Middle-Aged and Waking up Stiff and Sore?

By Dr. Elliot, DC

Imagine a life where you wake up feeling more nimble and agile with fewer kinks and pain in your neck and back?

While it’s fairly common to see older patients who wake up with aches and pains, I also see a lot of patients in their 30’s and 40’s who are tired of feeling stiff and achy when they awake each day.

The way we sleep, walk, stand, sit, lift, and do our repetitive jobs all determine the pattern of our body alignment. Poor body alignment can cause restrictions or misalignments in the spine. These restrictions hamper the unity of movement between our bones, joints, ligaments and muscles, causing tension patterns in the neck and back which translate as stiffness, aches and kinks.

Chiropractors can help correct these restricted movement patterns in your spine and posture, helping to alleviate tension and pain. Call to make your appointment now and see if we can help!

The Dangers of Sitting ~ Get Up & Active!

By Dr. Deane Studer, DC

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting was associated with poor health outcomes. Published in January 2014, the researchers used a meta-analysis of numerous studies and 47 articles met their eligibility criteria. Discovered was a connection between prolonged sitting or sedentary behavior and an increased incidence of mortality, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Results showed that diabetes was the greatest risk factor. Sitting 6-12 hours a day increases the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (91%), dying from all-causes (24%), from heart disease (18%), from cancer (17%), and developing cancer (13%).

Our best option is to get up and move! In fact, your spine loves movement and the brain feeds from the sensations of motion. Chiropractors maintain the alignment of spines, which improves the capacity to move. Consider having your spine checked by a professional who knows the importance of keeping your spine and nervous system healthy.

Stand strong and move well!

Poop First, Ask Questions Later

By Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

Chia seeds were named a superfood a few years back and gained a lot of attention. They’re renowned for their anti-inflammatory effects, omega 3’s, antioxidants like vitamin B12, and high levels of fibre.

I began eating chia seeds a couple of years ago to help with athletic recovery, to increase my energy and to lower joint inflammation. People who consume chia seeds also tend to experience an added bonus – a big improvement in keeping “regular.”

Here is my recipe for my chia seed “pudding,” which can be eaten daily as is, or added to smoothies.

 

Dr. E’s Chia Seed Pudding

¼ cup each of:

Whole chia seeds (you can use ground seeds if you don’t have soaking time, but the consistency changes).

Hemp hearts

Whole flake rolled oats

Shredded Coconut

1 handful of dried fruit like raisins, blueberries, currents (or fresh fruit if you like)

1 dash of nutmeg

 

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Submerge ingredients by 1 inch of milk (coconut milk, almond milk or rice milk).

Refrigerate overnight. The chia seeds will swell to the consistency of tapioca.

Now make your way to the porcelain bowl promptly. Hee hee. Just kidding.  Chia seeds are not laxatives, but they are loaded with fibre and will definitely play their part in keeping you regular.

Try this daily for at least 4-6 weeks and see how your body feels overall.

Enjoy!

Tips for Strong, Healthy Bones

By Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

I take and analyze quite a few x-rays in my practice. I like to truly understand the alignment and joint health of my patients’ spines. It affords me more certainty in what I am aiming to correct, but it also reveals interesting trends about the growth patterns, arthritic changes and general bone density of my patients.

Growth plates of bones usually close between the ages of 16 and 21. Peak bone mass, or the age at which your bones reach their peak density, is around age 30. Generally speaking, bone density will slowly decline as you age, so the best way to safeguard against osteopenia and osteoporosis in the later part of your life is to maximize bone density during childhood.  These are critical years which determine just how dense your bones will be, and how long they will stay strong and mineralized throughout your life.

Still, there are things you can do throughout life to help maintain strong bones…

  • Do weight-bearing exercise DAILY. Create an active family lifestyle and your kids will likely also adopt these healthy habits. Strong bones for you; stronger bones for them.
  • Avoid bone-destroying sugary soft drinks and energy drinks. Phosphoric acid binds strongly to the calcium in your blood and ends up leaching calcium from your bones to stabilize this critical blood level. Drink this toxic fluid and rest assured your bones will soften. There’s nothing redeeming about seven teaspoons of sugar per small can, the horrifying addictive effects of the chemistry in sodas, or the bone-softening effects of phosphoric acid. This sugar load also causes your child’s brain centres to light up on MRI in the same way as someone taking cocaine.
  • Don’t rely on dairy for your calcium. Dairy calcium is bound to casein, a bovine protein that is difficult for your body to digest, allowing, at most, 30 per cent of the calcium to be absorbed. Plant-based whole foods like spinach, broccoli, oranges, dates, figs, prunes, soybeans and almonds are entirely absorbable—not to mention packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients and heart-disease-preventing fibre.

