Thursday, July 28, 2016

Exercise And Over-Training Syndrome

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

Many individuals strive to incorporate more exercise into their daily routine and for good reason.  Regular exercise has long been identified as an essential element of good health due to its ability to positively affect every organ and structure in the body.  However, if done in excess, exercise can also lead to negative health consequences such as over-training syndrome (OTS).
OTS occurs when there is an imbalance between exercise training and the body's ability to recover. This typically occurs when exercise volume (the total amount of exercise performed) and intensity (the total amount of effort exerted) are both too high for an extended period of time.  Therefore, it is important to find the correct balance between exercise volume and intensity.  A good exercise program should allow you to exercise on a regular basis without "burning out".
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of OTS which may include:
·        Performance related issues such as:  decreased strength, endurance, and power; poor workout recovery; an inability to complete workouts.
·        Physical symptoms such as:  an increased resting heart rate; persistent aches and pains in muscles and joints; repetitive strain injuries.
·        Health related symptoms such as:  frequent headaches; chronic fatigue; gastrointestinal distress; menstrual irregularities; decreased recovery from and/or increased susceptibility to colds, sore throats, and other illnesses.
·        Mood and behavioural changes such as:  insomnia; loss of appetite; increased irritability; depression; decreased motivation to exercise.
Below are some useful tips that can help overcome or minimize the chance of OTS:
1.    Rest is essential for recovery.  This may include absolute rest from all exercise activity or increasing the recovery time between exercise bouts.  Proper rest allows for the body's important biological systems to recover, repair and recharge.
2.    Change your training method.  Look at the cumulative stress of the exercises performed.  Use a variety of exercises when training specific body regions and avoid continuous training without proper recovery.  Change your program frequently and find the right balance between exercise volume and intensity.
3.    Check your nutritional status.  Your body needs the proper nutrients to function optimally.  Inadequate intake of carbohydrate and protein can lead to muscle fatigue and poor muscle tissue repair.  Healthy fats are needed to produce hormones that regulate many body functions.  Dehydration can contribute to muscle cramping and joint pain.  Avoid nutrient deficient foods such as trans-fats and refined sugars and starches which put physical stress on the body.
4.    Get professional help:  Overcoming OTS is not always simple.  There are healthcare practitioners who can treat physical injuries and provide advice on nutrition and proper exercise training techniques.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of OTS and knowing how to avoid or minimize its effects can ensure that you can continue to enjoy the many health benefits exercise has to offer.  For additional information on exercise, nutrition, and improving your physical health, 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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

7 Camping Tips That Will Save Your Back This Summer

Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA)

Summer weather is here! This means there are more opportunities to go outdoors and have fun. One activity that many of us look forward to in the summer months is camping. The fresh air, a well-lit campfire and a dip in the lake are difficult to resist. But preparing for camping is just as important as enjoying it. Be ready for the unexpected.
Camp grounds and parks allow us to enjoy a large variety of recreational activities, which is what makes it a summer favorite. Preparing and organizing packing ahead of time can help you manage the unexpected and tackle challenges as they arise. We want to help out all our campers this summer with some useful tips to follow before you load up the tent and strap your canoe on the roof of the car1: 
  1. Test your gear to ensure it works. Before packing materials in your vehicle, test your equipment to ensure it works and do so safely.
  2. Plan for activities. Plan your activities in advance to ensure that you have the right equipment and are physically ready for the challenge.
  3. Familiarize yourself with your upcoming campsite. Learning about the facility and what is available to you helps you prepare in advance for what to bring.
  4. Make a list and check it twice. Preparation is key! Make a list of the items that you may need, but consider what is truly essential. Packing extra weight can put a strain on your body, so be discerning and keep things light.
Like many other events in your life, camping can pose a number of risks to your musculoskeletal (MSK) health. Preparing for the challenges ahead can also help prevent potential injuries. If you plan on doing any activities during your camping trip such as hiking, biking, or running, it is a good idea to see your chiropractor in advance for tips and advice on how to physically prepare yourself when outdoors. Here are some tips to consider:
  1. Support your back. From packing to pitching the tent or while on a hike, keep neutral curves in your spine while keeping your core engaged and active. (See our blog on how to maintain good posture.)
  2. Mind the lift. Remember to bend from the hips and knees while using your legs to lift. Keep a neutral spine and use your entire body to turn. Pivot from your feet to move your body.
  3. Pack light. Carry only what you need, and avoid excess. This can help prevent fatigue and strain from packing, hiking, or even canoeing. Being a minimalist can help prevent injuries.
Are you going camping this summer? Perhaps you have some exciting summer adventures planned. We would love to hear about them! Tag us in your posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #CCASummer!


