It's that time of the year again! Parents - when you're packing your child's school bag, make sure its weight doesn't exceed 10% of your child's body weight. Also, remember to adjust the straps so the bag sits snug against their back and doesn't hang too low.
Some women carry the whole world in their handbag, but a heavy bag or purse can cause pain and injury to your back, neck and shoulders. Overstuffed bags also cause poor posture by encouraging the carrier to lean to one side. The good news is pain and injury can be easily avoided by following a few simple tips. Here are some provided by the Ontario Chiropractic Association:
Choosing a handbag
1. Choose a handbag that is proportionate to your body size and no larger than what is needed. Your handbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of your body weight.
2. Choose a handbag that has several individual pockets, instead of one large compartment. This will help to distribute the weight of the contents more evenly and keep them from shifting.
Packing a handbag
1. Change the size and weight of your wallet once in a while. You may also consider one wallet for your work and a different one for when you go out, as you may need different objects for both.
2. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the purse by using all the pockets.
Carrying a handbag
1. Use both hands to check the weight of the handbag.
2. Instead of always carrying your handbag on the same shoulder, switch sides often so each shoulder gets a rest.
3. Square your shoulders — many women have a habit of lifting the shoulder on which the purse is carried to keep the straps from slipping.
1. Try to maintain good posture. When standing, your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line-up, one comfortably above the other.
2. If you can walk to lunch or a meeting, lock your purse in your desk or locker and carry only your cash and/ or credit cards in a pocket. By following these simple strategies, it’s easy to lighten your load.
If you have any questions about posture and ergonomics, please contact Dr. Eve.
Did you know that at least half of pregnant women experience back pain? And 10% of those report discomfort severe enough to disrupt their daily routines. The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect your back during pregnancy.
What causes pregnancy-related back pain in the first place?
When pregnant, it’s normal to gain more than 30 pounds. This extra weight places considerable stress on your back, feet, ankles and knees. As your baby grows, your core abdominal muscles become stretched and cannot stabilize your posture as well as they did before.
In the third trimester, levels of a hormone called “relaxin” increase by a factor of ten. Relaxin loosens your joints to allow the pelvis to accommodate the enlarging uterus. These loose joints force the muscles of the back and pelvis to work overtime to keep you upright and balanced, leading to back pain.
TRY THESE TIPS TO HELP MINIMIZE YOUR RISK OF BACK PAIN:
Exercise can go a long way to increase muscle support for an aching back. A health care practitioner should always be consulted before starting a new exercise regimen. Low impact cardiovascular activities, such as swimming, walking, or stationary cycling can help relieve pain and maintain ﬁtness.
Sleep on your left side to reduce the pressure of your uterus on the large blood vessels in your abdomen, optimizing blood flow to both you and the baby.
Place a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back when sleeping on your side.
Support Your Body
With the added weight, support has never been more important. Wear flat, supportive shoes and use a lumbar support pillow in your chair at home or work. If you sit at a computer or desk, walk around for a few minutes each hour.
Take frequent, short breaks with your feet elevated. Adequate rest restores your energy and gives your back a chance to relax.
Get Adjusted Regularly
Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy balances your pelvis, eliminating undue tension to muscles and ligaments and enhancing optimal fetal positioning.
courtesy of the Ontario Chiropractic Association.
Pregnancy is an exciting time in a mother-to-be’s life. Although joyous, expectant mothers undergo significant amount of changes as the baby develops. The back, neck and joints are the areas of body that tend to suffer the most. Along with an OBGYN, a chiropractor is a welcome addition to a woman’s prenatal care team. Chiropractors can help manage back and joint pain issues so that they don’t become an issue during delivery or impact a woman’s recovery time post-pregnancy. Here are 5 key ways chiropractors can help:
1. Chiropractic care keeps the spine in alignment
Pregnancy adds significant additional weight to a woman’s body in a short amount of time. This change bears on the spine, frequently pulling it out of alignment. When this happens, the pain can be quite severe. Chiropractic care during pregnancy works to keep the spine in alignment and all supporting tendons working optimally, to be better prepared and able to adequately support the extra weight.
