Mornings are often associated with annoyance. Whether it be the loud alarm clock, rushing to get ready, trying not to...
Mornings are often associated with annoyance. Whether it be the loud alarm clock, rushing to get ready, trying not to spill your coffee on your shirt, scrambling to find your car keys or fighting traffic. This overload of stress is the perfect reason why we must take a few steps to start our days right!
Meditating doesn’t have to be something saved just for praying or yoga class, it can be as simple as a few minutes of silence, trying to clear your mind, or even just thinking of things you’re grateful for. Expressing gratitude right when the day begins helps you to see things a bit more positive. You will see the day before you as a gift, not a curse or chore. Even the challenging moments ahead become opportunities to grow and learn something new.
Lessons learned by others can serve as guides for us as we begin the day. Try to find positive articles or books to read, it’s too easy to get drawn into negative or sad media; although that media may still be important, try not to make it the first emotion you’re exposed to in your day. Starting your mornings with words of inspiration, motivation, and happiness can help us see the big picture in life, encouraging us to move forward toward our goals, even when life’s journey gets difficult.
3. Take a breath of fresh air.
This simple tip may sound cheesy, but physiologically this can work wonders for your body at the start of each day. Go outside and take a nice, slow, deep breath. After breathing in, slowly exhale and repeat a few times. This activity not only can help improve breathing, but it can also decrease feelings of stress and boost the health of the nervous system. As a result, one can experience better focus and concentration in performing tasks at work and in the home.
With a little bit of practice, you can transform your mornings into the best part of the day. You might have to wake up a few minutes earlier, but it’ll be an adjustment that will benefit both your body and your mind.
It’s back to school time! Which makes us chiropractors think of overstuffed backpacks being lugged around by innocent children that undoubtedly wishing their textbooks were weightless apps on their iPads. However, while schools are working on going high-tech, here are some general tips for you to keep in mind when choosing and helping your child pack their backpack!
- Make sure it’s comfortable: Go for lightweight vinyl or canvas. Pick a pack that has two wide, adjustable and padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, a padded back and plenty of pockets.
- Get the right size: The top of the backpack should not be higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not go past the top of the pelvis bones (the bony spots you feel on the side of your low back).
- Pack it properly: Make sure the backpack contains only what is needed for the day or the activity. Distribute the weight of the contents evenly. The total weight of the filled pack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight.
- Wear it right: Both shoulder straps should always be used, and adjusted so that the pack fits snugly to the body without dangling to the side. Never sling a backpack over one shoulder. You should be able to slide a hand between the backpack and the carrier’s back.
It’s a fact! More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by their teenage years. Research indicates one cause is improper use of backpacks.
Chiropractic can help! Chiropractors can help prevent backpack problems by teaching you how to choose, pack and carry your backpack. Should you suffer back, neck or shoulder strain, a chiropractor can also provide treatment for your pain and help you make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Still hungry for more knowledge? Check out this great document put together by the BC Chiropractic Association: Pack it light. Wear it Right.
“Core” is a loosely thrown around term that seems to be most commonly understood as the rectus abdominis (your “6-pack” ab muscle), and according to most of my patients’ doctors and trainers, the best way to strengthen your core is with some variety of sit-ups or crunches, leg lifts, and planks.
If this is how you’ve been trying to improve your back pain, with little or no success, you’ve been doing it wrong. Read on to learn why and what you should do instead!
First, we’ll start with the basics. What is the “core”?
The core is a group of muscles that surround, stabilize, and brace your spine. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll think of your core muscles as a cylinder with your spine (and other organs) inside – your pelvic floor muscles form the bottom of the cylinder, your diaphragm forms the top, and the sides include not only your 6-pack muscle and the obliques next to it, but also the deeper transverse abdominus muscle which is like a band around your waist and other very important small muscles that attach directly to the spine that are crucial for movement and stability.
Why is the core important?
Having strong core stability lowers your risk of injury by allowing your body to transfer force in any direction smoothly and efficiently. For the athlete, it also means you can transfer more power across your body, such as the power transfer from the feet to the fist of a boxer.
If your body isn’t able to control your spine (and body) effectively when you’re bending down to pick up that pen you dropped on the floor (or to get groceries out of your car) it means that one area or joint in your spine might not move as well or as coordinated as the rest, which is essentially instability, and can trigger a red flag to your brain that something is wrong. When the brain senses that a part of the spine is moving differently than instructed/intended, it will ‘lock’ the spine in place to protect it by causing a painful spasm in all the surrounding muscles.
So, how do you strengthen the core?
Exercises that challenge the body to transfer a load across the body or to hold a stable position against resistance are the best way to improve your core stability. Some of my personal favourite exercises are:
The Suitcase Carry
The Turkish Getup
The Pallof Press
The Bear Crawl
These exercises are a great way to improve your core strength and stability without stressing your low back, they keep your spine in its neutral healthy alignment instead of compressing the disks when flexing forward like you do with a sit-up, which could potentially aggravate your back injury.
