Chiropractic Care for Arthritis

runners_aching_inflammed_jointsIt is been said “as the prevention of cavities is to a dentist, as is osteoarthritis to chiropractors.” Millions of people suffer from some form of arthritis. Because arthritis is commonly believed to be incurable, the standard medical response has been simply to prescribe medication to reduce the symptoms.

Substantial evidence now shows, however, that the pain and disability caused by arthritis can be alleviated and even prevented through chiropractic care for arthritis, in conjunction with dietary modifications, nutritional supplementation, stress reduction and other alternative therapies.

Common forms of the arthrits

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Among the oldest know human afflictions, it can affect virtually every part of the body, from the feet to the knees, back, shoulders and fingers. The effects of arthritis range from slight joint pain, stiffness and swelling to crippling disability. The condition can affect people of all ages, but is most common in seniors.

There are a variety of arthritic conditions, with the three most common forms of the disease being osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout.arthritis+knee

OA is a degenerative disease of the large weight-bearing joints. It is often associated with aging. People with the condition often have small bony growths, calcium spurs and occasional soft cysts on their bones and in their joints. As the disease progresses, joint cartilage deteriorates to the point where it interferes with movement.

RA, while less common than OA, is a serious and painful joint disease that can lead to crippling disability in young and old alike. RA involves damage to synovial tissue, which is the membrane that lines joints and secretes the lubricant that normally allows bones to move painlessly against other bones. Symptoms of RA include fatigue, low-grade fever, weakness, joint stiffness and vague joint pain.

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup in the body of uric acid, which is found in meats and other foods and also produced by the body. When the level of uric acid rises to unhealthy levels in the body, it crystallizes in the joint cartilage and synovial tissue and fluid, causing sharp, needle-like pain in the joints, as well as fever, chills and loss of mobility.

Chiropractic highly effective for arthritis

The primary keys for treating and preventing arthritis are proper nutrition, detoxification and stress reduction. Pain management and correction of skeletal and postural problems can be addressed through chiropractic, while other modalities, including herbal medicine, environmental medicine, acupuncture, may also help.

Chiropractic has proven highly effective for many who suffer from the disease, especially those with OA, as an estimated 95% of osteoarthritic patients also have misaligned joints. If a joint is out of position and there are abnormal stresses, OA usually occurs over time.

This is because OA is directly related to skeletal and postural difficulties. Tendons and ligaments can be torn or stretched as a result of injury, exercise or aging. The layers which hold muscles, joints and organs together tend to thicken and rigidify from overuse or abnormal biomechanics. When the body tries to compensate, bony spurs may appear in joints and on bones. Regular preventative chiropractic treatments can help to diminish these abnormal stresses and reduce symptoms or even prevent the body changes from occurring.

Like the old financial advice: “the best time to start contributing to your savings would have been years ago, but the next best time is now.”  The same holds true for chiropractic care.  Taking preventative measures is key, and that starts with a chiropractic examination to see if there are any factors which may cause you to be predisposed, whether you are already showing arthritic changes, and taking the appropriate measures to reduce the risk, and stop it from progressing now!

Start with calling our office to schedule yourself, or someone you know, in for a check up appointment. Be preventative!

~Dr. G

Players ask Chiropractor to Treat Brazilian Soccer Team

World Cup1The Brazilian soccer team has won a new advantage off the field this week. This is because of a chiropractor invited by the team doctor to treat the players in Brazil. Chiropractic is a health care approach focusing on spinal function and alignment. It can be a treatment for pain, but it should also be used to improve function and prevent injury, which is what is being done for most teams at the World Cup.

Dr. Elisa, the team chiropractor for Brazil, uses an interesting analogy to explain the importance of chiropractic care. “I often compare spinal care with dental care. You eat and brush daily, and need to get regular care for your teeth. With the spinal column is the same. You use it all the time, but some people only remember to go for care when they have pain. Indeed, it is important to have regular preventive treatment “she explains. However, the world of soccer (football) is not new to her. She has treated former  soccer player and Brazilian Captain Carlos Alberto Torres, the three-time champion, since he had disabling back pain in 2010.Torres, credits chiropractic with resolving chronic disabling back pain that had kept him relying on crutches to walk. Traditional medical treatments had not helped, and finally someone referred him to a chiropractor. The chiropractic care he received enabled him to have a quick and full recovery so he could walk again without crutches and free of pain.

Although little known in Brazil, chiropractic is widely used by soccer (football) players. Dante, who has benefited from chiropractic treatment for more than six years since he played in Belgium, was one of the players who requested the services of a chiropractor.

