Patient With Cervical Radiculopathy: A Literature Review". J Phys Ther Sci 27.9 (2015): 3011-3018. Web.


Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 7:20 PM
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July 21, 2016

Back Works Own, Rabi Guha, Teaching Abroad!




Congratulations Rabi on your first International teaching experience!  Rabi spent the month of June in England assisting on Linda Joy Lee's (LJLI) Connect TherapyTM Series and the Thoracic Ring ApproachTM.  Rabi is a Certified LJLI practitioner - part of the first group of 10 ever to receive this designation. Back Works is very proud and extremely lucky to have such a skilled and accomplished therapist on our team! We also have two other therapists, Lisa and Nicola, that have completed the series.  For more information on Connect TherapyTM and the Thoracic Ring ApproachTM please contact the clinic.

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 12:27 PM
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January 22, 2016

Welcome Derek!

We are pleased to welcome Derek Brown, PT, to the Back Works team!

Derek graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2003 with an Honors degree in Kinesiology with Psychology and returned to graduate from UWO with a Masters in Physical Therapy in 2005.  Since then he has worked in both private practice as well as publicly funded areas of physiotherapy in both Ontario and British Columbia.  During these experiences, Derek has gained knowledge in and appreciation for a number of areas of rehabilitation.  Specifically, Derek has gained experience in the area of stroke and neurological rehabilitation while working at the Brantford General Hospital, has taken Neurodevelopmental Treatment approach (NDT) training, and continues to use this knowledge when treating people who have been diagnosed with stroke in the community.  He is also an authorizer for the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) through the Ministry of Health and Long Term care for mobility aides. This allows him to assess, prescribe and facilitate the process of receiving government funding for walkers when indicated.  Another special area of interest for Derek is concussion management and since being certified with specific concussion training, his interest has grown immensely.  He not only believes that early detection and proper management of concussion is essential for recovery, he feels it is imperative for athletes to have a baseline test completed to better help manage their recovery in the event of a concussion.  As well, proper education of the athlete, family, and the general public is crucial.  Most recently, Derek has completed the Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (Gunn IMS) course through the University of British Columbia.  Other areas of training include level 3 manual therapy training, acupuncture, and therapeutic taping.  Derek looks forward to continuing to improve his manual therapy skills and challenging the intermediate exam next year.


Contact us to book your assessment.

Posted by:
Steph DaSilva at 12:19 PM
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Name: Steph DaSilva
Posts: 22
Last Post: May 1, 2018

Name: Lisa Streib
Posts: 8
Last Post: November 30, 2014


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