2. Chiropractors can reduce the need for pain relievers by treating underlying issues.
Most times, individuals experiencing moderate pain pop a couple of over the counter pain relievers and think nothing of it. However, pregnant women strive to avoid medications when possible.
Chiropractic adjustments decrease the underlying issues that cause pain, so the patient relies less on medications. Experiencing less pain as well as eliminating the need for pain killers is a win-win situation for expectant mothers.
3. Chiropractors can help strengthen joints.
Pregnancy really beats up an expectant mothers joints. Chiropractic care for expectant mothers is a productive way to minimize the effect the large, protruding abdomen has on her hips, legs, and ankles.
Treating the body as a whole, chiropractic treatment works to strengthen the body and promotes healing of injured or strained areas.
4. Chiropractors can help achieve pelvic alignment making the birth process go more smooth.
An aligned pelvis is critical to the birthing process, and increases the chances of being able to give birth naturally. According to the American Pregnancy Association,
“When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. This restriction is called intrauterine constraint. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth.”
An experienced chiropractor can effectively align the pelvis before delivery, so the mother is able to deliver with little incident.
5. Chiropractic care increases the body’s ability to bounce back
Let’s face it, every pregnant woman thinks “will I ever fit in the clingy red dress again?” The healthier and stronger a woman’s body is before and during pregnancy, the easier it is to get back into shape once the baby is born. Eating right and safely exercising are effective ways to accomplish this.
Chiropractic care is also a valuable component to fitness. Expectant mothers who choose chiropractic enjoy better posture, less pain, and increased mobility, especially late in the third trimester.
This allows them to maintain exercise routines and be active longer than those suffering from back pain and achy joints. After the delivery, it’s easier to get back into a fitness routine, and into that red dress, if the new mother’s joints, back, and hips are aligned and functioning properly.
Chiropractic care can serve to reduce pain and increase the overall heath of expectant mothers, letting her relax and focus on the more pleasant aspects of pregnancy. Expecting women who commit to chiropractic care can look forward to a stronger body, the chances of a smoother delivery, and an easier recovery after the baby comes.
This article excerpt, by Porterfield Family Chiropractic, was published June 15, 2015 and originally appeared here.
Sitting is the new smoking. You've heard it many times now. What can you do while sitting in front of a computer other than taking frequent breaks? Try this simple posture correction throughout the day:
**UPDATE** Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the federal government will not be moving forward with any plans to tax employer health benefits. Taxing these benefits was predicted to lead to many employers cancelling their plans, and a sharp decline in healthcare. We owe a big thanks to all of you who took action and voiced your concerns.
The federal government is considering a measure in the upcoming federal budget to treat employer health and dental benefits plans as a taxable benefit with the goal of generating $2.7 billion in new revenue. These benefits include chiropractic care, prescription drugs, mental health services, dental care, and more.
The federal government needs to hear from you that taxing these essential health benefits will negatively affect millions of Canadians.
How to Take Action:
Share your concerns with your MP or Minister of Finance by visiting www.donttaxmyhealthbenefits.ca
Share this important message on social media using the hashtag #donttaxmyhealthbenefits
You may find that as the weather gets colder, you may experience more aches and pains, and even feel like your muscles are stiffer. This is even more evident for workers who work outside in the winter, or individuals with certain ailments. The cold weather can increase the risk of suffering from musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and can even increase the intensity of certain MSK conditions.
How Can the Cold Weather Impact Us?
If you live with an arthritic condition you might find that your symptoms may be exacerbated by cold weather conditions, which can keep you away from doing the activities you enjoy. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may not react well to sudden weather or atmospheric changes, which may worsen symptoms. Even without any specific conditions, most of us are very aware of how our bodies feel and move when we are cold – we may move slower and walk around when our muscles are tense and stiff. This can result in soreness that we may not experience otherwise. For those who work outside, be conscious of your working conditions. Feeling warm, safe and comfortable is important as heavy lifting and overexertion can increase risk of injury in colder temperatures.
