At the initial visit, a thorough assessment is done to determine if Spinal Decompression therapy is suitable for your condition. We recommend that you bring any previous MRI or x-ray reports to the consultation. Copies can be requested either from your physician’s office or from the institution where the tests were done. Your specific treatment plan will be determined after your initial consultation and examination.read more
Welcome to my new website and my blog. Please note that some of my health articles I’ve written for my regular column “To Your Health” in the Community Press have been archived. I’ll be adding more of these on a regular basis so feel free to check back in from time to time. Please browse through my website and learn about spinal decompression therapy. If you have any further questions feel free to send me a message on the provided email box on the Contact page.
Things have been a wee bit crazy lately with all my scrambling to get the Quinte Decompression & Pain Clinic organized for its opening in April/11. I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to the blog, but that will change soon.
In other news I intend to teach an evening course in September called “Nutrition Demystified” in the Continuing Education department at Loyalist College. I’ve taught nutrition/fitness related courses at the community college level before but haven’t done so for a few years. I’m quite looking forward to doing so again. This course is intended to be a little different from traditional courses on the topic in as much that although it is based on sound science, there will be considerable emphasis on practical information. In fact we’ll even take one evening to visit a grocery store to learn how to understand labels and to demonstrate that it really is inexpensive to eat healthy. More information about this will be available when the fall edition of Loyalist’s magazine “Focus on Lifelong Learning” is delivered.
Well that’s all for now. I’ll be back later.read more
Don’t Walk Into Injuries
Walking is a terrific form of exercise. However, when first starting out, the first rule should be to not do too much too soon. My recommendation for beginning walkers is the same I give to beginning runners – think in terms of time rather than distance and build from there. In other words, let’s pretend you’re going for your first walk. Instead of determining how far you wish to walk, instead think of how long. Start with a given amount of time depending on your fitness and work up gradually from there by increasing your time walking as your progress. Start modestly and gradually build up.
There are many injuries that are both common to runners and walkers. Wearing decent walking shoes is a necessity. Sales personnel in stores that sell athletic footwear are generally fairly knowledgeable in helping to select good walking shoes. Improperly fitting shoes can cause chaffing or blistering. Shoes with inadequate arch support will cause or contribute to problems such as shin splints, low back pain or pain along the bottom of the foot called plantar fascitis. Some people may even need orthotics. These are special inserts that fit into the shoe to help correct foot problems. I can testify to this as I need to wear custom orthotics for running. You can buy generic orthotic inserts but custom orthotics are generally more effective since they are custom fitted to your feet. The downside is that they tend to be expensive, but are covered by most employer health plans.
Walking is not only a great way to lose weight, but also has been shown to reduce depression and heart disease. However, like all exercise, it has to be done regularly to be effective. Walk for thirty minutes three or four times a week and you’ll be doing wonders for your health.
Avoid Those Gardening Injuries
As Canadians, we are blessed with a wonderful country that has very limited warm weather. As a result we try to cram a year’s worth of activities into a three or four month summer. After a winter of relative inactivity, people then attack active summer activities with a vengeance.
One of these activities is gardening. Surprisingly, the mechanism of gardening injuries are almost like those of sports injuries, often caused by doing too much too soon at the start of the season. Activities such as bending over while weeding for extended periods of time, trimming branches or even pushing the lawn mower is hard work when our bodies aren’t used to it. Think of gardening as almost like participating in a sport. You shouldn’t go out and play that first season game of golf or tennis without first warming up.
To avoid gardening injuries here are a few basic thoughts to consider.
*stretch and warm up before starting work in the garden just like you would if playing a sport
*don’t try to do it all right away. Spread the work out over a longer period
*Take frequent breaks. Try not to be working in one position for too long.
*Drink lots of fluids when working outside on a warm day.
*Don’t forget sunscreen and/or a hat
Always approach gardening as if it was sport. Use the principles of warm up, stretching and cool down when gardening and injuries can be minimized.
Bicycling – Your Best Exercise
I love bicycles. I’m always riding my bicycle quite a lot in summer. I’ve even participated in organized 100 mile rides in Prince Edward County. Bicycling is absolutely my favorite form of exercise. Bicycles have been around for over a 100 years and are a very efficient and green form of transportation. Riding a bicycle is an excellent form of exercise which will work your muscles, heart, lungs and at the same time doesn’t put undo stress on your joints.
