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Do You Have Numbness in Your Arms?

Numbness in Arms

Do you have numbness or tingling down your arms or in your hands? It might feel like pins and needles all the time or only sometimes, and no amount of shaking your hands makes it feel better? Most people think that this is caused by decreased blood flow but it's not!

It's actually a problem with the nerves in the neck.

The nerves in the lower part of your neck travel down your arms and into your hands. These nerves control movement and sensation. When the vertebrae in your neck get slightly rotated, it can put extra pressure on these nerves, making them irritated and inflamed, making your arm feel like it's 'fallen asleep'. Most of the time, you don't feel anything wrong with your neck. In fact, your neck feels fine! You just wish your arms would go back to normal!

An irritated or inflamed nerve seems like a severe condition but in most cases, it can easily be fixed by a series of gentle chiropractic adjustments-no cracking, twisting or turning needed!

Chiropractic adjustments gently realign the spine, which takes that extra pressure off the nerve. When this happens enough that the nerves can heal and function normally again, it can relieve the tingling, numbness and pain you are feeling down your arms, letting you feel like your old self again!

 

 

Bottle Feeding, Torticollis and Plagiocephaly

bottleBreast feeding or bottle feeding. This can be quite an intense debate among parents of newborns. Regardless of how the baby is fed, there is something important that parents can miss.

When your newborn is being fed, one side of her body is up against yours so it has less freedom than the other. Her head and body can mainly move in one direction - the side away from you. With breastfeeding, this is corrected when the baby moves over to the other breast.

This seems like a small thing and hardly worthy of a blog post but it's the simple things that can make the most difference. Switching sides is important because it allows the baby a balanced input of perception, sensation and movement into the her central nervous system. This is necessary for proper development.

While bottle feeding, switching sides is less intuitive. It's likely to be more comfortable to hold the bottle with your dominant hand and you're more likely to hold the baby in the same position each time, consistently limiting movement on one side.

Over time, this causes an imbalance in how the baby develops as well as muscle growth. It can even affect how he senses the world. The baby will start to have decreased movement to one side, which can lead to torticollis (head tilt). It can also result in plagiocephaly (flatness of the skull). Because of the decreased muscle development on one side, it's easier for him to keep his head turned to one side over the other. When sleeping this will prevent movement, causing a flat area of his head.

If you are bottle feeding, what do you do? The first step is to start feeding with the bottle in your other hand (not the one you usually use). Do this for about a week or so. The next step is to switch sides during each feeding time. Try to spend as much time on one side as the other. Bonus step: Carry your baby around in your non dominant hand when not feeding to enhance the results. (This will encourage baby to look in the opposite direction, over your other shoulder).

If you think that the one sided feedings have already affected your baby because she prefers one side, or there's a definite flatness developing in her head, a consultation with a pediatric chiropractor is the next step. Caught early enough, these symptoms can be reversed.

Putting Up With the Pain

Something terrible happened recently.

shattered photoThat's my phone with its glass shattered and scotch tape holding it together. The funny thing is that it still works: I can text, I can call, I can even play my games! Because it still works, my motivation to get it fixed is low.

Many people are like this. They're broken but because they still essentially "work", they don't do anything about it. They're putting up with it, like I'm putting up with my phone.

Let me give you some examples:

 

  • Joan, who has headaches every day, but has learned to live with them.
  • Don, whose back only hurts whenever he gets up. Nothing he can't handle!
  • Pete's recurrent sinus infections make him impossible to live with, but he doesn't see it.
  • Peggy, who thinks that pain is just a part of pregnancy.


As time goes on, symptoms will get worse and become harder to fix. And sometimes a small symptom is actually caused by a big underlying problem!

Don't wait until a problem is too big to solve easily. Book your appointment today.

UPDATE: I have gotten myself a new phone. After writing this post, I decided I didn't want to put up with it anymore!

 

Why Are Flip Flops Bad For Me?

flip flopsFlip flops. Those 5 dollar sandals that so many people (and children!) wear during the summer? They are my least favourite shoe. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • No support to the ankle, foot or arch. This makes it easier to twist or sprain your ankle and can even cause plantar fasciitis.

  • Regularly wearing them can lead to knee, hip and even low back pain.

  • No protection from germs. Streets aren't clean and wearing flip flops leave your feet literally more open to contracting germs like Staphylococcus aureus (which can cause skin sores or worse) or E. Coli!

  • The thinness of the sole of the shoe doesn't cushion your foot while you're walking, which can cause foot and ankle pain and injury from all the jarring.

