Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lift Light To Shovel Right

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)

Snow Shoveling
Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shoveling is often to blame.
But shoveling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here’s how:

Before You Start

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
  • Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
  • Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.

All Set to Go

Push, don’t throw.

Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.

Bend your knees.

Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.

Watch for ice.

Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing
Once you’ve mastered safe snow shoveling techniques, you’ll be free to have fun and stay fit all winter.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pack It Light. Wear It Right - Handbags

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)

Some women carry the whole world in their handbag, but a heavy bag or purse can cause pain and injury to your back, neck and shoulders. Overstuffed bags also cause poor posture by encouraging the carrier to lean to one side.
The good news is pain and injury can be easily avoided by following a few simple tips.
Choosing a handbag
  1. Choose a handbag that is proportionate to your body size and no larger than what is needed. Your handbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of your body weight.
  2. Choose a handbag that has several individual pockets, instead of one large compartment. This will help to distribute the weight of the contents more evenly and keep them from shifting.
Packing a handbag
  1. Change the size and weight of your wallet once in a while. You may also consider one wallet for your work and a different one for when you go out, as you may need different objects for both.
  2. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the purse by using all the pockets.
Carrying a handbag
  1. Use both hands to check the weight of the handbag.
  2. Instead of always carrying your handbag on the same shoulder, switch sides often so each shoulder gets a rest.
  3. Square your shoulders — many women have a habit of lifting the shoulder on which the purse is carried to keep the straps from slipping.
More tips
  1. Try to maintain good posture. When standing, your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line-up, one comfortably above the other.
  2. If you can walk to lunch or a meeting, lock your purse in your desk or locker and carry only your cash and/or credit cards in a pocket.
By following these simple strategies, it’s easy to lighten your load.
Visit for more information.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Massage Therapy Can Help You

Massage Therapy can be therapeutically beneficial for people of all ages. It is widely used for the treatment of many conditions including:

  • Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sprains and strains
  • Sports, work, and motor vehicle injuries
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Back and neck pain
  • Circulatory and respiratory problems
  • Post-injury and post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Pregnancy discomfort
  • Stress relief
  • Wellness and prevention

Those who have experienced massage therapy often report great satisfaction with their treatment. Along with this satisfaction, people often report feelings of great relaxation and rejuvenation, pain relief, stress reduction, increased energy and vitality, and an ability to achieve a more restful sleep. Our centre also performs massage therapy for special populations and circumstances such as pregnancy and infant massage.

Massage Therapy can be used as a stand-alone therapy or can also be effectively incorporated with
standard chiropractic treatments, Acupuncture, and Rehabilitative Exercise and Physical Therapy.
Our centre has four highly skilled and experienced Registered Massage Therapists (RMT's) that are available:
Mondays        9 AM - 7 PM
Tuesdays       9 AM - 9 PM
Wednesdays  9 AM - 9 PM
Thursdays     9 AM - 8 PM
Fridays          9 AM - 8 PM
Saturdays      9 AM - 2 PM
Visit OR for more information.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Stress Hot Spots

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)

How many people really listen to what their body is telling them? Since no part of the body is immune to stress, it can affect the entire body, taking a heavy toll on the nervous and digestive systems. If you don’t want stress to become part of your norm, here’s what to look for:
  • Sleeplessness
  • Poor digestion
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feeling stiff and achy
  • Frequent flu-like illness
Try These Tips To Keep Stress Under Control:
Does the house need cleaning? Laundry piling up? On the home front, let each family member be responsible for a room or a specific task. If you don’t have someone to delegate to at home, give yourself a break. Allow some tasks to wait while you regenerate.
At work, ask yourself if someone else can pick up part or all of a task that you may usually do. Letting go of some tasks will lighten the load.
Cardiovascular exercise can reduce the level of stress hormones in your body, allowing you to cope more easily. Even a brisk walk around the neighborhood will reduce your stress level. So make a little time for yourself – your stress will go down and your energy will go up.
Avoid sugar
Sugar increases symptoms of irritability and anxiety in many people, and weakens the immune system. It has also been found to diminish infection-fighting white blood cell counts for up to six hours after consumption.
Make a list
A hectic schedule means that being organized and planning ahead is more important than ever. If you are lying in bed at night worrying about all the things you have to do, get up and make a “to do” list. It will help to clear your mind and get to sleep.
Laughter is the best therapy
It may be a cliché, but people who laugh on a daily basis rate the stress in their lives as lower, and enjoy better health. So go ahead and giggle – it’s good for you!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Everyday Actitivities That May Be Hurting Your Back

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
80% of all Canadians will suffer at least one significant episode of back pain in their lives.  Back pain can negatively impact an individual’s work, recreational, and social life.  Back pain prevention can go a long way in reducing the risk of injury.  Below are some tips on how to overcome some of the common everyday activities that can contribute to back pain.
1.    Improper lifting is a risk factor associated with back pain. There are several strategies that should be employed during lifting activities.  Maintaining the natural curve/hollow (lordosis) of your low back is important, as this is its strongest and most secure position.  Avoid awkward postures such as bending, reaching, and twisting/turning.  Whenever possible, you should square your body toward the object being lifted, turn your whole body by moving your feet, and keep the object close to your body.  Contracting your abdominal muscles during lifting, lowering, and moving activities improves spinal stability, referred to as bracing.  You should also bend at the legs and not the waist, lifting slowly and smoothly, not jerking.  Minimizing lift load and exposure, taking mini-breaks, and job rotations can also be helpful.  The use of assistive devices such as dollies, handgrips, and pull carts is also recommended.
2.    The physical strain of sitting:  Most people that sit for prolonged periods of time will eventually adopt a poor posture that includes losing the natural hollow of the low back, rounding or slouching forward of the upper back and shoulders, and a forward head poking position.  This can lead to significant back pain as these less than ideal positions put cumulative compression and strain on the spine.  Take 10 to 30 second stretch or posture breaks every 20 to 40 minutes to make sure weight is evenly distributed, your shoulders are not rounding forward, and you are not slouching.

3.    Working in stooped positions:  When we keep our backs in a neutral/straight position, the mechanical load on the spine is considerably lower than when your back is bent forward.  Many activities around the home and workplace cause you to bend forward and stoop.  The longer you work in these forward bent positions, the more likely you are to experience back problems.  In order to minimize the risk of injury, you should interrupt the stooped position at regular intervals before pain starts.  Trying to find alternative ways of completing tasks without stooping is ideal.

4.    Smoking contributes to an increase in spinal problems.  Smoking has been shown to decrease bone mineral density and increase the risk of osteoporosis and future fractures.  The reduced blood circulation found in smokers deprives spinal discs of vital nutrients which can lead to premature degeneration.  Smoking may also provoke disc herniation through coughing.  Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood may also increase the risk of developing back problems later in life.

5.    Lack of physical activity de-conditions the body.  This makes us more susceptible to cumulative spinal strain and injury.  For optimal functioning, your muscles and joints need a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood.  Regular exercise increases our functional capacity to withstand occupational, recreational, and everyday stresses on our back more efficiently, thereby minimizing the risk of injury.

Decreasing your risk for back pain is the first step in prevention.  For some, back pain can be dramatically minimized or avoided; while for others it needs to be managed so that its negative effects on activities of daily living can be reduced.  If you are suffering from back pain, a qualified health professional can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe appropriate therapy, exercises, and back sparing 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.