Bicycles come in different styles and price ranges starting with a basic Canadian Tire or Wal-Mart model for fewer than two hundred dollars all the way up to specialized lightweight racing bicycles that may cost several thousand dollars.
Whatever your needs or budget is, there is a bicycle for you. Unfortunately many beginning or casual bike riders are on bikes that don’t fit them properly. To make bicycling bio-mechanically efficient and therefore more comfortable, the bike should be fitted to the rider. A bike that is too big or small will be less comfortable, and requires more effort to ride. To get a proper fit several factors should be considered. These include frame size, seat height, handle bar height and how far you have to reach to the handle bars. If you’re feeling discomfort when you’re riding then you can be sure something is wrong with the way you’re fitted to your bike. The human body has a certain degree of adaptability and bikes have a good degree of adjustability. It’s a matter of mating the two to get the best fit and most efficient position to ride. Good fit isn’t as critical to a causal rider as it is to a racer, but is still very important if you want to be comfortable. Common complaints when riding a poor fitting bike include knee pain or discomfort in your neck, shoulders or low back.
Detailed information about how to fit a bike is available on the internet or in books on bicycling. People who work at good bicycle shop will also be able to fit you properly.
I’d love to see more people riding bicycles. It’s not only good for them but good for the environment. I’ll also always recommend wearing a helmet. Another good safety device that is often ignored by cyclists is the rear view mirror. In my many years of riding and racing bicycles I have found that most motorists are courteous. It’s the small percentage that you have to look out for. Under our highway act bicycles have all the same rights on the road as motor vehicles. Unfortunately there are a few that seem to forget this. So ride safe.
Computers May be a Real Pain in the Neck
In the old days it was called “secretary syndrome” as it afflicted women that sat in front of a typewriter all day. Now with the advent of computers, many more people suffer from neck and shoulder pain caused from hours in a sitting posture behind the computer. With your head forward while working on a computer more stress is put on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Setting up a proper work station will be covered in some forthcoming articles, but anyone who works with computers should get up regularly and take a stretch break. Take a five minute break every hour and walk around a bit. The human body was not designed to sit all day.
When you take this stretch break also try these few neck exercises. First put your head in a neutral position strait up. Place the palm of your hand on your forehead and push your head forward into your palm with your palm resisting. This will work your posterior neck muscles. Next take the index finger on each hand and place each on the back part of your neck with the two fingers touching the middle. Now extend your neck backwards pivoting on your fingers. Move your fingers up and down along all levels of your neck as you do this. Finally, work the range of motion of your neck. Drop your head forward as far as possible and extend it backward as far as you comfortably can. Try to touch your left ear to your shoulder and repeat on the right side. Then rotate your head to the right and left. If you experience any pain or discomfort doing any of these exercises then stop immediately. Do these exercises daily and they may help with the discomfort or muscle tightness many people feel working on computers.
Next week will be the first in a series of articles on the ergonomics of properly setting up a computer work station in order to maximize your comfort.
Avoid that Heart Attack
I knew a man who recently died of a heart attack at age 47. It was his second heart attack. He had his first at age 42. He continued with his previous lifestyle and didn’t live to see his 50th birthday. I also know another man who is a decade and a half older who also survived a heart attack, but is now living a happy and healthy life. The difference was that he recognized that surviving a heart attack was a wake up call and changed his lifestyle.
There are multiple causes for heart attacks. Sometimes it’s hereditary and even the most physically fit can get one, but usually it’s a matter of lifestyles. There is a saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and with heart attacks, this definitely applies. Specialists in this area list seven procedures to follow to minimize this risk.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Pain in the hand or numbness in the fingers can often be caused by either an irritated nerve in the neck or carpel tunnel syndrome. Carpel tunnel syndrome is a condition often linked to people who are in occupations involving intricate work with their hands. The condition involves compression of your median nerve in your wrist. The median nerve begins in the lower part of your neck and travels down your arm to your thumb, index finger, middle finger and half your ring finger. The “carpel tunnel” is an area of your wrist where the median nerve and a group of tendons pass through. Through over use these tendons become inflamed and compress the median nerve. One of the most common early symptoms is hand pain or finger numbness, often at night.