Take care of your bones so they take care of you!

Low Back Pain and Digestion

By Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

Low back pain is often coupled with digestive issues. How do I know? Well, it’s common for me to help patients improve their low back alignment, which relieves low back pain. And, as an added bonus, they often end up reporting an improvement in digestive issues such as constipation, irritable bowel, etc. As the network of low back nerves begin to heal through Chiropractic care, bowel and digestive function are rejuvenated as well.

Some parents know to bring their children and toddlers in for a check-up, because they’ve heard that Chiropractic may help with constipation and colic. They might be uncertain at first, but when baby finally goes to the bathroom following an adjustment, after four days of constipation, the parents become instant believers!
The bottom line:  Chiropractors specialize in the relationship between your nerves (which course down from your brain through the tiny holes between your spinal bones, feeding into your organs) and your health. This understanding is the foundation of our treatment. Re-aligning the spine helps with low back pain, neck pain and headaches, but it can also help patients improve many other unexpected health issues.

Winter Camping & Developing Gratitude

By Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

I didn’t grow up with much. My single mom worked hard raising my brother and I, giving us a great work ethic. She required social assistance at times, so I was grateful for anything I received. Then, when I was 8, she met our “Dad” who ended up adopting us. He lived on a farm and preferred doing farm work with horses, not tractors, so I was immediately immersed in very hard work. Toughened by farm life and inspired by the personal satisfaction that hard work brings, I’ve become someone who is drawn to making life less convenient. I like living with less, and I value experiences over ‘stuff.’  (And it just so happens that studies show this fosters greater long-term happiness.  Bonus!).

I recognized early on that as our conveniences increase, most of us take them for granted and immediately begin searching for new things that aren’t “convenient” enough yet, forgetting how amazingly easy and comfortable we have it.

So, a few days ago, I decided to head out deep into the forest on snowshoes, eight miles beyond Blue Nose Mountain, armed with a sleeping bag, a tarp, a hatchet, the fixings for a grilled-cheese sandwich, waterproof matches, and warm winter gear. I constructed a lean-to with deadfall, collected firewood, and spent my first night winter camping. To keep myself from freezing, I placed conifer bows on the ground for a mattress and maintained a fire through the early evening. Still, it was far from comfortable and I slept very little. I was reminded that life is so simple just surviving, but highly inconvenient.

Many of my patients have heard me discuss how important gratitude is. As society becomes obsessed with ever-increasing conveniences, there is a tendency to take nearly everything for granted. We hit a button and heat pours into our house. We press the pedal on the right, and we can go nearly anywhere. Our seats are heated, yet we complain that our steering wheel isn’t. There’s high definition, virtual reality and augmented reality. How slow and boring it now feels to see the world play out in “real” time. Why bother climbing to the top to capture that vista when a drone can do it for us in HD? We enjoy all of these conveniences, but are we really grateful for them?

Most of us would benefit from the experience of having less for a while. After my night of winter camping, I’ve never been more grateful for my warm house and soft bed….

 

 

The Best Sleeping Position

Written by Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

From time to time, you may have awakened to a stiff and painful neck or lower back. As a chiropractor, I often get asked the question, “Should I sleep on my back, stomach or side?” Well, some new science reveals the optimal positions to sleep…

You sleep approximately one third of your life. Your brain and body repair and reboot your mental and emotional intelligence during sleep. Metabolism and energy distribution are rejuvenated and replenished. Sleep also flushes out toxins created by your brain from normal daily functions. Researchers Maiken Nedergaard and Steven Goldman describe it as “an internal plumbing system [that] rids the brain of toxic wastes. Sleep is when this cleanup ritual occurs.”1 In their March 2016 Scientific America article, these researchers discovered this function and called it the glymphatic system, similar in action to the lymphatic system of the body.

