News

4 Ways Your Feet May Be Hurting Your Back

istock_68786589_webOur body is a complex and fascinating structure of connected and largely interdependent parts. In a past blog, we discussed how your feet can contribute to back pain and other musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. The altered gait and biomechanics can create additional stress on joints, muscles, bones, and the nervous system, putting you at risk of injury.

Here are some examples of biomechanical foot dysfunctions, and how they can lead to back pain

1. Injuries

A series of studies suggest that back pain may result, in part, from repetitive abnormal function of the feet, causing you to alter your posture to compensate for the foot pain—ultimately creating an environment primed for low back pain. The studies also suggest that someone with a previous history of injuries is more likely to reinjure themselves. This is due in part to repeating the same dysfunctional movements over time, consequently altering one’s gait—often without being addressed.

2. Range of Motion

Motions of the hip, knee, ankle and foot joints flex in the opposite direction from the joint directly above or below it. Should one of these hinges be restricted or limited, the loss of motion in one joint negatively impact the others (higher up the leg or in the spine, for example) and this may result in pain or dysfunction.

3. Leg Length Discrepancies

A difference in leg length that is greater than 5 millimeters can contribute to low back pain. If the leg length difference is greater than 9 mm there is a significantly greater likelihood of having an episode of low back pain. Leg length discrepancies can be structural or functional. Depending on the discrepancy, measures can be taken to help address these and alleviate symptoms or dysfunctions.

4. Body Weight Imbalances

There can be subtle structural differences in your body. These can be related to natural asymmetry or an injury, and either could potentially have a dramatic impact on the rest of your body. The parts of your body are all connected in a kinetic chain, and if there is a significant imbalance in your weight, the imbalanced force can end up making its way to your lower back (or another part of your body) causing MSK-related issues down the line. Any host of issues stemming from the foot has the potential to work all the way up to the hips, which is just a short chain link away from your low back, potentially causing you back pain.

Talk to Dr. Campbell and Dr. McKeagan about any of these concerns or how you can prevent problems from developing.

From Head to Toe: How your feet may be affecting your back health

 

iStock_000087593957_webWhen you think about your back pain, do you consider the health of your feet? Maybe not.

Your feet serve as the foundation for your entire body as it moves. Dysfunction in your feet can manifest as pain in other areas of your body like your back. Did you know that studies have linked flat feet, excessive pronation, ankle instability, and ankle joint dysfunction to low back pain? Faulty foot biomechanics, like the ones we just pointed out, can have a negative impact on all supporting joints above the foot/ankle complex, including the low-back region.

For some people, even those with faulty foot biomechanics, they may not experience symptoms like others do. But for those at risk, read about how your feet may be linked to the pain in your back:

Flat Feet: Flat feet can increase risk of back pain due to flattening and rigidity of the arch. For people who have flatter arches, the feet may not adequately correct how the forces disperse on landing. This can result in forces being translated up to other structures, like the back, causing pain and discomfort1.

Leg Length discrepancy:  This is literally a difference in leg length between one and the other. Leg length discrepancy can be structural or functional. To accommodate the difference, the body will adapt and in some cases may result in a functional scoliosis. Also, to compensate, muscles and other soft tissues may be affected which can cause pain and discomfort1.

Excessive Pronation: Over-pronation occurs when the foot and ankle joint collapse in the centre from bearing weight. The foot absorbs axial rotation of the leg during gait and then prepares the body to react against contact with the floor2.

Ankle Instability: Ankle instability can be due to an injury, or due to irregular neuromuscular control of the ankle. Studies have shown a correlation between moderate to severe ankle instability and the risk of low back pain3.

So if you are experiencing back pain, consider the role that other structures may play. How your feet function as you move, work, and participate in activities you love can impact the rest of your body. Talk to Dr. Campbell or Dr. McKeagan to find out more about how to prevent or manage such issues.

 

Courtesy of Canadian Chiropractic Association

Understanding Orthotics

iStock_000068139283_Large_webYour feet play an important role in your overall health—they serve as a strong base to your body when you’re standing and walking. However, at times, your feet and body may benefit from extra support by wearing custom orthotics. An orthosis is an externally applied device that is designed and fitted to the body that can help1:

  • Control biomechanical alignment
  • Correct or accommodate deformity
  • Protect and support an injury
  • Assist in rehabilitation
  • Reduce pain
  • Increase mobility

There are varieties of prefabricated and custom-made orthoses that can help manage a number of MSK problems. Commonly, we understand that orthotics can provide arch support and realign the structures of the foot and leg, as well as prevent muscle and tendon fatigue. Orthotics may also be used to correct structural deformities2.