Photo by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
With opioid (pain killer) use at an all time high, it has become an epidemic. An increasing population is relying on medications to get through their day, while suffering harmful side effects including addiction, bowel problems, mood fluctuations, and organ damage. Although the goal with the medication is to make the patient more independent and with fewer health concerns, the opposite can happen with more health problems (both physical and mental) increasing the need for more doctor’s visits and even more medications.
“Chiropractic services are an important first line of defense against pain and, in some cases, can lessen a patient’s reliance on addictive painkillers or prevent their use altogether,” said ACA President David Herd, DC. “It makes sense to exhaust conservative forms of treatment such as chiropractic before moving on to riskier, potentially addictive pain medications.”
Statistics show that as many as one in four patients who receive prescription opioids long-term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction. In addition, every day more than 1,000 people are treated in the emergency room for misusing prescription opioids. Recommended doses for opioids are general guidelines and every person can react differently with their own tolerance levels and allergies.
Using treatments such as spinal manipulation, chiropractic practitioners take a drug-free approach to treating back pain, neck pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. High-quality research has found spinal manipulation to be effective for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
In the wake of the opioid epidemic, many respected health care organizations now recommend non-drug treatments. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its 2016 guidelines for prescribing opioids, notes that nonpharmacologic therapies are preferred for treating chronic pain. In addition, the National Pain Strategy, an initiative by several federal agencies, recognizes chiropractic’s value as a method for pain management.
Article written and published by the American Chiropractic Association
“Cold laser therapy” is another way of saying low level laser therapy (LLLT) or even “low intensity laser therapy (LILT)” – different names for the same therapy.
The way cold laser therapy works is by stimulating damaged cells with a specific wavelength of light to promote healing. The wavelength of the light is very important, as it makes the difference between actually helping to heal the injured area or simply activating water molecules, like many class 4 (‘hot laser’) systems do, meaning they mostly just heat up the area similar to how microwaves heat up your food, just on a smaller scale.
More information on exactly how lasers work is outlined in our informative page low level laser therapy, but for this post, I’d like to focus on the benefits of cold laser therapy.
What exactly does it do?
Cold laser therapy can cause the release of enzymes, stimulate mitochondria (the producers of energy in your body’s cells), increase vasodilation (better blood flow) and lymphatic drainage (getting waste products out of the injured area), ATP synthesis (energy!), and elevate collagen formation substances (promote healing) to prevent scar tissue. Scar tissue is a common source of chronic pain since it is a tissue that causes pain when it is stretched or pulled on. Simply stated, LLLT lets you get out of pain faster and heal at the same time.
Low Level Laser Therapy for Sports Injuries
Low level laser therapy really helps patients in three major ways: immediate pain relief, faster recovery, and long term improvement. The gentle expanding of blood vessels, which begins soon after a low level laser therapy treatment begins, is one of the main reasons why immediate pain relief can often take place. ATP synthesis and mitochondria stimulation are the functions which increase the speed of healing, allowing the injury to resolve quicker. Furthermore, healing an injury as soon as possible decreases the amount of internal scar tissue that will form within the body. The sooner an injury can be treated with laser therapy, the less scar tissue that would develop, meaning less work from the chiropractor using ART and IASTM to break down the scar tissue. Reducing the amount of scar tissue helps prevent further injury, pain, loss of mobility, and other complications.
While painkillers and injections only mask pain and can have serious side effects, including pain at injection sites, laser therapy is non-invasive, not painful, and has no “down time” after treatment.
Low level laser therapy is a great treatment option for all populations since it can be used on virtually any person – which is why it is also a growing treatment strategy with dentists and veterinarians!
Book an appointment today to find out if cold laser therapy is right for you!
In high-level sports, like the Olympics, there’s often a very fine line between a gold and silver medal. In such a competitive atmosphere, an athlete/coach will use any tool they can find to give a competitive advantage (assuming it’s legal). You may have seen various athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympics wearing this colourful tape- and my favourite brand (as seen used by the USA diving team in Rio, and pictured above) is RockTape. RockTape’s kinesiology tape lasts longer and stays on better than any other brand I have used, which is why I not only use it with patients and sell it, but also use it personally.
Whether or not you’re an athlete, RockTape allows you to move easier, recover faster, and get on with your lives sooner… Whether that means running a marathon or being able to move your shoulder without pain.
Athletes during this year’s games may wear the tape if they’re recovering from an injury or wear it as a preventative measure over weak muscles and ligaments. Because athletes often train and compete with some sort of pain or injury, kinesiology tape helps keeps them in the game and performing at their highest level.
Come by our clinic to see if RockTape can help you with your goals and to pick up a roll today!
It isn’t only athletes in the Olympics that need to keep themselves in peak shape, the demands of sports require everyone to take the time to nurture their body with exercise, rest and healthy foods. But these aren’t the only ways athletes stay in peak performance mode. Each year, a growing number are turning to chiropractic care. With benefits like increasing your range of motion, decreasing pain, and helping to prevent injuries, chiropractic is a great option to keep athletes in the game and performing their best.
