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Five Health Hacks for Pain Relief

Let’s face it. Between dropping the kids off to soccer practice and being swamped with work assignments, it can be difficult to find time to manage lingering aches and pain. If you’d like to avoid a trip to the doctor’s office or spending money on workout equipment, here is a low cost approach to solving discomfort using items lying around your house.

Golf Balls

It turns out that these petite dimpled balls can be used for more than a game-winning putt. Just roll the ball under your foot while seated to help relieve tension in sore feet.

Tennis Balls or Lacrosse Balls

Standing against a wall, place a tennis or lacrosse ball between your back and the wall. Slowly move up and down or side to side to help work out tension in your back or shoulders. Lacrosse balls are available to purchase at Campbell Chiropractic of Kanata.

Frozen Peas

Forget expensive ice packs. Frozen vegetables are a great alternative and will form to fit different parts of your body.

Rolling Pin

Tight thigh muscles are common in runners, walkers and other athletes. Roll a rolling pin up and down along the front or side of your thigh to help relieve this tension.

Towel

If you sit at a desk all day, you may feel tension in your back or chest from slouching. To help relieve the pain, place a rolled towel on the floor. Sit at one end, facing away from the roll. Slowly lay back so that the roll is under your spine, supporting you from the neck to the lower back. Relax in this position for one minute, feeling a stretch across your chest and the front of your shoulders. To avoid straining your neck while in this position, rest your head on the roll or place a pillow at the end of the roll for more support.

These tips may not completely eliminate pain from your life, but try them for a few weeks and you’ll likely feel less discomfort. Recurrent pain can affect your quality of life, but learning how to cope with it can help you manage its harmful impact. A chiropractor can diagnose the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan in order to get you back to doing the things you love to do.

Compliments of The Ontario Chiropractic Association

SWEET DREAMS

SWEET DREAMS

Lack of sleep is no joke and getting a good night’s rest is important. We spend about one- third of our lives sleeping, so getting the most out of it is important. Preventing stress or worries that keep you up at night may be difficult, but a few simple lifestyle and nutritional changes can help you wake-up feeling refreshed.

For a good night’s rest

  • When choosing a mattress, look for one that is comfortably supportive. A mattress should be flexible enough to adapt to your body’s shape, while providing firm support for your spine. Your mattress should be replaced every 8 to 12 years to ensure the proper support and comfort.
  • Be selective when choosing a pillow. When lying on your side, your head, neck and shoulders should remain level with your mid and lower spine. When lying on your back, your head and neck should remain level with your upper back and spine.
  • Your sleeping position is also an important factor in how you will feel when you wake-up. Lying on your back or side allows your head, neck and spine to relax into their natural alignment.
  • Have low back pain? Try sleeping on your back and place a pillow under your knees to take some of the pressure off your back.

Things to keep in mind

  • Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, colas and tea in the evening. Caffeine is a stimulant and can make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
  • Try to go to bed at the same time everyday. This includes weekends! This will help to keep your sleep cycle in a regular rhythm.
  • Expose yourself to bright light/sunlight soon after you wake up. This will help to regulate your body’s natural biological clock.
  • Avoid looking at the clock if you happen to wake in the middle of the night. This can cause added anxiety and keep you awake even longer.
  • If you can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes of trying, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light until you become sleepy.

If you’re still experiencing trouble sleeping, consult with a chiropractor to discuss what treatments may help improve your quality of sleep.

Compliments of Ontario Chiropractic Association   http://www.chiropractic.on.ca

 

 

 

 

REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURIES

As your workload at the office increases, so do repetitive actions, such as typing, using your computer mouse and talking on the phone. These routine tasks seem simple, but they can add a level of physical stress to the emotional and mental stress of getting the job done. In fact, repetitive strain injuries have skyrocketed in the last 20 years due to the increasing reliance on workplace technology.

Try these tips to reduce the strain:

Computer Monitor

Position your computer screen directly in front of you. Allow the muscles in your eyes to relax by following the 20/20/20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and focus on an object that is at least 20 feet away from you.

Telephone

Use your hand to support the telephone against your ear and alternate sides regularly. Do not cradle the phone between your ear and your shoulder. Consider using a headset or speaker.

Chair

Sit upright and all the way to the back. Place a support cushion or roll against the arch of your low back for lumbar spine support.

Here are some tips to help you adjust your chair:

  1. Stand in front of the chair and adjust the height so that the highest point of the seat is just below your knee.
  2. Sit on the chair and make sure that your knees are bent at approximately a 90-degree angle when your feet are flat on the floor.
  3. Adjust the backrest forwards and backwards as well as up and down until it fits the hollow in your lower back.
  4. Sit upright with your arms hanging by your sides. Bend your elbows at about a right angle and adjust the armrest height until they barely touch the undersides of the elbows. Remove the armrest from the chair if the right level cannot be achieved.

Lastly, don’t forget to take a quick stretch break or change position every 30 to 45 minutes. Your back, neck and shoulders will thank you for it!

 

 

 

PACK IT LIGHT. WEAR IT RIGHT. (HANDBAGS)

Some women carry the whole world in their handbag, but a heavy bag or purse can cause pain and injury to your back, neck and shoulders. Overstuffed bags also cause poor posture by encouraging the carrier to lean to one side.

