Friday, December 20, 2013

The Super Seven Snow Tips

It's a Winter wonderland. Well, most of the time.  Face it, we will have to get out and move accumulated snow away from the front door and out of the driveway.  The longer you wait (the better the turkey tastes) but seriously, the snow is getting deeper every minute. Sometimes, living on the wet west coast we can just wait a few days and the rain will come and wash away all the work. But not always! It may become dangerously heavy before it snows again.
Before tackling any strenuous activity, a quick warm-up will kick-start your muscles for the activity ahead and help prevent injury.

When you get down to business remember these pointers:

Don’t let snow pile up
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shovelling
will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow after each snowfall.
Pick the right shovel
Use a lightweight push shovel. If you’re using a metal shovel, spray it
With Teflon, so snow won’t stick to it. Lightweight plastics are recommended.
 Push, don’t throw
Push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. This way you avoid
lifting heavy shovels of snow, and abrupt twists or turns that may result
in serious injury.
Bend your knees
If you need to lift shovels of snow bend your knees, and use your leg and
arm muscles to do the work, while keeping your back straight.
Take a break
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. Shake out your
arms and legs to recharge.
6 Keep comfort in mind
Layer your clothing so you can adapt to changing temperatures. If you
become too warm while outdoors, simply remove a layer or two to
maximize comfort.
Cool down
After you have finished doing the grunt work cool down by taking a walk and stretching
out tense muscles.Often a cool refreshment and a hot tub will accelerate relaxation.

Stop by to see Dr. Derek @ The Hub in Downtown Courtenay. 250.334.6877

View Larger Map

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tension Headache

The steady pounding of the your head, feeling like a thousand pounds squeezing the life right out of you. A tension headache is something that almost everyone has endured.  Up to 78% of people suffer from these types of headaches and they are the most neglected.  For millions of Canadians there is a way to reduce the discomfort and pain. 
With a tension headache, the pain often starts at the back of your head and moves forward, so that it eventually includes your neck, scalp, and head. It’s often described as feeling like you have a tight band across your head. It may be caused by staying in one position for a long time, such as in reading, using a computer, or playing video games. It may be also caused by stress, but sometimes there is no obvious cause.

If your headaches happen 15 or more days in a month for several months, they are considered chronic tension headaches. If they occur less frequently, they are called episodic tension headaches.
Although tension headaches can be painful, they are rarely a sign of a more serious illness. A combination of lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and chiropractic therapy can help reduce the number of tension headaches you have.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Tune-Up

Spring is here! Just the other day, I was able to see my first lily bud sprouting in a neighbor's garden.  This was a prompt to me that I need to start my own garden preparations. An important reminder for myself and everybody else entering the "garden season" is that there are an increased number of injuries when starting up again for the season. The heavy lifting of fresh sand or mulch, twisting to pick those far reaching weeds, and hunching for extended periods of time can all contribute to the straining and spraining of our tissues. 

Luckily, a few simple "pre-season" exercises can help prevent weeks of aches and pains.  Most importantly, increasing core stability will improve our abilities to maintain bending postures for prolonged periods of time.  Recent research recommends that building the endurance of core abdominal and lower back muscles is more important than actually “strengthening” the low back.  Keeping correct posture with strong abdominal muscles will prevent injury down the road and enable you to garden at all ages. 

 If you would like some more information on these exercises and to have your own personal biomechanics (walking, bending, lifting, kneeling) properly assessed, please come see me. Or, stop by PISE for a FREE weekly core-strengthening class every Wednesdays @ Lunch. (April 24- June 19).

