Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tobogganing Safety

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)

The thrill of flying down the hill on a sled or toboggan requires no training, but it can still cause pain and injury for sledders who aren’t careful.  Follow these tips to help keep yourself safe this season.
Before you ride
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen and sun glasses.
  • Dress properly and in layers for the weather.
  • Select a hill with plenty of room to stop.
  • Helmets are strongly advised.
  • Always sit or kneel facing forward.
  • Keep your hands, arms and legs inside the sled to prevent injury.
  • Remember to tuck in strings, straps and long toques.  Use a neck warmer instead of a scarf.
  • Wait until the path is clear before starting down the hill.
  • Quickly get out of the way when you reach the bottom.
  • Roll off to the side if you have to get off in a hurry.  Do not use your hands or feet to try and stop the sled.
  • Overcrowding a toboggan with too many riders.
  • Going downhill head first (no lying down).
  • Attempting to stop the toboggan with your hands and feet if you lose control.
Treating injuries
  • If injured, remember to PRICE Protection Rest Ice Compression Elevation.  Do not apply heat such as a heating pad or hot tub for at least the first three days following the injury.
The majority of injuries from sledding are the result of collisions with objects or people.  Most common are head injuries followed by upper and lower limb injury.  To help speed your recovery, see a chiropractor or other health care professional as soon as possible if you are injured.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why Drink Water After A Massage

Drinking water after a massage is often recommended by massage therapists and other health care practitioners, for a variety of reasons.  In fact, drinking water in general is a good idea, as the body benefits from proper hydration, and consuming water will help the kidneys and other organs process the various substances which move through the human body on a regular basis.
Drinking water before a massage is also highly recommended, as it will make it easier for the massage therapist to perform deep work by hydrating the muscles so that they are easier to manipulate.

There are primary reasons for people to drink water after a massage.  The first has to do with substances released by the muscles as the massage therapist manipulates them, and the second has to do with ensuring that the muscles of the body are properly hydrated.

In the case of the first reason, water after a massage helps the body flush out any accumulated materials in the muscles which were released during the massage.  Especially in the case of deep tissue massage, massage stimulates circulation in the body while expressing water, salt, and other minerals from the muscles, and circulation is designed to carry away waste materials generated by cells.  By providing the body with plenty of water, massage clients can help sweep away these waste materials; otherwise, they might build up, causing muscle aches and soreness after a massage.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Text Neck: How To Avoid Strains And Pains

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)

Our modern digital age has brought us many conveniences. BlackBerry devices, iPhones, tablets and e-readers allow us to communicate and be entertained with the push of a button. Technology can improve our quality of life, but it comes with a price: being huddled over devices for long period of times can do more harm than good.
Using certain devices for extended periods of time can easily lead to neck strain, headaches, and pain in the shoulders, arms and hands. Anyone who has used a cellphone or tablet for an extensive amount of time has probably experienced the peculiar strain it puts on your upper body. These conditions even have their own name now: Text Neck.
Here are some simple strategies to help shut down text neck strain:
Take frequent breaks
Taking frequent breaks and looking up from your device can provide your neck with some relief from the pressure of looking down.
Sit up straight
It is important to sit up straight while texting. This way you can maintain good posture, relieving your back and shoulders from the strain of being hunched over.
Hold the phone a little higher
Holding the phone closer to eye level helps maintain a healthy posture and puts less strain on the neck.
Be sure to stretch often between long periods of extended use of devices. You can rotate your shoulders with your arms by your sides to relieve tension. You can also tuck your chin down to your neck and then look up – this helps to relieve some of the tension in your neck built from the common forward-down position you adopt when looking at your device.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Preparing For The Cold & Flu Season

