Wednesday, July 19, 2017

9 Benefits Of Getting Your Exercise In The Pool, Lake, Or Ocean

Canadian Chiropractic Association

Summer is well underway and water activities are in full-swing. Whether it’s at a nearby lake, beach, or swimming pool, it’s time to talk about water exercises and why they’re good for you.
 
Here are nine benefits of exercising (particularly swimming) in water:
  1. There’s low impact on your joints: Water gives you buoyancy—i.e., you float! This decreases the impact on your joints, so when you swim or exercise in the water, you have a lower risk of injury.
  2. It does a better job at keeping you cool: Working out can cause you to overheat, especially in the summer. Exercising in the water helps the body cool off faster and reduces the risk of overheating. If the water is warm, it may not help keep you cool, but it does help increase blood circulation, which is a plus when exercising.
  3. Water has built-in resistance: Because you’re moving your body through water instead of through air, you’re working harder. This resistance is great for building all-around strength and endurance.
  4. You can adjust the resistance: Depending on your speed, position, or form in the water, the resistance you face is dynamic. For example, the more streamlined your swim stroke, the faster you’ll travel with less resistance. If you’re jogging or running in water, particularly if it goes higher than your waist, you’re getting much more resistance (this is often done if you’re training to improve your running speed, strength, and endurance when you’re on land).
  5. It gets easier over time: The more knowledge and skill you have with respect to swimming, the more efficient your body becomes when moving through the water. This translates to less energy and effort exerted, and greater speed. The good news is that the more you learn, practice, and condition your body, the easier swimming will be.
  6. You can incorporate rest: You don’t have to stop exercising in the water to give your body a rest during a workout. If you’re swimming, you can add resting strokes like sidestroke or elementary backstroke for a minute or two (or a lap or two in the pool) until you recover.
  7. You can increase intensity slowly: The benefit of swimming is that you can make gradual changes to your routine without much effort. Simply increase the time spent swimming continuously and take shorter rest breaks—or replace your breaks with rest strokes (see tip #6) as you build up your swimming regime.
  8. It’s great for keeping joints limber and toning muscles: Since exercising in the water is so low impact, your joints stay nimble. With the built-in resistance of the water, swimming is great for keeping your muscles toned.
  9. It offers support for the whole body: Not only is exercising in the water low-impact, it’s also excellent for support. Bonus: it supports your back! You don’t have to worry about the weight of your body on your spine or your posture when you move your body through water. If you’re not a swimmer, you can still use the water for gentle exercise: do some walking workouts waist-deep in a swimming pool to take the pressure off your joints and back while still getting movement.
So, take the pressure off, hit up your local beach or pool, and go for a swim! Before you take a dip, check out our safety tips on swimming both in pools and open water.
 
Always remember to stay hydrated when you exercise. If you’re swimming outdoors this summer, be sure to remember to be safe in the sun and heat.
 
Talk to your family chiropractor to find out what types of exercises are right for you.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Heel Fat Pad Syndrome

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
 
Heel Fat Pad Syndrome (HFPS) refers to damage or disruption of the fatty pad that sits under our heel bone (calcaneous).  This structure is approximately one inch thick and is made up of fatty tissue enclosed by ligamentous chambers.  The purpose of this structure is to absorb shock and cushion the heel bone.  If the fat pad is displaced or thins, then its ability to protect the heel bone from impact is decreased, which can result in heel pain.
 
HFPS is commonly misdiagnosed as plantar fasciitis.  Plantar fasciitis symptoms tend to be located towards the inner front portion of the heel and can extend into the arch of the foot, whereas symptoms of HFPS are characteristically located in the centre of the heel and described as a deep, dull ache that feels like a bruise.  Other symptoms characteristic of HFPS include central heel pain that is aggravated by prolonged periods of standing and barefoot walking on hard surfaces.  It is also possible to have both plantar fasciitis and HFPS present at the same time.
 
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of HFPS.  Trauma to the heel from high impact sports or a forceful blow to the heel from a fall can cause injury to the fat pad.  Repetitious chronic overload from activities such as running, jumping or prolonged walking and standing can also cause injury which can be exacerbated by the use of improper footwear.  It is known that the fatty heel pad breaks down as we get older which can make an individual susceptible to this condition.  Carrying extra pounds can also break down the protective fatty tissue under the heel bone.
 
