Taking Care of Your Spine While Gardening

Are you a gardener? I am not, 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:

Keep Your Posture In Mind

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.

Get Down Before You Get Dirty

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.

Lift Carefully

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.

Keep Moving

Avoid staying in prolonged postures involving the lower back and neck.

Injury Prevention Works

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.

Don’t Rush It! Why Babies Need to Crawl Before They Walk

So often parents, grandparents, are so excited to see the young ones start taking their first steps, but as a Chiropractor concerned with healthy motor development, I have a simple reminder…let’s not rush this process!

There is a reason for every developmental stage in the human body – the body is not dumb, and there are no mistakes! The body has an amazing innate intelligence that governs and directs all functions in the body, this belief is at the core of chiropractic.

There is a very sequential order to the development of infant motor patterns. There is a reason infants don’t come out and start walking, and why they need to sit before they crawl or stand. We need to respect this process, and not force it. If development not progressing the way it naturally should be, we then need to look for the potential causes, find them, and restore balance so development can continue.

A healthy adult spine has 4 curves, but only two are present at birth: the thoracic (mid back) and sacral (tailbone – which at birth is not actually yet 1 bone but 4 separate pieces until it matures). Curves in the spine are essential because they help us stay flexible and balanced, and help absorb stress through gravity and daily activity. Curves in the spine develop as an adaptation to gravity – and this is a crucial step in how muscles develop the strength necessary for stability. An infant develops the curve in their neck when they begin to lift and support their head, and the curve in their low back when they sit. This happens during the first 6 months. Once infants can sit independently they have gained substantial strength in their torso, and their next step is to start to pull themselves up and develop strength in their hips and legs….this is the natural order, the way the body was designed to mature.

Placing infants in an upright position before they have reached this milestone can lead to instability within the spine and hip joints, and it’s the main reason the majority of Pediatric Chiropractors do not recommend infants be placed in jolly jumpers prior to this developmental stage, if at all. The premature stress they place on the hip joint can lead to problems in the spine and nervous system later in life – many of which we see in our practices and need to correct!

Children grow up far too quickly as it is – be patient with their development, don’t compare them to other children, and let their body do what it does naturally on its own, in its own time.

Why I Love Intermittent Fasting

A few years ago now my trainer suggested I try fasting. I can’t recall the specific reasons why it came up or why we were discussing it, I think it was just because it is such a healthy habit and he believes its a good practice. When I work with people who’s expertise I trust to support my health, I tend to ask questions but listen to their advice. So I tried it, and now have been doing it consistently for the past 3 years.

Research and resources are plenty, but the simplest thing for you to understand with fasting is this:

When you limit the energy required for digestion within your body, it frees up energy to focus on healing and repair.

When you do this consistently the effects of this are cumulative! Fasting is known to be a healing intervention for a number of chronic and degenerative health challenges, but it also has tremendous benefits when you are healthy and well and want to stay that way for a long time. By consistently adding fasting into your life you will support your digestive system, improve the function of your immune system, help your body get back to its natural size and shape, and even slow down the aging process.

I added fasting to my life because of the health benefits, but here are the other benefits I observed:

Changed my Relationship with Food

I love to cook, I love great food, but like many people sometimes I ate not for nourishment but because it just tasted good, filled some craving, or it was a social situation.

Reconnected me With my Body

Once I started fasting it was easier to listen to how I felt and whether I really needed food or not. My awareness about my hunger changed, and the amount of food I need to feel satisfied did as well.

Clarity of Thought & Mental Focus

This is by far the biggest reason I continue to fast regularly. After my first 18-hour fast, the clarity of my mind was astounding. I felt as good as I have in the past doing 2 week cleanses but in so much less time!

Consistent Benefits

Allows me to eat whatever I want the rest of the days. My diet is still really clean but if you’ve seen any of my instagram posts you know I love pizzas, and a really great burger. And cupcakes.

Lost Weight

Not intentional but it happened, I move easier, feel more like myself.

Many people are overfed and undernourished, and many people eat more than they need. Talk to your Chiropractor, naturopath or health provider about it! For most people there is no challenge and the only benefits are good ones, but it’s always best to get some professional advice. Do some research, then try it and see if its right for you.

What’s Wrong With Heels?

What’s wrong with heels? For starters, wearing high heels changes your body’s centre of gravity, and then your body compensates so that you maintain an upright stance. With the foot in a heeled shoe, you’ll put  increased pressure on the forefoot which then causes the rest of the body to adjust to maintain balance. With the lower part of the body leaning forward to compensate, the upper part of the body must lean back to keep you balanced. 

You may also notice (and let’s be honest this might be part of the allure of wearing heels) that in high heels your chest is pushed forward. This also causes the body to compensate by changing the curve in the lower back,  taking the hips out of proper alignment, and adding extra stress on the knees. Also, in order to maintain your balance the hip and back muscles become tense.

Overall, wearing high heels creates an unhealthy posture, and with repetitive wear overtime this can affect the health of your spine! 

