Things Unseen

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, 18 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.

Get Ready for Golf!

ID-100140128Golf is a great sport for many reasons. The mental challenge, time outdoors, social connection, stress reduction and physical activity all support the body and mind in so many ways.

 

However, given the nature of the golf swing, it can also be highly demanding on the spine and joints, triggering nasty problems in the back. The good news is there are ways to support your body, minimize injuries and even play a better game!

Consider these tips:

Be Careful When Handling Your Golf Bag. Choose a portable hand-pull cart and alternate sides when carrying your golf bag or pulling the cart. Use proper lifting techniques when moving your golf bag. Avoid twisting, and instead use strength of your legs, hips, arms, and core muscles.

Walk the Course.  It’s a simple way to dramatically improve your fitness level and strengthen your bones. Walking elevates aerobic activity, increases stamina, and boosts immunity.

Warm-Up! Jolting stiff muscles into action can trigger muscle strain and spinal misalignments. Golfers who stretch and warm-up before playing typically demonstrate greater swing flexibility, muscle endurance, and report fewer aches and pains while playing.

Improve your Posture. There is good reason 70-75% of the athletes who tour with the PGA are under regular Chiropractic care to both prevent injuries and optimize their performance.  Healthy posture and spinal movement benefits your entire body, but it can particularly offer tremendous advantages when playing golf. A healthy spine moves properly, which minimizes tissue damage, degeneration, and muscle imbalances that can lead to injury.   The neurological benefits of spinal adjustments have also be shown to enhance mental clarity, induce a more relaxed state, and quicken reaction time and agility – all of which will improve your game!

A Balancing Act

Just like re-building your body, re-building and transforming a living space is a process. After a year of great physical changes here on Hume Street, there are still projects to start, others to finish.

Life is like that too. Some tasks are still waiting completion, even though they are jobs  I can actually do with the limited buiding skills I have. Why?

Because I believe its my responsibility to live the life I encourage you to live. 

I encourage you to make time for physical activity and exercise.

I encourage you to maintain social connections and loving relationships.

I encourage you to choose good food and prepare as much as you can yourself.

I encourage you to get plenty of rest.

I encourage you to play with your children, and give them the attention they need.

I encourage you to have fun, pursue new hobbies and play!

I encourage you to balance all of these things in your life because you are a whole person, and because being healthy requires attention to all these areas.

Are the different facets of your life balanced? Sure there are times when some of our responsibilities dominate, when we must focus specifically on doing the best we can to manage everything.  However, if this is a consistent challenge for you – what can you do differently? Do you need to shift your priorities? How can you make a change, and what do you need to get started? 

We all have work responsibilities, family obligations, and personal objectives.

The key lies in balancing all of them every week, sometimes every day, and giving ourselves permission to do so.

 

Get in Your Garden!

ID-100161723I love spring. It’s such an amazing time of year, and I find in my practice that people are so much more eager to get out and get moving with physical activity.

 

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!

Working outdoors in your garden and yard is a great form of physical activity, even better if it’s something you are passionate about.

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.

Find a Chiropractor who fits your needs and will work with your other health professionals to keep you feeling and functioning your best.

Joints Inflamed?

Arthritis 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, it’s that simple. 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 the 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.

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.

And what’s more important than that?

Your Body Talks, Do You Listen?

Many people hold the belief that if we have symptoms we are sick, and if are without symptoms then we are healthy. Much of modern health care relies on this approach, ridding people of their symptoms.  Many people come into my practice to get rid of their symptoms, seeking relief from the physical ailments they are experiencing.

But there are limitations with this belief.

Some of the sickest people in this country are symptom free. Similarly, a person who is experiencing symptoms is not necessarily SICK. Many of the symptoms people experience are actually signs that the body is healing, and stopping those symptoms can inhibit the healing process. Think about some of these examples:

fevers – the body raises the internal temperature to kill bacterias or viruses

sneezing/coughing/vomiting/diarrhea – the body is trying to expel something foreign to it!

joint pain – the body tells us to be careful, to avoid using the joint and doing further damage

swelling – the body creates a natural splint to protect the joint

inflammation – the body increases the circulation to repair the injured tissue

bloating & indigestion – the body tells us something we ate was not right for us!