Self-care strategies for reducing the pain of HFPS include: relative rest from any painful activities; ice application; and gentle stretching of the achilles tendon, and calf muscles.  Gel or “donut pads” placed under the affected heel(s) in shoes may also provide relief.  Long-term strategies may include activity modification and weight loss where applicable.
 
HFPS that does not respond to self-care strategies may require professional treatment.  This can include electrotherapeutic modalities to assist in healing, manual and soft tissue therapy to supporting structures, therapeutic taping of the heel, and specific rehabilitative  exercises for the muscles and joints of the lower leg and foot.  Supporting the foot with proper footwear and correcting faulty foot mechanics can decrease excessive strain on the fat pad.  A custom made orthotic with a deep heel cup design to cradle and cushion the fat pad may also be helpful for decreasing symptoms.
 
It is important to establish an accurate diagnosis of HFPS.  Other causes of heel pain may include stress fractures, achilles tendonitis/bursitis, arthritis, gout, or nerve irritation.  If you are having difficulty with heel pain, a qualified health professional can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe appropriate therapy and rehabilitation strategies specifically for your circumstance.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Drink Water For Healthy Living

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
 
The average person’s body is composed of approximately 70% water.  The body's water supply is responsible for and involved in nearly every biological process.  Human beings can survive without food for thirty to forty days, but without water, we would not be able to live beyond three to five days!
 
Below are some interesting facts about the role of water in the human body and the health benefits of adequate water intake.
 
1.    Regulation of body functions.  Water is essential for respiration, digestion, nutrient absorption, and elimination of waste products and toxins from the body.  Water is also responsible for healthy circulation, and controlling body temperature through perspiration.
 
2.    Signs of dehydration.  If not enough water is consumed, toxins can build up in the body resulting in many negative side effects.  The consequences of inadequate water intake/dehydration may include:  muscle and joint pain, cramping, headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, inflammation, and poor functioning of many organs.
 
3.    Helpful for weight loss.  Water is a great fluid replacement for high calorie drinks such as alcohol and sodas/carbonated drinks.  Drinking water before meals can also help kickstart metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant.
 
4.    Support for the Musculoskeletal (MSK) system.  Water brings vital nutrients to muscle tissue to support performance and decrease the risks of cramps and strains.  Water also helps to protect our joints by providing lubrication and cushioning.
 
5.    Better productivity at work.  Your brain consists of 90% water.  Therefore, proper hydration helps you think better, be more alert and focused, and feel more energized.
 
6.    Look younger with healthier skin.  Your skin is the largest organ in the body.  Water helps to replenish skin tissues by improving circulation to skin cells, maintaining elasticity, and moisturizing from the inside out.
 
7.    Feel healthier.  Consuming plenty of water can help maintain proper immune functioning, and can prevent or improve symptoms of the common cold, flu, arthritis, kidney stones, constipation, and many other conditions.
 
How much water is enough?  This is not an easy question to answer and can be dependent on many factors.  A general rule of thumb to follow is to consume 0.5-1 litre of water daily for every 50 pounds of body weight.  Special consideration for greater water consumption must be taken into account for those who are engaged in vigorous activity or exercise, and during the warmer months when more water is lost through perspiration.  Additional considerations must be taken into account for those who consume caffeine, alcoholic beverages, and certain medications, as these substances can act as diuretics and actually drain your body of water.
 
Looking at the color of your urine is an easy way to determine whether or not you are consuming enough water.  As long as you are not taking riboflavin (vitamin B2), which fluoresces and turns your urine bright yellow (it is also in most multi-vitamins), then your urine should be a very light-coloured yellow.  If it is a deep yellow then you are likely not drinking enough water.
 
Proper hydration is key for optimal functioning.  For additional information on improving your health, visit our website at www.nhwc.ca.
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Season Safety Tips For Your Body

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

The summer season is upon us, which for many individuals means spending time outdoors and becoming more physically active.  Whether you’re an aspiring athlete, a serious nature lover, or someone who enjoys fun in the sun, there are special precautions that need to be taken to protect your body during the summer season.
 