1Woodbury, Shari. “How to prepare for a family camping trip.” Family Share.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Benefits Of Laser Therapy

Class IV K-Lasers deliver specific red and near-infrared wavelengths of laser light to induce a therapeutic effect within the body. The painless application of laser energy has been shown to:
  • decrease pain
  • reduce swelling/inflammation and
  • enhance tissue repair

It does this by increasing microcirculation, allowing more red blood cells with oxygen to reach injured tissues to help with healing. It will also increase venous and lymphatic drainage from the injured region. At the cellular level, it stimulates enzymes which will improve the rate at which energy is made in the cell. More energy in the cell means a quicker healing process.

Numerous studies show that Laser Therapy can help with:
  • Low Back Pain & Sciatica
  • Neck Pain & Headaches
  • Mid & Upper Back Pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Muscle Strains & Spasms
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries
  • Osteoarthritis & Bursitis
  • Shoulder & Elbow Pain
  • Wrist & Hand Conditions
  • Hip & Knee Pain
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sports Injuries
  • Auto & Work Related Injuries
  • Post-surgical Healing


Friday, July 15, 2016

Considerations For Shoulder Pain - Part 1

By Dr. R. Greg Lusk, DC

Although back pain, neck pain, and headaches are the three most common reasons why individuals seek out the services of a chiropractor, shoulder pain is another frequent complaint seen in the office.  Sometimes there is a traumatic mechanism to explain the onset of pain, such as a fall or over-exertion with lifting, reaching, pulling, or throwing types of activities.  However, often the cause is not very obvious, suggesting that a more cumulative process has resulted in a pain experience at the shoulder.  Discussing the structure and function of the shoulder will help us understand how this may occur.  Note - it is also important to realize that pain felt at the shoulder may not have its origin at the shoulder at all but instead have a more central source, commonly the neck region, with structures either referring or radiating pain to the shoulder, with or without the presence of neck discomfort.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint.  As such, it is a very mobile joint with many movement possibilities, but with greater potential for instability as well.  The "ball" is the head of the upper arm bone called the humerus and the "socket" is a shallow depression on the shoulder blade, made deeper only by the addition of projections of cartilage called the labrum.  The shoulder blade essentially floats on our mid back by way of muscular attachments with its only direct bony connection to the rest of our skeleton being made via the collar bone.  The four rotator cuff muscles attach the ball to the shoulder blade and function to keep the ball centred in the socket while larger muscles around the shoulder, the deltoid and "pecs" for example, create the actual movement of the shoulder/arm.  With ranges of motion, the ball rotates and glides in the socket, the shoulder blade itself moves in a variety of directions, and the collar bone rotates and tilts.  The mid back also needs to extend.  All of these motions have a pre-wired sequencing or rhythm in which they occur to move the shoulder optimally and basically keep the ball in the socket.  When this pattern of motion is altered due to a new injury or persists after an older problem resolved but wasn't fully rehabilitated, or simply as a result of postural imbalances, this sets the stage for future trouble.
Unlike other joints in the body where the muscles that move and/or stabilize the joint surround the bony connection, the shoulder is unique in that some soft tissues (i.e. rotator cuff muscles and tendons, bursae) are contained in an area surrounded by bony structures.  To orient you, feel the bony tip of your shoulder blade, named the acromion, where the shoulder slopes down to become the arm.  The area beneath the acromion is appropriately called the sub-acromial space, which houses those soft tissues, sandwiching them between the ball of the ball and socket below and the acromion above.  If the rhythm mentioned previously becomes altered and the ball is not well maintained in the socket throughout ranges of motion, these tissues can become overly pinched, or "impinged" between the bony surfaces.  Over time this can result in a number of different painful conditions, such as bursitis, a biceps tendonopathy, a rotator cuff tear or tendonopathy, shoulder impingement syndrome, and arthritis to name a few.
Part 2 of this article will continue this discussion and suggest a few things one may try to help optimize shoulder function.  This article is for general information purposes only and is not to be taken as professional medical advice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Plantar Fasciitis: A Common Source of Heel Pain