Here are a few things that can be done to prevent stiffness and MSK-related injuries during the winter months:
-Courtesy of the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
Spring is in the air (although it might not feel like it today brr). Running is a great way to take advantage of the warmer weather while keeping fit and improving energy and stress levels. If you take your running routine outside, remember these 5 simple stretching tips from the OCA to help avoid strains and pains:
1. Upper Calf
Place your hands against a wall, or sturdy object in front of you. Stand feet comfortably apart, toes pointing forward. Put one leg back, keeping your heel flat on the ground. Gently bend the knee of the front leg, so your hips move forward and lean into your hands. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. You should feel the stretch along the back of the leg and below the knee.
2. Lower Calf
Keeping the same position as the upper calf stretch, shift the foot of your back leg forward until your toes are just behind the heel of the front leg. Keep both heels on the ground and lower your hips by bending both knees. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
You should feel the stretch through the back of the ankle.
3. Front of thigh
Standing near a sturdy object, place hand on it for balance and use your free hand to grasp your ankle or foot. Keeping your upper body straight, pull that heel up towards your buttock and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch for the other leg.
You should feel the stretch through the front of your leg.
4. Back of thigh
Place one foot up on a low surface with your toes pointing upward. Place hands on that thigh. Keeping the leg on the ground straight, bend forward from the hips. Keep your lower back flat by bringing your chest towards your knee. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.
You should feel the stretch along the back of the front leg.
From the back thigh stretch position, bend your front knee so that the foot is on the edge of the surface. Placing hands on your hips, lean slightly forward over the bent leg. Keep the leg you are standing on straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat with other leg. You should feel the stretch in the back of the hips and buttocks.
Follow these simple tips for a safe and pain free run. Remember, don’t overstretch and never stretch a cold muscle.
Backpacks can affect your children's health. Carrying a heavy load that is unevenly or improperly distributed can result in poor posture; and even distort the spinal column, throwing it out of alignment. This can cause muscle strain, headaches, back, neck and arm pain, and even nerve damage.
More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of lower back pain by their teenage years. Research indicates that this could be caused, to a great extent, by improper use of backpacks.
Prevention is key to avoiding injury. If you haven't already, now is a good time to teach your children how to properly use their backpacks.
Here are some tips from the Ontario Chiropractic Association:
Packing it properly: Make sure your child’s pack contains only what is needed for that day, and that the weight is distributed evenly. The total weight of the filled pack should be no more than 10 to 15 percent of the wearer’s body weight.
Choosing the right backpack: Go for lightweight vinyl or canvas. Pick a pack that has two wide, adjustable, padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, padded back and plenty of pockets.
Putting it on: Put the pack on a flat surface, at waist height. Slip on the pack, one shoulder at a time, and then adjust the straps to fit comfortably.
Wearing it right: Both shoulder straps should be used, and adjusted so that the pack fits snugly to the body, without dangling to the side. You should be able to slide your hand between the backpack and your child’s back.
Your child’s backpack shouldn’t be a drag. Maintaining good back health in youth may help prevent back problems in later life. So, pack it light and wear it right!
Your bones are not "cracking". The actual noise is called a cavitation. When a joint is adjusted, a gas bubble may escape causing a popping noise, the same noise you hear when you crack your knuckles. It's very similar to the release of gas bubbles when you un-cork a champagne bottle or open a can of pop. Here is a fun video explaining that happens when you "crack" your knuckles:
Does the "popping" happen with all adjustments? Is is still a "good" adjustment if you don't hear the "pop"?
Although it may be satisfying to hear the "popping" noise with an adjustment, you may or may not hear a cavitation ("popping"). Just a week ago, I had a new patient who came in with acute severe neck pain. She could not turn her head and was miserable with pain. Due to the acute nature of her condition, we could not do a traditional adjustment involving my hands and turning of the patient's neck. I used the Activator (a tool used to gently adjust without the patient having to turn her neck) instead. Typically, with Activator adjustments, you do not hear a caviation although the patient really wanted to hear it. She had been to chiropractors before and associated successful adjustments with the "pop". We also adjusted her lower back with the Activator. At the follow-up visit, her neck pain had improved and she re-gained a significant amount of her range of motion. She was in a much better mood as you can imagine. And her lower back? The improvement was "night and day". She had been suffering with chronic low back pain, causing her pain in her daily activities such as putting on her socks, but that pain was gone.
Dr. Eve Choe is a Toronto-based chiropractor, and certified posture expert, acupuncture & orthotics provider.