Chiropractors are trained to assess if and when custom orthotics may benefit a patient. As part of the assessment, a chiropractor’s evaluation may include observation, gait analysis, functional analysis and neurological and orthopedic testing among others. This will help the chiropractor determine if custom orthotics are appropriate for a patient. In some cases, off-the-shelf orthotics may be best suited to meet the needs and goals of the patient. However, in cases where structural deformities exist and correction may be required, chiropractors will typically refer to a colleague, like a podiatrist, to co-manage the condition.

Chiropractors consider the body as a whole. For example, when assessing knee pain they will also look at the function of the back, hip, ankle and foot. Interestingly, patients who benefit the most from orthotics may not present with only foot pain, but rather pain in the ankle, knee, hip or low back, and a comprehensive look at all these biomechanics are reflected in chiropractic training3.

The underlying problem doesn’t always stem from the source of pain—a foot dysfunction (e.g., over pronation) can cause pain in other parts of the body. The value of chiropractic training in the field of orthotics, when considering all therapeutic options, involves assessing the entire lower kinetic chain for patients presenting with non-foot pain.

Next time you visit your Dr. Campbell or Dr. McKeagan ask whether orthotics may be appropriate for you.

 

Courtesy of  Canadian Chiropractic Association

Keeping Our Youth Heart-Healthy Through Movement

Exercising the heart makes it stronger. It’s a lesson we all know in adulthood, and it begins with good habits that are ingrained within us over time. If we want to make the general population more heart healthy, it’s important to start the lesson early.The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), a voluntary organization that focuses on the scientific study of exercise physiology and biochemistry, fitness, and health, came up with a new plan to get our young people moving. The 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, aimed at those 5 to 17 years in age, is the first evidence-based set of guidelines to address the whole day of a person’s activity, including rest and sleep.1

The rationale behind taking into consideration a whole day of active and passive activity is that the body is always active. It’s about more than concentrated physical workouts—all physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep are necessary in a fine balance for overall well-being.

The categories of movement are broken down into “Sweat, Step, Sleep, and Sit,” and the guidelines encourage youth to achieve high levels of “sweat,” low levels of “sit,” and the right amount of sleep each day depending on their age group1:

SWEAT: When it comes to sweating, the CSEP recommends a total of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity throughout the day, including some aerobic activity. Strengthening activities should be part of that “sweat time” at least three days out of the week. 

STEP: “Step” activities can come in many forms of structured and unstructured physical activities, as long as they are light intensity. One clear example would be walking. Several hours of light movement are needed throughout the day.

SLEEP: Of all the activities, this is the one that should take up most of your time. For those aged 5 to 13, nine to 11 hours of sleep per night are needed. For those a little older in the 14 to 17 year age category, eight to 10 hours of sleep per night are recommended. Along with this schedule, it is recommended that bedtimes and wake-up times stay consistent. 

SIT: One of the next-most recommended pieces of advice is to avoid being sedentary. In the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, it’s built into the plan: no more than two hours per day of recreational screen time, and limited sitting for extended periods.

Following these guidelines can have a significant, positive impact on the body, improving “body composition, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness, academic achievement and cognition, emotional regulation, prosocial behaviours, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and overall quality of life.”2 (For more information on musculoskeletal fitness, you can ask Dr. Campbell or Dr. McKeagan.)

These guidelines promote building extra movement into your day without being overwhelmed by one specific category. By promoting regular activity and sleep schedules, it’s a practical beneficial framework for youth (and adults) to apply to their daily lives.

Courtesey of Canadian Chiropractic Association

6 Fast Facts about Nutrition Labels

Food and nutrition labels on food are packed with helpful information. Often they’re our go-to source for calorie, fat, and carbohydrate information, but they have a whole lot more to communicate to consumers.

Here are some fast facts about what information you can find on food labels, and what it really means:

  1. All ingredients lists are sorted by weight.1 

That’s right, the first item on any ingredients list is the one that weighs the heaviest in the product, and goes down in descending order. If you’re keeping an eye out for certain ingredients (of which you want more or less) their order on the list can be a clue to guide you. 

  1. Some foods make nutrition claims.1,2 

For better or worse, packaged foods will often come with claims that explain the value of certain nutrients, such as “low in sodium,” “high in fibre,” or “a good source of iron.” Sometimes those claims go a step further and explain why that value is good for your health, such as: “A healthy diet containing foods high in potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.” The good news about these claims is that, in Canada, they must follow certain rules from Health Canada to make sure they are consistent and not misleading. 