A pinched neck nerve can give similar symptoms, but there is a simple test for carpel tunnel syndrome. Put the backs of your hands together with your arms parallel to the floor with your fingers pointing down in a sort of “reverse praying’ position. If within a minute you begin to feel any symptoms, then you probably do have carpel tunnel syndrome. A more sophisticated diagnostic procedure is the nerve conduction velocity test where through high tech electronics a machine measures how fast nerve impulses are conducted through the median nerve.
There are a number of proven treatments for carpel tunnel syndrome. Wearing a wrist brace to bed may be helpful. Vitamin B6 may be helpful in large enough doses. As a chiropractor, I’ve used ultra-sound, electrotherapy, exercises or mobilization of the seven bones of the wrist, quite often with good success. Your family physician can prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs.
If all these treatments aren’t successful, then a surgical procedure may be necessary. Traditionally this involved slicing the transverse ligament of the wrist to decompress the carpel tunnel and take pressure off the median nerve. Unfortunately, this surgery was not always successful. A newer high tech procedure now uses a much smaller incision and a tiny state of the art fibre optic camera to see inside the carpel tunnel. It is claimed this newer procedure is far more successful than the older surgical procedures.read more
Headache is Often a Pain in the Neck
Many people suffer from headaches. It is a condition that has been documented since antiquity. Our ancient ancestors sought all kinds of unusual cures, even going to the extreme of drilling holes in the skull in an attempt to relieve the pressure in the head. Until very recently, even modern science was at a loss to explain what causes headaches.
It is now known there are different kinds of headaches, but one cause is the most common, the 80% of headaches that are related to your neck. Many years ago a French professor of medicine named Robert Maigne took note that chiropractors had theorized that many headaches were caused by problems in the neck and were having good success treating headaches with their treatments. Unfortunately, Maigne’s published research on this subject was largely ignored until recently, when a group of research anatomists have backed these theories up.
The key to all of this is the trigeminal nerve which from the brain exits the skull along both sides and runs along the side of the head to the forehead. Part of this nerve has connections with the spinal cord in the upper part of the neck with other nerves that exit from the upper bones of the neck. If there is a problem in the neck, the nerves are irritated and a headache is the symptom. The chiropractic approach was to manipulate or “adjust” the upper vertebrae in the neck to stop the nerve irritation and make the headache go away. For many years it was observed that this therapy often worked, but it was only recently understood why.
There are also other rarer causes of headaches besides neck problems that must always be ruled out, but this is the most common cause. Fortunately we have come a long way in treating headaches since the days of our ancestors drilling holes in their skulls.read more
Its summer vacation time and perhaps you’re thinking of going away for awhile. The old saying goes: “Vacations are fun, but traveling is a pain!” Actually, traveling can be an even bigger pain in the back.
There is the mental stress of making plans, packing the essentials, etc. Then there’s the physical stress and strain of lifting bags, dragging them in/out of the car or maybe even through the parking lots and airport, carrying all those over-stuffed carry-ons with gifts and paperbacks.
But the number one complaint by plain, train and automobile travelers – when describing the onset of their back pain – is sitting for too long.
Luckily, the pain associated with travel can be greatly reduced, and in many cases avoided, with these simple tips:
- Plan your trip well in advance, pack two days before and load suitcases in the car the night before.
- Only pack what is absolutely necessary. You don’t need to bring the whole house with you.
- The poor seating designs of most travel vehicles cause back pain due to incorrect support of the spine, and forward pitching of the shoulders. To avoid this, always bring a small pillow, or use one that is offered and place it behind your low back or neck for support
- If you are taking a long drive, train ride or flight, be sure to get up and move regularly. Make regular pit stops to stretch if you’re driving. Simply standing up for a few minutes and doing some light stretching, twisting or bending will help keep you limber, relaxed and the blood moving in and out of the muscles.
- And lastly, be sure that when lifting bags, that you plant your feet flat for support and bend from the knees. Incorrect lifting or over-reaching for items is one of the most common causes of back pain… and one of the easiest to avoid.
Holiday travel does not have to be as stressful or painful as many of us make it out to be. If we plan well, execute well and take care of our bodies while in transit… the trip will be painless. What a better way to relax on vacation is there to arrive at your destination pain free.read more