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Young doctor's new clinic treats mobility issues

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

By: Natasha Marar, Business Advisor

A young Windsor doctor’s new multidisciplinary health and rehabilitation clinic is treating people’s mobility issues and helping local athletes prevent injuries.

Allison Kivisto, owner of Movement Health, studied Human Kinetics at the University of Windsor and graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 2014. She’s also a certified yoga instructor and a functional range conditioning specialist.

Kivisto worked as a chiropractor at a Windsor clinic following graduation but wanted to venture on her own. She opened the doors to Movement Health at 1790 Assumption St. in Windsor on Dec. 28, 2016. The clinic offers chiropractic treatments, medical acupuncture, concussion management, first aid and CPR certification, sideline sports coverage, yoga and Pilates and pre/postnatal fitness.

Kivisto’s passion for health stemmed from her involvement as a player for Windsor Valiants, a competitive basketball program for school-aged girls. She continues to support the organization by traveling with the teams as a chiropractor and emergency responder.

“During my first season with that team, I came across a young girl that had a very serious concussion and she was travelling back and forth from Windsor to London in order to have treatment,” said Kivisto. “I thought that was kind of crazy. So I went through extra training to be able to manage and help in terms of treatment and rehabbing concussions so that …. I could prevent someone from having to go to London on a regular basis if they did suffer a concussion.”

Kivisto completed the Shift Concussion Management Program in Guelph, Ont. and introduced a preventative strategy for Valiants athletes that progressed to what Movement Health is now. As a precaution, Kivisto offers baseline testing for athletes.

“It’s definitely something I’m very passionate about,” she said.

If an athlete undergoes baseline testing, doctors are better able to determine when it’s suitable to return the athlete to their school, sport or work. “We want to make sure we’re not putting kids back into their sport too soon,” said Kivisto, who is trying to implement concussion baseline testing as a requirement for all Valiants basketball players and other organizations.

“Without [baseline testing] we’re just comparing an individual to a what a normal so-to-speak person would be at that same stage. We’re not taking into account someone who may have a slower reaction time … or a balance issue and that’s just them, and they don’t have necessary any underlining neurological issues … because of their concussion.”

Baseline testing is uncommon in sports generally but is more prevalent in university athletics, according to Kivisto. “I would love for it to just become a normal part of the beginning of any sports season.”

A 2014 Canadian Concussion Collaborative survey of 44 national and provincial organizations representing concussion-prone sports showed that only 41 per cent had created concussion management protocols.

The Ontario legislature passed Rowan’s Law in 2016, the first in Canada aimed at preventing and diagnosing head injuries and managing return to play for young athletes.

“There is going to be a requirement for every program (in Ontario) to have a concussion protocol,” said Kivisto, adding, “that may or may not include baseline testing, but there has to be some kind of protocol in place that coaches, players and parents have to follow to make sure that everyone is safely playing [any type of sport].”

While the clinic has been attracting an athletic clientele due to Kistovo’s expertise, Movement Health caters to all individuals with mobility issues.

“The whole concept of the clinic is just to get people moving better. I find there are so many people that have issues reaching their arms over head or bringing their knees to their chest, or getting up and down from the floor without having discomfort or pain or difficulty. They don’t have enough strength to actually perform movements that are required on a day-to-day basis.”

Many of Movement Health’s clients use the chiropractic services, but the clinic has also introduced Pilates rehabilitation classes and practitioners often recommend a mix of treatments to encourage clients to participate in active versus passive therapy, such as Pilates instead of just chiropractic treatments.

“We’re trying to be a little bit different. We’re trying to connect people with their bodies their movements … I think the goal of this place is to make everything a little bit easier. We want everyone to be able to move and move well.”