  1. Information on nutrition facts tables are based on serving sizes.3 

Serving sizes are important measurements to consider before you look at calories or any other nutrient breakdown on the list. The serving size can vary between products, and it’s often much smaller than the amount you would serve yourself if you’re not paying attention. It can help you understand how much of certain nutrients you’re eating, compare nutritional values between similarly packaged products, and gauge the amount of food you’re actually eating.  

  1. The term “%DV” means the percentage of your daily value.4 

In addition to serving size and calories, there are 13 core nutrients that are listed on every nutrition label: fat, saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fibre, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. The percentage of your daily value requirement for most of these items is noted by %DV at the end of each line, and it’s based on the recommended serving size. If it’s less than 5%, that means it’s a very small amount, and if it’s more than 15%, it’s more significant. In Canada, these values are determined by the recommended daily intake (or RDI) of vitamins and minerals as well as the reference standards for fat, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates, fibre, potassium, and sodium. The helpful thing about %DV is that it makes it easier to compare different products and make more informed food choices about what you want and need in your diet. 

  1. Not all foods must have a nutrition facts table (but most do).5 

In Canada, by law, nearly all packaged food must have a nutrition facts table. However, there are a few food items that don’t require one: fresh produce, raw meat and seafood, onebite candies and snacks, milk sold in refillable glass bottles, individual servings of freshly prepared food intended for immediate consumption, and in-store fresh foods like bakery items and salads. On the upside, sticking to fresh produce means you don’t have to worry about preservatives or sort through any ingredients lists since there’s only one ingredient! 

  1. Calories mean energy.6 

We’re often told to watch our calories and think of them as an intimidating little number directly linked to putting on weight. That’s not necessarily the case. Calories represent the amount of energy in food, which come from carbohydrates, fats, and protein, all of which are necessary for proper nutrition. Your body uses this energy to perform all its daily tasks, and we need to eat enough to replenish the calories we use throughout the day. When it comes to nutrition labels, whether or not we follow the serving suggestion can be more important than counting calories.Looking for more guidance on healthy food choices? Ask Dr. Campbell or Dr. McKeagan.

References

  1. gc.ca. About food labels. 2017. Available at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/understanding-comprendre/what-quoi-eng.php. Accessed January 11, 2017.
  2. gc.ca. Nutrition claims. 2017. Available at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/understanding-comprendre/claims-allegations-eng.php. Accessed January 11, 2017.
  3. gc.ca. Serving size. 2017. Available at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/understanding-comprendre/serving-portion-eng.php. Accessed January 11, 2017.
  4. gc.ca. Percent daily value. 2017. Available at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/understanding-comprendre/daily-value-valeur-quotidienne-eng.php. Accessed January 11, 2017.
  5. gc.ca. Nutrition facts tables. 2017. Available at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/understanding-comprendre/nutrition-fact-valeur-nutritive-eng.php. Accessed January 11, 2017.
  6. gc.ca. Calories. 2017. Available at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/understanding-comprendre/table_calories-eng.php. Accessed January 11, 2017.

Courtesy of: www.chiropractic.ca

Beyond Adjustments: How Chiropractors Can Help in Pediatric Care

CCA-36-3610553903-OChiropractors are a part of families’ healthcare teams across Canada, and they are of benefit to all members of the family. Naturally, many adults visit a chiropractor for a variety of conditions that they may develop due to aging, recreational and physical activities, and work. Yet, children and teens can also be at risk for injury, pain and dysfunction, and may benefit from chiropractic care.
Like adults, children and teens can also experience MSK pain and injuries to the back, neck, knees, shoulders and other components of the MSK system. The assessment and technique used to manage these issues are similar to those of adults, but gentler and adjusted to the body and age of the patient based on development. Studies have shown that manual therapies are safe for both adults and children.
Most of those injuries are preventable; these include musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries related to falls, sports and day-to-day life. In many cases, these injuries are minor and will either resolve naturally or require a trial of care. Chiropractic care can help not only in the treatment of an injury, but in preventing reoccurrence and future MSK conditions—especially for individuals at high risk due to high impact sports and activities.At a typical first visit to a chiropractor, child patients are to be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to discuss assessment, diagnosis and plan of treatment. Depending on the symptoms, treatment can include gentle mobilizations or manipulation, soft tissue therapy, exercise, postural correction and lifestyle counselling.The best way to learn more about pediatric chiropractic is to talk to your chiropractor.
Author: CCA Staff TeamDate: Apr 27, 2016
Courtesy of: Ontario Chiropractic Association

The Concussion Play Book

Concussions are called an ‘invisible injury’ because its symptoms aren’t always easy to recognize and even MRI imaging isn’t perfect at identifying a concussion. But with this kind of brain trauma, the effects are all too real. According to Scientific American, one blow to the head may increase your risk of a mental health disorder. We’ll cover some steps you can take to reduce your chances of suffering long term effects after a hard hit.

