My Summer Adventure First Aid Kit

I love summer!  I love getting outdoors with my sons on the trails or at the beach. Even though it’s starting to get a little tougher to recruit them to spend time with me in their teenage years with their own sports involvement, jobs and their own friendships, time together outside is consistently what I’m aiming for.  At all ages, during every season, there are minor injuries that can happen, and I’m often asked how I deal with them in my home.

In our home there are no pharmaceuticals, harsh chemicals or commercial preparations, period. The majority of minor scrapes, bruises, burns, rashes, I have always been able to support with some of the items listed here, as well as herbal medicines, foods, fluids, rest, and spinal adjustments, particularly if there has been a tumble or fall or sports collision. Based on my training, I am comfortable handling many injuries but we have still made trips to the ER for stitches and broken bones! 

Here’s what I keep in my home, and in a pack that I can easily throw into a basket or backpack if we are heading out the door.  Please remember, if you’re ever in doubt about how to handle an injury or illness, get in touch with me, contact your medical doctor or head to the emergency room for further advice. 

Arnica cream or Traumeel – for aches and pains, to help reduce inflammation

Arnica 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for bites, bruises, cuts, broken skin, burns, scalds, nosebleeds, stings, sprains, fractures, muscular aches and pains, (or virtually any injury to the body)

Aconite 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for fear, anxiety, restlessness, sudden illness, intense pain, shock.  Give it to any child who has been hurt or traumatized in any way

Chamomilla 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for teething, insomnia, earaches, digestive troubles, anytime they need

Band-Aids, gauze, wet-wipes (for traveling only, when at home I just have soft rags and water or peroxide for disinfectant)

Tweezers, Ice packs

Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol – Basic disinfectants, but the best way to clean a wound is to first wash your hands, then wash the wound with mild natural soap and water. This is what I use 95% of the time!

Witch Hazel – Strong natural antioxidant and astringent; good for disinfecting and promotes healing. Also helps with itching and inflammation

Bach Rescue Remedy –  A flower remedy designed for shock, trauma, any type of anxiety.  Can be taken orally. Very relaxing and soothing.

Calendula cream – Great healing salve for cuts, stings, burns, scrapes and scratches, any skin irritation. Easy to find at any natural health store or at markets throughout the summer!

Olive oil – soothing to the skin and a great carrier oil for using essential oils. Coconut oil is also a favourite. Use about a 1/4 cup combined with 6-10 drops of the essential oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should not be used directly on the skin. There are so many essential oils of benefit to keep in your home, these are my top 3:

Tea Tree Oil – antibiotic, anti fungal, antiseptic and antiviral

Eucalyptus – antibiotic, analgesic (pain relieving), antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory 

Lavender – antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antiviral, anti fungal, antidepressant, healing, and sedating

Smoothly Starting Your Day

Most mornings my sons start their day off with a smoothie. I’ll often make extra in the warmer months and pour the leftovers into popsicle molds – a much better alternative than the sugar-filled commercial frozen treats.

Why are smoothies great for growing kids?

Because you can pack a whole lot of goodness into these drinks! When my sons were younger I had more control over their food choices. As teenagers it’s a little tougher, but with a smoothie in the morning and healthy dinners in the evening I can stress a little less at what they might consume during the day. (Read my other tips about feeding kids healthy food here.)

You can read this blog post for some of the favourites within my practice, but most mornings it’s a pretty quick and easy recipe before my sons are dashing out the door to school:

  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1 scoop or protein powder (I always opt for something that is a vegan product as I don’t like whey or soy proteins)
  • 1/2cup – 1cup frozen fruit (whatever we have! Berries are a consistent favourite)
  • Add water or orange juice to cover
  • Blend it in a Vitamix & pour!

4 Tips To Protect Your Back When Golfing

Golf 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 and trigger 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.

and don’t forget…BETTER HEALTH MEANS BETTER GOLF!

Fuel Wisely: Junk food makes junk parts!  Think about what your are putting in your body on a regular basis. Avoid processed and packaged foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and choose fresh, whole foods. Try new foods, eat in season, and vary the nutrients into your body. Stay hydrated.

Move It: Exercise improves your body in every possible way! Strive do some type of physical activity everyday. Vary activities to develop muscle strength, endurance, flexibilty and cardiovascular stamina. Cross-training helps target all muscle groups, and reduces risk of injury.  

Sleep: The time when your body repairs and rebuilds itself! Strive for minimum of 7 hours. Avoid prolonged periods of sleep-deprivation due to work or leisure. 

