It is estimated that Canadians spend almost a quarter of their life at work. When you take into account how much of the remaining 75% is spent sleeping, it becomes clear quickly, how important the health of your workplace is. Today’s podcast will cover a few ways to maximize your work environment to support better spinal health, and thereby, overall health. It’s an investment you won’t regret.
Second to being in the womb, the first year of a child’s life is a period of intense growth. At birth the spine is 20cm, within 24m will grow to 45cm. The entire spine doubles in the first year! The first 12 months of life are also crucial for spinal curve development, and 65% of neurological development occurs in the first year.
Given these rapid changes, the vertebrae are especially susceptible to changing shape in response to pressure by slowing bone growth. Spinal misalignments will causes asymmetrical growth, and tension on nerve system means less ability for growth and development.
This then leads to changes in the health of these sweet little ones. Infants may develop symptoms such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Reflux, or spitting up
- Irritability, or colic
- Difficulty nursing (impaired sucking, head turning, swallowing)
- Sleeping difficulty
- Balance issues
- Delayed developmental milestones
For most parents I meet with, spinal care for their child has not been something they have given much thought to, in fact many adults are the same! But once they observe the gentle care their child receives, and the profound changes in their overall wellbeing, it’s quite easy for them to continue to see the benefits of chiropractic care for their growing family.
I love watching these children grow strong, straight, how they recover more easily from injuries, and get sick less.
What’s even more fun is that when they are not feeling well, or observe something unusual with their body, they ask to see me first!
These children are growing up learning that a healthy body needs good food, exercise, sleep, love, and Chiropractic, and that if something is wrong we can look to figure out what’s wrong rather than just pop a pill or suppress their symptoms, and THAT is what I love the most ?
Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health, but is not a cure or treatment for trouble breathing, reflux or spitting up, irritability, colic, difficulty nursing, balance issues or delayed development.
We are innately social beings and we all long for connection with others. Relationships bring joy, laughter, and often empathy to our lives, but more than just fun times, studies have shown that friendships help us live better and even longer!
A Harvard study found that physical impairments were less likely to develop in those who have many friends. In fact the results were so significant, the researchers concluded that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! Another group of researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death, while those who had the most friends cut their risk by more than 60%!
When our lives get hectic social time seems the first thing to be cut out, but that’s exactly when we need it the most.
Make time for the friendships you have, but be open to meeting new people too. Considering joining a club or picking up a new hobby. Explore your interests and find others who share them, chances are you will have more in common than you might initially think! Random encounters with people we cross paths with can bloom into the most rewarding relationships, but you have to start with being open to meeting others and the possibility of a new friendship starting. Whether its in your work environment, grocery stores, banks, gas stations, coffee shops, schools, airports – anywhere your life takes you, be it within your own community or out in the great big world, there are plenty of people for you to connect with.
It sounds terribly cliché, but when you are nice to people they are generally nice back, and you can also meet some very interesting people who just may become your friends.
So go ahead! Smile at a stranger. Offer a helping hand. Have a random conversation. Chances are you’ll both benefit! Surround yourself with people who are happy and have a strong sense of purpose.
The more social connections we have, the better one’s overall health. Check out the video on this topic here
Use Your Waiting Time: There’s plenty of time waiting while travelling, use this time to walk around the airport or do some stretches instead of sitting the whole time, you’ll be sitting long enough while on the airplane! While you’re in your airplane seat, try doing some neck stretches, shoulder shrugs, or ankle rolls to increase circulation and joint movement which is always a good thing. Get up out of your seat too! Take a few extra minutes when you use the bathroom to do a few stretches while you’re standing there. If you’re worried about getting any funny looks, get over that. Chances are you’ll strike up a conversation and get them moving too.
Put Your Feet Up: Sitting for long periods can cause fluid build up in your legs which can lead to muscle soreness and even blood clots. As soon as you reach your destination lie down on the bed or floor and prop your legs up on the wall or headboard for 15 min. This will help drain the fluid and reduce the swelling.
Move Your Body: Once you reach your destination, hit the gym, get out for a walk, or go for a swim. You might not feel like it if you’re tired and sluggish from travelling, but it will make a huge difference in how you feel. Moving your body will help feed oxygen to your brain and muscles after spending hours in care or plane. Your energy and mood will likely improve quickly too 🙂
If you are visiting and sightseeing, look for programs or tours that incorporate moving your body. Last year in Chicago we had a ton of fun on a bike tour through the downtown streets and waterfront, and loved how much we learned in the process. Most destinations will offer something similar!
These ideas always work for me, and if you choose at least one of them on your next trip you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel once you reach your final destination. Happy travels!
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
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
There 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!
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.
We 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.
I 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.