Do Your Ribs Need To Be Adjusted?

Have you ever felt a sharp stabbing pain in your chest, that’s worse when you inhale or sneeze? I have, and it can be quite unsettling, and uncomfortable! 

The good news is that it just might be coming from something that is easily resolved with Chiropractic spinal adjustments.

The ribs attach to the vertebrae in the thoracic spine and wrap around the front to create protection for the heart and lungs. They give us structure, and points of attachment for many muscles. Depending on the sports you play, the repetitive strains you might experience with your work, your posture, or accidents you may have had, the ribs can occasionally slip out of their proper alignment with the spinal joints and create problems.

What does it feel like?

Pain in the ribs, often sudden, sharp, that is worse with sneezing, coughing, inhaling. Sometimes the pain can also radiate around front of chest.

If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, or other symptoms of acute cardiac distress, it’s best to consult your medical professional or head to your local  emergency room. However if what you’re feeling sounds similar to what I described above consider consulting your Chiropractor first. Your chiropractor can easily diagnose whether you are dealing with an acute subluxation of the ribs, or whether you need immediate medical attention. 

If your ribs are not moving properly, and are the source of your discomfort, then a few gentle adjustments will be all that is needed to restore proper function and feeling to your body. 

The One Doctor You Can’t Trust

Are you relying on “Dr. Internet” to advise you on matters pertaining to your health?  Knowledge is power, but with all the information readily available you also need to be mindful of what you are reading.

I’m a huge advocate for understanding your body, and getting empowered with information to make decisions for your health care. In my practice I likely give people more information than they want or need – we have a library, workshops, online programs, an email newsletters with health tips, and lots of conversations!  I am a firm believer that information gives us power, and if there is any area you should have some power in your life  to making choices for your health and that of your family.

However, relying on one major source of information – the internet can be misleading and create added stress in your life.

Here’s 3 reasons why: 

  1. You need a whole body assessment. Sometimes where the problem is and where the pain is are not the same. There can be referral patterns based on complex neurology, trigger points in the muscles,  or even referrals from your internal organs. Without a health professional carefully listening to your complaint and assessing you, you might miss what’s actually going on.  
  1. Inaccurate information. Need I say more?  
  1. Objectivity Matters. When a professional looks at your body and listens to your concerns, without any emotional attachment or subjectivity, you’ll get a more accurate diagnosis. Your entire health history and clinical findings, give important clues about what might be going on, and without someone on the ‘outside’ looking at you, things can be missed. 

Next time you have a question about your health, get informed! But talk to one of the professionals on your health care team before making a diagnosis on yourself. It will save you time, money and stress! 

Turmeric Elixir For Your Family

Boost your immune system, support your gastro-intestinal health, and lower inflammation with this simple shot every day!

As a Chiropractor I’m a fan of turmeric because of it’s powerful effects in reducing inflammation. The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.

In addition to the anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric is also shown to be helpful in boosting skin health, lowering depression, supporting the liver in detoxification, and can also work as a natural pain reliever.

You may have heard about the healing potential of turmeric, but wondered how to best get it into your body without eating curry everyday? I used to purchase a turmeric elixir and take a shot of it every morning, but then discovered it was really easy to make. Give it a try!

In a blender combine chunks of ginger & turmeric (and even garlic if you’re so bold and you’re ok with the taste – I did this once and likely won’t again) Add 4 cups of water. Add raw unpasteurized honey if you like, or even the juice of a  lemon for added vitamin C. Done. Easy. So good for you.

Happy Hearts, Healthy People

As a Family Chiropractor I am lucky to see people everyday who choose to invest in their health and are actively making choices to feel and function their best. Something that comes up consistently in conversation with people is stress, and it’s often connected to the changes I observe in their body and the injuries I’ll see.

Emotional and mental stress create tension in your body and affect all body systems, including your muscles and joints! It’s important to regularly check in with yourself, assess your emotional health, and make changes if needed.