“It is an excellent help. You feel that your body is more balanced, with everything in place. This makes a difference when it comes to high performance,” said the soccer player.

Football does take a toll on the musculoskeletal system of soccer players. Quite often players get injured due to the quick movements they do. Running, twisting, turning, changing direction, heading the ball and diving can all result in injuries. The neck, back, knees and ankles are prone to injure due to the stress exerted in the twisting action of the body when the feet are planted and the quick change of direction of the upper body. Quite often ligaments of the knees and/ ankles are likely to injure.

As Dr. Erik Plasker, the team chiropractor for one of the top US youth soccer teams noted, “while the other teams are scrambling to change their lineups due to injuries, our team bounces back fast and brings an energetic advantage to championship games. The players and coach agree that chiropractic care helps them compete at the highest level and avoid injuries.”

Whiplash Part 3 – How Do We Fix it?

Chiropractor - Gentle Neck Adjustment

Last newsletter we discussed what exactly a Whiplash Injury is, how it occurs, common symptoms of Whiplash injuries and factors which determine the severity of the Whiplash Injury. This newsletter, we will discuss the Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Whiplash Injuries.

How is Whiplash Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a whiplash injury is made by taking a detail history of the injury, performing thorough examination and ordering diagnostic tests such as x-rays. The doctor must rely on the patient’s information about the accident. With this in mind, it is important for each patient in the collision to explain all the details they can remember about the accident. The chiropractor will want to have all of the information from all other physicians the patient has seen for the accident.

With regards to Whiplash injuries, there are few other musculoskeletal injuries that have been studied and researched in such detail as this type of injury. Depending on the degree of injury, symptoms and other findings discovered in the physical examination and history, a grading system is often applied which relates to the degree of injury. This grading system is often also used as a guideline to determine the type and length of treatment required, and sometimes the prognosis (what to expect in the future).

Are X-Rays Helpful to see how much damage was done?Whiplash 7

The answer is yes. However, x-rays have their limitations. A trained chiropractor can determine if there is a fracture or dislocation of a spinal bone. Additionally, they can look for the classic “straight neck” appearance commonly called “whiplash spine”.

While these findings may assist the doctor in determining an approach to treatment, there are many other structures that cannot be seen on x-rays. These include the discs, nerve roots, muscles, tendons, spinal cord, ligaments, and capsules that surround each joint. Therefore, your doctor relies on the examination findings, and may even order additional diagnostic tests, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computerized tomography) or NCV (nerve conduction velocity), to see if these structures have also been damaged, and to what extent.

Why does chiropractic treatment help with whiplash injuries?

Whiplash, like other injuries, sets up the following cascade of events:

  • An initial injury causes inflammation (swelling) of tissues and pain.
  • This results in spasm of the muscles surrounding the injured area.
  • As a result of the muscular “bracing”, the joints where these muscles attach stop moving normally, which forces the adjacent joints to move more than they usually should.
  • This leads to a loss of the normal range of motion in that area.
  • The loss of motion creates more inflammation and pain, and this vicious cycle repeats itself again and again.

Amongst other things, chiropractic treatment focuses on restoring as much normal motion and function as possible to the injured areas. As a result, this vicious cycle is interrupted and healing occurs.

What can I do to get better?

There is often no simple answer. However, following your chiropractor’s recommendations will most likely help a great deal. These will likely include:

  • Modifications of your normal daily activities such as work, posture, sleeping, bathing and dressing.
  • Instructions to minimize the risk of damaging your spine even further while performing work duties such as sitting, standing, bending, lifting, squatting, and computer use.
  • Treatment may initially include the use of ice to help control inflammation, rest, and light range of motion exercises. As the pain decreases, chiropractic adjustments are applied, along with electrical physical therapies, massage therapy, and nutritional supplements. As the healing progresses, stretching and strengthening exercises are recommended at the appropriate timing to further strengthen those injured and weakened tissues.

There is a very specific sequence of therapy and it is important that your chiropractic monitor your progress so that these therapies can be introduced in the best and most efficient manner to ensure your tissues heal properly and strong. This will help to minimize future problems from the whiplash injury.

Chiropractors are well- known for helping patients overcome the injuries in whiplash – and not just for the relief of pain, but for maximum restoration of lost function. If you’ve been in an accident and think you think you might have whiplash, no matter how minor, schedule a chiropractic appointment. You’ll be glad you did! The sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome!

Whiplash Part 2 – What factors make it worse and when do you start to feel it?

Whiplash iStock_neckpain(3)Last newsletter we introduced the topic of Whiplash Injuries – what it is, and what it feels like. This newsletter we cover the various factors that can influence the severity of the injury.

