Monday, July 31, 2017

Exercise And Over-Training Syndrome

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
Many individuals strive to incorporate more exercise into their daily routine and for good reason.  Regular exercise has long been identified as an essential element of good health due to its ability to positively affect every organ and structure in the body.  However, if done in excess, exercise can also lead to negative health consequences such as over-training syndrome (OTS).
OTS occurs when there is an imbalance between exercise training and the body's ability to recover. This typically occurs when exercise volume (the total amount of exercise performed) and intensity (the total amount of effort exerted) are both too high for an extended period of time.  Therefore, it is important to find the correct balance between exercise volume and intensity.  A good exercise program should allow you to exercise on a regular basis without "burning out".
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of OTS which may include:
·        Performance related issues such as:  decreased strength, endurance, and power; poor workout recovery; an inability to complete workouts.
·        Physical symptoms such as:  an increased resting heart rate; persistent aches and pains in muscles and joints; repetitive strain injuries.
·        Health related symptoms such as:  frequent headaches; chronic fatigue; gastrointestinal distress; menstrual irregularities; decreased recovery from and/or increased susceptibility to colds, sore throats, and other illnesses.
·        Mood and behavioural changes such as:  insomnia; loss of appetite; increased irritability; depression; decreased motivation to exercise.
Below are some useful tips that can help overcome or minimize the chance of OTS:
1.    Rest is essential for recovery.  This may include absolute rest from all exercise activity or increasing the recovery time between exercise bouts.  Proper rest allows for the body's important biological systems to recover, repair and recharge.
2.    Change your training method.  Look at the cumulative stress of the exercises performed.  Use a variety of exercises when training specific body regions and avoid continuous training without proper recovery.  Change your program frequently and find the right balance between exercise volume and intensity.
3.    Check your nutritional status.  Your body needs the proper nutrients to function optimally.  Inadequate intake of carbohydrate and protein can lead to muscle fatigue and poor muscle tissue repair.  Healthy fats are needed to produce hormones that regulate many body functions.  Dehydration can contribute to muscle cramping and joint pain.  Avoid nutrient deficient foods such as trans-fats and refined sugars and starches which put physical stress on the body.
4.    Get professional help:  Overcoming OTS is not always simple.  There are healthcare practitioners who can treat physical injuries and provide advice on nutrition and proper exercise training techniques.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of OTS and knowing how to avoid or minimize its effects can ensure that you can continue to enjoy the many health benefits exercise has to offer.  For additional information on exercise, nutrition, and improving your physical health, visit
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, July 25, 2017

Ice Therapy For Muscle And Joint Injuries

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
Ice therapy is an effective self-care treatment strategy for muscle and joint injuries.  It is commonly  used for acute injuries (within the first 72 hours), but can also be very helpful in managing flare-ups of chronic problems, and as a preventative measure following activities or exercise.
Ice therapy reduces the amount of swelling and inflammation at the injury site and also acts as an anesthetic to provide pain relief.  Icing as soon as possible after an injury will help with speeding up recovery time, and minimize the chances of secondary problems such as muscle spasm and joint irritation.
Below are some helpful  tips that should be followed when using ice therapy:
·        Crushed ice and ice cubes are ideal sources of ice because they easily mold around an injury site and can stay cold for long periods of time.  Commercial ice/gel packs and frozen vegetable bags are good secondary choices when crushed ice or cubes are not available.
·        Use compression when applying ice to an injury site.  Compression is most easily achieved with an elastic tensor bandage to add support and slow swelling.  The principles of elevating and resting the injured site should also be followed during initial injury management.
·        Ideal ice application time is 10 to 20 minutes.  There should also be a period of 10 to 20 minutes or more where there is no ice application before icing is done again so that skin temperature can return to normal.  This cycle can be repeated as often as necessary within the first 24 to 72 hours after injury or activity.
Below are some precautions that should be followed with ice therapy:
·        Ice should never be applied directly over the skin for a prolonged period of time as this can damage skin tissue.  A wet towel can safely be used as a barrier between the ice and skin and acts as an excellent conductor of cold.
·        Ice should never be applied on blisters, open cuts or sores.
·        Ice should not be applied before exercise or activity as this impairs your body’s ability to detect proper joint and muscle function, making one more susceptible to further injury.
·        Ice therapy should not exceed the treatment time recommended as prolonged exposure can reverse the positive effects of ice and can lead to possible frostbite.
·        Special care must be taken when icing the elbow, wrist, knee, or foot as superficial nerves in these areas can become irritated or damaged with prolonged icing.
·        People hypersensitive or allergic to cold and those who have a circulation problem should avoid ice.
If you have a muscle and joint injury that is not resolving, 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  From all of us at the New Hamburg Wellness Centre, have a safe and enjoyable summer!
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.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