  • Stress fractures. Just using your toes to hold on to the sandal can cause overuse injuries, including stress fractures, to the 5 bones that lead out to your toes. This can also cause your leg muscles to become overtired.

Those $5 flip flops should be used for very short trips; definitely not for hiking or when walking for long periods of time. (I even question the safety of wearing them while driving, as they can easily slip off when you're going from the gas to the brakes.)

If you feel like it's not summertime without flip flops, splurge a little and get a pair that have 'orthotic like' arches and provide more support around the toes, making them easier on your feet.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Feet on beachFoot pain is terrible because it can lead to or aggravate other pains throughout your body. Your gait changes to reduce your foot pain, causing your knees, hips, low back and even your neck to misalign from the compensation. One of the conditions that can cause foot pain is plantar fasciitis.

You usually feel pain from plantar fasciitis along the bottom of the heel. It is typically worse at the start of the day with your first few steps or when getting up from a seated position. It can make you feel very old suddenly. Another symptom people describe is the difficulty in bringing your toes forward towards your shin without pain. Runners with plantar fasciitis tend to notice increased knee pain (like I said, foot pain can lead to other symptoms as well), but this doesn't just affect athletes! In fact, it's fairly common, affecting about 10% of the population, striking at any age, and any activity level.

So what causes it? It's caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia. This is a thick band of connective tissue which starts at the heel bone and travels along the bottom of the foot towards the toes. This tissue needs to be loose and flexible to walk but when it gets inflamed, it becomes tight and less flexible, causing pain. While it's not clear what causes plantar fasciitis, they say that long periods of weight-bearing work can be a common cause.

There are a many types of home remedies available for plantar fasciitis sufferers including:

  • Rest
  • Stretching the calf muscles
  • Custom made orthotics
  • Ice
  • Tennis or golf balls used to massage the soles of the feet

Sometimes, a professional's help is needed. In those more severe cases:

  • Massage therapy
  • Gentle chiropractic adjustments

are very useful. Do you know someone with foot pain that isn't going away? Forward this article to them!

 

How Long Should You Hold A Stretch?

timerHow long do you hold a stretch? Five to ten seconds?

I recently read a research article that examined the difference between holding a stretch for 5 seconds versus holding a stretch for 15 seconds. In this study, the control didn't stretch at all while the first group stretched 9 times a day, holding each stretch for 5 seconds and the second group stretched 3 times, holding each one for 15 seconds. Both groups ended up stretching for a total of 45 seconds a day. This was done every day over a 5 week span.

The study found that the second group (15 second holders) had a significant increase in their active range of motion (ROM) compared to the first group (5 second stretchers). What's active ROM? It's motion that you initiate - moving your own joint without help. (Passive ROM is motion done by someone else--usually during testing at a health practitioners). As you can imagine, active ROM is very important--it's what we do all day long!

What does this research result mean? Well, if you improve your active ROM, you can also improve your flexibility and joint control. Since this decreases as we get older, stretching properly and consistently, for the right amount of time, will help you fight off the effects of aging and make you feel younger. Yay!

When I see patients in my office, I actually suggest that they stretch for 30 seconds to a minute. And the bigger the muscle, the longer you can hold the stretch. However, as with most things I write about here, it's important to talk to me to find out what's right for you.

Do you have a muscle that's always in knots? Increase your stretching time and you'll find that, over time, those knots will start to decrease. What muscle is the hardest for you to stretch out?

My Jaw Really Hurts! Why Does It Click So Much?

Jaw PainI don't usually get patients who come in for their jaw pain. They're usually in for something else, like headaches or low back pain, but end up ticking the box that says "Does your jaw click or hurt?" It turns out to be a problem that they've lived with for years and years.

What about you? Can you open your mouth as wide as Charlie over here? Does it hurt when you do? Do you hear a clicking sound? Does it feel tight and hard to open all the way? Look in a mirror. Does your bottom jaw move to one side as it opens, instead of straight up and down?

If any of these are true, you probably have TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)! TMD is a condition of the jaw or TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) which is the joint that connects the lower jaw to your skull. Teeth grinding or injuries to the head, neck or jaw are the common culprits. It can make it hard to eat certain foods, or brush your teeth and can even cause headaches and increase your stress!

I recently had a patient whose jaw had been clicking for 5 years. It was more annoying than painful but it made it hard for him to have full range of motion in his jaw. Even though he came in for something else, I examined his jaw and found restrictions in his TMJ and tightness in a small muscle in his mouth. A couple weeks later, his jaw no longer clicks and it moves normally.

