Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fitness Tips For Recreational Athletes

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

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Being active can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce blood pressure, build strong bones, relieve stress, and maintain flexibility and good posture.  Included below are some tips to help you protect your body and prevent injury so that you can get the most from your favourite activity this summer season.

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

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

3.    Nourish your body by staying hydrated.  Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after physical activity - even in colder weather.  Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate.  Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.

4.    Prepare for the elements.  Avoid sunburn which is a result of overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation and can contribute to certain skin cancers, and a premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.  To protect from sun exposure, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brim hat and light-colored clothing that covers your exposed skin.  Your eyes should also be protected with UV blocking sunglasses.  Outdoor activities and sports should be limited to the early morning or late afternoon when UV rays are not as strong.  Be cautious on cloudy days, as your skin is still susceptible to burn under these conditions.

5.    Learn the proper technique.  Learn the right technique for your sport from the beginning.  Using the wrong sport-specific technique can create incorrect muscle memory and can make it difficult to break bad habits.  Poor technique can also cause injury to your joints and muscles.

6.    Use the right equipment.  Make sure your equipment is the right fit, height and capacity for you to avoid a sport-related injury.  Recreational athletes should have their equipment professionally fitted and checked before starting out.

7.    Avoid over-training.  Too much.  Too fast.  Too soon.  Over-training is one of the most common causes of recreational athletic injuries.  Take your time and work up to it slowly before pushing yourself too hard.  Remember – rest is as important as training.  Take a training break and give your body a chance to recover.

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

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Please Vote For Us!

 

The New Hamburg Wellness Centre has been nominated as a top 10 finalist in this year's Record Reader Awards in the following 3 categories:


1.      Favourite Chiropractic Clinic


2.      Favourite Massage Therapy Clinic


3.      Favourite Alternative Medicine Clinic


We are asking for your support to help us get to a winning position.

All you need to do is:


    1. Login in with your email and password if you have voted in previous years

OR

    1. Select Register a new account if you have not voted in the past

  • Select + Health, Wellness & Beauty and select each of the above 3 categories and vote for New Hamburg Wellness Centre.

 
For those with multiple e-mail addresses, you can register with each address and vote again!

Voting will take place from Thursday September 22nd until Friday October 7th at midnight.

Please share this with your contacts.


We appreciate your support!


Thank-you in advance.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tips to Avoid Strain From Your Backpack Or Handbag

By Dr. R. Greg Lusk, DC


 
It's back to school season which is a great time for a refresher on helpful tips to minimize the strain from carrying a bag.  And these tips don't only apply to backpacks, but to handbags, laptop bags, sports bags, luggage, or whatever other bag you can think of.  The Ontario Chiropractic Association's "Pack it Light, Wear it Right" campaign is credited as the source of the following recommendations, with additional resources and free access to informative materials being available in the Public Education section of their website, www.chiropractic.on.ca.
 
An improperly loaded or positioned bag can cause undue strain on your body.  Due to the excessive load or the compensations made to carry the bag, discomfort may present as neck or back pain, headaches, or symptoms into the arms or legs.  It is estimated that 50% of children experience at least one episode of low back pain by their teenage years, with backpacks thought to be one cause.  It is also known that a prior history of back pain makes one more likely to experience a future episode, so aiming to delay or avoid the initial experience is worthy endeavour.

Let's start with choosing a bag.  A lightweight vinyl or canvas bag is best versus a leather one which tends to be heavier.  It is ideal for shoulder straps to be wide, adjustable, and padded so the load of the bag can be distributed over as much of your body as possible and not dig into the muscles around your neck and shoulders.  It is also best for the bag to have multiple pockets and/or compartments.  Not only does this make organizing easier but it spreads the weight of the contents around so the load can be nicely balanced.  If carrying the bag, it should be proportionate to your body size and not excessively large.  Some bags also come with wheels and pull handles, notably luggage, laptop bags, and larger sporting gear bags, and this is a great way to avoid bearing the load while transporting it.

Next comes packing the bag.  A loaded bag that will  be carried should not weigh more than 10-15 percent of your body weight.  As an example, for a 150 lb individual, that is 15-22.5 lbs.  Therefore, be selective in what you really need to pack.  I know I periodically check my shoulder bag and find some item that I put in there a while ago that no longer needs to be toted around on a daily basis.  If you cannot pack overly light, consider using multiple bags to split up the weight evenly.  Pack heaviest items at the bottom and as mentioned use the various compartments to best distribute the load.

