Sunday, March 22, 2015

How To Choose The Right Mattress

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

Choosing the right mattress can go a long way in determining the quality of your sleep.  Using a mattress that does not provide adequate support and comfort can also be a significant source of muscle and joint pain, especially in the shoulder, back, and hip regions.

The right mattress is usually defined as any mattress that helps a person sleep well, so that they wake up feeling rested and without pain and stiffness.  However, there is no single best mattress for everyone as there are a variety of factors that go into choosing the right mattress.

Below are some useful tips that can help you find the mattress that's right for you:
·        Consider how your mattress is made.  Mattress support is determined by the internal architecture of the mattress.  This can include innerspring coil mattresses (most common), memory foam, latex, and air mattresses.  Each offer different degrees of support and comfort.  Some manufacturers also include additional padding on top of the mattress for extra comfort, but this may not be necessary for all individuals.

·        Sleep experts recommend replacing your mattress on average every 8-10 years or sooner.  Look for visible sagging and/or material breakdown as a sign to replace your mattress.  Over time, mattresses collect dust mites and other germs that can exacerbate allergies and impact sleep.  In addition, our bodies change over time and an old mattress that had originally been comfortable may no longer be providing the comfort and support it once did.
·        Your physical health and your mattress.  Sleeping with painful conditions such as osteoarthritis, hip bursitis, and degenerative disc disease can be minimized by choosing the right mattress.  You can also incorporate additional sleep positioning tips to get the most comfort out of your mattress.

·        Try before you buy.  Lay on a variety of mattresses (i.e. firm, medium, pillow top) for at least 10-15 minutes in several simulated sleep positions to get a sense of how the mattress feels.
·        Shop at stores that specialize in mattresses.  These stores will offer a diverse range of choices and other important factors such as manufacturer and comfort warranties.
·        The right mattress achieves a balance between comfort and support.  A mattress that is too firm may cause pain in pressure points such as the hips.  A mattress that is too soft may not offer enough support and cause pain and stiffness.  Most people do well with a medium-firm mattress.  However, at the end of the day, a person's overall comfort level will determine which mattress is right for them.
If you experience muscle and joint pain that is causing difficulty with your sleep, you should contact a licensed health professional who deals in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.  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.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chiropractic Treatment for Aging Canadians

Canadian Chiropractic Association

Aging can be difficult as one navigates new or existing health needs, or those of loved ones. Chiropractic treatment can help aging Canadians maintain a pain-free and healthy life by providing relief from MSK conditions, including back pain. Such conditions are often associated with increasing age such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis, among others.
Did you know?  Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are the most common causes of long-term pain and disability in Canadians over 60. Due to their extensive training and expertise, Canadian chiropractors can play an important role in the prevention and management of MSK conditions that may negatively impact your health and wellbeing. In fact, chiropractors can help you maintain your mobility and quality of life, foster healthy aging and conserve your independence.

Blog4-graphic-ENQuality of Life

MSK pain can affect almost every aspect of life including compromised mobility, independent living, difficulty in daily activities, and disturbed sleep patterns. The impact of these can be more profound among aging Canadians, which can complicate day-to-day life. In fact, chronic pain has been associated with disability and even depression.
Promptly addressing the root of the issue is essential. Canadian chiropractors can help assess, diagnose, manage and even prevent MSK conditions. Through a variety of non-invasive, gentle, hands-on therapies, including conservative manual therapies, modalities, exercise and rehabilitation and lifestyle counselling, chiropractors can help reduce pain, restore mobility and increase quality of life in older patients. Therapeutic exercise can produce remarkable outcomes in even the very elderly. Building strength also improves balance and coordination, which are essential in preventing falls.
A 2013 Rand study that compared chiropractic patients and non-chiropractic patients aged 75 and up showed:
  • 87% of chiropractic patients 75 years or older described their heath as good to excellent. Only 67% of non-chiropractic patients said the same.
  • The chiropractic patients exercised more regularly and had fuller social lives. They were also less likely to use prescription drugs.
  • Chiropractic patients reported:
    • Fewer chronic conditions by 15%
    • Fewer symptoms of arthritis by 22%
    • Less time in nursing homes by 15%
    • Less time in hospitals in the last three years by 21%

Sometimes the hardest part of managing MSK conditions is seeking care. Often,  we fail to ask for help to avoid burdening family, friends and caregivers. But, in many cases, Canadians may have simply resigned themselves to live in pain because they think it is a natural part of aging. However, help is available! Click here to learn more about how to protect and treat conditions for yourself or elderly loved ones, and to avoid further pain and disability. In fact, people of all ages benefit from chiropractic treatment.