A few gentle chiropractic adjustments to the jaw and neck, as well as releasing the spasms in certain tiny muscles in your mouth, can alleviate years of pain, clicking and restricted movement. You can finally eat an apple without slicing it!

Why are you still suffering from jaw pain?

Image Credit: Hey Paul

 

 

Best Reminder Idea to Get Healthier!

dont forgetThink of something that you need to do every day that you keep forgetting. Like taking that supplement, or sitting up straight, drinking more water, or doing your stretches. Each night, right before going to sleep, you have the thought, OH NO! I forgot to do that AGAIN!

These are important health habits that don't take effect or make a difference if they're not done consistently. It doesn't help if you don't remember and it's just something else to beat yourself up about (if you're into that kind of thing).

An easy way to remind yourself of the thing you're forgetting is to set a recurring alarm on your phone. Even if you don't have a smart phone, chances are you can set an alarm on the phone you have.

Set it for a daily time and label it. For example: "Take iron" at 11am or "Do stretches" at 930pm. This simple alarm will remind you to do the 'thing' now, so you'll have better health (and a better sleep!) later.

If it's something that needs to be done throughout the day, a trick I use is to wear an elastic band around my wrist (you may see me with one on from time to time!). Every time I see it, it makes me remember the habit I want to change. This is especially helpful with posture or drinking water: You're sitting at your desk, slumped over as usual, when your eye catches sight of the elastic on your wrist. You immediately sit up straight (or drink some water). This will happen throughout your day each time you see the elastic. Habit changes and mission accomplished!

So take 2 minutes right now to get an elastic or set up your cell phone alarm. It's an easy way to improve your health!

 

 

 

What Does 'Breech Baby' Mean?

breech babyYou've just been told that your baby is breech. Is he feet first, bum first, and what does breech mean exactly? A baby is considered breech when he's not in a 'sunny side down' position (head down, face towards your spine). The word 'breech' actually means buttocks and was most likely used to describe this phenomena because the buttocks were usually seen first in births like this. However, the preferred term nowadays is malpositioned or malpresentations.

There are four main kinds of malpositions a baby can be in: Frank, Complete, Footling and Transverse.

Frank Position: This is the most common malposition the baby can be in. Frank position is bum first with the legs straight up and the feet near the head.

Complete Position: In this pose, the bum is again, by the birth canal, but the knees are bent and the feet are under, near the buttocks.

Footling Position: The baby is positioned feet first. One (Single footling) or both (Double footling) of her legs are stretched out.

Transverse Position: The baby is sitting lengthwise across the belly, with the head under one side of the ribcage and the feet under the opposite side.

Is your baby breech? What position is it in? What are some things you've tried to turn your baby?

How Much Water Should I Drink?

Water pitcher

We all know that we need to drink water everyday, but how much?

Here's an easy calculation to find out:

Divide your weight (in pounds) by 2. The answer is the number of ounces of water you need. A typical glass is 8 ounces, so if you divide your answer by 8, that will equal how many glasses you drink.

For example, say you weigh 150 lbs. Dividing by 2 equals 75.  Dividing 75 by 8 equals 9.375. (Seems like I could have picked a better number for this example...)

Anyway, this means you need to drink about 9 and a half glasses of water daily.

Keep in mind that there are some factors which increase how much water you need, like exercise, pregnancy, breast feeding, and consuming caffeine.

It's important to keep hydrated no matter what the weather is like outside!

Forward Head Posture, Neck Pain and Headaches

What position is your head in while you're reading this? Is it sitting between your shoulders or is it forward as you look at this monitor? This is a common problem for most of us and yes, it is a problem. The further forward your head is, the more weight it puts on your neck and spine.

Rene Cailliet M.D., medical author and a former director at the University of Southern California has stated that:

    "Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment."

He goes on to say that forward head posture (FHP) can block the action of certain muscles that help with the mechanism of taking a deep breath. In other words, FHP can reduce lung capacity, sometimes by 30%!

Forward Head PostureForward head posture can also cause neck pain and headaches, which can affect your productivity and concentration.

One way to reverse this is to gently push your head back when you notice it's forward. (Your ear should line up with your shoulder.) To know where your head should actually be, stand up with your back against a wall. Touch the back of your head to the wall. This is where your head should sit. If you find that this causes pain or is difficult to do, call our office. We can help you in your quest to have proper head posture and rid yourself of neck and headache pain. Adjustments realign your spine and allows your head to naturally sit where it should, without pain or injury.

Give us a call if you think you suffer from FHP.

 

 

 

What's Causing Your Neck Pain?

Tneckhis blog post is interactive! First, look straight ahead. Now bring your left ear to your left shoulder (don't cheat by bringing your shoulder to your ear!). Then do the same thing on the other side.

