Friday, October 25, 2013

Heads Up On Helmets!

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)
Helmets aren’t just for extreme sports. Many fun seasonal activities, such as bike riding, blading, skiing or skating, require the use of a helmet. They are designed to protect your head and can reduce the risk of an injury by 30 per cent. There are such a wide variety of activities requiring helmets that it’s important to pick the right one for the job.
There are two basic types of helmets: single-impact and multiple-impact. Here are a few tips that will help you select a helmet that is appropriate for the activity that you’re doing.
Picking the right helmet
Ski and snowboarding helmets are designed to protect your head against ONE impact accident. After it’s been in a crash, it should be replaced even if there doesn’t appear to be any damage. Hockey helmets are designed to withstand several impacts. Helmets that are designed to protect the back of the head should be used for winter sports.
Don’t settle for second-hand
While it may be tempting to buy a second-hand helmet or use a hand-me-down, keep in mind that plastic helmets become brittle and weaken with age. Make sure you know the answer to two questions:
1. Has this helmet been in a crash?
2. Is it more than five years old?
Look for safety certification
Older helmets may not meet current safety standards. It’s important to look for safety certification by CSA (Canadian Standards Association), or CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission).
The right fit
Proper fit is just as important as choosing the right helmet. It should comfortably touch your head all the way around, and be snug enough to stay firmly in place. Your helmet should sit level on your head and ride as low as possible to protect the sides of your head.
Head injuries can be devastating, and you should never skimp on getting the right helmet for your needs – remember, you can’t put a price on your brain!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Understanding Neck Pain

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

Neck pain is a widespread experience among the general population, with 30-50% of adults reporting pain symptoms at any given time.  Once an episode of neck pain happens, most individuals will find it is a persistent or recurrent condition.  The purpose of this article is to outline our current scientific understanding of neck pain.
The cause of neck pain is usually multi-factorial, meaning that there is usually no single cause.  Factors such as overall physical and mental health, along with work and daily activities are just a few factors that can contribute to the development of neck pain.  Most causes are not the result of serious injury or disease.
Neck pain can affect people in different ways and is usually classified into the following categories:
GRADE 1: Neck pain with no signs or symptoms suggestive of major structural pathology, and little or no interference with daily activities.
GRADE 2:  Neck pain with no signs or symptoms suggestive of major structural pathology that limits daily activities.
GRADE 3:  Neck pain with no signs or symptoms suggestive of major structural pathology, with presence of neurologic signs of nerve compression (i.e. radiculopathy or "pinched nerve") and may include pain, weakness and/or numbness in the arm.
GRADE 4:  Neck pain with signs or symptoms suggestive of serious structural pathology (i.e. tumor, fracture, infection, systemic or visceral disease).

Evaluation of neck pain should include a proper medical history, along with a physical examination consisting of inspection, range of motion testing, and palpation for tenderness, along with strength, neurological, orthopaedic and functional testing.  Diagnostic tests such as x-rays, CT or MRI scans are only required in a minority of cases.
The majority of neck pain is classified as Grade 1 or 2.  There is scientific evidence to support the following treatments for Grades 1 and 2 neck pain: education, exercise, mobilization, manipulation, acupuncture, soft tissue therapy, and analgesics.  Conservative treatment of Grade 3 neck pain should proceed with caution.  The majority of Grade 4 neck pain will require specialty medical management.

Due to the persistent and recurring nature of neck pain, individuals need to have realistic expectations when addressing their symptoms as pain relief is often modest and short-lived. The scientific literature does not identify any “best” treatment that is effective for everyone.  Trying a variety of therapies or combination of therapies may be required to find relief and help manage neck pain.  It is important that individuals play an active role in managing their symptoms by participating in their usual daily activities as tolerated, exercising, and reducing mental stress.
Most people can expect to experience some neck pain in their lifetime that may or may  not limit daily activities.  For those with neck pain that may be interfering with their activities of daily living, a qualified health professional can prescribe appropriate conservative therapy, rehabilitation and self-management strategies specifically for your circumstance.  For more information, visit
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, October 12, 2013