Whiplash injuries are the most common injury to arise out of rear-end collisions, although they can also occur during other activities such as certain sports – most commonly snowboarding (well, perhaps not with this year’s snow conditions!). Nearly 200 rear-end collisions happen each day in British Columbia alone. Whiplash injuries account for more than 65% of all bodily injury claims (Navan et al., 2000).

When do you start to feel the symptoms?

The answer is not that straightforward. We do know that generally the earlier the symptoms occur, the more severe damage tends to be. However, it is common for symptoms to be delayed for days, weeks, or even months after an injury occurs. Unfortunately, this leaves patients believing that they have not been injured when in fact they have. For these reason, it is very important for person involved in a collision to be examined by their doctor as soon as possible following the crash.

Factors that determine the Severity of the Injury:

  • Your position in the car (front seat, back seat, etc.)
  • Your age
  • The length of your neck and weight of your head
  • Whether you were using the seat belts/shoulder harness, headrest positioning
  • If you were prepared for the impact
  • Your head and body position at the moment of impact
  • The make and model of your car along with any special safety features it may be equipped with
  • The size and speed of the vehicle that you were travelling in
  • The size and speed of the vehicle that collided with your vehicle
  • Whether there were subsequent collisions with other vehicles
  • The direction of the impact
  • How soon after the collision that you experienced symptoms
  • Whether your seat back collapsed
  • Your health prior to the collision such as pre-existing injuries or conditions such as arthritis

Numerous studies show that many whiplash victims have a relatively poor outcome without immediate and appropriate treatment. One such study found that 75% of patients with whiplash still suffer from symptoms 6 months after the accident. Experts agree that individuals with any degree of neck complaints following a motor vehicle accident dramatically improve their prognosis if they seek immediate evaluation and appropriate treatment within hours of the accident.

Next Newsletter: How is Whiplash diagnosed? AND What is the best treatment?

Chiropractors are well- known for helping patients overcome the injuries in whiplash – and not just for the relief of pain, but for maximum restoration of lost function. If you’ve been in an accident and think you think you might have whiplash, no matter how minor, schedule a chiropractic appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

~DR. G

Whiplash – What Happens and How? (Part 1)

The topic of Whiplash is a serious issue. There probably is not one injury in Musculoskeletal Medicine that hasn’t been studied and researched more than this topic. This is partly due not only to the significant impact it can have on one’s life – their family, relationships, leisure time activities, and their job, but also the fact that not everyone recovers 100% from this injury. This means it can have a lasting impact on their lives and their finances with the present and ongoing cost managing this injury. This topic will cover the next three emails with three parts:

PWhiplash2art 1:  What is Whiplash? What does it feel like?
Part 2: How soon do you feel it? What are the factors that determine how bad it can be?
Part 3: How do your Diagnose it? What is the most effective Treatment?

This is the first part:

What is Whiplash and how does it happen?

A whiplash neck injury is the involuntary thrust of the head in any direction. The resulting recoil of the head and neck in the opposite direction injures the surrounding and supporting tissues. Symptoms may not start immediately. Often neck soreness may occur, then disappear and be followed later by head, neck and arm symptoms.

The most common cause of Whiplash is automobile collisions. However, a quick jerk, a violent blow to the head or chin, or any kind of fall causing sudden forceful movement of the head and neck is also common. Sports injuries involving collisions or contact such as a tricky fall in football or a wicked cross check in hockey can create a whiplash injury. Diving injuries and snowboard wipeouts frequently cause whiplash.

The forces causing whiplash may result in concussion, bruising or tearing to the soft tissues, and may produce strains, sprains, subluxations (vertebral misalignments), and dislocations. Joint injuries are common, and in severe cases, fractures may occur.

If someone suffers a whiplash injury, what symptoms could they expect to feel, and how soon will they feel them?

Patients with whiplash type injuries commonly have any of the symptoms, which is only a partial list:

  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Shoulder pain
  • Anxiety
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sensation changes in their arm(s)
  • Arm pain or weakness

Pressure on the spinal nerves as they exit from between the neck vertebrae is a very common cause of many of these symptoms. This may lead to headaches upper back and arm pain, numbness, tingling and burning of the arm/hand.

Other seemingly unrelated symptoms such as:

  • Moodiness/Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness t Forgetfulness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Jaw/face pain may also be related to the injury

Next Newsletter: How soon do you feel the injuries? And What factors can make the injuries worse?

Chiropractors are well- known for helping patients overcome the injuries in whiplash – and not just for the relief of pain, but for maximum restoration of lost function. If you’ve been in an accident and think you think you might have whiplash, no matter how minor, schedule a chiropractic appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

~DR. G

 

 

Is the Glamour Worth the Pain?