Optimizing this flushing of toxins is dependent on gravity that assists in the continual flow of fluids in this mechanical filtering system. Their study showed that a good position for this fluid flow is on your back, but lying on your side is better. Sleeping on your side allows the glymphatics to properly drain the build-up of worn-out proteins.

Stomach sleeping or sitting in a chair does not promote the necessary conditions that force the fluids to move. A twist in the spine does not allow proper alignment and may irritate the muscle and joint pain receptors attaching to the spine. This is when you may wake up to notice a sore and painful kink in your neck.

Remember—sleeping is a vital component of health!

1 Nedergaard, Maiken, and Steven A Goldman. “Brain Drain.” Scientific American 314, no. 3 (2017): 44-9.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5347443/

6 Ways to Stay Active This Winter

By Dr. James Mayne, DC

So winter season is upon us and we are beginning to see the “winter injuries” come rolling in. Sore backs from shovelling and headaches from being inside under artificial light will always come in this time of year. Staying active through the winter months will keep the body moving and strong, helping to avoid winter time suffering.

Think of your body like your car. If it sits idle for too long, its parts will slowly start to seize up. Your body will also seize up if it sits too long. Movement keeps your muscles, bones and joints strong. In fact, winter is a wonderful opportunity to switch up your activities and allow your body to heal from the strain and sprains incurred during the softball, golf, wakeboarding, and tennis season.

Living in the Okanagan gives us so many ways to move and stay active in the winter months. Here are just 6 ways to stay active:

  1. Swimming: Swimming is a great way to get whole body movement and is usually quite gentle on any arthritic joints. It also has the added benefit of sneaking into the sauna or hot tub to warm up before heading back out into the winter air.
  2. Walking: Walking daily is what our bodies were designed to do and few activities beat 45 minutes of walking each day. There are many places to walk indoors, such as the mall or rec center. We are also blessed with snowy trails (like those all over our local ski hill), which, with a pair of show shoes, offer hundreds of kilometers of walking routes.
  3. Skiing: Speaking of our hills, both Sovereign Lake and Silver Star offer world-class skiing opportunities and also offer the added bonus of usually being spectacularly sunny above the clouds!
  4. Skating: Ponds and rinks open up this time of year, and anything from a casual skate to a fast-paced hockey game allow for exercise at all skill levels. Believe it or not, many people with low-back problems get relief from banging around out on the ice as the physical movement flushes out inflammation in the low back and hips.
  5. Weight Training: Lifting weights isn’t just for guys. Pumping iron helps keep the bones and body strong. Also, more muscle means a faster metabolism, which is always good with holiday treats everywhere.
  6. Exercise Classes: Yoga, boot camps, Zumba, pilates, Tai Chi…sooo many to choose from. We get to be social while we strengthen our core and keep our bodies loose and flexible.

Hopefully this list will motivate you to keep active through the winter. It’s our job to get the joints moving well and then encourage people to be active. You won’t know if an exercise is right for you until you try it, so get out and move, but listen to your body. Staying active through the winter ensures that come spring, we can hit the ground running. And isn’t that why we all live in the Okanagan, to be active and play as much as possible?

Now if your neck and back are not letting you play as much as you would like, please give us a call. We would be more than happy to try and figure out what needs to be done to get you out fully enjoying activity again.

Do You Have a Pain in the Neck? Tingling? Numbness?

Photo by Jacob Morrison

Written by Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

When small nerves in your neck get pinched, pain can run into your shoulders, down your arms, and into your hands if the pinch is bad enough.

On x-ray, we can see the little holes between the spinal bones, and sometimes they appear much smaller in certain places. This is usually where the nerves can get trapped. This pressure on the nerves can also lead to pins and needles in certain areas in your arms or hands depending on which nerve is affected. It can also cause arm and hand weakness.

Misalignments in the vertebrae can affect nerves that feed “down-stream.” Picture your spine as a circuit board that relays nerve information from your brain to your body and back.

Our success with conditions like neck pain, and pain that radiates, stems from our goal of balancing your spine alignment and reducing the nerve tension pattern in the body.

The philosophy is really quite simple, and the results can change your life!