The good news is pain and injury can be easily avoided by following a few simple tips.

Choosing a handbag

  1. Choose a handbag that is proportionate to your body size and no larger than what is needed. Your handbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of your body weight.
  2. Choose a handbag that has several individual pockets, instead of one large compartment. This will help to distribute the weight of the contents more evenly and keep them from shifting.

Packing a handbag

  1. Change the size and weight of your wallet once in a while. You may also consider one wallet for your work and a different one for when you go out, as you may need different objects for both.
  2. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the purse by using all the pockets.

Carrying a handbag

  1. Use both hands to check the weight of the handbag.
  2. Instead of always carrying your handbag on the same shoulder, switch sides often so each shoulder gets a rest.
  3. Square your shoulders — many women have a habit of lifting the shoulder on which the purse is carried to keep the straps from slipping.

More tips

  1. Try to maintain good posture. When standing, your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line-up, one comfortably above the other.
  2. If you can walk to lunch or a meeting, lock your purse in your desk or locker and carry only your cash and/or credit cards in a pocket.

By following these simple strategies, it’s easy to lighten your load.

Courtesy of the Ontario Chiropractic Association

4 Exercises to Relieve Your New-Mom Backache


While carrying your bundle of joy for nine months, your abdominal muscles have stretched to make room for delivery. This is a common cause of back pain in new moms because your back muscles now have to work overtime to support your spine and keep you upright.

Here are 4 core exercises you can do with your little one to help decrease the ache.


Pelvic Bridges

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground.
  • Place your baby on your pelvis with their back against your thighs.
  • While holding your baby in place, slowly push your hips up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds.
  • Keep your abdominals tight to avoid sagging your lower back. Inhale as you slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Plank

  • Lay your baby on the ground, face up, while kneeling in front of them.
  • Place your forearms on either side of your baby and lift your body off the ground.
  • Keep your back in neutral spine position and engage your core by contracting your abdominal muscles. Avoid letting your hips fall or stick up in the air.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, working your way up to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Stabilizer

  • Laying on your back, bend your knees at a 90 degree angle with your feet in the air.
  • Stabilize your baby so they are resting on your shins and hold onto their hands.
  • Engage your core and hold this position for 10 seconds, working your way up to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Arm & Leg Extensions

  • Get down on all fours with your baby lying on their back and parallel to your chest.
  • Engage your core and slowly lift and extend your left arm and right leg at the same time while maintaining a neutral spine position.
  • Hold this position for 3 seconds, then lower your limbs and give your baby’s belly a tickle as you return to starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side, lifting right arm and left leg.
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Before getting back to business, consult your postnatal practitioner and get cleared to return to exercise. You’ll also want to make sure that your newborn can hold their head up on their own if you’re going to include them in these exercises. If your back pain prevents you from performing these exercises or persists after trying them, visit our office to develop a treatment plan for your recovery.

Courtesy of Ontario Chiropractic Association

 

 

Understanding Whiplash

People injured in a motor vehicle accident sometimes experience a strain of their neck muscles and the surrounding soft tissue, commonly referred to as whiplash. Anyone who has had such an injury knows neck muscles can be very tender, and neck movement can be quite limited.

The injury occurs most often when a vehicle is hit from the rear or the side, causing a sharp movement of the head and neck. Research shows that successful whiplash treatment requires patient cooperation and active efforts to resume daily activity.

Whiplash symptoms

Whiplash symptoms include headache, dizziness, loss of mobility in the neck and shoulders, upper back pain, neck pain and even chest pain.

Get Help

Do not ignore whiplash type injuries. Get yourself examined if you experience any of these symptoms. Health care professionals are alert for the signs of more serious neck trauma.

Good News

The good news is that most whiplash injuries are not serious and will heal fully. Many people experience little disruption in their activities and are able to get on with their daily lives.

Did You Know?

Whiplash can occur from many causes, not just car accidents. For example, it can happen from falling downstairs or having something fall on your head. It can also happen when tackled or bodychecked while taking part in contact sports.

Whiplash can also occur at relatively low impact. For example, a hit in a car accident at less than 10km/hour can cause whiplash. Pain, stiffness and other symptoms of Grade 1 (tender muscles) or Grade 2 (limited neck movement) whiplash typically start within the first two days after an accident.

Well Adjusted?

Properly adjusting the height of your car headrest will help prevent whiplash injury in an accident. In an ideal adjustment, the top of your head should be in line with the top of the headrest and there should be no more than 2 to 5 cm between the back of your head and the headrest.

 

Courtesy of Ontario Chiropractic Association

LIFT LIGHT TO SHOVEL RIGHT

Snow Shoveling

Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shovelling is often to blame.

But shoveling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here’s how:

Before You Start

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
  • Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
  • Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.

All Set to Go

PUSH, DON’T THROW.

Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.

BEND YOUR KNEES.

Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.

WATCH FOR ICE.

Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
Once you’ve mastered safe snow shoveling techniques, you’ll be free to have fun and stay fit all winter.

 

Courtesy of Ontario Chiropractic Association

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