Friday, March 6, 2015

We're Hiring!

Part-Time Receptionist/Clinical Assistant for Busy Wellness Clinic

We are looking for a Part-Time Receptionist/Clinical Assistant to start immediately.

·        Must have experience working in a multi-disciplinary health clinic (i.e. chiropractic, physiotherapy, etc.) OR similar customer service environment that involved scheduling appointments and office administration

·        Excellent communication and inter-personal skills; comfortable dealing with the public in a health care setting

·        Detail-oriented and efficient

·        Proven ability to multi-task and work within a fast-paced environment

·        Friendly and caring personality

·        Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office; Experience using PMP software program and working knowledge of MVA and WSIB is an asset

·        Punctual, reliable, responsible, and organized

·        Professional and health-minded with an interest in health and wellness

·        Must be available to work evening and flexible hours from Monday to Friday between 7:30 am to 7:30 pm
Job Duties include (but are not limited to):
·        Scheduling appointments, collecting fees, processing patients for multiple practitioners

·        Answering telephone and greeting patients in a professional and courteous manner

·        Filing, chart completion and office administration tasks

·        Balancing daily transactions

·        Appointment confirmation calls

·        Clinical assisting

·        Opening and closing procedures

·        Cleaning
Qualified applicants are asked to submit a cover letter, resume, and three work-related references to

Only qualified applicants will be contacted.  No phone calls or drop-ins please.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Understanding Joint Wear & Tear

By Dr. Greg Lusk, DC
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a frequent source of pain and stiffness that brings clients into healthcare offices.  In fact, it is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 1 in 10 Canadian adults.  It occurs when the cartilage that covers and protects bones breaks down and wears away, narrowing the joint and making it less smooth.  Eventually, this may lead to the formation of bone spurs, ligament laxity, and weakening of the muscles around the joint.  It is most common in the weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees, low back, neck, big toes, as well as the fingers and thumbs.
Also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative disc disease (specifically in reference to OA of the inter-vertebral spaces in the spine), its prevalence increases with age, with a notable increase after age 70.  Other risk factors include a family history of OA, being overweight, or a previous joint injury (e.g. knee ligament injuries).
The diagnosis of OA is made via a combination of a patient's history and symptoms (e.g. morning stiffness lasting 15-20 minutes), physical examination of the joint, and by obtaining an x-ray of the involved area.  It is important to note that x-ray findings and symptoms don't always go hand in hand, where a greater degree of degeneration does not always equal more pain.  As a result, it is important to treat the patient and their unique clinical presentation versus the x-ray findings alone.  This illustrates the complexity involved in the "experience" of pain as structural changes are not the only factor.
When it comes to managing OA the goals of treatment are to control pain and maintain function.  You cannot conservatively reverse the structural changes that are already present but you can work toward slowing its progression and the need for more invasive treatments.
Daily range of motion exercises compete with the progressive stiffness of OA and strengthening exercises are important to maintain muscle tone and active stability around the joint.  Together, these activities serve to improve joint loading patterns to minimize stress on the affected joint(s).  Aerobic exercises are also valuable as they increase energy and assist with weight management.  Furthermore, all forms of exercise have the added benefit of releasing endorphins which have a pain-blocking effect on the nervous system.
Making lifestyle modifications, such as pacing strenuous activities, using assistive devices as needed, and making healthier dietary choices goes a long way.  As stated, excess weight is a risk factor and losing even 10 pounds can create a noticeable change in symptoms.  80-90% of hip and knee replacement patients are either overweight or obese so controlling weight deserves attention.
Manual therapies including soft tissue techniques, joint mobilization and/or manipulation, therapeutic modalities, and acupuncture may assist with decreasing pain and stiffness.  Medications, particularly painkillers and anti-inflammatories, are also commonly used to manage the symptoms of OA.  Each of these approaches should be discussed with a healthcare practitioner so you are informed of the risks and benefits of the therapy.
If your pain and function due to OA is not being successfully managed by the above options, a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon may be necessary to discuss more invasive treatment options, such as joint injections and surgery.
With OA, the concepts of "motion is lotion" and "move it or lose it" hold true.  Seek professional advice if needed to learn your limits and develop a management plan.  This article is for general information purposes only and is not to be taken as professional medical advice.