If the month of November brings us some snow, it is usually negligible in terms of what comes in December and what awaits us in January. The work related to removing the snow on our walks and driveways can potentially cause injury. The load of the snow on the shovel, the strain on our knees, lower back, arms, an inadequate shovel, the wrong movements and many other factors can cause harm to the neuromusculoskeletal system during snow removal. As specialists that treat ailments that affect this system, chiropractors have a few important recommendations to help protect people and avoid important injuries. As we get ready for winter and the inevitable snowfall, it is important to keep the following recommendations in mind, thus allowing you to spend a happier, healthier winter.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that waiting until the storm ends to go out and shovel, and doing the job once instead of having to repeat the operation a few times on a smaller scale is not a good idea. It is preferable to go out many times during the snow storm, preventing the snow from piling up too high, and decreasing your work load.
Second, stretching and activating your circulation will help decrease the risk of injury by preparing your body for exercise. A 5- to 10-minute warmup is sufficient, during which walking in place, going up and down stairs, or stretching your torso and back will efficiently prepare your body for the exertion of shoveling.
Third, it is important to have the appropriate tools. An ergonomic shovel with a curved handle that is lightweight is ideal. The handle should come up to your shoulders, so that you don’t have to bend down too much to compensate for working with a shovel that is too short for you.
Fourth, it is important to lift the weight of the shovel by using your legs, not your back. Bend your knees and push some snow onto the shovel, then push up with your legs to prevent your back from having to support the entire charge of lifting the shovel.
Fifth, pushing the snow to the side is a more efficient way to prevent lumbar sprains and herniated disks than throwing the snow forward or upward, which can cause too much flexion-extension and rotation movements that can lead to extra tension in your back and torso.
Sixth, it is important to work both sides of your body. Therefore, shovel equal amounts of snow to the left side and to the right, pivoting on your feet if needed rather than rotating your torso.
Seventh, it is important to keep a regular rhythm and take breaks if you feel the need, especially when the snow is wet and heavy.
Eighth, dehydration can be an important contributing factor to muscle cramps and injury; it is therefore very important to make sure that you drink enough water before and after the exercise.
Finally, if pain unfortunately ensues, applying ice for periods of 10 to 15 minutes at a time will help decrease the swelling. It is also important to contact your chiropractor to make an appointment for a treatment or an evaluation to see if the symptoms could be indicative of a more serious condition.
At Centre Chiropratique Des Sources, we are dedicated to making sure that you are ready to face snow removal activities this winter season without the fear of injury. We will support our patients and our community through snow season by helping their neuromusculoskeletal system through chiropractic adjustment.
Dr. Renée Dallaire, chiropractor
Centre Chiropratique Des Sources
1) (2013) Watch your back, here comes the snow. Association des chiropraticiens du Québec, from http://www.chiropratique.com/en/144-new-attention-avec-vos-pelles-.html?a=2013
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means that you will see many advertisements to sensitize people and encourage women to examine themselves and check for lumps and abnormalities in the breast tissue that may need to be further investigated by a medical doctor. Breast cancer awareness initiatives have managed to bring more attention to this type of cancer, which has claimed the lives of many women, while others have become survivors. The treatments used to fight cancer affect the body on various levels, but their ultimate goal is to eliminate cancerous cells from the body.
The breastcancer.org website identifies treatments that may complement the medical treatments for the disease. One of these is chiropractic treatments. Although there is no evidence that chiropractic treatments help to directly fight the cancerous cells, there is evidence to support the use of chiropractic care for the treatment of headaches, back pain, neck pain, and other physical pains that may be caused by the harsh medical procedures used to treat breast cancer.
The chiropractic profession’s philosophical premise is that our body has the amazing, innate ability to heal itself and works to maintain its homeostasis. Therefore, chiropractors do not focus solely on symptoms, pain and discomfort, as do medical professionals. Instead, chiropractors focus on the CAUSE of the pain, and TREAT the CAUSE rather than the symptoms. In this way, they use the chiropractic adjustment to remove the PROBLEM rather than just the symptoms.
