How Can You Find The Right Chiropractor for YOU?

One of the things I hear regularly within my practice, from new people I meet with, is the negative experience they may have had within a different practice. Or possibly that they have never been to a Chiropractor, but what they have heard has not been positive.  It’s upsetting because I know how much they are missing by not having their spine regularly checked and adjusted by the RIGHT Chiropractor for them, and it makes me tremendously happy when they have a different experience in my practice because I know they are the path to better health.

A big reason for this is because on the first few visits with someone new I spend time getting really clear on what outcomes they are aiming for, and I’m willing to refer them to a different practitioner if I don’t feel I’m the right one for them. I believe everyone should have a Chiropractor on their health team, but who that particular Chiropractor is for each person will depend on their skills, techniques, approach, and the type of environment. What it really boils down to is FIT: finding the right Doctor for you depending on what your needs and health goals are.

If you had a really bad meal at a restaurant, would that mean you never ate out at a restaurant again? Of course not, you’d just try a different place. If you had a really awful haircut, would you never go for a haircut again? Of course not, you’d just find a different stylist. The same can be said for your experience with all other professionals or services you seek out.

What I hope you get from this post is a new willingness to try Chiropractic again. Here are some questions to consider when finding a Doctor who is right for you:

  1. Did you feel heard? Were the reason why you sought help understood and validated?
  2. Did you like the environment of the practice? The energy, the team, the location?
  3. Did you have opportunity to ask questions? Were your questions adequately answered?
  4. Did you feel a genuine connection with the Doctor? Everyone has a different personality. Some people become fast friends, while others have nothing in common. Your chiropractor is not necessarily your friend, but if you don’t feel like they are someone you want to have a relationship with…you might need to reconsider.
  5. Do they seem like the kind of Chiropractor you are looking for? If you’re looking to have a sports injury experience but the office is designed for paediatrics, it might not be right one; if you’re looking for a calm serene environment and hour long appointments, but find yourself in an high energy family practice…again not the right spot for you.

If your answers for any of these questions are NO, look for another Doctor.

If you can honestly answer YES to these questions, then you are likely in the right spot.

If you’re still not seeing the results you want, it could be that you just need to give it time. Restoring proper joint movement and function is a process, and all healing takes time. Ask your questions, get clarification about the care you are receiving, believe you will be well and be open minded to the suggestions your Doctor is providing you.

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Take A Break!

Your body was designed to move! However, due to workplaces and lifestyles the average person sits 6-7 hours per day, and  prolonged sitting can be tough on your spine and other joints. 

My biggest recommendation if you cannot avoid sitting at a work station is to try and vary your tasks as much as possible – Can you walk during a meeting? Can you stand if you’re on a phone call? How can you change your work habits so that you are not doing the same activity for more than 60 minutes at a  time?

Aim to go through this 2 minute routine at least once a day, but as much as possible during prolonged work periods!  Whether you are at home or office, doing these 2 minute stretches make a big difference in your mobility and energy:

1) Lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest and hold for 4 seconds.

2) Lying on you back, bring your knee to the opposite shoulder and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat with other knee to opposite shoulder.

3) Leaning on a chair or table edge perform a cat stretch by arching your back towards the ceiling with

your head looking down, rounding your back. Hold for a count of 10.

4) Interlock your hands behind your lower back, stretch your shoulders backwards and point your nose to

the ceiling while pushing your hands towards the floor. Hold for a count of 10.

5) Roll your shoulders backwards, then forwards, doing 10-20 rotations each way.

6) Interlock your fingers and push your hands in front of you and away from your body. Hold for a count of 10.

7) Roll your neck right then left, repeating several times both directions. On your last turn to the right hold the position for a count of 10. Repeat with other side.

8) Perform circular motions with your wrists for 60 seconds.

9) Point and flex your feet, alternating each side.  Roll your ankles around in a clockwise direction for a

count of 10, then change direction.

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Gardening Tips For A Healthy Spine!

Many people love the spring because they are passionate about  gardening. I am not one of them, but I do appreciate the efforts and results of others!  Once the weather warms up and people start cleaning up their yards and getting excited for planting season, I typically start to see similar patterns in people’s spines and hear about similar aches and pains from people on their visits.

Working outdoors in your garden and yard is a great form of physical activity, even better if it’s something you love. To protect your body and avoid injury, consider some of these tips when stepping out to get your garden started this season:

1) While mowing the lawn, keep your head up and stand directly behind the mower so you can keep your hips and shoulders in line with your spine. Push the mower uphill rather than pulling. Always use both hands rather pushing  or twisting with one.

2) When working in the dirt, crouch down, sit on a stool, or squat instead of bending at the waist which can strain the joints in the low back. Bend your knees when lifting anything so that you can use the strength of your legs.