Read about the personal experiences of three Canadian chiropractors that were part of the Rio Olympic experience by clicking here
Having spent a recent weekend at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Regional Conference, there was a lot of great research and information presented over those days – some challenging previous ideas and understandings, some introducing new theories, and others explaining why things happen the way they do.
It’s this type of work and effort that people in the health and fitness industry NEED to put in to learn from the experience of specialists and researchers, so that together we can progress our common knowledge as a professional industry and put together the most effective strategies to help our patients/clients. It’s easy to get caught up in the “I’m done with school” mindset, but I see my chiropractic school education as simply a solid foundation from which I can build upon with the latest research and innovations to really bring me to the level of expertise that my patients expect and deserve.
Having attended a seemingly endless number of courses/seminars/lectures, it’s a humbling experience to see how much valuable information there still is to learn in every field, but at the same time, it comes with the excitement that comes with getting to hone and refine your craft that I always look forward to. Never stop learning.
The chiropractic profession seems to have become synonymous with low back pain, and as much as we can help with low back pain, chiropractors can also speed up your recovery with sprains and strains. Many chiropractors go above and beyond their regular 4 year chiropractic education to stay up to date with the newest and most effective treatment techniques that exist, in order to maximize their healing potential. The techniques I personally have found to be most effective include FAKTR, ART, and laser therapy.
Active Release Techinque (ART)
ART is a movement based soft tissue therapy that uses tension instead of pressure to release adhesions/scar tissue/trigger points within muscle, ligaments, tendons and even the fascia that connects all these things together. By using tension instead of pressure, we can help to pull apart scar tissue that develops in an injured area like a sprain. This also helps muscles and nerves to glide past each other more effectively, making it effective for nerve entrapments like sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even headaches. Read more about ART here.
Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehab (FAKTR)
FAKTR is a set of principles in treatment that integrates your rehabilitation exercises with hands-on treatment to help improve your movement, make you stronger, stabilize an area, and treat muscles at the same time. With this therapy, I use a set of metal instruments to break up stubborn scar tissue that goes hand-in-hand with chronic pain, since these types of symptoms often result from the painful tugging of scar tissue fibers (like those in ligaments after a sprain) when you move an injured area.
Cold Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is useful for helping to reduce the inflammation in an injured site as well as providing a deep irritation within muscles/tendons/ligaments that increases the blood flow to the area to promote healing. The ability to help improve blood flow to an area makes laser therapy a very powerful option for treatment of ligaments and tendons in sprains and strains, due to their minimal blood supply. Read more about laser therapy here
If you are a person that’s rolled/sprained your ankle before, odds are, you’ve rolled that same ankle a few times and ankle stability is an issue. Maybe you’ve tried a support brace, or athletic tape while playing sports or boots when hiking instead of shoes… But you’ve still managed to roll it again. Why does this happen? Chances are, you haven’t had a proper rehabilitation program or actual treatment for the damaged muscles and ligaments after your last injury – this is where a sports chiropractor comes in, read on to learn how to improve your ankle stability and help prevent future injuries!
The first time you roll your ankle (we’re referring to the common ‘inversion ankle sprain’ here, where the foot rolls to the inside of the ankle), multiple things happen – first, muscles in your leg fire to try and regain your balance, if that fails, your last bit of support from ligaments try to hold the bones together and prevent the roll, lastly the body continues and either stretches or tears the ligaments to complete the full ankle roll, at which point your brain now thinks you have quite an impressive (but unhealthy!) range of motion.
As your ankle recovers, with or without any hands-on treatment, the tissues may regain some or all of their strength, but the main problem is, the brain thinks that your ankle now has an extreme range of motion and no longer tries to fire your leg muscles when you start to lose your balance again, making it much easier to roll your ankle again! This is why the myth of ankle support from strategies like a simple ankle sleeve, high ankle boots, or ankle taping is very ineffective at preventing future ankle rolls – the little support they offer is no match for your 100+ pounds of bodyweight plus the momentum you’re carrying as you lose your balance.
With hands-on treatment with your sports chiropractor, the damaged muscles and ligaments in your ankle and leg can be treated to improve their strength and function by reducing scar tissue but even then, without a proper rehab program, your ankle will still be prone to rolling – which leads me to the next myth… standing on one leg does not improve your ankle stability. I shake my head every time I hear the story of a patient rolling an ankle despite having done rehab, but when asked what the rehab routine was, it doesn’t usually go much farther than a few calf raises or standing on one leg.
Any sports rehab specialist will agree that the proper way to rehab an injury is in a similar environment as it will be exposed to. This means, for example, that a soccer player could be progressed from a dynamic single-leg stand which includes challenging movements in the rest of the body such as catching/throwing a ball, single leg squats, and wobble board training to working on simple movements such as sudden direction changes (cutting), single leg hops in different directions and then finally to light practice before being considered fully recovered. Simply standing still on one leg makes you good at standing still on one leg, which doesn’t help you when you go for a run, hike up a mountain, step off a curb or play your sport.