High Heels2You’re all dressed up and ready to go out to work. Or a night on the town. Or on a fancy dinner date. And you’re wearing the one accessory that pulls the entire look together – your high heels that give you that long, lean, leggy look. Nice. However, at what cost to your health?

The wearing of high-heeled shoes is a prime example of women inviting foot problems. Doctors of podiatric medicine see no value in high heels (generally defined as pumps with heels of more than two inches). They believe them to be biomechanically and orthopedically unsound, citing medical, postural, and safety faults of such heels.

They know, for example, that high heels may contribute to knee and back problems, disabling injuries in falls, shortened calf muscles, and an awkward, unnatural gait. In time, high heels may cause enough changes in the feet to impair their proper function. Most women admit high heels make their feet hurt, but they tolerate the discomfort in order to look taller, stylish, and more professional. In a Gallup Poll, 37 percent of the women surveyed said they would continue to wear high heels, even though they did not think them comfortable.”

Heels force the thigh muscles to work harder, putting extra strain on the knee joint and tendon that runs from the knee cap to the thigh bone. Compared with walking barefoot, high heels increase the pressure on the inside of the knee by 26 percent. Over time, this increased pressure on the knee can lead to osteoarthritis.”

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it’s twice as common in women. “The use of heels is a likely reason,” Kerrigan speculates.  “Just wear flats,” Harvard researcher D. Casey Kerrigan, MD, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, tells WebMD. “I am strongly against wearing heels at all,” says Kerrigan, who never wears them.” Throw them out,” she says, adding that women shouldn’t be victims of fashion.

And what about back pain? Think about it, high heels tilt your entire foot forward, increasing the normal forward curve of your back and causing your pelvis to tilt forward. Essentially, wearing high heels throws your entire body off its center of gravity and, therefore, off balance. Think of the long-term effect this has on your body if you wear heels to work each day and then go out at night!High Heels9

“According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, people take an average of 10,000 steps a day. High heels shift the force of each of those steps so that the most pressure ends up on the ball of the foot and on the bones at the base of the toes. (If you wear flats, the entire foot would absorb this impact.) A 3-inch heel — most experts consider a heel “high” at 2 inches or more — creates three to six times more stress on the front of the foot than a shoe with a modest one-inch heel.

As a result, heels can lead to bunions, heel pain, toe deformities, shortened Achilles tendons, and trapped nerves. In fact, women account for about 90% of the nearly 800,000 operations each year for bunions, hammertoes (a permanent deformity of the toe joint in which the toe bends up slightly and then curls downward, resting on its tip), and trapped nerves, and most of these surgeries can be linked back to their high-heeled shoe choice.

The problems can travel upward, too. The ankle, knee, and hip joints can all suffer from your footwear preferences. When you walk in flats, the muscles of the leg and thigh have an opportunity to contract as well as to stretch out. However, when wearing your high-heeled shoes, the foot is held in a downward position as you walk. This keeps the knee, hip, and low back in a somewhat flexed position, which prevents the muscles that cross the backside of these joints to stretch out as they normally would. Over time, this can lead to stiffness, pain, and injury. High heels can also cause lower back strain, because the heel causes your body to pitch forward more than normal, putting excess pressure on the back.”

High Heels3Dr. Gerard Clum, president of Life West College of Chiropractic and spokesperson for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, states that the “dangers associated with wearing high heels affect the entire body, particularly the knee, hip, and back. The abnormal weight-bearing and stressful posture induced by high heels can strain both the low back and the neck, not to mention the foot, ankle and knee.”

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has issued the following recommendations for women who wear high heels:

• Don’t wear high heels more than two hours a day. If you must wear heels, carry a pair of flat shoes to change into.

• Compromise heel height to less than two inches.

• Walk to work in your running shoes and change into your heels at work.

• If the increase in height is what you are after, try using platforms.

• Choose a shoe with a wider toe box (as opposed to a pointed toe), and one with padding across the ball of the foot. The positioning of the heel should be more towards the back of the heel which adds more stability as opposed to oriented towards the middle of the foot.

• If you are planning to be more active when you are heading out for the night, such as dancing or walking, plan your shoes accordingly.

If you’ve been wearing heels for years, you’ve probably already experienced some of their negative effects such as back or neck pain, joint pain or foot problems, Chiropractic care can certainly help to address some of the detrimental spinal effects of wearing high heels.  But, if you really want to make a difference, then the rest is up to you.