3) Keep yard waste bags close to your body while lifting them.  Hold a rake with one hand at shoulder height, one hand at waist level and walk or drag the pile. Most importantly, vary your tasks and take breaks when necessary.

Avoid staying in prolonged postures involving the lower back and neck.

Your best bet for protecting your back? Consider Chiropractic care!

Waiting until symptoms appear before taking care of your body often can make the problems worse, ultimately causing them to take longer to heal. Chiropractors assess your posture and spinal joints to ensure they are moving properly and that your body is physically balanced. The results people experience from regular spinal care are profound, and the increases in their quality of life measurable.

Curious? Book your complimentary 15 minute chat with me to find out more! 705.446.9733

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Easter Treats For Your Family

The ritual of hunting for easter eggs is something that all children enjoy (even my teenage son still enjoys easter treats and the hunt for eggs – just don’t tell him I told you!), but let’s think about some of the items we place inside the eggs.

Traditional easter baskets are filled with chocolate. Chocolate tastes great, I’m a huge fan! However, our kids are not likely to appreciate the organic-fair-trade-dark chocolate that actually can benefit your health in small doses. Commercial candy and confections are filled with sugar, artificial colours, and flavours, and although they tastes great, they don’t promote health, and for many children there are adverse effect on their behaviour due to the sugar and caffeine.

Chocolate, jellybeans, and candy are fun treats for all of us, and we’ve been having fun with them in the practice all week, but consumption in moderation is the KEY! Even a teaspoon of sugar causes the immune system cells to drop substantially, and can dramatically affect behaviour. With the chocolate on the reception desk this week I’ve been using it as a great time to remind all the kids in the practice that their body needs good foods to stay healthy, and we’ve been talking about other things they need to also be doing to keep their body healthy.

This year why not consider some other ideas too? 

I’ve been asking families in the practice some of the ways they celebrate easter weekend with their children and they have shared some fantastic, creative ideas.  Whether you create a basket for children in your life or conduct an easter egg hunt, consider these tips to avoid the overdose of chocolate, sugar and unnecessary waste that is often created with commercial packages.

If you enjoy filling eggs, purchase ones (yes even plastic) that you can reuse every year and try some of these items to place inside…

  • Stickers, coins, small toys
  • Small cookies or animal crackers
  • For older children try little pieces of paper with bigger ‘prizes’  written on them. Then create a scavenger hunt to find them too!
  • Use numbers or symbols inside the eggs, and have a corresponding chart for them to follow on – they will love the challenge and skills they will build!

As with all gift-giving, don’t forget about the gifts of ‘experiences’. Many of us already have enough ‘stuff’. Movie/event tickets, lessons for a sport or hobby, gift cards for music or clothing, jewellery, sports cards, games (especially if they are ones you can play as a family!)

Get creative, have some fun, and share  some of your favorite ideas too!

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Healthy Hearts! Lifestyle Tips & How Chiropractic Helps

Cardiovascular health is important throughout our lives, and our cardiovascular organs are part of an incredible system within our bodies that gives every single cell in our bodies the fuel to function. Your heart pumps blood to all parts of your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every single cell through the arteries. Once the cells have received the oxygen, the blood is returned to the heart through the veins. The systematic, rhythmic relationship between your lungs and your heart is what refuels the blood with oxygen so that this cycle can continue endlessly. With every beat of your heart, blood is moving through the chambers of your heart and then being pumped through your body. Its truly an amazing system!

Heart disease results when the heart has to beat faster than the normal healthy rate to perform its job. When the arteries are clogged blood needs to be pumped through them at a faster rate with greater force (“high blood pressure”). The sad news is that far too many times the first symptom of heart disease is a serious heart attack! We can’t see the heart gradually losing it’s ability to function properly, which is why waiting for symptoms to start isn’t the  wisest approach. 

Most people can quickly think of all the known risk factors for heart diseasesmoking, high cholesterol, alcoholism, obesity, lack of physical activity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a poor diet. It’s estimated 9/10 Canadians have at least one of these risk factors, and 4/10 have 3 or more.

There is another risk factor! Did you know spinal misalignments can contribute to heart health too? When the vertebrae in the spine are not moving properly(subluxation) the heart’s ability to internally regulate itself is disrupted due to impingement of both the nerves and the arteries. Once proper function and movement is restored with spinal adjustments, proper nerve and circulatory flow returns. Research has shown that chiropractic spinal adjustments can lower both blood pressure and heart rate, allowing your cardiovascular system to function the way it was designed to.

Although heart disease remains one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide, the great news is that the majority of risk factors are lifestyle choices! Change your habits and you change your risk.

