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!

 

Growing up with Chiropractic

By Dr. Jerry Pyrozko B.Sc, DC

Children bump and jar their spines constantly in the first five years of life. As they develop from helpless infants into fearless adventurers, bumps and falls naturally come with your child’s desire to learn everything about the world around them in the quickest amount of time possible.

But even normal, everyday activities can cause spinal trauma with lasting effects. Delicate nerve tissue can be damaged, resulting in interference with the brain’s ability to send nerve impulses to organs, tissues and muscles. Discs, blood vessels and soft tissues can swell and become inflamed. Various systems (immune, digestive, respiratory, etc.) throughout the body may malfunction. In each of these examples, pain or other obvious symptoms may not be present at the time, yet health and well-being have been compromised.

When your child is seen by your chiropractor, your child’s spine and nervous system will be analyzed to determine if a subluxation is present. Often, the doctor will touch the spine and muscles, examine the length of the legs (pelvic misalignment may shorten one leg) or examine your child’s posture (level of head, shoulder and hips).

You may already be aware of the benefits of chiropractic care. You may have experienced for yourself the relief that comes from having a properly aligned spine. If you have not had your child’s spine evaluated, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Like dentistry, chiropractic, when started young, provides your child with a way to attain full-body health that lasts a lifetime.

The Pains of Parenting

By Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC, Founder of Arise Wellness, Vernon

It’s surprising how many parents I meet who struggle to pick up their kids, or even play with their kids, due to some kind of back, neck or body pain. It breaks my heart to know that many of you are forced to pass up on this precious time due to life-limiting pain symptoms.

But here’s the good news—through Chiropractic care, I have helped many parents overcome the pain challenges that keep them from lifting and playing with their kids. Most parents I meet have at least 6 posture or body imbalances causing tension patterns in the spine or body. Forward-head posture, unlevel shoulders and hips, or a rotated pelvis are very common findings, and they can cause a grinding damage to worsen in the joints over time.

Thankfully, a focused spine and posture exam by one of our Chiropractors can often reveal the very imbalances causing your pain, and we can help you correct them.

Until these imbalances are corrected, they usually fester and worsen, making the pain more frequent, or more serious. So if you’re experiencing these challenges, why wait until they become harder to fix? We all know pain drugs are not very good for us and can lead to dangerous side effects and dependence, so maybe it’s time to try an alternative.

Life is short. We wish to help you optimize it so you can relax, play, and have more fun with your kids.

Call today to make an appointment: 250-275-7616.

 

Osteoarthritis Increasing Due to Lifestyle

Osteoarthritis is basically a process of cartilage cells in joints dying. The prevailing theory is wear-and-tear of the joints over the years from living longer and obesity rates. But a new study from Dr. Jan Wallace in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University suggests our lifestyle is the biggest factor. Analyzing over 2000 skeletons from academic institutions and museums across America allowed Dr. Wallace to diagnose osteoarthritic joints. Closer examination of these joints revealed eburnation, a distinct polish that develops on the two bones from them rubbing together due to cartilage cell deterioration leading to bone-on-bone pressure.

Even though the study took into account statistical variables for changes over time, longevity, and body mass index there was an increase in the prevalence of osteoarthritis by 50% in the last 50 years. If our culture is becoming more sedentary, moving less and physical activity is on the decline and osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear phenomenon, then there should be a decrease in the numbers as we have become less active over the last 5 decades. Dr. Wallace?s data suggests that osteoarthritis is preventable by loading the joints by increasing the level of physical exercise. He also mentioned that mechanical loading has an accumulative effect on osteoarthritis,  as do pro-inflammatory foods.

When joints are properly aligned, allowing natural range of motion under appropriate loads, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles can grow stronger and thicker, reducing the probability of joint degeneration and decay. Every day you need to get out there and move because the sayings “motion is lotion” and “use it or lose it” applies even more today!

Study: http://www.pnas.org/content/114/35/9332.full

Written by Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Arise Chiropractic, Vernon BC

Your Child’s Alignment is Important

We see a lot of kids in our practice. And we work closely with our in-house midwife, helping pregnant moms and their babies.

Why is it so important to address spinal alignment early on?

First let’s look at Mom. Poor pelvic alignment during pregnancy can cause intra-uterine constraint on baby, not to mention low back and sciatic pain for Mom. Properly aligning her low back and pelvis can mean the difference between a difficult labor and a more easeful one. Even so, most births are considered to be a mild trauma for baby. That’s why checking baby’s spinal alignment following birth is crucial for establishing healthy spine and nervous system development.

Proper alignment is important from birth all the way to adulthood. The tiny bones housing the spinal cord need to be in an optimal position so that your spinal nerves are healthy and able to communicate efficiently with the rest of your body—the recipe for great health.

Spinal pain and arthritis are large contributors to disability as we age. That’s why establishing proper alignment early on is so important for great posture, less wear-and-tear, improved balance and increased energy. Consider a preventative Chiropractic check-up for your kids!

Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

Arise Chiropractic, Vernon, BC

“Doc, I Think I Have a Pinched Nerve!”

I’m sure all doctors have heard this before: “Doc, I think I have a pinched nerve.”

Symptoms like arm or leg pain, tingling or numbness are common when a nerve is pinched, stretched or otherwise irritated. There are other symptoms which can be a result of pinched nerves as well.

The nerves are the communication network of our bodies. So, it is not a healthy situation to have them “pinched.” Alter the communication between the body parts and you create altered body function (dysfunction). Dysfunction causes bodily symptoms which will vary depending on what that nerve controls. If the nerve irritation is allowed to continue uncorrected, the dysfunction may advance to a disease state. If left still longer the disease may become irreversible.

The cause of any “pinched” nerves must be removed. The following analogy may help to illustrate this process. If you took a string and tied it tightly around one of your fingers you would soon notice some symptoms like pain, swelling and discoloration. It will continue to swell, change color and become painful. It may hurt enough for you to want to take a painkiller. If you do and the pain stops, you may feel that the problem has been solved. But then you notice that the swelling still persists so you put it in ice water and possibly try some anti-inflammatory pills. It may make a difference but you know something is still not right. The finger is turning quite dark. You may be tempted to paint it pink. Of course, if you were to continue along this line of thinking, the problem would advance so far enough that there would only be one solution. You will have to have it cut off. And this will in fact solve the problem. Except now you have lost part of your finger.

There is a way to address this problem without the use of drugs or surgery. In this case you should just take the string off. And the result will be much better if you remove it immediately. If left on too long the body part cannot recover. It is always best to find the source of the problem and remove it as early as possible. It is unwise to launch into a program of treating the symptoms as if they were the problem. This may allow things to progress to a more serious problem.

Chiropractic seeks to locate and correct the cause of abnormal pressure and irritation to joints, muscles and nerves. These irritations cause dysfunction and are usually associated with various symptoms and health problems. They can often be detected when symptoms are so slight that they are not yet a concern to you. The correction is primarily by means of a chiropractic adjustment. In some cases other adjunctive treatments may be employed. Remember, chiropractic can help. Just don’t wait too long.

There is a great deal more to say on these health issues and we would be glad to answer questions anyone might have.

By Dr. Jerry Pyrozko, B.Sc., DC

Arise Chiropractic, Vernon, BC