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!

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….

 

 

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!

 

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.

 

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

Dr. E’s Immune-Boosting Salsa & Hummus

Salsa

  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • Small handful of cilantro
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, depending on how much you love your fellow man
  • Hot pepper of your choosing, depending on masochistic tendencies. I add one jalapeno (minimum), but I have also used one serrano, which is quite a bit hotter. Or, if you are feeling frisky, go for one habanero—what the heck. 2-3 Thai chilies also bring a nice kick.
  • 1/3 of a red onion, or more if you enjoy dreadful halitosis
  • Orange juice from ½ freshly squeezed orange balances out the chilies’ heat
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a food processor, carefully pulse contents below to bring salsa to your level of preferred coarseness. I like it a bit coarser, not overly pulverized.

Hummus

  • I large can chick peas
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (I know, I am a garlic fiend)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp sesame paste (tahini paste)
  • Freshly Squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Process in food processor on high, adding a small amount of water, until hummus is blended to desired      consistency.

And there you have it—an immune-boosting snack sure to save your life and kill others around you.

Side note: Cilantro can help remove heavy metals and neurotoxins from your body as it is considered a chelating agent.  Lycopene, found in tomatoes, is an antioxidant & cancer-preventing phytonutrient.  Garlic helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood pressure, among so many other things.  And onions are a form of birth control (kidding!!).

By Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

Arise Chiropractic, Vernon BC

Hey, I Put Some New Shoes on and Suddenly Everything’s Right…

Earlier this summer I went for a long run on a sunny day, just after a rainfall. I had just bought an amazing new pair of running shoes.

It’s so easy to focus on the painful areas in your body when you’re running—your toes hurt, your midsole pinches, you feel that twang in your knee and the dull ache in your back. But on this day, I made it a point to bring my meditation practice into the run. Instead of letting my mind get pulled down the rabbit hole of thoughts—reliving old conversations, planning for the future, or having my mind’s attention land on the aching of my unconditioned legs–I simply held my focus on my lungs. I focused on filling them up, and on the feeling of air in my nose and mouth with each breath. I completely let go of my attention on my footfall, or anything to do with my legs at all. I held my head higher than usual, focusing my eyes on the distance and not on the road before me.

I began to feel buoyed up, almost floating, from my chest upwards. Each breath made me rise higher, expanding upwards from the top of my chest. The pain disappeared in my legs. They moved effortlessly, and my feet kind of took over, requiring no conscious attention whatsoever. All of this created an expansive feeling, like I was floating with the air, connected to my surroundings, instead of feeling the shock and thump of each footfall impact.

This is the same expansive, boundary-less experience that I often come across in meditation, where no thoughts are arising, and, even if they do, my mind is the silent witness to those thoughts. I see them from afar, as if they are a simple story line that floats along, disconnected from who I really am.  When in this state, it’s impossible to feel ‘stressed out.’ One is also less likely to feel any kind of pain, and, again, even if you do, it’s as though the pain is not who you are—it’s disconnected from you, unattached, but tolerable, and not necessarily ‘bad.’

Today, I married up my love of meditation with running. This is a whole new way of running for me. But then again, maybe it was just the new shoes.

7 Steps to Runner’s Zen

  • Focus your attention on the simple feeling of air rushing past your nostrils or through your mouth when breathing in. Count One.
  • Breathe out. Count Two.
  • If any thought arises in your mind to steal your attention, simply recognize it, and let it pass, and move back to your breath.
  • Don’t count your steps if you are running. Disregard your legs and feet altogether.
  • Focus only on counting your breaths, feeling your nostrils, and the expansive feeling in your chest when breathing in.
  • When breathing in, expand your lungs deeply, allowing this to pull you higher so you feel you are rising with each breath.
  • See how many breaths you can count before a thought steals your attention.

Enjoy your run, friends!

Written by Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

Arise Chiropractic, Vernon BC