Make choices to keep your heart working properly by considering the following:

Stress Less: High stress levels cause blood pressure to rise, heart rate to increase, and disturbances in heart rhythm. Evaluate the stressors in your life and make changes! Learn how to cope with stress effectively, and find professional support as needed.

Eat Well: Choose a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Avoid packaged and processed foods which contain extra fats, sugars, preservatives, and sodium. Avoid high consumption of fried, fatty foods. 

Quit Smoking! Just do it. There is nothing health promoting about this habit whatsoever!

Get Moving: Move your body everyday for at least 10 minutes. Exercise helps relieve stress, and supports every system in your body including your cardiovascular system.

Get Adjusted! To support nerve function, heart function, and for a healthier body overall!

Have questions or need more direction? Let me know how I can help.

~ Dr. Melissa

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Colds, Coughs, Congestion & Chiropractic!

Many times when people in the practice are dealing with colds, coughs, sore throats, or congestion they want to stay home, but you’ll often hear me encourage them to come get adjusted and stress the importance of it during illness.

If germs were the only factor that made us sick, we would all be in serious trouble! But a healthy body is dealing with germs everyday, and does not become ill. Sure, some bacteria or viruses are more threatening than others, but in general when we become ill it’s because our body’s ability to cope with the demand on our immune system has failed.

Congestion, coughing, sneezing, fevers, and a runny nose are all signs the body is effectively creating an immune response to help the body eradicate the bacteria or virus causing the infection. This is a good thing and not to be suppressed! Medications to make you feel better offer temporary relief, but often create other imbalances in the body that can affect your long-term health.

As per any ailment, my recommendations are always to support the body as best as you can and strategize to boost the immune system, and Chiropractic care is a huge contributor to a healthy immune system!

Chiropractic works:

A study by a neurologist found that 92% of children with chronic tonsillitis had upper cervical misalignments, and after studying 76 children with chronic tonsillitis it was concluded that “tonsillitis goes hand in hand with movement restriction in the cranio-cervical skull and neck junction”

If you’re sick and suffering make a spinal check-up high on your priority list. In addition to increasing fluids, sleep, and nutritional support, your body will likely recover without any other intervention and give your body better health moving forward.

~ Dr. Melissa

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If It’s Not Broken…

So many times when I speak with someone about what I do, they comment “I would hate to know what you’d find in my spine, it’s probably a mess!”.  This attitude still surprises me.

The attitude “if it’s not broken, why fix it” does not apply to the human body.

Some of the sickest people on this planet have no symptoms and “feel fine”. We all know people who seemed to be fine but then suddenly are diagnosed with a major illness. People who ‘suddenly’ have a heart attack, stroke, are told they have cancer.

Waiting for your body to give you symptoms is like waiting for a bomb to go off…everything is quiet until suddenly there is a huge impact.

I cannot tell you how illogical this seems to me, but I certainly didn’t always look at health this way.

Like many people, I too viewed things differently, only responding to challenges in my body with medications. Luckily, 20 years ago, a shoulder injury forced me to see a Chiropractor, and from that point on everything changed. Not only my own health, but my attitude about it.

The Chiropractic approach is just that – an approach to supporting your body from the inside-out in every way.  Giving the body what it needs from the top-down (neurological function from the brain through the spinal cord), as well as all the other ingredients necessary for optimal function….food, hydration, movement, love and social connections, sleep, purpose and passion!

Chiropractic is not just an adjustment or treatment for a symptom, it’s an approach to looking for the causes of problems in the body, rather than just reacting to them.

Waiting for something to happen before you take action often makes the healing take longer, and requires more investment of your time and resources.

People who choose to make chiropractic care a regular part of their life understand this, but they also see the profound changes in their health, and are more empowered to be in control of their body. It’s a beautiful thing to watch in my practice and something I will never tire of.

People often hear me say “health comes from choice, not by chance”. Choosing to honour your body and give it what it needs on a consistent basis is one of the wisest decisions you can ever make.

If you’re still struggling with some aspects of your health, ask for direction.

If I can’t help you, we’ll find someone who can.

Life is short. Give yourself the gift of better health so that you can live more fully.

– Dr. Melissa

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Forget Resolutions, Why Not Set a WORD instead?

Anytime is a great time for making changes in your life, but there is something special about the start of a new year. Whether you feel you need to make some drastic changes, take a few small steps in a new direction, or simply get back into an established routine, commit to doing something  this month to live a better life. I’ve never found resolutions work, and I stopped setting them years ago. Instead, I love this concept and have been implementing consistently. Maybe this year you might want to give it a try!

Think about your aspirations – what do you want for the year ahead? Is there an overriding theme that comes to mind for you? Can you sum up your intentions in a single word? I bet you can.

