Holiday Connections

ID-10067023We all need social connections, it’s part of our fundamental design as human beings, and research has also shown that having friendships supports our health! However, during the holiday season many people are ‘overstimulated‘, ‘overcommitted’, and ‘overwhelmed’ with too many events.  This can leave people feeling emotionally and mentally drained, and certainly getting  a lot less sleep than they would like! 

What can you do to avoid this? 

Be choosy about how you spend your social time. Be assertive and learn to say no to situations that will upset you.  Decline invitations (if you can do so without grossly offending the invitee) that create unnecessary emotional stress, or will simply burden your schedule and shortchange you of sleep. 

At the other end of the social spectrum is loneliness.  With changing family dynamics, different living arrangements, and simple geography for some people, many are left alone during the holidays.  If you feel lonely or isolated consider getting involved in different activities, volunteering your time at seniors homes, food banks or other organizations geared towards helping others. Reach out to people who may find themselves alone during the holiday season and consider including them in your plans. The rewards will be far greater than just the social stimulation.

You CAN celebrate, and still feel good in January! Make a few adjustments in your social calendar and you will enjoy the holiday season and start 2017 in good health.

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Leg Pain & The Chiropractic Approach

Every part of your body works better with a spine that is moving properly.  Many people come into the practice complaining of pain in their legs, and it often starts within their spine.

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Challenges with walking, running, climbing, jumping or general mobility can be resolved with Chiropractic care – from kids through to seniors!

Spinal misalignments called vertebral subluxations cause muscle imbalances, joint irritation, inflammation, and early degeneration.  Spinal subluxations alter the healthy mechanical and neurological functions in the body. Subluxations weaken all organ systems, leading to sickness, pain,  and a lesser quality of life. As a Doctor of Chiropractic my role is to correct spinal subluxations to restore proper motion and function within the body.

Subluxations in the hips and lumbar spine can lead to leg pain, numbness & tingling in the legs or feet, and muscle weakness. They can also contribute to pain and dysfunction in the knees, ankles, and feet. It’s amazing to watch people’s flexibility return, pain subside, walking patterns change and athletic abilities soar when we address spinal function and restore the body’s natural mechanical function. 

If you’re suffering with cramping or pain in your legs, knees or feet, instead of relying on medications (with side effects!) help your body heal from the inside-out. Consider Chiropractic first!

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Clear It Out With Chiropractic!

id-10090288I never knew once in practice I would get so many email, calls and texts from happy mothers who report that after their child’s adjustment their bowels were working better! We all know how uncomfortable constipation, diarrhea or any gastro intestinal dysfunction can be. There can me many causes of these ailments, such as food sensitivities, dehydration, stress, food poisoning…lack of movement within the spine and nervous system!

Chiropractic isn’t a ‘cure’ for anything, but rather a way to support the body so that it can heal from within. When there are misalignments in the spine (subluxation), particularly in the lower spine where the nerves branch off the spinal cord and supply energy to the digestive organs, it will lead to dysfunction. When we restore proper joint movement through a chiropractic spinal adjustment, this also relieves tension within the nerves and allows them to function the way they were designed to. The colon works better, the heart works better, the lungs work better, your legs work better, and so does your brain, reproductive system and virtually every other part of your body!

If you’re struggling with digestive system complaints it’s time to take a look at the cause and start restoring proper function to your whole digestive tract. Chiropractic care will remove any structural imbalance, and then we can work at examining your diet, stress levels and making some other adjustments to your lifestyle so that your body can heal from the inside out.

 

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A Wall Of Gratitude

img_2842We’ll celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and are reminded to offer thanks for the ‘bounty’ in our lives; to reflect on the many blessings, and plant seeds for future prosperity.  Every year I encourage people in the practice to share something they are grateful for on our ‘wall of gratitude’ and it’s such a beautiful thing. It becomes so much more than just the act of writing the gratitude note, because when others read all the notes on the wall, they laugh, share a sentiment, and leave with a smile on their face.