9 Benefits Of Getting Your Exercise In The Pool, Lake, Or Ocean

Canadian Chiropractic Association

Summer is well underway and water activities are in full-swing. Whether it’s at a nearby lake, beach, or swimming pool, it’s time to talk about water exercises and why they’re good for you.
Here are nine benefits of exercising (particularly swimming) in water:
  1. There’s low impact on your joints: Water gives you buoyancy—i.e., you float! This decreases the impact on your joints, so when you swim or exercise in the water, you have a lower risk of injury.
  2. It does a better job at keeping you cool: Working out can cause you to overheat, especially in the summer. Exercising in the water helps the body cool off faster and reduces the risk of overheating. If the water is warm, it may not help keep you cool, but it does help increase blood circulation, which is a plus when exercising.
  3. Water has built-in resistance: Because you’re moving your body through water instead of through air, you’re working harder. This resistance is great for building all-around strength and endurance.
  4. You can adjust the resistance: Depending on your speed, position, or form in the water, the resistance you face is dynamic. For example, the more streamlined your swim stroke, the faster you’ll travel with less resistance. If you’re jogging or running in water, particularly if it goes higher than your waist, you’re getting much more resistance (this is often done if you’re training to improve your running speed, strength, and endurance when you’re on land).
  5. It gets easier over time: The more knowledge and skill you have with respect to swimming, the more efficient your body becomes when moving through the water. This translates to less energy and effort exerted, and greater speed. The good news is that the more you learn, practice, and condition your body, the easier swimming will be.
  6. You can incorporate rest: You don’t have to stop exercising in the water to give your body a rest during a workout. If you’re swimming, you can add resting strokes like sidestroke or elementary backstroke for a minute or two (or a lap or two in the pool) until you recover.
  7. You can increase intensity slowly: The benefit of swimming is that you can make gradual changes to your routine without much effort. Simply increase the time spent swimming continuously and take shorter rest breaks—or replace your breaks with rest strokes (see tip #6) as you build up your swimming regime.
  8. It’s great for keeping joints limber and toning muscles: Since exercising in the water is so low impact, your joints stay nimble. With the built-in resistance of the water, swimming is great for keeping your muscles toned.
  9. It offers support for the whole body: Not only is exercising in the water low-impact, it’s also excellent for support. Bonus: it supports your back! You don’t have to worry about the weight of your body on your spine or your posture when you move your body through water. If you’re not a swimmer, you can still use the water for gentle exercise: do some walking workouts waist-deep in a swimming pool to take the pressure off your joints and back while still getting movement.
So, take the pressure off, hit up your local beach or pool, and go for a swim! Before you take a dip, check out our safety tips on swimming both in pools and open water.
Always remember to stay hydrated when you exercise. If you’re swimming outdoors this summer, be sure to remember to be safe in the sun and heat.
Talk to your family chiropractor to find out what types of exercises are right for you.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Heel Fat Pad Syndrome

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
Heel Fat Pad Syndrome (HFPS) refers to damage or disruption of the fatty pad that sits under our heel bone (calcaneous).  This structure is approximately one inch thick and is made up of fatty tissue enclosed by ligamentous chambers.  The purpose of this structure is to absorb shock and cushion the heel bone.  If the fat pad is displaced or thins, then its ability to protect the heel bone from impact is decreased, which can result in heel pain.
HFPS is commonly misdiagnosed as plantar fasciitis.  Plantar fasciitis symptoms tend to be located towards the inner front portion of the heel and can extend into the arch of the foot, whereas symptoms of HFPS are characteristically located in the centre of the heel and described as a deep, dull ache that feels like a bruise.  Other symptoms characteristic of HFPS include central heel pain that is aggravated by prolonged periods of standing and barefoot walking on hard surfaces.  It is also possible to have both plantar fasciitis and HFPS present at the same time.
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of HFPS.  Trauma to the heel from high impact sports or a forceful blow to the heel from a fall can cause injury to the fat pad.  Repetitious chronic overload from activities such as running, jumping or prolonged walking and standing can also cause injury which can be exacerbated by the use of improper footwear.  It is known that the fatty heel pad breaks down as we get older which can make an individual susceptible to this condition.  Carrying extra pounds can also break down the protective fatty tissue under the heel bone.
Self-care strategies for reducing the pain of HFPS include: relative rest from any painful activities; ice application; and gentle stretching of the achilles tendon, and calf muscles.  Gel or “donut pads” placed under the affected heel(s) in shoes may also provide relief.  Long-term strategies may include activity modification and weight loss where applicable.
HFPS that does not respond to self-care strategies may require professional treatment.  This can include electrotherapeutic modalities to assist in healing, manual and soft tissue therapy to supporting structures, therapeutic taping of the heel, and specific rehabilitative  exercises for the muscles and joints of the lower leg and foot.  Supporting the foot with proper footwear and correcting faulty foot mechanics can decrease excessive strain on the fat pad.  A custom made orthotic with a deep heel cup design to cradle and cushion the fat pad may also be helpful for decreasing symptoms.
It is important to establish an accurate diagnosis of HFPS.  Other causes of heel pain may include stress fractures, achilles tendonitis/bursitis, arthritis, gout, or nerve irritation.  If you are having difficulty with heel 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
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.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Drink Water For Healthy Living

By Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C)
The average person’s body is composed of approximately 70% water.  The body's water supply is responsible for and involved in nearly every biological process.  Human beings can survive without food for thirty to forty days, but without water, we would not be able to live beyond three to five days!
Below are some interesting facts about the role of water in the human body and the health benefits of adequate water intake.
1.    Regulation of body functions.  Water is essential for respiration, digestion, nutrient absorption, and elimination of waste products and toxins from the body.  Water is also responsible for healthy circulation, and controlling body temperature through perspiration.
2.    Signs of dehydration.  If not enough water is consumed, toxins can build up in the body resulting in many negative side effects.  The consequences of inadequate water intake/dehydration may include:  muscle and joint pain, cramping, headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, inflammation, and poor functioning of many organs.
3.    Helpful for weight loss.  Water is a great fluid replacement for high calorie drinks such as alcohol and sodas/carbonated drinks.  Drinking water before meals can also help kickstart metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant.
4.    Support for the Musculoskeletal (MSK) system.  Water brings vital nutrients to muscle tissue to support performance and decrease the risks of cramps and strains.  Water also helps to protect our joints by providing lubrication and cushioning.
5.    Better productivity at work.  Your brain consists of 90% water.  Therefore, proper hydration helps you think better, be more alert and focused, and feel more energized.
6.    Look younger with healthier skin.  Your skin is the largest organ in the body.  Water helps to replenish skin tissues by improving circulation to skin cells, maintaining elasticity, and moisturizing from the inside out.
7.    Feel healthier.  Consuming plenty of water can help maintain proper immune functioning, and can prevent or improve symptoms of the common cold, flu, arthritis, kidney stones, constipation, and many other conditions.
How much water is enough?  This is not an easy question to answer and can be dependent on many factors.  A general rule of thumb to follow is to consume 0.5-1 litre of water daily for every 50 pounds of body weight.  Special consideration for greater water consumption must be taken into account for those who are engaged in vigorous activity or exercise, and during the warmer months when more water is lost through perspiration.  Additional considerations must be taken into account for those who consume caffeine, alcoholic beverages, and certain medications, as these substances can act as diuretics and actually drain your body of water.
Looking at the color of your urine is an easy way to determine whether or not you are consuming enough water.  As long as you are not taking riboflavin (vitamin B2), which fluoresces and turns your urine bright yellow (it is also in most multi-vitamins), then your urine should be a very light-coloured yellow.  If it is a deep yellow then you are likely not drinking enough water.
Proper hydration is key for optimal functioning.  For additional information on improving your health, visit our website at
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, July 4, 2017

Summer Season Safety Tips For Your Body

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

The summer season is upon us, which for many individuals means spending time outdoors and becoming more physically active.  Whether you’re an aspiring athlete, a serious nature lover, or someone who enjoys fun in the sun, there are special precautions that need to be taken to protect your body during the summer season.
1.    Prepare your body for activity and exercise:  There are many activities made more enjoyable during the summer season such as gardening, walking, running, swimming, canoeing, bicycling, and golfing to name a few.  Prepare your body for physical activity by stimulating the joints and muscles, and increasing blood circulation with a proper warm-up.  If you have been inactive for a period of time, gradually ease into activity and take it slow.

2.    Drink plenty of water:  The body’s water supply is responsible for many important functions such as digestion, controlling body temperature, and protecting our joints by providing lubrication and cushioning.  In warmer temperatures, we lose more water from the body through increased perspiration.  The consequences of inadequate water intake/dehydration may include: headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, joint pain, muscle pain and cramping.  Therefore, special care should be taken to replenish fluids lost during the summer season.  Limit diuretics such as caffeinated and alcoholic beverages which actually drain the body of water.

3.    Get just enough sun:  Appropriate sun exposure can provide many health benefits associated with the natural production of Vitamin D.  Avoid sunburn which is a result of overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation and can contribute to certain skin cancers, along with premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.  To protect yourself, apply sunscreen regularly, 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.

4.    Think safety first:  Water sports and other outdoor activities should always be performed with safety in mind.  This means wearing a life jacket in deeper water or if you are not a strong swimmer.  Parents should always keep a watchful eye on young children around water.  Diving into shallow or unknown waters should never be performed to eliminate the chance of serious spinal injury.  Running on pool decks may result in serious slip and fall injuries.  When bicycling, in-line skating, or skateboarding/longboarding, be sure to wear bright reflective clothing and protective headgear.  In addition, wearing appropriate footwear for the activities you are performing will give you balance, support, and protection.

Following the above rules and safety tips can go a long way in protecting your body during the summer season.  For additional information on health, wellness, muscle and joint health, visit our website at
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.