Chiropractors are well- known for helping patients overcome the problems and pain associated with wearing high heels. Start with calling our office to schedule yourself, or someone you know, in for a check up appointment to see what treatment options are available to you. You’ll be glad you did!

Pillow Talk

Quality sleep is an elusive commodity for millions. Statistics indicate that more than 130 million North Americans have trouble sleeping, which can impact your physical and mental health. The complex process of attaining a quality sleep pattern can be compromised by a number of factors that you may or may not have even considered. One such factor is simply the wrong pillow. If you think of the time we spend in contact with our pillow, you would surely be amazed. You might want to think twice before going out and spending more money without getting some real insight on what we are laying our heads down on each night.

The following describes some of the characteristics and considerations when picking a pillow that is right for you.

 What is your sleeping style?

 Your sleeping style isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It is simply the manner in which you normally sleep – how you typically arrange yourself and your body when preparing for sleep. Do you lie on your back, side or your stomach when you sleep? Or, do you toss, turn and change positions frequently during the night? Since pillows are not created equally, different pillows cater to varying styles of sleeping. Understanding how you usually sleep will help you select the best pillow to help you to enjoy restful nights.

If you’re not sure what your sleeping style is, pay attention to the position you are in when you fall asleep, and then again when you wake up. Are you in the same position, or has it changed? The position in which you find yourself most frequently is your sleep style.

A Good Pillow is designed to keep the spine in natural alignment.


The human neck has a slight inward curve called a cervical lordosis which is designed to sustain the weight of the head when upright and provide shock absorbency. It is very important to maintain and support this curve when in a resting position. If the height of the pillow is too high when sleeping sideways or on the back, the neck is bent abnormally forward or to the side, causing muscle strain on the back of the neck and shoulders. This type of position may also cause narrowing of the air pipe, resulting in obstructed breathing, and sometimes snoring, which can hinder sleep. Conversely, if the height of the pillow is too low, the neck muscles can also be strained.

A good pillow will support the skull and neck without applying undue pressure, as it conforms to and supports the exact shape of the sleeper and our normal alignment, thus spreading the weight evenly and uniformly along the vertebrae. Based on the body’s measurements and personal preference, the pillow should maintain a height of 4 to 6 inches, properly supporting the head and neck (and shoulders when lying on back).

A Pillow must feel comfortable.

 
A large part of what makes a good pillow is personal preference. If the pillow feels comfortable, it is likely to help one relax, get a good night’s sleep, and feel well rested in the morning. The pillow’s surface can also be a source of comfort – some people prefer a pillowcase with a cool, smooth feeling (such as cotton), some prefer warmth (such as flannel), etc.  The softness of the pillow is a personal preference to consider. However, the pillow should not be too soft that it does not provide adequate support.

A Pillow should be a custom fit and adjustable.

 
To help the pillow conform to various sleep positions, it is best if the pillow can be adjusted to fit the unique shape and curves and sleeping position of the user. A pillow should mold to one’s individual shape and alleviate any pressure points. Many quality pillows will also come in various sizes to accommodate for different size people.

There are many different types of custom designed pillows to choose from and below are a couple of popular types that we recommend and keep in stock at our clinic. For those who are allergy sufferers or concern about the materials, check to make sure the pillow is Hypo-allergenic.

Foam/Polyester Fill Pillows

Foam pillows are typically filled with a synthetic material, most popularly polyester, and makes for a firm, long lasting pillow. Devotees of the foam pillow often scoff at a down or feather pillow, accusing them of being too squishy to be comfortable. Again, this comes down to personal taste, but if you are looking for a very sturdy, firm pillow, you’ll want to investigate the foam pillow.

Memory Foam Pillows

The original and memory foam pillow is made by Tempurpedic. Many companies now produce equal quality memory foam pillows and they have gained in worldwide popularity for its softness and comfort. Memory foam is designed to remember the contours of your body, providing support exactly where your body needs it.

These types of pillows have fans as well as detractors, and again, the choice comes down to a largely personal preference. Memory foam material is certainly very different; the pillow is “squishy” and doesn’t bounce back quickly, but instead holds the shape of your head and neck. When you shift positions, it takes a few seconds for the pillow to rebound and readjust to your new position. The most popular type of memory foam pillow builds in a ridge of neck support, making it great for many back sleepers. Some people absolutely love these pillows, while others have a very hard time getting used to the feel of them.

Pillows for each sleep position.

One’s sleep position will dictate how a custom pillow can be used to provide the appropriate support.  

Using a pillow while sleeping on one’s back. When lying on the back, a pillow should support the natural curvature of the cervical spine, with adequate support under the head, neck, and shoulders. When sleeping on the back, the height of the pillow should be lower than in the sideways position. Placing a pillow or two beneath the knees further alleviates any back strain, and is the gentlest position on the back. 