These are the 5 tips I suggest often, and ones I implement in my own life:

Let Go. You always have a choice in how you handle any situation and how you let it affect you. Holding negative feelings toward someone doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you! Who are you holding anger towards? What do you need to let go of? 

Focus on the GoodWhat 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. When you change the way you look at things, often the things you are looking at change. 

Be Thankful.The secret to happiness is not found by seeking more, but in developing an appreciation for what we have. 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. You will be pleasantly surprised how it will shift your mental state.

What’s Your Purpose? A big question I know, but one that you need to make the time to think about. Are you living your life with purpose, plans and passion? If you could do anything you wanted to, what would it be?  It’s never too late to re-design your life and pursue any dream you have. What steps can you take to start moving in that direction? Baby steps still take you forward!

LaughLaughter is “the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug”. It suppresses the secretion of stress hormones, boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation. Let’s face it – there is nothing like the feeling of a deep belly laugh! Are you laughing enough? Connect with others and share some fun.

I’m Embracing Winter – Are You?

Recently I participated in a  Winter Wellness Event at our local library, and as much as I love sharing health information I love learning from others who are passionate and knowledgeable! Winter is not my favourite season but I’ve never suffered terribly through it the way I know some people in my practice have. One of the other presenters during this event spoke about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and 3 ways to support yourself if this is a challenge for you. 

These 3 tips shared by one of the speakers that evening might help you:

Get outside everyday, for at least 20 minutes. Wear proper clothing to protect yourself from the elements, and stay warm! Moving your body is nature’s best antidepressant. I confess,  there are days I don’t even need to leave my property because my practice and business are in the same building! However, I do notice that when I resist the outdoors  I don’t feel the same when I don’t get any fresh air, so let’s commit to getting a little bit of outdoor time every day. 

Focus on what you love about winter! Are there sports you participate in? Cozy sweaters you love to wear? Wrapping yourself with a blanket and curling up with a book? Sitting by a fire? Taking indulgent baths or sitting in a steam room? Drinking a cup of hot tea? Cooking hearty foods? Make a list of some foods or activities that you enjoy only in the winter months and then see how you can do more of them! Choose to celebrate what makes winter special rather than what annoys you and you’ll find your mindset shifts.

Similarly, choose your words wisely! If you constantly say that you hate winter or find yourself complaining about it to anyone who will listen, consider changing the words you use and start speaking with more gratitude and acceptance for the winter months. Perhaps speaking about the things you noted in the previous paragraph. If you find something to be grateful for then you’ll often continue to find other things to be grateful for. I often say ‘what you dwell upon expands’ so find good things about the colder season to dwell on! 

Feet, Ankles or Knees Sore?

Every joint in the body is dependent on the functioning of the others, like an intricate series of levers and hinges providing you structure and movement. If there is an imbalance in the lumbar spine or hips, there will often be compensation problems in the knees, ankles and feet as the body tries to adapt to the faulty mechanics. Which means it’s common for these to resolve with Chiropractic spinal adjustments!

Chiropractic works for so much more than just back pain, a healthy spine is the foundation for all the other joints in your body and protects the most vital organ – the nervous system. Subluxations in the lumbar spine will affect healthy nerve flow to the legs and feet, and when these misalignments are corrected, numbness, pain, and inflammation in the feet resolves. Many people are pleasantly surprised at the unexpected relief they find, and wonder why they waited so long before seeking the help of a Chiropractor.

The next time your feet are aching consider Chiropractic first. If we can’t help, we will gladly refer you to one of the local Chiropodists for more specific foot care – we look to the spine first when there is any problem, but have a great referral network of other professionals to support you in regaining the level of health you deserve.

P.S. You can also read this blog post about why being barefoot is good for you.

Healthy Food While Travelling? Here’s My Tip

Here’s what I took to Niagara Falls

Just because you’re away from home doesn’t’ mean you have to forget to choose healthy food options.

I’ve been to enough hockey tournaments and eaten at enough restaurants during travels to know that the options can often be slim, and when you’ve got growing, hungry boys to feed you can get stuck making less desirable choices.

