Did you make any New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the month? As we work our way through the often long and dreary month of January, we thought it would be a good time to review some goals for the year.
Here are our top 10 chiropractor-approved resolutions to help you stay healthy for the rest of the year:
Before jumping in the pool, hitting the field or picking up a golf club, take 20 minutes to warm up. Your warm-up should include deep-breathing exercises, gentle stretching and range of motion exercises to loosen and warm your muscles and joints.
3. Cool Down
Cooling down after a workout is just as important as warming up. Take 20 minutes for a brisk walk or slow jog and stretch out your muscles and joints before heading for the change room or the car.
4. Practice Perfect Posture
Good posture not only makes you look better, but it also delivers increased energy, better breathing, and improved circulation. Good posture is actually an investment in your appearance AND your health. The secret to good posture is maintaining the spine’s natural curves. If your spine is misaligned, it can result in strain and pain.
5. Choose a Good Office Chair
Do you sit most of the day? While sitting seems restful, staying in any one position for too long can cause strain and injury to your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments.
Adapt to support your spine in various working positions
Have a backrest that supports your lower back
Have a front edge that curves downward to promote proper posture
One last tip: Vary your sitting positions throughout the days to prevent injury and strain.
6. Prevent Neck Pain
Your neck is part of your spine, which runs from the base of your skull to the bottom of your back. Neck pain is a common problem with many possible causes. Poor posture, hunching over a computer, arthritis, whiplash, and muscle strain from simple things like reading in bed or grinding your teeth can all trigger neck pain.
Tension headaches are common but they are not well understood. Most people describe having a band of pressure around their head that can last from 30 minutes to a week. Tension headaches can be related to muscles tightening in the back of the neck and improper alignment of the joints of the spine.
Record when your headaches occur and what you were doing before they started. Try to recognize the factors that cause or aggravate your headaches. Be sure to tell your chiropractor if you’ve noticed any changes in your usual headaches, such as frequency, duration or intensity, or if your headaches begin to worry you.
Meal timing is an important factor in maintaining energy levels. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar swings, often resulting in fatigue. People often skip meals and then wonder why they are tired in the afternoon.
To manage energy levels and prevent fatigue, you should eat at least three nutritious meals each day with the last meal well before bedtime.
10. Visit Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage for year-round wellness
Working with a chiropractor and registered massage therapist will help you stay on track with your goals and pamper your spine.
The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage provides patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.
With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association
It’s no secret that staying active is a great way to help keep your body and your spine healthy. In fact, going for a brisk 10-minute walk each day is enough to help improve your health and prevent conditions of the spine, joints and supporting structures of the body.
There are also a few other recreational activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine to prevent back pain and reduce stress.
Here are a few suggestions:
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates are forms of exercise that typically focus on moving the body while focusing on breathing and body awareness. The poses are purposeful and usually work a few areas of the body at once, including the back and leg muscles to build a stronger foundation for other movements.
Also, the poses often focus on balance which can be important to prevent falls and injuries as we age. Compared to higher impact activities that cause added strain to the body, yoga and Pilates are known to be ‘safe’ for healthy and even injured individuals. Yet, with most practices being keenly aware of your body is important and adapting movement to your skill level. However, regular practice has been shown to decrease back pain. The great thing about yoga and Pilates is that there are several types of classes catered to your specific skill and comfort level.
Aquafitness is a dynamic, low-impact activity that usually involves the entire body in movement, including the abdominals, gluteal, and leg muscles. Since the movements are done in water, the water adds extra resistance to strengthen muscles but also minimizes the impact on your joints.
Aquafitness has been shown to be an effective management tool for those suffering from certain musculoskeletal injuries allowing them to keep active. Notably, people suffering from low back pain may particularly benefit from aquafitness or gently swimming in water. Contact your local community centre or gym to see if aquafitness is part of their regular programming.
This Chinese martial art focuses on meditative, deep breathing combined with the methodical practice of slow movement enhancing mobility and balance among those who practice the art. Tai chi is known to have major health benefits – even for those with back pain. Tai chi can improve pain and function while decreasing the likelihood of chronic pain. It is a safe and effective activity for those experiencing long-term back pain symptoms.
Other activities you may want to consider are low-impact cardiovascular exercises such as walking or striding on the elliptical machine. There are always alternatives to staying active, even when you experience pain. Some of these can even help relieve the pain.
The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage encourages you to improve your overall health by making exercise a part of your daily routine. If you want to learn more about managing your health with exercise, contact our clinic today at 905-427-3202.
With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
Are you reading this blog post from your phone? If so, chances are you’re engaging in a serious but harmful position referred to as “text neck.”
What is text neck?
Text neck is a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by holding your head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time. While in this position, excessive amounts of tension are created in the deep muscles of your neck and across the shoulders causing both acute and chronic neck pain.
What does text neck do to your body?