  •     Was one side easier to do than the other?

  •     Did you feel any pain, tension, stiffness or pulling on either side?
     
  •     Did you feel any numbness, tingling or shooting pain anywhere?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it means that there are misaligned bones, also called subluxations, in your neck that are putting pressure on your nerves. Subluxations can cause decreased motion, increased pain or other symptoms in your neck and throughout your body.

Unfortunately, stretching isn't enough nor is exercise. The vertebrae in your neck need to be gently realigned by a trained chiropractor. This is the only thing that takes the pressure off the nerves and allows the bones to move more freely, so you can feel better.

The next interactive step is to call our office at 416-486-1234 to make an appointment for a check-up. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get!

Picture by www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

What Can You Naturally Do About The Cold or Flu?

Now that you know what you have, what do you do about it?


Here are some natural, medicine-free ways you can use to beat your symptoms!

  • Mushrooms - White button mushrooms have powerful immunity-boosting effects, according to two studies from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. This applies whether they're raw or cooked!

  • Shower - Steam acts as a decongestant, opening up nasal passages naturally. A hot shower will loosen mucus unclogging your nose.

  • Chicken soup - It's true! Its healing reputation is firmly backed by science. Several studies have shown that chicken soup inhibits the production of inflammatory compounds that are released in a viral infection.

  • Honey - Try 2 tablespoons of honey before bed. When compared with the main ingredient in cough suppressants, the sweet stuff was more effective at decreasing cough frequency and severity. It also has anti bacterial properties, which help with healing.

  • Pillow Prop - Can't breathe when you're sleeping? Make gravity work in your favor to help. Raising your head when congested helps to drain sinus passages and ease pressure. Use an additional pillow or two to lift your upper body.

  • Blow Gently - Blowing your nose too hard can drive mucus back into the sinuses. This pressure could send bacteria deep into your sinus cavities, leading to more serious infection. Blow gently, or try a saline rinse or Neti Pot.

These simple yet effective ideas can help you get over your cold or flu and get you back on your feet fast!

 

 

 

 

Which Do You Have? A Cold or The Flu?

Do you have a cold or the flu? How do you tell the difference? Here's a handy chart to help you know what you're fighting!

SYMPTOM
COLD
FLU
Fever
Rare
Usual
Headache
Rare
Usual
Muscle Aches and Pains
Sometimes, generally mild
Usual
Tiredness and Weakness
Sometimes, generally mild
Usual, may last up to 2-3 weeks
Extreme Tiredness
Unusual
Usual, early onset
Runny, Stuffy Nose
Common
Common
Sneezing
Common
Sometimes
Sore Throat
Common
Common
Chest Discomfort,
Coughing
Sometimes, mild to
moderate
Usual, can become severe

 

If you are suffering from one or the other, it's important to rest (which means sleep) and increase your immune system strength. There are a number of ways to do this:

  •     Oregano Oil
  •     Wash your hands
  •     Increase Vitamin D Intake
  •     Decrease Pain Medications (they suppress white blood cells)
  •     Stay away from Sugar
  •     Get Chiropractic Adjustments  

 

Pain Free Stretch for Low Back Pain

Pain free low back stretchAbout 80% of adults will suffer from back pain at some point in their life! That's 4 out of 5 people! And low back pain is the second most common reason to miss work (other than a cold).

It's also the number one reason why people come to my office! Low back pain can show up in all sorts of ways - achy, sharp, burning, dull, traveling or stationary, occasional or constant. It can be caused by an injury or come on suddenly, for no reason. No matter how it happened or how it feels, it can really affect your life, making activities and work difficult.

There are many stretches out there for low back pain but sometimes it can hurt to do them. If you're in a lot of a pain and finding it hard to move, a static stretch might be what you need until it's time for your chiropractic appointment. In a static stretch, there's no movement. You get into a position and then just relax.

To do this stretch, you'll need a chair and some floor space. Lay on the floor and put your lower legs on a chair, so that they are at a 90 degree angle, as pictured. Let your lower back relax and stay like that for 5-10 minutes. Remember to breathe. This will help loosen up tight back muscles and give you some relief. For added benefit, you can put a heating pad underneath your back.

Picture from: http://www.tampayogawordpress.com

How to Get Rid of Sinus Pain, Pressure and Congestion!

sinusHave you heard of the movie Freaky Friday? It's based on a book by Mary Rodgers and is a story about a mother and daughter who wake up one morning to find that they had switched places! In the book, there's a character named Boris. Throughout the entire book he's referred to as Boris. It's only at the end of the book that you learn that Boris is actually named Morris but because of an unfortunate sinus condition mispronounces his M's so they sound like B's. Hilarious?! Well, not really.