1.    Prepare your body for activity and exercise:  There are many activities made more enjoyable during the summer season such as gardening, walking, running, swimming, canoeing, bicycling, and golfing to name a few.  Prepare your body for physical activity by stimulating the joints and muscles, and increasing blood circulation with a proper warm-up.  If you have been inactive for a period of time, gradually ease into activity and take it slow.

2.    Drink plenty of water:  The body’s water supply is responsible for many important functions such as digestion, controlling body temperature, and protecting our joints by providing lubrication and cushioning.  In warmer temperatures, we lose more water from the body through increased perspiration.  The consequences of inadequate water intake/dehydration may include: headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, joint pain, muscle pain and cramping.  Therefore, special care should be taken to replenish fluids lost during the summer season.  Limit diuretics such as caffeinated and alcoholic beverages which actually drain the body of water.

3.    Get just enough sun:  Appropriate sun exposure can provide many health benefits associated with the natural production of Vitamin D.  Avoid sunburn which is a result of overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation and can contribute to certain skin cancers, along with premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.  To protect yourself, apply sunscreen regularly, wear a wide-brim hat and light-colored clothing that covers your exposed skin.  Your eyes should also be protected with UV blocking sunglasses.  Outdoor activities and sports should be limited to the early morning or late afternoon when UV rays are not as strong.  Be cautious on cloudy days, as your skin is still susceptible to burn under these conditions.

4.    Think safety first:  Water sports and other outdoor activities should always be performed with safety in mind.  This means wearing a life jacket in deeper water or if you are not a strong swimmer.  Parents should always keep a watchful eye on young children around water.  Diving into shallow or unknown waters should never be performed to eliminate the chance of serious spinal injury.  Running on pool decks may result in serious slip and fall injuries.  When bicycling, in-line skating, or skateboarding/longboarding, be sure to wear bright reflective clothing and protective headgear.  In addition, wearing appropriate footwear for the activities you are performing will give you balance, support, and protection.

Following the above rules and safety tips can go a long way in protecting your body during the summer season.  For additional information on health, wellness, muscle and joint health, visit our website at www.nhwc.ca.
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mid-Day Breaks: Refuel & Re-Energize

Ontario Chiropractic Association


Daily routine can often get the best of us. Between getting ready for the full day ahead, carpooling the children’s school drop off, and getting to work on time, it often feels like you’ve already completed a day’s worth of activities all before your morning coffee.
 
Even though the day can get ahead of us, it’s important to remember to take proper breaks throughout to maintain productivity and decrease stress levels. Taking a mid-day break helps to refuel and reenergize, giving you that extra oomph needed to get through the rest of the work day. Here are some simple things you can do throughout your day to help renew your energy.
 

Lunchtime strolls

Shake it up and go for a walk during your lunch. A simple dose of fresh air can help boost your energy, clear your mind, and help you refocus. After all, studies show that lunchtime walks can “perceptibly — and immediately — buoy people’s moods and ability to handle stress at work.”
 

Exercise

Whether it be for 3 minutes or a half hour, exercising in the middle of your day will not only get rid of those midday blues but can help keep you active, along with all the other added health benefits working out gives us.
 

Eat

Putting the right nutrients into your body pays off for your mind as well! Eating a balanced meal gives your body the fuel it needs to keep your energy up and decreases fatigue.
 
By implementing any of these simple tips throughout your day, you will have the energy to tackle your daily tasks.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Muscle And Joint Injury First Aid

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Physical injury to your muscles and joints can occur with workplace, household, sporting, and recreational activities.  This can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint or muscle, leading to injuries known as sprains, strains, and contusions.  Initial conservative management and first aid of such injuries should follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) outlined below.
 
PROTECTION:  Immobilize the injured area to protect from further injury.  This can be accomplished with the use of an elastic wrap, brace, splint or sling.  Walking aids such as crutches or a cane can be useful to help you get around.
 
REST:  To ensure proper healing, rest the injured area and avoid activities that cause pain.  Do not restrict all activities completely.  Other regions of your body can still be used.  This will help prevent physical de-conditioning.  An attempt should be made to return to regular or modified activities as soon as possible provided it does not put you at risk for further injury.
 