What is a Concussion?

concussion is traumatic brain injury caused when the brain is shaken inside the skull, which can cause damage to blood vessels in the brain or even injury to the brain tissue itself.

All it takes is a hard tumble on the basketball court or a blow to the head or the body. Yes, that’s right — you don’t necessarily have to hit your head. For example, when your body stops suddenly due to a hard tackle or a strong pick, it can cause whiplash and a concussion.

Some people think concussions only happen if you black out. But nine out of ten concussions don’t make you lose consciousness, and some only cause a brief interruption in mental alertness. Studies find that most high school and college athletes don’t report concussions while playing football. They might not realize that a concussion can happen even if you don’t black out.

In the past, athletes in many sports returned to play too soon after a concussion, sometimes even on the same day. But sports and health organizations are starting to take these injuries much more seriously. Trainers, health care professionals and athletes themselves are watching more closely for concussions and taking a more conservative approach to rehabilitation and return to play. This is an important change for the health of athletes everywhere.

Dealing with a Concussion

If you’ve had a concussion, the first 10 days are crucial. During this time you are at the greatest risk for another concussion. Not only that, your risk of getting another concussion rises every time you have one. If you can protect yourself in those first few days, you’ll have much better odds of a full recovery.

But first, you need to know that you have a concussion. Effective concussion management starts with recognizing the signs and symptoms, some of which may show up hours or days after your injury. It is important for parents, coaches, trainers and athletes to recognize these early signs. They typically include:

  • Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating or remembering new information.
  • Headache, blurry vision, queasiness or vomiting, dizziness, balance problems or sensitivity to noise or light.
  • Irritability, moodiness, sadness or nervousness.
  • Extreme sleepiness or difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.

Any athlete with potential concussion warning signs should see a physician as quickly as possible for a diagnosis. Remember, there is no simple test for a concussion. Many concussions can be missed if you rely only on a simple five-minute assessment done on the sidelines.

Athletes, coaches, parents and health care providers should all be up to date on concussions. If you are not comfortable dealing with a concussion yourself, have a concussion plan in place so you know exactly who to ask for help if someone shows warning signs.

Returning to Play

Most people recover within a few days to three months. The Zurich Consensus statement on concussion recovery recommends the following five stages of rehabilitation:

  1. No activity: Focus on recovery. Rest your body and your mind.
  2. Light aerobic exercise: Get your heart rate up with light activities like walking and swimming, but don’t go past 70% of your maximum heart rate. Your goal is to increase your heart rate without risk of re-injury. Do not do any resistance training yet.
  3. Sport-specific exercise: Add movement by re-introducing sport-specific movement like skating or running drills. Do not do anything that might risk a head impact.
  4. Non-contact training drills: Add more complex forms of training to improve your exercise, coordination and cognitive load. This could include passing drills in football and hockey. You may start resistance training again.
  5. Full-contact practice: Once your doctor says it’s okay, you can participate in normal training again. This will build your confidence and skills before returning to play.

At any stage, if you experience any recurring symptoms, restart the process and remain inactive until the symptoms stop.

Returning to play after concussion should occur only with medical clearance from a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.

The Importance of a Team

In all cases it is important to have a healthcare team working together to get you back on the field safely with an eye on your long-term health.

A physician can provide a concussion diagnosis and manage and evaluate your condition in order to provide medical clearance.

Health care practitioners such as chiropractors can help you manage headaches or back and muscle pain you may have as a result of your concussion. It’s important to remember that your injury may have also injured your neck, shoulder or back. While you’re resting and recovering, these injuries might resolve on their own. If not, a chiropractor or a physiotherapist can help you recover and return to play. A full evaluation of your strength and physical function will help you know when your body is ready to get back into sports.

Concussion symptoms can vary widely from person to person: while one person might suffer from pain, another may have depression and trouble sleeping. Education, encouragement, and a commitment to getting you back to your daily activities as soon as it is safe and appropriate are some of the best known strategies to help overcome many of the negative outcomes of concussion. That takes a committed approach from the right health care team alongside family and friends.