Let’s remember that this holiday is not the only time we should be practicing gratitude.  It’s good for your health and something to be done on a daily basis!

Research shows the feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, love and caring enhance health. When you find one thing, however small, to be thankful for and hold that feeling for as little as 15-20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiological changes take place inside you:

~ Levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin decrease, supporting many organ systems and boosting your immune system

~ Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. Heart rhythms become more harmonious, affecting other organs and lifting your mood

~ Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues

People who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy when compared to those who do not.

“A Man becomes what he thinks about all day long.”~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

What you dwell upon expands. If you focus on what you don’t have, that’s all you will see. Focusing your thoughts on victories instead of defeats will help you develop an attitude of gratitude and a greater sense of self-worth.

Make gratitude part of your life by adopting more thankful thoughts or making the time to write them down. A powerful exercise is the use of gratitude journal to reflect on day-to-day success, or simply take a few minutes to think of 5 things you are grateful for in your life.  My sons and I do this at dinner every night. They aren’t always so eager to comply, but I won’t let them eat until they each share at least 3 things they are grateful for so that usually gets the conversation started!

Before you exit this post, right now, take a couple deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for. Once you start thinking about it, a funny thing happens, often you won’t stop at just 5….

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Best Tips For Choosing BackPacks For Your Kids

ID-10093588 2The countdown is on and for many children school will be starting in a few weeks! Hard to believe. Some summers seem to pass by more quickly, or perhaps as my children get older (and I do too!) time just seems to move at a faster pace. Parents have already started asking me about how to choose a proper backpack for their children, here are my top tips! 

Every September I have a ton of fun with the kids in my practice taking a look at their backpacks and chatting with them about how to adjust them and wear them properly – we make it fun and engage them in the process of understanding why it’s important to take care of their body. 

Choose a pack that is proportional to your child. Avoid the temptation to pick pack with the latest cartoon character, super hero, or princess your child adores and be sure to find one that fits. The bottom of the pack should sit no lower than the point where the low back meets the hips, and the top should  comfortably rest on their shoulders. Look for padded, adjustable straps can be easily adjusted to fit their frame.

Pack it Right! Fill the pack so that it weighs no more than 10% of the child’s body weight(grades K-8), or 15% of the teens body weight (grades 9-12)  Pack the heaviest items closest to the body, make use of pockets/compartments to distribute the weight, and pack any odd shaped or sharp items on the outside so they don’t dig into the back.

Wear It Well  Encourage your child to use both shoulder straps & tighten them so that they fit snugly enough so the pack sits on the shoulders. Remind them to avoid slinging the pack over one shoulder only, this causes the spine to lean and puts stress on the joints and muscles in the mid and lower back. If there is a waist strap on the pack, use it! It helps reduce the strain on the back by transferring some of the load to the hips. If the pack is exceptionally heavy, place it on a table or chair and lift it onto the body one strap at a time to avoid straining or twisting to pick it up.

A child’s backpack is a convenient, necessary item to transport their belongings to school everyday, but it’s also a common source of strain on young spines! Take a few minutes with your child and consider making a few changes to ensure it’s not doing any harm. If you still have questions be sure to get in touch and book your complimentary back pack check up.

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Chiropractic To Boost Fertility?

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As much as I love working with babies, it’s fun to help people make them too!

It’s always exciting for me when couples who have struggled with fertility challenges, and who have often tried numerous other therapies and sometimes invasive interventions in hopes of conceiving, are able to do so after consistent chiropractic care.

What’s the Connection?  Spinal misalignments (subluxations) cause muscle imbalances, joint irritation, inflammation, and early degeneration.  Most crucially, subluxations disturb the healthy mechanical and neurological functions in the body.

Subluxations in the lumbar spine and hips and can lead to dysfunction of the internal organs in the lower abdomen, particularly the bladder, bowels, ovaries, uterus, and prostate gland. Not limited exclusively to fertility challenges, other problems with reproductive health in both men and women such as menstrual irregularity, PMS,  menopause, and impotence and erectile dysfunction have also shown improvement and resolved with chiropractic care, and I’ve seen it over and over again in my practice. 