Using a pillow while sleeping on one’s side. When lying on one’s side, a pillow should support the head and neck such that the spine maintains a straight and natural horizontal line. Weight should be evenly distributed so as not to create unnatural bending or pressure. Some people may prefer placing a small pillow or rolled up towel under their waist while lying on the side for additional support.

Using a pillow while sleeping on one’s stomach. If sleeping or resting on the stomach is preferred, the pillow should be relatively flat, or the head should rest directly on the mattress, so that the head and neck aren’t turned unnaturally to either side. In this position, it is often best to place another relatively flat pillow under the stomach to help the spine keep its natural alignment.

Over time, cotton filled pillows will begin to lose their firmness and no longer support the neck adequately. The pillows that we recommend do not have such a problem and therefore, last a very long time

When using a cervical support pillow, most people experience an increase in sleeping comfort within a couple of days. Other, however, may require up to two weeks before the neck and back muscles adjust.

Chiropractors are well- known for helping patients overcome the problems and pain associated neck problems including making the right pillow recommendations. Start with calling our office to schedule yourself, or someone you know, in for a check up appointment to see what treatment options are available to you. You’ll be glad you did!

Don’t Be A Laptop Loser!

Laptops and Ergonomics: this is almost a contradiction! With a fixed design, if the keyboard is in an optimal position for the user, the screen isn’t and if the screen is optimal the keyboard isn’t. This results in a higher incidence of repetitive strain injuries than the desktop computer. Laptops were originally designed for convenience during travel, meetings and for their portability. They were not designed for continued or permanent usage. However, the incidence and popularity of usage as a user’s primary computer has increased dramatically. Walk into any coffee shop in Yaletown, and one could make a study of poor ergonomics! Ouch!

There are several factors will increase the likelihood of future chronic pain.  The furniture in hotel rooms, trains, cars, or planes, and at home, is invariably inadequate for laptop use. Lighting conditions are often not adjusted for laptop use. Therefore, glare, combined with improper viewing angle and lack of display adjustability often results in awkward posture. The narrow viewing angle of Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) is poorly suited to sharing, discussion, and collaboration with multiple people.

Research carried out by Dr Benedyk discovered that 57 per cent of respondents to their student survey had experienced aches and pains as a result of their laptop use, with an overwhelming majority unaware of proper ergonomcis on using laptops. 649 undergraduate and postgraduate students from a range of nationalities completed the set of survey questions. 166 teaching staff responded to a separate online survey. The most prevalent aches and pains were in the neck (21 per cent), shoulders (21 per cent), wrists (16 per cent), back (15 per cent) and eyes (11 per cent). Many survey respondents admitted to having frequently positioned their laptop on their laps (42 per cent), in bed (29 per cent) and on the floor (13 per cent).

Common Signs and Symptoms of Overuse Injuries from Poor Laptop Ergonomics:

  • Muscle fatigue, aches which initially subside during rest
  • Tight band of pain across shoulders or back
  • Pain or stiffness when changing positions, or rising from bed in the mornings
  • Difficulty in finger, thumb or wrist movement
  • Difficulty gripping things
  • Numbness, tingling, weakness, burning or pain
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty concentrating due to discomfort
  • To name a few!!

Some Simple Tips:

1. Put the laptop in a docking station or sit it on some books so that the top of the screen is roughly level with your forehead

2. Attach an external keyboard and mouse and set these up in an ergonomic fashion whenever possible. A wireless keyboard and mouse can be purchased relatively inexpensively these days.

3.  Move the laptop close enough so you do not hold your head forward to see what is on the screen. Sit back in the chair and keep your head directly over your shoulders.

4. Avoid working on the hotel bed or at a table that is too high or low. Use a small pillow to support your lower back.

5. Buy a roller bag or backpack with straps to decrease strain while transporting the laptop, instead of a shoulder or handbag.

6.  Avoid working in lighting that is too bright or behind your screen to avoid leaning in to see the screen creating eye strain.

7. Set your Outlook reminder to pop up to let you know when it is time to stand up and stretch!

IMPORTANT:

The reality is that our bodies are really not designed to be sitting for the amount of time that we do these days. We are designed to be in motion!!  Our joints, bones, ligaments and muscles respond best and are the healthiest when they have regular use. So if you have a job that requires sitting for long periods of time, make sure you incorporate a regular exercise routine into your leisure time activities. You should stand up every half hour just to get the blood flowing through your neck, back & legs. Stand up and stretch by walking around a bit. This will relieve tension from your system and reduce overall stress.