We'll finish with lifting and carrying bags.  While lifting, be sure to keep your back straight and  bend at your hips and knees.  This is particularly true for heavier bags such as luggage and sporting bags, especially if you're stooped forward getting them out of the trunk of a vehicle.  If there are two shoulder straps use both as slinging the bag over one shoulder will lead to compensations being made and asymmetrical strain on your body.  If there is only one strap lift it over your head so that it rests on the shoulder opposite the bag, as this best distributes the weight.  In this scenario, be sure to alternate sides to share the strain of the bag.
 
This article is for general information purposes only and is not to be taken as professional medical advice.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Function Of A Running Shoe

Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA)


The function of a running shoe is to protect the foot from the stress of running, while permitting you to achieve your maximum potential. Selecting the right shoe for your foot can be confusing without the proper knowledge. People with low arches, called pronators, will need a shoe that provides stability. A shoe with good cushioning is important for people with high arches, called supinators.
 
There are three main features that you need to consider when selecting a running shoe: shape, construction, and midsole.
 

Shape
 
To determine the shape of the shoe, look at the sole. Draw a straight line from the middle of the heel to the top of the shoe. In a curve-shaped shoe, most comfortable for supinators, the line will pass through the outer half of the toes. A straight-shaped shoe will have a line that passes through the middle of the toes. These shoes are built to give pronators added stability.
 
 
Construction
 
Take out the insole and look at what type of stitching is used on the bottom. In board construction shoes, built specifically for pronators, the bottom of the shoe will not have any visible stitching. Combination shoes, appropriate for mild pronators or supinators, will have stitching that begins halfway. On slip-constructed shoes, you will see stitching running the entire length of the shoe providing the flexibility supinators need.
 
 
Midsole
 
Most of the cushioning and stability of a running shoe is determined by the midsole. A dual-density midsole provides shock absorption as well as some stability, perfect for pronators. Single density midsoles offer good cushioning but are not great at providing stability, making them better for supinators.

Keep in mind that a chiropractor can help you prevent running-related problems by assessing your gait, as well as the mobility of the joints in your feet, legs, pelvis and spine.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Understanding Medical Acupuncture Treatment

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

Acupuncture is a 2000-year-old Chinese treatment in which needles are inserted into specific points on the body.  The World Health Organization (WHO) lists approximately four-dozen different conditions that can legitimately be treated by acupuncture.   Acupuncture treatments can be particularly helpful for pain complaints such as:  muscular strains, joint sprains, arthritic pain, neck and low back pain, rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow, hip, knee and leg pain, sciatica, bursitis, migraine and tension headaches.

The term "Medical Acupuncture" refers to acupuncture performed by a licensed health care professional who has training in the health sciences.  Practitioners of Medical Acupuncture derive the concepts of disease, dysfunction, and healing from the western biomedical understanding of pathology, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.  Under this model, the act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the body is believed to result in the following:

·       Pain Control - Pain-blocking substances are released locally and by the central nervous system to suppress the transmission of pain.

·      Inflammation Control - Natural anti-inflammatory chemicals are released locally, and inflammation control centers are stimulated in other parts of the body.

·       Blood and Lymphatic Flow - Enhancement of blood and lymphatic flow locally and throughout the body allows for the delivery of fresh oxygen and the removal of injury debris from the injury site.

The needles used for acupuncture are much smaller than a standard hypodermic needle.  These needles are solid, not hollow, and have a finely tapered point as opposed to a bevelled cutting-edge point.  The sensations felt during needle insertion range from feeling nothing at all, to mild tingling, to slight numbness/achiness, to small electrical pulsations distant to the site of insertion.  All these sensations typically subside once the needles are removed.  It is common practice nowadays for practitioners to use sterile disposable needles that are discarded following treatment.

As with any health intervention, there is always a potential for side effects and adverse reactions.  The good news is that acupuncture performed by an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner is relatively safe and infrequently yields minor side effects.  These may include but are not limited to: a slight discoloration at the acupuncture site that is temporary and not dangerous; minor bleeding; nausea; short-term fatigue or drowsiness; or a short-term increase in pain before relief sets in.  An experienced and knowledgeable practitioner aims to avoid treatment of certain points during pregnancy, over wounded or infectious areas, to individuals who are hemophiliacs, and to individuals who have needle phobia.

Medical Acupuncture treatments can be safely and successfully employed to help promote healing and recovery from pain complaints including muscle and joint injuries.  Acupuncture treatments are also often utilized in conjunction with other rehabilitative strategies such as exercise prescription, manual adjusting and mobilization techniques, and soft tissue therapy.  For more information visit www.nhwc.ca.