Doctors of Chiropractic correct spinal subluxations to restore proper motion and function within the body.  Many people find relief when we restore proper joint mechanics with spinal adjustments, and  when combined with other lifestyle changes and supportive therapies the results are dramatic. 

If you or someone you care about can relate to some of the symptoms above, you don’t have to continue to suffer!  Although this can be a sensitive subject for some people, and it’s not something always easy to talk about, I encourage you to seek out every option to support your body’s ability to heal. Consider finding a Doctor of Chiropractic who will do a thorough assessment, explain the results, answer all your questions, and get you on the path to healing.  

Help your body heal from the inside-out with  Chiropractic first!

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Get In Your Garden!

Finally the weather is warming up and many people are getting ready to get their hands in the dirt to plant some seedlings, flowers and have some fun in their garden! Working outdoors in your garden and yard is a great form of physical activity, even better if it’s something you are passionate about. However every year people come into the practice because they have inevitably irritated their body or  strained a muscle somehow! 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.
  3. Bend your knees when lifting anything so that you can use the strength of your legs.
  4. Keep yard waste bags close to your body while lifting them. 
  5. 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 regular 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….which allows you to keep playing in your garden or in any other hobby you enjoy! 

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I Love Purses But…

ID-100327306Some of you know I have a fondness for beautiful purses and handbags!

However, similar to carrying a heavy backpack, a heavy shoulder bag or purse can injure your back, neck and shoulders. Hand and shoulder bags also create poor posture by encouraging the carrier to lean to one side. This affects posture, balance and movement. 

Here are my 10 helpful tips to protect your spine and muscles from a heavy handbag:

  1. Choose a handbag that is proportionate to your body size and no larger than what is needed. Your handbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of your body weight up to a maximum of 15 pounds.
  2. The shoulder straps should be wide and adjustable. Ensure that the straps do not cut into your shoulder. Shoulder straps that dig into the muscles, put pressure on the nerves.
  3. If possible, select a strap that is long enough to place over your head so as to rest on the shoulder opposite the handbag. This will help distribute the weight of the bag more evenly.
  4. Choose a handbag that has several individual pockets instead of one large compartment. This will help to distribute the weight of the contents more evenly and keep them from shifting.
  5. Resist the urge to carry everything with you all day. Consider leaving less commonly used items behind. Keep that heavy laptop out of your bag!
  6. Change the size and weight of your wallet once in a while. You may also consider one wallet for your work and a different one for when you go out, as you may need different objects for both.
  7. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the purse by using all the pockets.
  8. Instead of always carrying your handbag on the same shoulder, switch sides often so each shoulder gets a rest.
  9. Square your shoulders – many women have a habit of lifting the shoulder on which the purse is carried to keep the straps from slipping.
  10. Try to maintain good posture. When standing, your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line-up, one comfortably above the other. Your knees should be slightly bent and your feet should be shoulder-width apart or more.

If you can walk to lunch or a meeting, lock your purse in your desk or locker and carry only your cash and/or credit cards in a pocket. Remember that exercise is good for many reasons but it can also help prevent injury! Specific strengthening exercises for the back and abdominal or core area will help promote good posture, which will further help to condition muscles and prevent injury.

Dr. Melissa

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Reduce Inflammation & Prevent Arthritis

ID-10092149Arthritis is a term used very loosely in a broad range of circumstances, and many people are not exactly clear as to what arthritis actually is.  The word “Arthritis” means inflammation of the joints. The cartilage surface that lines either side of a joint begins to breakdown, causing the joint space to narrow. The increased friction and stress on the joint surfaces causes an inflammatory response consisting of swelling, pain and loss of function.

Quite simply, the joints begin to wear out prematurely.

However, random genetic mutations aside, the human body was not made to break down. So what causes arthritis? Improper alignment and faulty mechanics.

Proper alignment and function of joints is essential to maintaining healthy joints. When a joint is out of alignment, proper mechanics are altered and muscle imbalances occur. Whether it’s your spine, hips, knees, feet, shoulders, elbow, or wrists, every joint needs to be moving the way it was designed to in order to function well.