Chiropractic is a science that is based on the fact that the nervous system is the main control center of the body and is responsible for regulating every single bodily function whether at the cellular, tissular, organic, or systemic level. Therefore, when there are disturbances in the nervous system, such as a subluxation which prevents nervous messages from reaching their target, the body’s ability to maintain its equilibrium becomes compromised. Through chiropractic adjustments, it may be possible to remove such disturbances, effectively allowing the nervous flow to return to normal and act on the targeted areas.
Chiropractors focus on the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems to encourage your body to maintain its homeostasis, and they use various techniques to manipulate the joints, ligaments, vertebrae and muscles. They are specialists of manipulative therapy and can treat a wide range of causes of pain, from back and neck pain, to arthritis and work-related injuries. Other benefits from regular chiropractic treatments are: improved posture, relief from pregnancy-related back and joint pain, increased athletic performance, improved gait and relief from foot problems, and much more.
At Centre Chiropratique Des Sources, we are dedicated to finding a solution to the health problem that is causing our patients’ pain, discomfort or other unpleasant symptoms. We focus on the CAUSE of the disease, not on the disease itself. We focus on allowing our patients to not just feel better, but also to BE better. We focus on serving our patients by making their HEALTH our top priority, not their disease. This makes our care different from the rest of the healthcare system: we focus on HEALTH and HEALTH promotion, not on disease and disease promotion.
Our desire is to serve you and make your health our main focus.
Dr. Renée Dallaire, chiropractor
Centre Chiropratique Des Sources
Chiropractic Care (2013) BreastCancer.Org, obtained on http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/comp_med/types/chiropractic
Chiropractic Care (2015) Cancer Research UK, obtained on http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative/therapies/chiropractic-treatment#why
What is Chiropractic. Associate Des Chiropraticiens du Quebec, obtained on http://www.chiropratique.com/en/chiropractic.html
The end of August marks the start of a new school year. With this event, comes some preparation on the part of the students and their parents: new clothes, new school supplies, new shoes, and for some it’s time to buy a new backpack. For many young students, choosing a backpack largely depends on the colour, design and style of the bag, whereas for their parents, it might be more a matter of cost, while others choose a bag that will hold as many books as possible. However, there are some important recommendations to be made regarding the choice of a backpack in order to prevent short- and long-term injuries. It is also strongly recommended that all students consult with their chiropractor, who has the necessary knowledge to adjust the backpack so that it sits appropriately on the student’s back, as well as to make any suggestions to improve and protect the student’s spinal health.
It is important to protect their spine through correct backpack use, especially for elementary and high school students, who are still growing. An inappropriately adjusted or unsuitable backpack may lead to problems with posture. There is also an increased risk of developing back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, headaches and other muscular tensions which could interfere with the student’s ability to concentrate in school.
To help diminish the negative effects related to backpack use, it is important to keep the following points in mind:
- An empty bag should not weigh more than 500 g for a child and 1 kg for a teenager. Once filled, the bag should not weigh more than 10% of the individual’s total body weight.
- The bag should be worn squarely on the back, and bags with chest and hip straps will help ensure that the bag is worn appropriately against the back when in use.
- The shoulder straps should be adjustable so that the bag can grow with the child, and wider straps are better than thinner ones, as they increase the surface area over which the weight is distributed on the shoulders.
- It is important to wear a strap on each shoulder, even though it might not be the “cool” thing to do.
- Placement of the books and supplies in the backpack is also an important contributing factor. Heavier books should be placed closer to the spine, while the irregularly shaped objects should be placed further away. It is also important to ensure that the objects in the bag be placed in the various compartments or pockets that are available on the bag, or in a way to prevent that they be concentrated in only one area. This effectively helps to decrease the perceived weight of the bag.
- In order to decrease the load of books that is carried from school to home or vice versa, it is also recommended that any objects that are not necessary for studying or for the day’s classes be left in the locker, at home, or in the desk at school. This decreases the risk of developing injuries from constantly carrying around heavy, unnecessary objects.