This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Rehabilitation Of Ankle Sprains

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
 
An ankle sprain is a very common injury that can happen to athletes, non-athletes, children and adults.  A sprain refers to a stretching or tearing of a ligament.  Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another.  They help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement.  One or more ligaments can be injured at the same time.  Sprained ankles often result from a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow that forces the ankle joint out of its normal position.  This may occur while participating in sports and recreational activities, wearing inappropriate shoes, or running, walking or stepping on uneven surfaces.
 
Inversion ankle sprains constitute 90% of all ankle sprains.  This type of injury occurs when the foot is forced inward (inversion) and produces most of the pain on the outer side of the ankle.  Eversion ankle sprains are less common and occur when the foot is forced outward (eversion), causing the most pain on the inner side of the ankle.  A high ankle sprain is a unique and separate injury in which the ligaments around and above the ankle joint are injured.  This is known as a syndesmotic sprain.
 
Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of an ankle sprain.  There may be bruising over the area of injury which may spread down into the foot towards the toes several days following the injury.  Individuals may also experience difficulty walking or weight bearing on their injured ankle.  Most ankle sprains can be managed conservatively.  However, obvious evidence or suspicion of a broken bone, fracture or joint dislocation necessitates the need for emergency medical care.
 
Initial conservative management of ankle sprains should follow the P.R.I.C.E. principle (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).  The P.R.I.C.E. principle helps decrease pain and swelling and can be used during the rehabilitative process as needed.  Additional treatment options include electrotherapy, ultrasound, taping, bracing, soft tissue techniques, and manual mobilization to assist in returning to full functioning.  Rehabilitative strategies should progress to include active range of motion, stretching and strengthening exercises for the ankle joint and lower extremity.  Proprioceptive/balance training is crucial in minimizing the risk of ankle instability and re-injury.
 
Assuming that proper rehabilitative strategies are employed, successful recovery from an ankle sprain injury will depend upon the severity of ligament damage.  Mild injuries usually heal completely without any residual consequence in 1 to 4 weeks.  Moderate injuries usually require 4 to 12 weeks to heal.  Severe injuries will take longer to heal.  In some circumstances, surgery may be required for severe ankle sprains.
 
An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability.  This may also result in secondary foot, knee, hip, and back problems because of subtle changes in movement patterns.  If you are having difficulty with ankle pain, a qualified health professional can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe appropriate therapy and rehabilitation strategies specifically for your circumstance.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Choosing The Right Backpack For Your Children

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

Carrying a poorly designed or overloaded backpack can place excessive weight on a child’s growing spinal column.  This type of daily physical stress can lead to irritation and injury of the spine, joints, and muscles, which can potentially result in postural changes, back pain, and headaches.
 
Parents and children can avoid injury by following these simple rules with respect to choosing, packing, and carrying a backpack.
 
1.    Pick the correct size:  Choose a backpack that is proportionate to body size and not larger than needed.  The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.
 
2.    Choose lightweight material:  Select a backpack made of light material.  For example, nylon, vinyl or canvas instead of leather.
 
3.    Strap it up:  The shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide, adjustable, and padded.  Ensure that they do not cut into or fit too snugly around and under the arms.  A hip strap or waist belt helps to effectively redistribute as much as 50 to 70 percent of the weight off the shoulders and spine onto the pelvis, balancing the backpack weight more evenly.
 
4.    Padding goes a long way:  A backpack should have a padded back for added protection and comfort.  Pack odd-shaped items on the outside so they do not dig into the back.
 
5.    Pack it right:  Contents should be evenly distributed, with the heaviest items packed closest to the body.  This reduces the strain, as the weight is closer to the body’s centre of gravity.
 
6.    More pockets are better:  Choose a backpack that has several individual pockets instead of one large compartment.  This will help to distribute the weight evenly and keep contents from shifting.
 
7.    Wheels and handles:  Explore other backpack options such as a backpack with wheels and a pull handle for easy rolling.
 
8.    Weight is everything:  Backpacks should never exceed 15 percent of a secondary school child’s body weight or 10 percent of an elementary school child’s body weight.
 
9.    Handle with care:  Children should learn to squat or kneel to pick up their backpacks, and use their legs by bending at the knees and not twisting the back when lifting.  Backpacks can be placed on a counter, chair or table before they are put on.  Slinging backpacks on one side of the body may place excessive stress on the joints and muscles of the mid and lower back.
 
Parents should ask their kids to report any pain or other problems resulting from carrying a backpack.  If the pain is severe or persistent, seek care from a qualified health professional.  For more information, visit www.nhwc.ca.  The author credits the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) in the preparation of this educational information for use by its members and the public.
 
This article is a basic summary for educational purposes only.  It is not intended, and should not be considered, as a replacement for consultation, diagnosis or treatment by a duly licensed health practitioner.