Proper Setup Benefits Health, Productivity


Ontario Farmer
(This is the second in a series of articles on efficient office management)
Whether you’re setting up a new office, or just want to improve on your old workspace, office setup can be a daunting task.
Where do you start? What do you need, and what should you look for? When done right, creating an organized office space can make all the difference. Reduce stress, increase your productivity and be kind to your body with a fresh start for your office.
When buying furniture, account for ergonomics, and how all the pieces of the office will work together. Function should take precedence over style or price, though finding items that fit all three shouldn’t be too difficult.
Minnesota office organization expert Sue Rasmussen emphasizes that there are three key pieces to most people’s office layouts, a good desk, a good chair and a filing cabinet.
Make sure your desk is large enough but also that everything you need is within reach to prevent straining. Halifax professional organizer Colette Robicheau suggests an L-shaped desk for extra workspace.
Chiropractic rehabilitation specialist Dr. John Papa of New Hamburg adds that the desk should be at elbow height so that arms are supported while keyboarding. Position the computer monitor so that the upper-third is at eye-level for easy viewing, Papa advises.
Most importantly, be aware of your posture and be sure not to slouch, distribute weight unevenly in your chair, or roll your head too far forward or to the side. And don’t cradle the phone between your head and shoulder. Use a headset or the speaker phone feature.
As we spend increasing amounts on computers, tablets and smart phones for both work and pleasure, the risks are becoming apparent. “Sitting - it’ll kill you,” is the tagline around his lab, says Dr. Jack Callahan, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention at the University of Waterloo.
Callahan has been studying chronic pain related to office work since 1996. The research shows that those who spend the majority of their time sitting have a higher rate of injury than those who perform mixed tasks, he explains.
Known as Sedentary Disease, too much sitting is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and premature death.
If you’re sitting for more than two hours a day, Callahan recommends investing in a good quality office chair. “Adjustability is really important,” says Callahan. The back rest and arm rests should be adjustable as well as the height of the seat, he explains.
What’s known as the 90-90-90 position, feet flat on the floor and elbows at a 90 degree angle, is a good starting position but it’s also important to adjust your position several times throughout the day.
For himself, Callahan has invested in a chair that allows him to alter his position between sitting and standing. These chairs have been shown to reduce pain and discomfort, he explains. For every hour of work the best ratio seems to be about 45 minutes sitting and 15 minutes of standing, he says.
And if you’re using a laptop computer or a tablet it’s just as important to maintain good posture. You shouldn’t be bent over, craning your neck to type on it, explains Callahan.
For laptops he recommends a second screen or a second keyboard (the cheaper option) so you can maintain good posture. For a tablet he recommends having a stand and keyboard if you’re going to use the tablet for inputting content as opposed to just consuming content.
Even with the proper furniture and equipment, it’s important to take breaks, says Papa. Repeating a simple stretching routine throughout the day can prevent years of chronic pain.
Simply changing your work habits is more than worth the pain and stress it can save you in the long-term, he points out.
With the right office equipment, the right setup, being aware of your posture, and taking frequent breaks, you can increase productivity and reduce the risk of chronic back pain.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Message from Minister Deb Matthews

We are very pleased to bring you an important message from Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-term Care, Deb Matthews.

The Minister makes two announcements about the role of chiropractic in primary care. The first is about the Ontario government's Low Back Pain strategy and will include chiropractors. The second is about chiropractors specifically.
This is a watershed moment in the history of chiropractic in Ontario and a significant shift in government health care policy. The Minister's announcement officially acknowledges what we and our patients have always been sure of – that chiropractors are an essential part of the primary health care team in this province.

We should be clear, though, that this is not an endpoint in our advocacy work, but rather a new beginning. What the association will do now is take the message of chiropractic to primary care teams across the province. It will be crucial that our potential partners in FHTs and NPLCs are adequately informed of this opportunity in advance of outreach from individual members.

It is not yet the time for individual chiropractors to take any action. We are clarifying the details of the rollout and working with our partners to ensure that the integration of chiropractors will be successful.  

In Minister Matthews' own words: "It is an exciting time to be a chiropractor in Ontario." And we couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Straighten Up!

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)


Good posture is easy to neglect, it’s hard to keep focused on how to carry ourselves throughout the day.
Much like eating right, exercising and getting a good night’s sleep, having great posture can have a positive impact on your life.  Many injuries can develop from poor posture. If not corrected, the long term effects of not straightening up your back can negatively affect the body, altering your body structure. An individual who suffers from this often experiences fatigue, achy muscles, strain and pain in lower back and chronic headaches.
You can improve your posture by taking a few moments everyday day to participate in active stretching and engage in strength building exercises. Introducing daily activities into your lifestyle is a simple and effective way to keeping your posture in check.
Here is a video that can help you get started with your journey to getting good posture!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Don't Let A Fall Bring You Down

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)
A senior who’s suffered an injury from a fall knows the dramatic impact it can have not just physically, but psychologically. Falls can swiftly take away the sense of independence and confidence that allows a senior to fully enjoy their life.
Unfortunately, falls are all too common in our aging population, 1 in every 3 Canadians over the age of 65 will experience a fall, with hips, wrists and pelvic fractures being the most common injuries.
However there are some easy tips and techniques anyone can use that help reduce the risk of injury as a result of a fall.
Reduce clutter in the home
Maybe it’s time for some fall cleaning. Getting rid of loose articles such as rugs prevents you from slipping or tripping in your home. Reducing clutter can make for a much safer environment.
Ensure easy transfers in and out of the bath
The combination of water and tile can be drastic. Installing grab bars in your bathroom to help with getting in and out of the tub is an affordable adjustment that can minimize your chances of slipping and falling on a wet floor.
Wear supportive footwear
Many of us wear slippers around the house, especially during the colder months. Making sure your slippers have traction and are non-slip can safeguard you from falling in your home.
Have your eyesight and hearing checked every year
Having your vision and hearing checked regularly is vital. If hearing or vision is impaired, you can miss important cues that help maintain your balance, resulting in a fall.
Exercise regularly
Although it can be a daunting task, exercising to improve strength and coordination helps to prevent your chances of losing balance and falling.
Have your medications evaluated
It is possible for a patient to receive several prescriptions from multiple doctors. By evaluating the medication you are on, you can decrease the chances of side effects and keep your sensory functions that help you stay balanced and upright intact.
Have your strength and balance tested
A person with low mobility levels and poor balance is at a higher risk of falling. Being mobile and continuing to improve balance is vital to helping prevent falls and injuries.
By following these falls prevention tips, you can reduce your chances of experiencing a fall that may lead to additional injuries down the road. Visit a doctor of chiropractic or other qualified health professional to test your steadiness, balance and strength and give you additional information on falls prevention.