The start of a new school year can sometimes be cause for concern and stress for some students. They want to be in the same class as their friends, to get a certain teacher whom they like; they are concerned about going to a new school, being exposed to new challenges and about the unknown aspect of new experiences, and of growing up. It is therefore important to make sure that no health problems cause any additional stress, or interfere with their learning process.
Our children are our future leaders and these young people need our help and support to make sure that they develop to reach their full potential and to fulfill their dreams and desires. As such, for the month of August, we will be offering free consultations to adjust the backpacks for our patients’ children, their family members, and their friends. Please call to make an appointment.
At the Centre Chiropratique des Sources, we are dedicated to ensuring your entire family’s health by providing a form of care that prevents short- and long-term neuro-musculoskeletal issues.
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Have you ever hit the button on your radio-alarm clock as it went off, wishing you had just a few more minutes to sleep, or felt like you were running on auto-pilot all day because you just can’t seem to channel the energy to stay focused on the tasks at hand, or wanted the day to be over so that you could crawl back into your bed, snuggle under the blanket and sheets, and wake up only when your energy tank has reached its “Full” mark? If so, you are probably suffering from fatigue, which is not an uncommon condition and can be caused by a number of lifestyle factors.
The Mayo Clinic defines fatigue as an occasional feeling of being overtired, and chronic fatigue as a close to constant state of tiredness that affects mental capacity and causes decreased energy. Emotional and psychological impacts are also possible, to the point where a person may feel unmotivated or even develop apathy (a lack of caring). Possible causes of fatigue may be simple lifestyle factors that are easily changed; alcohol or caffeine use/abuse, excessive/insufficient physical activity, lack of sleep, medications or unhealthy eating habits. Other causes may be psychological: anxiety, depression, stress; or even medical: anemia, heart disease, hyper/hypothyroidism, obesity, diabetes and more2.
Of the above-mentioned causes of fatigue, sleep is an important lifestyle factor that needs to be addressed. Sleep is critical to maintain healthy brain functions, to encourage learning, for the retention of newly acquired information and problem-solving abilities. It is also an important player in decision making, creative and attention capacities. It plays a role in regulating the emotional centers in the brain, to the extent that lack of sleep may be linked to an increased risk of depression, suicide, engaging in risk taking-behavior and decreased motivation. Sleep is also a player in maintaining our physical health by enabling healing and repair measures to take place, as well as by regulating our hormones and preventing diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Lack of sleep can influence the immune system’s ability to protect us against harmful pathogens, thus increasing our risk of getting sick. Sleep is also important for our physical safety, in that getting enough sleep will decrease the risk of accidents by increasing our attention level and decreasing our reaction time. Sleep deprivation can cause accidents in various fields of work, such as for workers in the healthcare system, students, assembly line workers, pilots, air traffic controllers, and many more. As such, it is critical that the recommendations for the different age groups be respected as closely as possible. The recommendation for adults is to get 7-8 hours of sleep per day, for teenagers it is 9 -10 hours of sleep per day, and grade school-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep per day, whereas preschool aged children need 11 to 12 hours of sleep per day and newborns need 16-18 hours of sleep per day1.
DID YOU KNOW THAT VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATION TO THE SPINE COULD BE THE PROBLEM?
It is not uncommon for sleep to be prevented or interrupted by neck pain or back pain that may result from subluxations of the spine. Ailments of the musculoskeletal system should be diagnosed and treated by a chiropractor in order to ensure that they do not contribute to the condition of fatigue. Your chiropractor also has the knowledge to make recommendations regarding the choice of an appropriate pillow and mattress to help you sleep through the night, thus complementing the healing and restorative processes that are enabled through your treatment.
Relieving fatigue is important for our protection and well-being, as are chiropractic adjustments and the maintenance of a healthy spine. Dr. Dallaire will be proudly celebrating her 25th year of practice and dedication to healthcare in June of 2016, and these years of experience are a testimony to the positive health effects of regular spinal checkups.