Proper joint function cannot be maintained if the joints are not properly aligned. Just like mal-alignment of your automobile causes the tires to wear out faster, spinal subluxations create the same problem in your spinal joints.  With greater stabilization within the spine, the other joints can heal too. Only a trained, licensed Chiropractor can locate subluxations, correct them, and restore structural balance to your body.

With the correction of spinal subluxations, the joints heal.  I see it all the time in my practice with dramatic changes in symptoms, but also objectively with improvements in measurable diagnostic tests such as X-rays, as well as with neurological and orthopedic testing.  Not only within the spine, but also with knees, shoulders, elbows, finger, and feet.

The body is self-healing, but all healing takes time.  The longer the joint breakdown process has been occurring, the longer it will take to fully heal. For some people, the only challenge with the Chiropractic approach is just that…time.

By the time joint degeneration has reached the point of chronic pain, the process has often been developing for years.  Every spinal adjustment retrains your brain and muscles towards healthy mechanics, building momentum and greater stability along the way.

The good news is that although it doesn’t take years to correct the damage, it does take a consistent and holistic approach to restoring proper motion in your body to heal fully.  The body’s ability to heal is so profound, it doesn’t take years to restore function to the body and feel better. It does take time though, and is not the “quick fix” that many are looking for.

The question I often ask people is this: do you want to patch things up or fully heal? I am honoured to help people with a wide variety of goals and health challenges, and I respect everyone’s ability to choose the level of chiropractic care that suits them, but my recommendations are always the same. 

Based on my years of experience (in both practice and life!), fixing something properly generally works the best! Not only does it ultimately save time and investment in the long term, more importantly it gives people the opportunity to start LIVING sooner.

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Breathe Easier With Allergy Relief

69443tegi1jeqhsIt’s that time of year again (at least the calendar is suggesting so even if the weather is not!) when springtime seasonal allergies trouble people. People come into the office sneezing, with their eyes watering and itching, but they always feel better when they leave.

What’s the Chiropractic connection? 

Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to an allergen (dust, pollen, pet dander, foods) and produces too many histamines to counteract this process. Histamines are chemicals the body creates to neutralize the effects of the item offending the respiratory or visual system, a way the body’s innate wisdom attempts to correct the problem.  Histamines cause you to produce mucous, sneeze, will make your eyes watery, and even give you rash sometimes, all ways the body tries to expel the offending allergen. Most allergy medications attempt to treat the symptoms your body instigates to get rid of the allergen.  Antihistamines dry up the mucous membranes, and minimize the sneezing, itching and congestion. They can provide relief, but the underlying problem remains.

What if there was another way to help your body with Allergies?

The Chiropractic approach focuses on restoring proper function to your body, so that you can better adapt to the ‘stressors’ in your environment, including those of seasonal allergies.

Spinal misalignments (termed subluxations) are caused by physical stress, emotional stress, and chemical stress. These misalignments in your spine cause muscle imbalances, joint irritation, inflammation, pain, and weakness. What is more important though, spinal subluxations affect your spinal cord and impair healthy neurological function.

Chiropractic adjustments correct misalignments in your spine, restoring proper joint movement, balancing your muscles, and improving your overall health! 

Specific to allergies, the correction of spinal subluxations helps your body respond more appropriately to the pollens, dander and other airborne items you inhale because they help restore balance to your immune system.  There is a direct correlation between your spine and immune system.  It’s simple: A nervous system that is working more effectively permits the immune system to function more effectively – something all allergy sufferers need!

How can you get started finding relief?

If you’ve been suffering with allergies – there is another option! Call or email for more information. An initial consultation and assessment will determine if Chiropractic can help you, and whether my approach is right for you.  Following your evaluation we’ll create an action plan to get you functioning and feeling better.  Many people in my practice note dramatic reductions in their allergy symptoms and improvements in their overall wellbeing when they add Chiropractic care to their life.

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