Chia Seeds: Superfood

List of why you should eat chia seeds!
1. Chia is gluten free
2. It is super high in dietary fibre, making it great for digestion and healing digestion issues.
3. It contains 20% Omega 3 ALA, making it a super food for the brain and heart. Chia has eight times more Omega 3 than salmon!
4. It boasts 20% protein
5. The protein is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids
6. It is high in antioxidants (It has a four times higher ORAC value than blueberries)
7. Chia contains five times more calcium than milk
8. Chia contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges
9. It contains three times more iron than spinach
10. It contains twice the potassium content of banana
11. It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails
12. It has a positive impact balancing blood glucose levels (making it awesome for diabetics)
13. Chia makes a great egg replacement. Just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that call for egg.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Upper Crossed Syndrome

The 30kg head position

I am sure everyone has seen someone with upper cross syndrome (UCS), whether they knew what it was called or not. A person with UCS will look like they are hunched over with rounded shoulders and head protruding forward. See the image below to get a better visual of what UCS looks like.

upper cross syndrome

Basically, if someone has UCS they will have tight (overactive) upper traps and levator scapula muscle as well as tight chest muscles. Along with these tight muscles, the neck flexors on the front side and the rhomboids and lower traps on the back are weak. The tight or over-active muscles have become shortened and the weak or under-active muscles have been lengthened. This is what happens when there is a muscle imbalance in the body.

muscle imbalance
In the above image, the muscle on the left is the tight (overactive) muscle
and the one on the right is the weak (underactive muscle)

UCS is one of the more common muscle imbalances that people possess and the majority of them don’t know they have it. Someone can get UCS from doing repetitive things such as their job. People who sit in a chair all day tend to hunch over and overtime will start to possess UCS. If your job requires you to stand all day while slightly bending over while working with your hands the same would apply. Also, people that exercise and work out the chest/upper traps a lot more than the lower traps/rhomboids will eventually get UCS. If you already possessed muscle imbalances before you started exercising then it would gradually get worse as you performed exercises, unless corrected.

People with UCS may complain of symptoms such as neck pain, jaw pain, upper thoracic pain and headaches due to the muscle imbalances and altered posture. Over time, poor posture can lead to all the above symptoms as well as more long term complications such as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.

So how do you fix Upper Cross Syndrome? You need stretch the tight (overactive) muscles and strengthen the weak (underactive) muscles. The chest muscles and the upper traps need to be stretched. Here are some examples of stretching exercises that can be done.

Pectoral stretch

pectoral stretch

Stand against an object and form a 90 degree angel with your arm. Draw your navel inward. Slowly lean forward until a light stretch is felt in the front shoulder and chest area. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch arms. Perform 1-2 sets twice a day.

Upper Trap/scalene stretch
upper trap stretch

Stand in place with good posture. Draw navel inward. Retract and depress scapula on the side being stretched. Tuck chin and slowly flex head to one side, pulling one ear toward the same shoulder. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch sides. Perform 1-2 sets each side twice a day.

The rhomboids/mid-lower traps need to be strengthened. Here is an example of a strengthening exercise that can be done.

squat to row

Pick a weight that you can perform 12-20 reps easily. You can also you resistance bands. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and with body in good posture. Draw navel inward. Pull bands/cable toward your lower chest area and flex the trap muscles. Make sure to use your back muscles to pull the bands/cable toward you and not your biceps. Lower your body as if you were squatting or sitting in a chair. As you lower your body let the bands/cable go forward. This should be done is smooth motion. Bring your body back up to the starting position as you bring the bands/cable toward your lower chest. Do 12-20 reps for 1-2 sets once a day. *You want to pick a weight or resistance that you can easily perform the 12-20 reps in order to execute proper form. ** Be careful not to elevate shoulders or protrude head forward while performing this exercise.

floor prone cobra

Lie prone(stomach down) on the floor. Activate the gluteal muscles and pinch should blades together. Lift chest off the floor with thumbs pointed up and arms externally rotated. Hold for 1-2 seconds. Slowly return body to the ground keeping chin tucked. Repeat 8-12 times, 1-2 times a day.

Stop by my Courtenay chiropractic clinic for some Upper Crossed Syndrome resolve.