By Dr. Lino Panetta |
Did you know that osteoarthritis affects one in seven Canadian adults? While there’s no cure yet, there are fortunately many ways we can manage osteoarthritis and its debilitating effects. With proper chiropractic care, many people find relief from osteoarthritis.
At my clinic, BackTracks Health Centre, we treat patients with a variety of conditions. Our mission statement is “Getting you back on track to your active lifestyle,” and the “you” in that sentence applies to virtually everyone. To care for patients of all ages and in all phases of spine and joint-related disorders, we offer personalized care that meets each individual’s unique needs. For patients living with osteoarthritis, this care may include the innovative GLA:D™ program.
The GLA:D Program to Help Manage Osteoarthritis
Our clinic is proud to offer GLA:D™, an evidence-based eight-week program for patients with moderate to severe knee and/or hip osteoarthritis. GLA:D™ combines group exercise sessions with in-depth education to set a strong foundation for people living with this disease. Among the program’s many benefits, research shows it’s effective at reducing participants’ pain and improving their quality of life.
Additionally, ours was one of six clinics in the Ottawa area to pilot this approach. We’re the first clinic in the region to offer the program by direct referral from a community health centre. This means patients don’t need to go to the hospital to access the program. That’s a benefit to both patients and the health care system at large. Furthermore, the cost of this program is covered through our Home and Community Support Services (formerly Local Health Integration Network or LHIN), so even people without extended health care plans can access the benefits of chiropractic care.
As osteoarthritis may often progress or cause flare-ups, people may eventually need acute or supportive care. This may include care from a chiropractor or physiotherapist, or devices such as knee braces. If this supportive care doesn’t fully manage the problem, they may consider surgery as a last resort. Our goal in the GLA:D™ program is to offer preventative strategies that help patients manage their osteoarthritis and enjoy active, comfortable lives for as long as possible.
A Team Approach
At BackTracks, we pride ourselves on our team approach to patient care.
As we develop treatment plans, we identify not only how we can help our patients but also any care they may require from other health care professionals. We work closely with primary care providers to help create a community working together to support our patients. This community includes physiotherapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists and others.
This team approach is a key part of our GLA:D™ program. We’re proud to partner with a local community health centre to offer GLA:D™ at their facility. This brings chiropractors and other health care professionals together as a primary care team, working together more closely than ever before to care for our patients and help them manage osteoarthritis.
To further round out our care, we also offer information about some common conditions on our website, along with rehabilitation tips and exercises patients can do at home.
Where it all Began
I graduated over 30 years ago from New York Chiropractic College. Then, I completed my fellowship in Chiropractic Sports Sciences in the 1990s. In early 2000, I taught in the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College’s Postgraduate Sports Sciences and Rehabilitation Sciences Programs. At the same time, I was establishing and maintaining a full-time chiropractic practice and putting everything I learned into practice.
Most recently, my focus has turned to better integrate chiropractors with primary care providers, such as family doctors and nurse practitioners. For the last 10 years, I’ve been working with both local and provincial representatives to support stronger ties between professions. The reason is simple: by working together, we can provide better care to patients living with osteoarthritis and other conditions. I also offer education sessions to family doctors and clinic directors on how to integrate chiropractic care into their practices.
My colleagues and I believe strongly in the value of continuing education. We integrate what we learn into everything we do. Combining our ongoing learning with our years of training and experience helps ensure our patients benefit from the most up-to-date information and care.
The Path Less Travelled
Although I’ve been practising for many years, I can trace my interest in this profession back even further. In high school, I was always interested in sports and exercise. This led me to begin investigating careers I knew could help people stay active and prevent injury. I volunteered in a physiotherapy department at a local hospital, and in university I visited several chiropractic clinics. I was amazed by the manual skills practitioners use to assess and treat the spine. When it came time to decide, I suppose I chose the “path less travelled” into chiropractic. I’ve never looked back.
To this day, I greatly enjoy my work and treating patients. I’m really excited about emerging opportunities for chiropractors, both in their clinical practices and in the ways they partner with other health care professionals. Each year we accept interns from the University of Ottawa into our clinic. I love sharing my passion for our work with them. It has truly never been a better time to be a chiropractor.
A Roadmap for Patient Care
For years, many patients sought care in our clinic for various sprains and strains from sports or spinal injuries. Today, our patients come for our spine and joint Chiropractic Assessment Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E.) Programs.
These programs outline each patient’s treatment plan, including rehabilitation and education. That may include a self-care plan for a simple muscle strain, an extended care plan for rehabilitation following spinal or joint surgery, or anything in between. It’s the chiropractic assessment and ongoing monitoring that guides a patient’s treatment plan in our clinic.
Becoming More Active, Virtually
Over the last few years, we’ve definitely treated more people who are injured or in discomfort due to inactivity and lack of exercise. To support them, during the COVID-19 pandemic we introduced virtual exercise classes twice a week through the lunch hour. Our patients can log in from wherever they are and follow along with our interns to learn some basic exercises and build in more activity during the day. It’s part of a 12-step spinal health care plan we provide, and patients can choose to turn on their cameras if they wish so the instructors can check their form.
These classes are appropriate for patients I’ve cleared to return to regular activity, and they love the structure it creates. Minimal equipment is required, and they can schedule this activity into their day without even leaving their home or office.
Change Takes Time
If I could offer one piece of advice to all my patients, it would be to recognize that change takes both time and practice. Good health is not an event. It’s created by the choices we make each day to invest in ourselves. No matter how insurmountable things seem, don’t give up. Recovery may not be easy, but you are worth it. Give yourself time and practise making the right choices to improve and maintain your health. We are here to help!
Connect With Me
If you’re in the Nepean area and think you may benefit from chiropractic care, please call us at 613-596-0646. We’d be happy to discuss your needs and create a care plan that’s personalized for you. We can also answer any questions you may have about our GLA:D™ program and how we help patients manage osteoarthritis.
If you live in another part of Ontario, check the OCA’s online Chiropractor locator to find a chiropractor closer to you.