If someone you know is suffering from the results of poor work ergonomics needlessly, start with calling our office to schedule yourself, or someone you know in for a check up appointment to see what treatment options are available to you.

~Dr. Gertz

You’re Never Too Old To Become Young Again!

When I first graduated from Chiropractic College, my dad with his usual helpful wisdom, suggested to me that I should move to Victoria and set up practice. “There’s lots of retired people there, and seniors love Chiropractors”, he proclaimed.

What is it that seniors know that a lot of their younger counterparts seem to miss? And how exactly does regular chiropractic care help them?

A three year study published in Topics in Clinical Chiropractic in 1996 examined senior citizens over the age of 75 years of age and revealed that seniors who receive regular chiropractic care experienced the following:

  •  Chiropractic patients spend 15% less time in nursing homes and 21% less time in hospitals than the non-chiropractic patients
  • Report “better overall health” on quality of life surveys (87% of seniors under chiropractic care described their health as “excellent” or “good”, compared to only 65% of non-chiropractic patients)
  • Have fewer chronic conditions
  • Were less likely to utilize prescription drugs than non-chiropractic patients
  • Were more likely to exercise vigorously and be active in the community

As the population ages, more people more people are consulting doctors of chiropractic, especially in their later years. As we live longer there are growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs. Safe natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity.  Restoring proper nerve and spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, and endurance, and therefore the quality of your life.

Is chiropractic care only good for seniors? As I once heard an investment banker speak about savings plans, “the best time to start saving would have been 20 years ago, but the second best time is now.”  The same goes for your health. Experiencing the health benefits of chiropractic care now will also provide benefits for your enjoyment of your life in your later years.

Most Frequent Benefits Regular Chiropractic Care provides for Seniors

1. Pain Relief

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective and safest forms of health care to treat pain due to spinal related conditions. Chiropractic is so effective because most causes of spinal disorders are related to abnormalities of the spine and the surrounding soft tissue structures.

2. Increased Range of Motion of the Spine and Extremities

Chiropractic care has been shown repeatedly to increase not only the range of motion of the spine but also in the extremities. Increasing a person’s range of motion can positively and drastically affect lives in many ways. For some, an increased range of motion means being able to bend down to pick up their grandchildren. For others, it means they can garden without pain or get an extra 40 yards of distance out of their driver on the golf course. In many cases, an increase in range of motion immediately follows chiropractic adjustments. This is one of the reasons why many top professional sporting teams have team chiropractors.

3. Increased Balance and Coordination

Many problems in balance and coordination in the aging population have been shown to come from injury or degenerative changes to the cervical spine (neck region). Structures known as mechanoreceptors are located in the posterior (back) joints of the cervical spine and are responsible for providing the brain with essential information important for balance and coordination.

4. Decreased Joint Degeneration

A subluxated (misaligned) spine is much like a misaligned wheel on an automobile. This misalignment will cause the spine (and the wheel) to wear out prematurely. Since all moving parts will eventually wear down over time, it is very important to get your spine aligned periodically. Chiropractic care decreases spinal degeneration and other arthritic changes by normalizing the spinal alignment and reducing spinal stress.

5. Increased Health and Well-Being

We commonly ask our patients what changes they notice once they are put of pain. Here are some regular responses we hear every day:

I feel great!

I can sleep through the night!

Now I can play in the garden!

I have so much energy!

Life is worth living now!

Yes, chiropractic is far more than mere pain relief. Feeling good, staying healthy and doing the things that make us happy are what keeps us looking forward to each new day. Regular chiropractic care increase the quality of life and increase health and well-being.

6. Decreased Incidence of Falling

Injuries due to falling are extremely common in the elderly population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are responsible for 90% of the 850,000 bone fractures which occur annually among Americans past the age of 65. Chiropractors reduce the risk of falls by normalizing the mechanoreceptors of the cervical spine by administering chiropractic adjustments. They also prescribe stretching and exercise programs to increase strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and coordination.

Start with calling our office to schedule yourself, or someone you know, in for a check-up appointment to see what treatment options are available to you.

Don’t Be Caught Flat-Footed!

Yaletown Orthotics

Pes Planus is a general medical term used to describe the flat-footed condition. It is also referred to as pesplanovalgus, fallen arches, and over pronation.You may have noticed a family member or friend when they take off their shoes and socks, that their feet may tend to “widen” when standing and bare, as they are no longer supported by a shoe. The medial arch in one or both feet becomes unsupportive, resulting in the affected foot (feet) to be flat, especially during any weight-bearing activity. Adult Pes Planus affects many men and women throughout the world, and can result in foot, ankle, knee, hip, or spinal discomfort as well as increase the chances of injury. This can be corrected with proper foot wear and custom foot orthotics.