1) (2012) Why is sleep important? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, obtained online at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/howmuch
2) Mayo Clinic Staff (2013) Fatigue. Mayo Clinic, obtained online at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/fatigue/basics/causes/sym-20050894
April is a month of surprises: April Fool’s on the first, a snow storm to finish winter off with a bang and then the Easter Bunny comes to hide chocolate eggs for us to find. The Easter egg hunt is without a doubt the event that provides the most pleasure for young and old alike. But what connection might there be between chocolate, chiropractic and your health?
Dark chocolate is now known to have health benefits when consumed in moderation and in small quantities. It contains significant amounts of antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, which would be the agents responsible for the beneficial effects of chocolate on one’s health. Some of these effects can be seen in the cardiovascular system, as some studies have reported improvements in blood pressure and blood cholesterol concentrations, as well as a decreased risk for stroke and heart disease. Indirectly, dark chocolate might also encourage cardiovascular health by improving insulin-resistance; a condition that causes damage to the blood vessels2.
But what could be the link between these sweet treats and chiropractic treatments?
According to a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, chiropractic adjustments targeting the thoracic spine significantly helped reduce high blood pressure and improved anxiety-related symptoms4. Another study presented in the Journal of Human Hypertension in 2007, concluded that patients who were submitted to a treatment focusing on the first cervical vertebra, known as the atlas, saw an improvement in blood pressure similar to those receiving medication1. In support of the findings provided by the above-mentioned studies, numerous other publications exist establishing that chiropractic treatments are effective as a means to improve blood pressure and reduce the risks of hypertension.
Through these conclusions, we can suggest that chiropractic and a moderate consumption of dark chocolate are part of a healthy lifestyle.
There are however a few precisions to be made in relation to dark chocolate.
- The greater the percentage of dry cocoa solids present, the greater the antioxidant content of the chocolate3.
- It is important to avoid chocolates that contain palm oil which increases blood cholesterol levels.
- When consumed in large amounts, chocolate can lead to weight gain due to its high caloric content.
- The significant sugar content of some chocolates can increase the risk of developing dental cavities.
- Choose a dark chocolate with high dry cocoa matter content; this is often listed as 60%, 75%, 80% cocoa on the packaging, although there are many brands that choose not to print this information.
- Take a look at the list of ingredients to see if palm oil is present; this oil can also be listed as palmolein, palm kernel (oil), palm fruit oil, palmate, palmitate, palmitic acid, palm stearine.
- Moderate consumption means that chocolate is consumed occasionally, i.e. a few times a month. Avoid eating chocolate every day or several times a week, as this may lead to excess weight.
- A moderate consumption and good dental hygiene will help prevent the development of cavities caused by sugar.
It is especially important that the health of your spine be checked through regular chiropractic visits in order to maintain both cardiovascular health and the health of all other bodily systems.
Our next newsletter will focus on our patients’ questions and concerns. If you have a question regarding nutrition, the link between chiropractic and any health related condition, or any other question pertaining to health, we invite you to share it via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and write in the subject line: Question for May Newsletter. Among the questions that we will receive, one or more will serve as the topic for our next newsletter. Please be as precise and clear as possible. If for whatever reason your question is not chosen for the month of May, it might be answered at a later time, so please stay tuned for the newsletters that will follow.
We look forward to serving you,
Dr. Renée Dallaire
Centre Chiropratique Des Sources
- Bakris, G., Dickholtz, M., Meyer, P.M., Kravitz, G., Avery, E., Miller, M., Brown, J., Woodfield, C., Bell, B. (2007) Atlas vertebral realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients; a pilot study. Journal of Human Hypertension, 21, 347-352.
- Cade, T.W. (2008) Diabetes-related microvascular and macrovascular diseases in the physical therapy setting. Physical Therapy, 88(11), 1322-2335
- Vinson, J.A., Motisi, M. J. (2015) Polyphenol antioxidants in commercial chocolate bars: is the label accurate? Journal of Functional Foods, 12, 526-529
- Yates, R.G., Lamping, D. L., Abram, N. C., Wright, C. (1988) Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 11(6), 484-488