So now I prepare! It’s not difficult to pull together simple and nutritious meals.  It’s always about choices and priorities, and yes, a little bit of planning.   

Although we did eat some meals out, and I have teenage boys who really love their pizza, subway, (and some other junk I’d rather not think about) thankfully they do appreciate that nutrition matters and will oblige my nagging about healthy choices. 

Given that most hotel rooms only have a small fridge, and making meals in a hotel room are limited, here’s what I bring that has given us some options: 

  • Electric tea kettle (brilliant for boiling water for tea, coffee, oatmeal, soups) 
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Packs of instant oatmeal
  • Tea, my favourite coffee (and ok I’ll admit, I brought my French press too! I am particular about good coffee)
  • Basic salad dressing (3TBSP olive oil, 3TBSP apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, chopped garlic, squeeze of lemon)
  • Salad greens (any mix you prefer, I like the baby kale or arugula)
  • Coconut yogurt 
  • Granola
  • Orange juice
  • Hummus (usually I make my own but store-bought can work!)
  • Apples, bananas
  • Carrots
  • Bagels
  • Popcorn, tortilla chips (we need snacks!)  

Your food choices matter! Especially for growing children! 

In addition to chiropractic care and daily activity, food is a huge contributor to how you feel and function everyday. Check out this blog post about my basics about what to eat for good health.

It’s 2019! What’s Ahead For You?

As you begin 2019 I encourage you to set aside a few moments to think about what you want most for this new year, and consider doing this exercise to help you align your actions with the results you’d like to see!   Rather than set resolutions, try setting theme words for the year. I personally started doing this exercise 5 years ago and we’ve been doing it within the practice too!

Here’s how it works: 

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. Choose a word that can represent many different areas of your life, and one that will help you stay focused on how you want to feel about 2019 when December 31st comes around.

Why it’s effective: 

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 (like now!) 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 as I was rebuilding my life and business.   A great word sets your intention and will help manifest the people, places, opportunities (and challenges!) to help you achieve your goals. 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.

How can you decide on your word?

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!

Love to hear your thoughts! Has this worked for you? Or what other way has helped you begin the new year with intention and positivity?

5 Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

 

Avoid the “OVERS” this holiday season by setting an intention for what you want the holidays to mean to you (read this post to get a sense of what I’m talking about) and then consider these 5 tips to support your physical and emotional health during the most wonderful, but busy, time of the year.

 

 

Socialize – We all need social connections, but during the holiday season many people are ‘overstimulated’, ‘overcommitted’, and ‘overwhelmed’ with too many events. 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. 

Reach out – 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. The rewards will be far greater than just the social stimulation.

Exercise – Quite simply, physical activity makes every system in your body work better. Instead of taking a break from your exercise routine, keep it up! or consider getting started! It doesn’t have to wait until January and your resolution of getting in shape or losing weight.  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! 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.

Take a Breather – It IS the season for family, friends, and being on ‘holiday’ so don’t forget to take the time to relax and indulge in activities you enjoy! Make time for yourself too, often time alone is what is easily neglected with busy social schedules or family commitments.  Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you and change your perspective if you are having a frantic day.  Do something that clears your mind, slows your breathing and restores inner calm, Journal, listen to music, take a brisk walk and look at the lights, read a book, whatever interests YOU and gets you in a quiet place for a small bit of time.

You CAN indulge, celebrate, and still feel good in January!

Make good choices for yourself and your family and you will enjoy the holiday season and start 2019 in good health.

My Top Holiday Season Survival Tip

I often talk with people in the practice about setting goals for their health, maybe even their career, or what they want for their family life, and help them come up with realistic actions to get them results. Why not do the same exercise for the holiday season?

It’s a time of year I observe people being consistently OVERstimulated, OVERworked, OVERindulging and often OVERwhelmed. Which leads to added stress to your spine, and a higher chance of injury. 

You can avoid this though! Give yourself a few minutes to answer this question:

 

What do you want the holidays to mean to you? When you look back and remember them, how do you want to feel?

Set an intention for the holiday season, and you’ll find it helps you stay consistent with choices you make.

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.