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
Plantar fasciitis is caused by injury to the plantar fascia, which is the tendon-like soft-tissue along the bottom of the foot that connects your heel bone to your toes.  This condition is a common source of heel pain that can be quite disabling.
Plantar fasciitis usually develops gradually, but it can also come on suddenly.  Sharp, knife-like pain on the inside-bottom part of the heel is often characteristic.  Pain and discomfort can also extend into the arch of the foot.  Heel pain tends to be worse with the first few walking steps in the morning, and after extended periods of sitting or inactivity.  If plantar fasciitis becomes severe or chronic, heel and/or arch pain will be present with all weight bearing activities, and may result in secondary areas of discomfort in the foot, knee, hip or back due to compensatory movements.
Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing rubber band, supporting the arch of your foot.  Excessive tension and repetitive stretching can create small tears in this soft-tissue fascia, causing it to become irritated or inflamed.  This may occur with activities that require running, jumping or prolonged walking and standing.  Improper footwear can make the plantar fascia more susceptible to stretch and strain during these activities.
Faulty foot mechanics may also contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.  Individuals who excessively pronate (role feet inward) or are flat-footed will experience extra mechanical strain on their plantar fascia.  Old lower extremity injuries such as ankle sprains and fractures increase risk due to altered lower limb movements.  Heel and arch pain tends to be more common in middle and older aged people.  With aging, the arch of the foot begins to sag, putting stress on the plantar fascia.  Being overweight is also a risk factor.  Carrying extra pounds can break down the protective fatty tissue under the heel bone, causing heel pain and putting additional mechanical load on the plantar fascia.
Self-care strategies for reducing the pain of plantar fasciitis include: ice application; rolling a tennis ball or soup can from your heel and along the arch of your foot; and gentle stretching of the achilles tendon, calf muscles, and plantar fascia.  Gel or “donut pads” placed under the affected heel(s) in shoes may also provide relief.
Plantar fasciitis that does not respond to self-care strategies may require professional treatment.  This can include electrotherapy, manual and soft tissue therapy, and specific rehabilitative exercises.  A custom made orthotic may also be helpful by minimizing pronation, cushioning the heel, and supporting the arch.
It is important to establish an accurate diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.  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
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, July 7, 2016

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
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, July 4, 2016

Preparing Your Body For Golf Season

By:  Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)

Warmer weather signals the start of summer and golfers can’t wait to get on the course to start their season.  Good preparation can go a long way in helping to avoid and/or minimize the chances of suffering a muscle or joint injury while playing golf.  Included below are some tips to improve your game and prevent the pain!

1.    Prepare physically by including flexibility and strengthening exercises as part of your training and practice routine.  Muscles act as important shock absorbers and help prevent strains and sprains of vulnerable regions such as the back, along with the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, and knee joints.

2.    Warm-up and cool-down both before and after your game.  Include gentle stretching and range of motion exercises, as well as a brisk walk or gentle jog to loosen the muscles and joints.

3.    Nourish your body by staying hydrated.  Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your game and steer clear of caffeine and alcohol as they further dehydrate you.  Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.  Consider bringing nutritious snacks to help maintain your blood sugar levels during play.

4.    Use a wheeled golf cart for carrying heavy clubs.  Alternate every hole by pushing or pulling your golf cart to help prevent cumulative strain on your body.  If you must carry your golf bag, use both shoulders straps.  This will spread the weight across a greater area.  If there is only one strap, alternate sides frequently.  If you find that your bag is getting too heavy, put it down and take a break.

5.    Prepare for the elements.  Golf requires long periods of standing.  Choose a golf shoe that fits comfortably while providing adequate support.  This may help prevent knee, hip, and lower back pain.  To protect from sun exposure, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brim hat.  Wear loose and comfortable clothing.  Know your physical limits.  Playing too much too soon is one of the most common causes of golf injuries, so build your tolerance and pace yourself.

6.    Whether it is your golf clubs or your golf swing, golf can be a very technical sport. Ensure that your clubs are  the right height and grip.  Select irons with large heads and graphite shafts to lessen vibration.  Adopting a golf swing based on your physical and biomechanical capacity is important.  Take lessons to learn the correct swing technique and avoid unnecessary injuries.  A golf professional can help you with club selection and technique.

In the event that you suffer a muscle or joint injury while golfing that does not subside, you should contact a licensed health professional.  For more information, visit The author credits the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) in the preparation of this educational information for use by its members and the public.
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.