Text neck compresses and tightens the muscle, tendon, and ligament structures in front of the neck while lengthening the muscles, tendon, and ligament structures behind the neck. Since the human head weighs approximately 10 pounds, for every inch your head is tilted forward, the weight your neck has to carry doubles and the strain builds up.
But since ditching our devices isn’t really an option, we can make sure to exercise right and practice good habits to prevent the aches and pains associated with text neck.
Follow these simple tips to avoid the aches and pains that come with the digital age. Your back and neck will thank you.
1. Take a break
Holding up your phone or tablet for extended periods of time can strain the muscles in your shoulders, arms and fingers. Let your arms rest at your sides every so often.
2. The 20-20-20 rule
Give your eyes a break! Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look about 20 feet ahead (or as far as possible).
3. Change positions
Try to avoid sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Get up and walk around!
4. Aim higher
Raise your phone up closer to eye level to reduce strain on your neck. When watching lectures on your tablet or laptop, be sure to prop it up against something so your shoulders and arms can relax.
5. Stretch it out
Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder, hold for five seconds and repeat on your right side. You can also download Straighten Up Canada! — a free app developed by Canada’s chiropractors with videos of stretches you can do to help your posture in just three minutes!
The only thing that’s more important than “perfect” posture is movement. If you still have pain and discomfort after trying these tips, visit Ajax-Pickering chiropractors Dr. John Noble or Dr. Mark Fera to develop a plan to keep you pain-free.
Did You Know?
Bending your head to look at your phone can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on your spine!
A 2014 study in Surgical Technology International showed that even a 15-degree head tilt adds 27 pounds of pressure. As we use our phones and laptops more and more, that stress adds up!
Take care of yourself.
If you are concerned your posture is suffering due to increased time on your phone or digital device, contact the wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage.
We provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
No matter where you live in Southern Ontario, snow is pretty much guaranteed. And while that means more chaos on the road for drivers, it also means more homeowners suffering from sore backs as a result of improper snow shovelling.
“Shovelling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore,” says Ajax chiropractor Dr. John Noble.
In this video shot a few years ago during one of our bigger snowstorms, Dr. Noble offers a few common-sense tips on how to shovel safely.
Unfortunately, just because we’re Canadians doesn’t mean we’re experts when it comes to shovelling snow!
Follow these guidelines from the Ontario Chiropractic Association and with a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without any back, neck and shoulder pain ruining your day.
Before You Head Outside to Shovel
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.
Follow These Tips To Avoid Injury While Shovelling
1. Push, Don’t Throw
Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.
2. Bend Your Knees
Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
3. Watch for Ice
Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
As you head out to rake your leaves this month, chances are the last thing you’ll be thinking about is your posture.
It’s hard to believe, but an hour or so spent tidying your lawn can have long-term consequences if your body isn’t accustomed to the activity.
Ajax Chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera and the massage therapists at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage have helped numerous patients overcome injuries, many of which have occurred while working around the home.
“Although raking may seem like an easy task, it’s actually an intensely physical activity,” says Dr. Noble. “To avoid injury, it’s important to make sure you’re performing this task correctly.”
Follow these tips and avoid a backache next time you rake.
Pick the right tool for the job
Is your rake the correct length for your height? Ideally, your rake should be about chin high. If it is too tall or too short, this could lead to improper reaching or bending and potential injury.
Get your body moving before the raking begins
Before you grab the rake, spend five to 10 minutes doing a variety of whole-body stretches. These can include a basic hamstring stretch, shoulder, wrist, and side stretches. For a full list of stretches, click here. Do each of the exercises five times, holding each for 15 seconds. Be sure not to bounce, jerk or strain. It should be a gentle stretch, not a pain.
Ensure proper raking posture
Once you’ve warmed up, keep your back straight while raking and avoid repetitive motions by switching arms and pulling in different directions. This allows you to work out different parts of your body equally.
Remember to bend at the knees when lifting
Whether you’re moving a planter across the deck or lifting a bag of leaves, remember to bend at your knees, not at your waist, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. As you’re lifting, tighten your abs, straighten your knees and keep your back straight. For turning, you should avoid twisting at the waist by moving your feet instead.
Take frequent breaks
Every 20 minutes or so, pause for a few minutes to catch your breath and stay hydrated. Check your posture and perform a few stretches to ensure that you are maintaining flexibility throughout raking.
Have you been camping yet this summer? With so many beautiful campgrounds and provincial parks across Ontario, heading out into the great outdoors with your family or friends is a popular pastime.
The fresh air, a well-lit campfire, and a dip in the lake are difficult to resist. But preparing for camping is just as important as enjoying it.
Be ready for the unexpected!
Campgrounds and parks allow us to enjoy a large variety of recreational activities, which is what makes it a summer favorite. Preparing and organizing packing ahead of time can help you manage the unexpected and tackle challenges as they arise. To help out all our campers this summer, here are a few useful tips to follow before you load up the tent and strap your canoe on the roof of the car:
Test your gear to ensure it works. Before packing materials in your vehicle, test your equipment to ensure it works. Do you have enough pegs for your tent? Does your air mattress inflate properly? Finding this out beforehand can save you a lot of frustration.