Sinus issues are actually quite frustrating and disrupting. They can cause pain, interrupt sleep, decrease hearing, and affect concentration. There are many products and medications on the market that mask this problem but few provide a reduction in the frequency and severity of episodes. My special brand of gentle chiropractic care does, by reducing the inflammation and congestion in the sinus cavities. This leads to long term, lasting relief from pain, congestion and pressure.

Let me give you an example: A few months ago two sisters came in aged 5 and 13. They both suffered from chronic ear infections and subsequent hearing loss-the eldest one had a 40% loss. The next step was to put tubes in their ears! After examining them, I realized that their sinuses were congested and partially the cause of their problem. After a few adjustments, they both remarked that they say "What?" less often and the eldest's hearing loss was measured to be only 10%! And there was no more talk about putting tubes in their ears!

Many people don't realize that chiropractic can help with sinus pain, pressure and congestion. If you or someone you know who has this problem, tell them that there is a natural way to get relief. Call our office to see if we can help you!

 

 

How to Decrease Labour Time!

Watch this short video to learn how to decrease your labour time by up to 31%!

 

Are You Worn Out on the Inside?

rubber bandThe other day I was clearing off my desk and found two rubber bands to add to my 'rubber band ball' (I'm not the only one who has one, right?). One of them looked brand new and the other looked much older. When I was wrapping both bands around the existing ball, I heard a snap. I looked down, fully expecting to see the old one in my hand, but instead saw the one that looked brand new!

Looks can be deceiving. Something might look good or 'new' but is worn out underneath the surface. The same thing is true of us. Many people mistakenly think that if everything looks good, they're healthy. Unfortunately, even if you work out and eat well, there could be things going on under the surface that is affecting your health.

That's where chiropractic comes in. Chiropractic adjustments align the spine and remove interference to the nervous system, allowing the messages between the brain and the rest of your body to be sent properly. This enhances your health and makes you stronger from the inside out!

How do you find out if you're 'worn out on the inside'? A chiropractic assessment will help you find out if your nervous system is as strong as your body feels!

How to Sleep When It's Hot

It's July and to paraphrase a popular cultural reference, the mugginess is coming! The heat seems worse at nighttime, making it impossible to sleep.  Not getting enough sleep makes you less productive, less alert and more stressed. It also affects your health as that's when most cell repair occurs. If you don't have air conditioning or don't like using it for environmental reasons, it can be difficult to sleep comfortably.

Here are a few simple, green suggestions to keep your cool at night.

1. Wear damp socks to bed. Weird, but it works! Rinse clean cotton socks in cold water and wring them so they're damp. Wearing them to bed cools your feet which decreases the overall temperature of your body. You can also wear a damp t-shirt to bed on extremely hot nights.

2.  Freeze your sheets. Place a bag containing your dry pillow cases and sheets in the freezer all day. You'll sleep on cool, crisp sheets! Alternatively, spray your top sheet with water. When used to cover you it will keep you comfortable.

3.  Sleep with cold packs. Another weird one. Wrap cold packs in pillow cases and bring them to bed. Putting them in key areas - near your feet and by your head - will decrease your temperature, making it easier to sleep.

4. Fan some ice. Empty a bag of ice into a shallow pan and place it between the fan and the bed. It should be level with your bed. The fan will blow the air produced by the ice, cooling down the temperature of the room.

As the weather gets warmer, remember to drink enough water (and no, coffee is not a substitute for water!), decrease activities when it's very hot outside and keep cool!

 

 

How to Stay Cool & Healthy This Summer When Expecting

Summer Pregnancy

  • Take advantage of cooler temperatures in the morning or evening to do your outdoor tasks or activities.

  • Remember, when it's 32 (degrees Celsius), it's too hot for you!

  • Wear light-colored clothing.

  • Water, water, water! Add a slice of lime or some frozen fruit to liven it up.

  • Water is also good to spray on your skin. Carry a spray bottle so you can cool yourself off if you get too hot.

  • Speaking of water, swim. (No backstroke though. It can affect the baby's position).

  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher 20 minutes before going into sun. Reapply throughout the day.

  • Take frequent showers to keep cool.

  • Putting your feet up as well as reducing your salt will help alleviate swelling. Chiropractic adjustments can also decrease swelling!

  • Sleep! Take lots of naps.

  • Ask for help if you're too tired to do something and remember, if it doesn't need to be done now or by you, don't do it. 

 

 

 

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