A great word can set the tone for your actions and keep you focused.  A word can also serve as a reminder of what’s important when everyday  ‘life stuff’ frustrates us. For example, when my sons were young and I wasn’t in practice, my word was “Nurture”.  It reminded me of my focus on raising my sons and looking after myself.  It allowed me to accept that my career aspirations would be fulfilled at a later date, and that the little boys in my kitchen were simply more important for the time being. In other years the words “Grow”, “Balance” and “Focus” have worked well for me.

A great word sets your intention and will help manifest the people, places,  opportunities (and challenges!) to help you achieve your goals.  A good friend recently shared her story of using theme words during the past few years. “Abundance” was her focus at one time and she grew her business substantially. “Love” was her focus another year, and she met the man she married.  Metaphysics aside, what you focus on tends to happen!  The simple act of awareness can powerfully  keep you oriented towards actions that support your goals, and make you more likely to attract success.

Your ‘word’ might come to mind easily.  You may already have one that has been running through your thoughts repetitively, especially if you have set resolutions or goals for yourself. If not, carve out some time in your week to think about it. Sit quietly and reflect.   Journal if it helps you sort out your thoughts, or, on a blank sheet of paper simply write down words that depict your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Something will pop out at you, or you may notice a pattern in the words you write down. Don’t over-think it!

Friends, colleagues, and people in my practice have shared their words with me for added support and accountability. Here’s some of their theme words to get you started:  Relate, Believe, Focus, Simplify, Build, Mindful, Refresh, Rejuvenate, and Fun.

Once you have your ‘word’ write it down where you can see it regularly. Use it as a password so you have to consciously think about it many times a day. Place post-it notes all over your home if you need to. Get creative and do what works for you – and share your ideas! I’ll tell you my word!

One word is easy to remember. Pick one for yourself and let it shape the months to come.

Set an intention for what you want 2017 to mean to you, choose a word to define it, make deliberate choices and take action! I’m here to help if you get stuck 😉

~ Dr Melissa

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Holiday Fit Tips!

id-10065565There are lots of opportunities during the holiday season for indulgent foods, extra alcohol, and with the busier pace many people find themselves moving, workout routines can also slip away. However, this doesn’t have to be how you spend your December! You can celebrate, indulge and still feel good! 

These two tips might help you: 

Move Your Body Everyday – Physical activity makes every system in your body work better. Instead of taking a break from your exercise routine during the holiday season, keep it up! Or consider getting started! You don’t have to wait until January to resolve to get in better shape.  The fact is, exercise is simply something most people have to build into their lives, work into their schedules. You will always find something better to do with your time!(Trust me, I make excuses and procrastinate sometimes too! Ask my trainer!) Exercise helps relieve stress and prevents weight gain.  Moving your body will always give you a boost, even just a some stretching or a brisk walk will rejuvenate your body and mind.

Eat Regularly & Prepare for Outings – If you are going to  a party or dinner, don’t starve yourself all day in anticipation.  Doing so will  slow your metabolism, leave you ravenous and more likely to overeat later in the evening. Instead, eat small meals or snacks throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to overindulge when you are out. If you are planning on consuming alcohol be sure to increase your intake of water to compensate for the dehydrating effects.

Healthy holidays ARE possible. If you make a few small adjustments to your habits you’ll feel good throughout the season. If you need a few tips to maintain your emotional wellbeing read this blog post too! 

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What’s Your Intention This Holiday Season?

id-10065565Set an intention.

But first, be realistic and consider:

What’s happening in your life these days? Where are your children or extended family in the current stage of their lives? Given their ages and interests, what do you want the holidays to look like for you?

Every year our lives are a little different, and it’s important to change our expectations accordingly.

Maybe you have a holiday planned, maybe there is someone in your family who having a tough time, maybe your grieving a loved one? Maybe there has been a change in your home or work life somehow?  Maybe your finances are more strained than usual?Depending on your reflection on these areas of your life and the people in it, you might want to adjust your plans and celebrate a little differently this year.

Decide what you want the holidays to mean, what your priorities are, and how you want feel? And then I want you to write it down.

Choose 3-5 words or perhaps write a brief statement or sentence, then put it somewhere you can see it. You can get creative with this! Make it look pretty or decorative if you like, but what really matters is that you will see it and be reminded of what you wrote. Whether you post it on your fridge, put it on your phone, or write it in a journal that you will look at every day, this is the most important step!

When you have an intention to refer to, it will help you make solid decisions about how you spend your time and money this holiday season. You’ll feel better about your choices because they will be more realistic with your current lifestyle, and this will ease your mind, and help you find more JOY (and less stress) holiday season.

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