Courtesy of Ontario Chiropractic Association

Both Dr. Campbell and Dr. McKeagan are Shift Concussion Certified to help you manage and recover from a concussion. Their services include concussion baseline testing, concussion assessment and concussion rehabilitation see our Shift Concussion Management Page for information on our services and how they can help you!

Pack it Light, Wear it Right!

Kids and backpacks just seem to go together. Whether you are heading out on holiday with the kids or sending them off to school, chances are they’ll be packing a backpack.

You have your own load too, whether it’s a fashionable new purse or a suitcase packed to bursting.  Knowing how to choose, pack and lift backpacks, shoulder bags and luggage can prevent them from becoming a pain in the back.

Our common-sense guide will spare your back:

BACKPACKS

Choose carefully: Go for lightweight vinyl or canvas. Pick a pack that has two wide, adjustable and padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, a padded back and plenty of pockets.

Pack it properly: Make sure the backpack contains only what is needed for the day or the activity. Distribute the weight of the contents evenly. The total weight of the filled pack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight.

Wear it right: Both shoulder straps should always be used, and adjusted so that the pack fits snugly to the body without dangling to the side. Never sling a backpack over one shoulder.  You should be able to slide a hand between the backpack and the carrier’s back.

It’s a fact! More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by their teenage years. Research indicates one cause is improper use of backpacks. So pack it light and wear it right!

SHOULDER BAGS

Choosing a Shoulder Bag: Whether your bag is a purse or home to your laptop, choose one with a wide, padded adjustable shoulder strap.

Packing a Shoulder Bag: Divide the contents among multiple pockets to help distribute the weight and keep items from shifting. Your bag should not weigh more than 10 to 15 per cent of your body weight.

Carrying a Shoulder Bag: Don’t always carry your bag on the same shoulder, switch sides often so that each shoulder gets a rest. Try not to lift the shoulder on which the purse is carried, ideally wear the strap across your chest.

LUGGAGE

Choosing Luggage: Look for sturdy, light, high-quality and transportable pieces. Avoid purchasing luggage that is already too heavy when empty. Choose a bag with wheels and an adjustable handle when possible.

Packing Luggage: Over-packing is a pitfall. Ensure your luggage is never too heavy for you to pick up.

Lifting Luggage: Place carry-on luggage into the overhead compartment by first lifting it onto the top of the seat. Use your knees, not your back to lift!

The Last Word: Carrying a heavy load that is poorly distributed can cause a number of problems including muscle strain, headaches, neck, back and arm pain, and even nerve damage. It pays to pack it light and wear it right.

 

Courtesy of Ontario Chiropractic Association

Pain Is A Roadblock To Your Family Vacation

For many families, a road trip is an essential part of any summer vacation.

Unfortunately, muscle and joint pain doesn’t take days off, quickly turning this joyful time into a painful one.

Whether you’re lifting heavy luggage or simply sitting in the car for extended periods of time, it’s very common to experience back, neck, shoulder and other joint pain at some point during your travels. Since having fun should be your highest priority, its important to maximize your enjoyment by ensuring that you’re being as safe as you can be.

Did you know?

Sitting for long periods of time can be very harmful to your body. Even in the most comfortable cars, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can result in restricted blood flow.

To increase your chances of a pain free trip

  • Choose the right luggage: Choosing a bag with wheels and a handle goes a long way to ligthen your load. Alternatively, quality backpacks are a good option as they distribute weight more evenly than other types of luggage.

 

  • Get comfortable: Seat adjustment is critical for avoiding pain on the road. Make sure to adjust the seat to fit you comfortably. If neccesary, roll up a towel or pillow and place it between your lower back and the seat for more support.

 

  • Bring ice: Bring a cooler filled with ice packs to help relieve pain on the road. If you need to ice your back, limit it to 15 minutes at a time.

 

  • Make frequent pit stops: This gives everyone a chance to stretch and change out of a seated position for a short period of time. Each stop also provides an opportunity to refresh and reduce tension that has been building up in your body.

How to lift your luggage properly

  • Break the action up: When loading a suitcase into a car or truck, try lifting it onto a chair or step-stool first, rather than doing it all in one motion

 

  • Use your legs: When lifting your luggage, first get close to the load and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and let your leg muscles do the lifting, rather than your back

 

  • Avoid twisting: Instead, turn your feet in the direction you are headed and turn your entire body in that direction.

     

Courtesy of Ontario Chiropractic Association