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
It is that time of year again when a dramatic increase in coughs and sniffles appear in schools, workplaces, and homes across the country.  A cold or flu can negatively impact our work, productivity and quality of life.  In Canada alone, colds and flu account for direct economic losses in the tens of millions of dollars.  Proactive and preventative measures are the most effective means of avoiding or minimizing the negative effects of colds and flu.  Learn more about cold and flu basics along with which preventative strategies can be significant defenses against them.
Influenza or (the “flu”) and the common cold are viral respiratory infections (they affect the nose, throat, and lungs).  Viruses are spread from person to person through airborne droplets that are sneezed out or coughed up by an infected person.  In other instances, viruses can also be spread when a person touches an infected surface such as a doorknob, countertop, or telephone, and then touches his or her nose, mouth, eyes, or ears.  As a result, these illnesses are most easily spread in crowded public places such as schools, workplaces and grocery stores.  People infected with an influenza or cold virus become contagious 24 hours after the virus enters the body and often before symptoms appear.  Adults remain infectious (can spread the virus to others) for about 6 days, and children remain infectious for up to 10 days.

Influenza commonly peaks between October and March each year, affecting 10% to 40% of the population. There are three types of influenza viruses: A, B, and C.  Type A influenza causes the most serious problems and symptoms in humans.  Although most people recover fully, the flu causes approximately 7,000 deaths annually in Canada.  Most of these deaths occur in high-risk populations such as the elderly, very young children, and those with serious medical conditions or weakened immune systems.
Over 200 different known cold viruses cause the common cold.  Most colds (30% to 40%) are caused by rhinoviruses.   In Canada, the peak times for colds are at the start of school in the fall, mid-winter, and again in early spring.  It is estimated that on average, children catch approximately eight colds per year; adults catch roughly four per year; and seniors about two per year. 
It is easy for people to confuse a bad cold with the flu, but there are unique characteristics of each.  Headache, high fever, severe aches and pains in body parts, extreme fatigue, weakness and exhaustion often accompany the flu, and are uncommon or less severe with the common cold.  The common cold frequently has symptoms of stuffy nose, sneezing, and sore throat, whereas these symptoms will sometimes occur with the flu.  The main complications of the flu and common cold are bacterial infections of the sinuses or lungs (pneumonia).  Symptoms of these complications include fever, chills, and yellow, green or brown sputum or nasal discharge.  Children may also develop ear infections.  These complications are signs that medical treatment may be necessary.
Knowing how viruses and germs spread, it is understandable that one of the best ways to prevent catching the cold or flu is through proper hand washing.  Without proper hand washing, the spread of germs follows a chain reaction.  First, the germs travel from the hands to the eyes, ears, nose, or mouth.  From there, they spread to other people or to surfaces such as doorknobs.  This then paves the course of hand-to-hand transmission of these infectious diseases.  Regular hand washing is something that all individuals should practice habitually.  The best hand washing technique involves three simple steps.  First, use warm water whenever possible.  Second, work up a good lather all the way up to the wrists for at least 10 to 15 seconds.  The use of regular soap is sufficient for washing.  Third, do not forget to wash all surfaces including the backs of the hands, wrists, between the fingers, and especially the fingernails.  Get in the habit of frequently washing your hands when touching anything in public.  Try to avoid rubbing your eyes, ears, or nose with unwashed hands.  This is one of the major ways we can prevent viruses from entering our bodies.
There are also many positive lifestyle changes individuals can make to help protect them from colds and flu.  A well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, along with adequate water intake is essential for optimal immune functioning.  It is important to avoid foods that sabotage our health, and habits such as cigarette smoking, for our immune systems to function efficiently.  Regular exercise has the ability to positively affect every organ, structure, and system in the body, including the immune system.  Making sure you get enough restful sleep daily allows the body to recharge, recover, and recuperate.  Stress management is key in keeping the body and mind strong. Individuals who continually fail to effectively manage stress may become more susceptible to illness.
The best approach in maximizing our immunity against colds and flu is to be proactive through preventative measures.  Understanding how germs are spread and knowing how to protect ourselves through proper hygiene and healthy lifestyle habits can be very effective in preventing colds and flu or minimizing their severity.
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.