Get Connected: Social stimulation and good relationships support our health. People with friends tend to live better and even longer.Laughter is “the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug”. A good laugh suppresses stress hormones, boosts your immune system, and reduces inflammation.

Align Yourself: Optimal Spine = Optimal Health. Spinal misalignments cause joint degeneration, muscle imbalance, pain, weakness, and neurological symptoms. Structure determines function, and poor spinal health weakens the function of all body systems. 

Keep your spine healthy with Chiropractic care! 

A Little Heat is Good For You

I’m not talking about applying heat topically with a heating pad, or sitting in a hot tub to relax your muscles, that’s a different discussion altogether.

I’m talking about adding a little heat to your body in the form of spice! I have a slight addiction to these little peppers, my sons tease me that I carry them to the table for every meal. It’s true. I enjoy the taste, but there are many benefits to these tasty little morsels:

Chili peppers contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and B6. Beta Carotene and Capsaicin (which gives the heat) are also a powerful antioxidants to support countless functions in your body and support your immune system.

Add a little spice to your life and give chili peppers a try! There are plenty of options at your local grocery store and soon easily found at farmers markets.

Do you have a disc hernation?

Maybe, but maybe not. To be honest it’s a term I hear thrown around too easily, and often inaccurately.

Unless it happened in a traumatic situation, in the majority of cases when vertebral discs bulge or herniate, it’s not because it’s genetic or it just randomly happened because of bad luck. Often It’s because the movement patterns within the spinal joints have deteriorated and there is added stress on the vertebral joints.

Just because you have back pain does not mean you have a bulging or herniated disc. (Not sure the difference? Read this blog post!) In fact, research has shown that many people are walking around with bulging discs while experiencing NO symptoms!

How do you know if you have a disc herniation?

By having a  thorough, assessment with highly trained Doctors who spend 4 years (after completing a university degree) studying the anatomy and mechanics of the spine. Yes, that’s right, see a Chiropractor and have a proper evaluation rather than relying on “Dr. Google”. (Read this post about why this can be dangerous.)

Your physical assessment should include postural testing, an evaluation of your range of motion and functional abilities spinal joint palpation, gait analysis, orthopedic and neurological tests. You might even have further diagnostic testing such as surface EMG or X-rays.  

The clinical results from this type of assessment gives us plenty of information as to what might be going on within the body.  Within the first few minutes of any examination I quickly know whether there is irrigation within the disc or not, and if the healing process can begin, or whether further diagnostics such as an MRI are needed.

So, if you’re struggling with back pain and guessing you might have a disc herniation, consider having a consultation with a professional first.

Check out these blog posts for more information:

What to expect on a first visit.How to find a Chiropractor that is right for you.


Does Your Child Seem Clumsy?

One of the benefits of being a Family Chiropractor and looking after children in my practice is that I have the privilege of watching infants develop into toddlers, then attend school, become teenagers, and after 17 years in practice I have watched some of the kids in my practice graduate high school and head to college!  

Observing children’s movement development is still so fascinating to me, the innate ability of the body to develop the skills required to roll, sit, crawl walk, run, jump, and climb. 

This ability does not need to be coached, or actively developed, the body just knows how to figure it out in a sequential pattern, without any intervention. 

For more information about how this happens, read this post and for the benefits of chiropractic for children read this one.

Can Chiropractic help your child’s movement development? Possibly. The focus of chiropractic spinal care is not to cure any problems in the body, but rather to maximize the healthy natural movement patterns so that there are no limitations to proper growth and maturation. If there is any irritation within the spine and associated muscles, there can be subtle changes in the ease of development and as a parent you might notice:.

  1. Your child seems clumsy and uncoordinated. 
  2. Your child drags a foot or rolls it in when they are trying to crawl.
  3. Your child never really crawls, instead they push themselves around backwards or pulls themselves forward using an army crawl. 
  4. Your child seems exceptionally intimidated with trying to learn how to climb stairs.
  5. Your child seems to walk on their toes instead of planting their whole foot on the floor when they walk. 
  6. Your child seems to veer to one side when they are running.

And the list goes on an on….

If you notice anything asymmetrical with your child’s movement patterns, keep in mind that subtle shifts in their pelvis or within their spine can be contributing to assymetrical development, and they are easily addressed by a visit to a Pediatric Chiropractor! 

In my experience, children respond quickly and heal fast. After a thorough evaluation, and with some gentle corrective care they are more balanced, they move with greater ease, and without any interference to their development they are ready to thrive.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for developmental issues or delays in children.