Symptoms are not bad, they just tell us to pay more attention! Every symptom is our body lovingly giving us a message.  When symptoms occur, our body is trying its best to communicate with us. Do we listen and act? Or just try to stop it? It’s up to you.

Health is not the absence of symptoms, and sickness is not the presence of symptoms. Health is a condition of wholeness in which all your muscles and organs are functioning 100%.

Life is a process, not an event, and so is healing. Sometimes symptoms are simply part of the healing response, part of your body adapting to a new healthier internal state and a way it clears things out.

I care about people’s symptoms, but I care more about their whole body and the longer-term effects of neurological and structural damage going  on inside!

After you are adjusted your body will always function at a higher level, regardless of how you feel. I know the power of a chiropractic adjustment. I have witnessed it for 10 years clinically, and I have seen it personally with my own health and that of my family.

If you are living with spinal subluxations you are not functioning at your peak. Your ability to move, think, and feel is compromised. It’s that simple.

 

 

More Chocolate? Other Ways to Fill Easter Eggs

ID-10074204Traditional easter egg baskets are filled with chocolate, but why not consider some other ideas this year? 

I’ve been asking patients 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.

Chocolate, jellybeans, and candy are fun treats for most children and adults, but in moderation! Even a teaspoon of sugar causes the immune system cells to drop substantially, and can dramatically affect behavior.

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
  • 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!

 

Happy Hearts!

4879455co872nzvEmotional and mental stress create tension in your body and affect all body systems. It’s important to regularly check in with yourself, assess your emotional health, and make changes if needed. Consider the following ideas to develop a happy heart. Take some time to reflect on them, then make the choice to move your life forward so you can live with greater peace. 

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 Good. 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. 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

Laugh. Laughter 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.

Get Adjusted. Structure dictates function. A healthy spine means a body that can function the way it was designed to. Every function improves. Studies have shown people struggling with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and addictions are supported with chiropractic care and symptoms dramatically change. I see it all the time. People routinely remark how they feel calmer, they have more clarity of thought, and their moods are more stable. They feel happier, more in control of their health, better able to develop other positive habits, and more comfortable getting help from other professionals.

“Happiness is not a destination. It is the attitude with which you choose to travel.”

~ Arit Desal, Yogi & Philosopher

Choose to apply some of these tips to develop your own happy heart…

Healthy Hearts!

Cardiovascular health is important throughout our lives. 

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. It’s truly an amazing system! Quite simply, 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”).

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, poor diets but did you know spinal misalignments can contribute as well? When the vertebrae in the spine are not moving properly they impinge both the nerves and the arteries. Once corrected 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 lifestyle plays a huge factor in the development of it!

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

Stress Less: High stress levels cause blood pressure to rise and the heart rate to increase. Evaluate the stressors in your life and make changes!

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 and preservatives.

Quit Smoking & Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Just do it. Nothing health promoting about these lifestyle choices whatsoever!

Get Moving: Move your body everyday for at least 10 minutes. Helps relieve stress and supports every system in your body.

Get Adjusted! For a healthier body overall. It’s that simple.

Sit Well! Or Not at All…

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

Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Maintaining the lumbar curve helps maintain the thoracic and cervical curves. Aim to have your feet firmly resting on the floor with knees bent at 90-100 degrees. Adjust your chair if possible, or place something under your feet. Better yet, consider sitting on a stability ball instead! (Check out the video and hear me explain why this is a better choice for you). Some people have even modified their workspaces to allow them to stand while working on a computer or writing. Take a look at your work station and what improvements can be made. Get creative!
  • The average head weighs 10-15 lbs. Improper sitting posture pushes the head forward, which places severe stress on the muscles, ligaments and vertebrae of the upper neck. 73% of people who sit on the job suffer from headaches due to poor posture. A loss of the normal cervical curve can stretch the spinal cord by 5-7 cm! This leads to many unwanted affects in your whole body. It’s not uncommon for vertebral misalignments in the upper neck to create symptoms such as dizziness, allergies, migraines, chronic fatigue, sinus congestion, emotional stress, and pain or tingling in the arms, hands, and shoulders. Take visual breaks every 10 minutes from your computer screen, and breaks from sitting every hour.

Break Time!

Whether you are at home or office, try these 2 minute stretches:

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 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.