ICE:  Ice cubes, frozen vegetable bags, or commercial ice/gel packs are examples of cold sources that can be molded or applied to an injury site immediately.  Icing will help to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the injured tissues.  Ice application should not exceed 10 to 20 minutes at a time.  Allow for skin temperature to return to normal before ice is reapplied.  This cycle can be repeated as often as necessary within the first 24 to 72 hours.  Ice should never be applied directly over the skin for a prolonged period of time as this can damage the skin.  A wet towel can safely be used as a barrier between the ice and skin and acts as an excellent conductor of cold.  Do not apply ice to blisters, open cuts, or sores.  Individuals hypersensitive to cold and those who have circulation problems should avoid ice.
 
COMPRESSION:  Compress the injured area with an elastic tensor bandage.  This will help decrease swelling.  Do not wrap the bandage too tightly as to cut off circulation.  You should not feel an increase in pain with compression.
 
ELEVATION:  Elevate the injured area (whenever possible) above the level of the heart, especially at night.  Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.
 
You should seek immediate medical care under the following circumstances:  a popping sound heard during the injury accompanied by a feeling of joint instability or inability to weight bear; obvious evidence or suspicion of a broken bone, fracture or joint dislocation; or injuries at risk for infection.
 
By using the P.R.I.C.E. principle after an injury, you can significantly reduce swelling, tissue damage, inflammation, muscle spasms, pain, and recovery time.  In the event that you suffer from ongoing muscle and joint pain following an injury, you should contact a licensed health professional who can diagnose your condition and prescribe appropriate therapy, exercises, and rehabilitation strategies specifically for your circumstance.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Understanding Tennis And Golfer's Elbow

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
 
The elbow is a complex joint that allows movements of flexion, extension, and rotation.  Most daily activities require a combination of these actions to produce motion in the arm, forearm, wrist, and hand.  Two common elbow injuries include Tennis Elbow (TE) and Golfer's Elbow (GE).  Both of these elbow conditions can cause pain and weakness which results in functional limitations with gripping, pushing, pulling, and lifting activities of the affected arm.

Tennis Elbow (TE) is medically known as lateral epicondylitis and causes the outer part of the elbow tobecome sore and tender.  This typically affects the muscles and tendons that extend the fingers and wrist, and roll the forearm outwards.

Golfer's Elbow (GE) is medically known as medial epicondylitis and causes the inner part of the elbow to become sore and tender.  This typically affects the muscles and tendons that flex the fingers and wrist, and roll the forearm inwards.

TE and GE can affect anyone involved in activities that require rapid and/or repetitive motion of muscles and joints in the forearm, wrist, and hand.  It is more likely to happen if these movements are combined with awkward posture(s), excessive force, poor technique, and using the wrong equipment or tool.  Occasionally, a direct blow to the elbow may be a causative factor.  Physical deconditioning can also make individuals susceptible to these conditions.

As a result, TE and GE can affect a broad variety of people including:  trade workers such as electricians, painters, and carpenters; recreational athletes such as tennis players and golfers; and labourers such as cleaners and assembly line workers.  Computer use, and even hobbies like gardening and knitting can be associated with TE and GE.

It is important to establish an accurate diagnosis of TE or GE.  This can be accomplished by performing a proper medical history, along with a physical examination.  Other causes of elbow pain may include: fractures, bursitis, arthritis, sprains, nerve irritation, or referred pain from the neck and/or shoulder region. 

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals skilled in diagnosing and treating muscle and joint conditions such as TE and GE.  Initially, relative rest and altering or eliminating the conditions that contributed to the injury is important.  This may include making changes to a work station, using the correct tools/equipment, and taking breaks to relax overworked muscles and joints.  Treatment options include laser therapy, acupuncture, electrotherapy, taping, bracing, specialized soft tissue therapy, and manual joint mobilization.  In addition, a comprehensive rehabilitation program should also include stretching and strengthening exercises that target the muscles of the forearm, upper arm, shoulder and upper back.

If elbow pain is keeping you away from your favourite activities, consider chiropractic care.  A chiropractor will assess your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the road to recovery.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca. 

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.