What is a “flat foot”?

A true flat foot is very rare with an estimated prevalence of only 1.8% of the adult population. This condition is referred to as rigid pes planus, whereby the foot is completely flat even during non-weight bearing. Rigid pes planus is a pathologic condition and often occurs in conjunction with an underlying disease.

Flexible (or functional) pes planus is a biomechanical problem experienced by a surprisingly high percentage of the population (up to 20% of the population). In this case the arch will appear normal when the person is sitting (i.e. not bearing weight).  However with the person standing upright you will be unable to place an index finger under the arch. The entire bottom of the bare foot is in contact with the floor or ground surface during standing, walking, and other weight bearing activities.

Flexible pes planus can be caused by ligament or tendon laxity, and severe excess subtalar (ankle) joint pronation, which leads to excessive calcaneal (heel bone) eversion during the contact phase of gait. This lack of arch support causes the feet to flatten, creating an unstable position for the ankles, and inward rotation of the knees. This inward rotation can also affect the hip joint, sacroiliac joint, and even change the alignment of the spine. In each of these areas, the resulting improper biomechanics can be silent or commonly result in ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain. I have even seen alignment changes as high as the cervical spine (neck) from improper foot alignment. This is why a proper examination of anyone with spinal, pelvic, hip or knee complaints should always include an assessment of the feet!

If left uncorrected, this condition can lead to other painful foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the bottom of the feet), hallux valgus (bunions) and arthritic changes to various joints.

Although this condition doesn’t cause pain to everyone with flat feet, it can be a problem during exercise, a change in job environment, or when walking. What the literature tells us about the flat foot and how it relates to pathology is telling. Research has shown that an increase in plantar surface contact area, associated with pes planus can be a risk factor for the development of overuse injuries and increase the risk of injuries in sports.

Pediatric pes planus is a normal condition in infancy. The arch develops gradually during childhood. Thus, pes planus is normal in infants, common in children, and often present in adults. Its prevalence decreases with age. Commonly, by the age of 5-6 years old, children should have developed a visible arch.

How do we determine if you have Flat Feet?

A simple test is to put slide your index finger under the medial arch of your foot. You should be able to slide your finger in to at least the first finger joint.

People with flat feet will often also notice that footwear may be worn unevenly.

Click on the Picture to watch a Video on the FootMaxx System

Click on this Picture to Watch a Video on the FootMaxx System

What’s more important is to see how your flat feet affect your biomechanics. At our office we perform a Digital Gait Analysis. This involves walking across a computerized pressure pad which measures the timing of various important biomechanical markers of your feet in speeds up to 60 frames per second, which is much faster than the human eye. It can show us how various bones move, the pressure in various parts of your feet throughout the gait cycle and the appropriate timing of your feet relative to normal. This will help us to discover any biomechanical abnormalities that may be putting undue stresses on your feet and alignment of your spine such as flat feet. The information obtained can also help us to design custom foot orthotics if necessary.

How do we fix Flat Feet?

Doctors can help patients overcome this painful condition with conservative treatment:

Footmaxx Orthotics

Foot orthotics allow the muscles, tendons and bones of the feet and lower legs to function at their highest potential. When appropriately prescribed, orthotics can decrease pain, not only in the foot, but in other parts of the body such as the knee, hip and lower back. They can also increase stability in an unstable joint, prevent a deformed foot from developing additional problems, correct improper biomechanics and improve overall quality of life. For athletes this can mean improvement in performance and decreasing the chance of injury.

The FootMaxx orthotics that are often prescribed are custom-made for your feet, sport-specific to your activities and designed to accommodate for different shoe types.

Often people will have Extended Health Insurance benefits that cover the cost of orthotics. Please check your individual health benefits package.

To learn more about custom-made foot orthotics, please click on the following link.

www.yaletownorthotics.com

Adequate Footwear

Footwear is a major player in treatment for patients with flat feet. Flat footwear such as shoes without arch support and flip flops only add to the problem. People with flat feet should wear spacious footwear that is comfortable and provides adequate support from the foot bed.

 

If you believe that you, or someone you know, may have flat feet, call the office today to schedule a check-up appointment, and foot examination and find out what treatment options are available to you.

~ Dr. Gertz

The information contained in these newsletters is designed to provide general information and to promote greater health. Every individual should seek the advice of their chiropractor or healthcare provider for diagnosis and advice before changing or adding any product or treatment to their health regime.