Tips for Heels and Spinal Health

  1. Take your shoes off when you can. If you’re at your desk no one will see you without your shoes on! As soon as you get home, take them off.
  2. Avoid wearing heels for long periods of time, and change your footwear throughout the week to give your feet and posture a break. 
  3. Give your feet some love! Use a lacrosse ball or tennis ball and roll it under your feet to increase circulation and relieve muscle tension.

So, there’s no need to throw out your favouite pair of heels. Just keep in mind that your body needs a break every once in a while, and make sure you give your body the help it needs to heal from those heels!

5 Little Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health

Taking care of your spine and nervous system is an amazing way to improve your health, but there are many other lifestyle factors that will help you feel fantastic. For some people though, the thought of improving their body and making some lifestyle changes can leave them feeling intimidated, and even overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be this way though! 

What if you just tried to do 5 daily things to improve your health? 

Imagine doing 5 little, yet important, intentional acts everyday to get you closer to your most important health goal: feeling and functioning well.  I’m not talking about massive, major changes to your health that require a dramatic lifestyle change, but small daily things that ultimately create a bigger impact because you are actually doing them.

“Success in anything is created through the performance of a few small daily disciplines that stack up over time to create stunning results.”

Robin Sharma

It’s much easier to build on small steps and gradually add more, than to attempt a massive change. 

It’s likely that you’re already doing some great things to support your health, but perhaps they have already become so routine for you that you’ve even forgotten they are good for you! 

Focusing on the good things you are already doing, and all the good things your body is capable of doing is also a powerful gratitude reminder and can motivate other small changes.

Can you think of 5 things that you do on any given day to support good health?

Need some ideas? Here’s some to get you thinking:

  • reduce your caffeine or alcohol
  • drink more water
  • go for a walk/run/swim/bike/hike….
  • visit a friend
  • eat some fruit
  • go to bed a little earlier
  • play with your children
  • read a book
  • put that donut or cookie down
  • take a yoga class
  • breathe (with awareness! consciously relaxing, with full deep breaths)
  • do something you love
  • learn something that can help you live healthier
  • get adjusted!

Need more ideas? Just ask!

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of our blog posts!
If you’re more of a listener than a reader, you may prefer tuning into my Rock Your Health Podcast.
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Episode 20: How Do I Deal With Illness In My Family?

Despite being 13 and 17 years old respectively, neither of my sons have ever taken any medication. The only support they’ve had from pharmaceuticals is when dealing with broken bones and pain management. If they have colds, congestion or any other common illness, my approach since they were born, was to let the body handle it naturally. I have the support of an amazing health team, including a great physician and a naturopath who have always been there for advice, and thankfully, believe in the power of the body to heal itself. To find out how we’ve done it, tune into today’s show.

For more information on how to handle illness naturally, check out this blog post, and this one too.

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of the Rock Your Health Podcast episodes!
If you’re more of a reader than a listener, you may prefer checking out some  blog posts!
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Baby Won’t Poop? Chiropractic Can Help!

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 –  imagine how your little one feels! There can be many causes of tummy troubles with infants, toddlers, and children of all ages such as food sensitivities, dehydration, stress, food poisoning, and lack of movement within the spine and nervous system!

Chiropractic Care Sets the Body Up For Health

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 your child is 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 their diet, stress levels and making some other adjustments to your lifestyle so that their body can heal from the inside out.

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of our blog posts!
If you’re more of a listener than a reader, you may prefer tuning into my Rock Your Health Podcast.
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Episode 17: Gardening With Your Body In Mind

It’s that time of year (at least here in Canada), where we reap the last of the harvest, pack up the gardens and put them to bed for the winter. Your body, while genius, does not care which season you’re gardening in, it still needs you to be conscious of it as you work. On today’s episode, I’m sharing the quick tips that will save you from the injuries I commonly see in my practice during this time of year.

For more Gardening Tips for a Healthy Spine, check out this blog post.

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! 

Balanced?

Recently I was sitting on the patio of my local café, reading, planning my day. When it was time to get started on the responsibilities I had, I joked with an acquaintance how reluctant I was to get to working, that it was so lovely sitting on the patio! His comment was brilliant:

“Give yourself a break. Enjoy the day. Whatever you have to do will all work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet – it’s not the end!”

I encourage you to balance time in your life for movement, healthy eating, nurturing relationships, getting enough rest, and playing.  You need all of these things in your life because you are a whole person, and because being healthy requires attention to all these areas.

We all have work responsibilities, family obligations and personal objectives. The key to healthy living is in balancing all of them every week, sometimes every day, and giving ourselves permission to do so.

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.

Some days, weeks, months are more balanced than others. I think it’s important to look at the larger picture of our lives when reflecting on this topic.  When raising young children, juggling work or changes in career, helping aging parents, moving or renovating a property, life can become a little overwhelming, and sometimes very unbalanced. I can say this from personal experience, and from working with people for so many years.

Even during these stressful times we can always become aware, and try to make small changes if that’s all we can make. Do the best you can – a little will always be better than none at all.

If things are seem to be a little unbalanced in your life ask yourself…

Is it a temporary situation given the stage of life you are in, or a constant challenge?

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?

Where can you create more time in your life to support these other wishes you have?

Change can only happen if you choose to do so. Think about these questions, then act!