Plan for activities. Plan your activities in advance to ensure that you have the right equipment and are physically ready for the challenge.
Familiarize yourself with your upcoming campsite. Learning about the facility and what is available to you helps you prepare in advance for what to bring.
Make a list and check it twice. Preparation is key! Make a list of the items that you may need, but consider what is truly essential. Packing extra weight can put a strain on your body, so be discerning and keep things light.
Like many other events in your life, camping can pose a number of risks to your musculoskeletal health.
Preparing for the challenges ahead can also help prevent potential injuries. If you plan on doing any activities during your camping trip such as hiking, biking, or running, it is a good idea to see your chiropractor in advance for tips and advice on how to physically prepare yourself when outdoors. Here are some tips to consider:
Support your back. From packing to pitching the tent or while on a hike, keep neutral curves in your spine while keeping your core engaged and active. For exercises to improve your core, click here.
Mind the lift. Remember to bend from the hips and knees while using your legs to lift. Keep a neutral spine and use your entire body to turn. Pivot from your feet to move your body.
Pack light. Carry only what you need, and avoid excess. This can help prevent fatigue and strain from packing, hiking, or even canoeing. Being a minimalist can help prevent injuries. For tips on packing light, click here.
At Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage, we provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
Suffering from back or neck pain from golfing? At Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage, we provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.
With the Easter long weekend behind us and another stay-at-home order in effect, you may be ready to tackle your long list of household chores. Since some of these chores require a great deal of bending, reaching and twisting — all that can increase your risk of injury — we’ve pulled together some tips to help you stay safe while checking off your to-do lists:
1. Warm up before you start to clean
As with any type of physical activity, it is very important to warm up the body before engaging in your spring-cleaning routine. You can prepare your body by walking around the house or doing some simple stretches to help prevent injury.
2. Break up heavy loads and make a few more trips
Think back to the last time you did groceries. Did you try to carry all the bags into the house at once, instead of taking multiple trips to the car? We know how tempting it is to make fewer trips, but you may be risking an injury. Take the extra few minutes and only carry a few bags at once. Don’t drive? Consider investing in a cart or buggy rather than carrying heavy bags.
3. Divide and conquer and get it done gradually
Do you save chores for your day off and ambitiously power through your list? You may find that dedicating 30 minutes every day to your household tasks can decrease your stress and risk of injury or fatigue.
Bonus: by getting a little bit done each day, you will have more time on the weekend for fun activities with family and friends.
4. Maintain proper posture while doing your chores
Vacuuming and mopping the floors often require excessive bending, reaching and twisting. Rather than stretching out your arms and bending at the waist to do the job, hold the vacuum or mop handle close to your body and walk back and forth with it. Avoid excessive twisting and keep a relaxed, neutral spine while doing these chores. Your back will thank you!
5. Switch it up and use your non-dominant hand
To prevent unwanted strain on your shoulders, neck, and back, use both sides of your body to do your spring cleaning. Every once in a while, consider cleaning the bathroom tiles or washing dishes with your non-dominant hand.
Once we “spring ahead” an hour this weekend and start enjoying extended hours of daylight, our urge to spend more time outside increases. Unless you’ve spent your spare time on a ski hill all winter, you’ve probably spent a good chunk of your working and free time indoors.
Now that the snow is gone (hopefully until next winter), you may be ready to get active outdoors. But before you pull on those jogging pants, hop on that bike or even start working in the garden, there are a few things you need to remember.
Ease into extra activity
To avoid injury, preparing your body is key, especially if you’ve been relatively inactive over the winter months. The “no pain, no gain” philosophy is outdated and will likely leave you in worse shape than when you started.
“It happens every year,” says Dr. John Noble of Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage. “We get a few warmer days and people go from little activity to a full day on the golf course or a morning spent in the garden…without any stretching or gradually working up to it.” Each spring, the warmer weather results in more patients seeking chiropractic care for back, shoulder and neck injuries. “It’s unfortunate because so many of these injuries could be avoided.”
Get a good night’s sleep
As we head into the summer months, it may be tempting to stay up later to enjoy the extra daylight. Extra-long days, more activity…what’s not to love?
Don’t underestimate the healing power of rest, especially if you’re recovering from an injury. Poor sleep patterns have been linked to weight gain, heart disease, stroke, depression, inflammation and cell damage. A good sleep pattern, on the other hand, can improve immune function, maximize athletic performance and improve concentration and productivity.
Getting enough fluids in warmer weather, especially as your activity level increases, is crucial to staying healthy. Drinking ample amounts of liquid helps to maintain your body’s functions, including your heart, brain and muscles. Staying hydrated allows your body to carry nutrients to your cells, maintain a normal temperature, digest food and flush bacteria and impurities from your body.
How much is enough? The actual amount varies from person to person and is dependent on a variety of factors, including your weight, height and activity level. Ask your doctor how much water you should be drinking each day.
Maintain a healthy immune system with chiropractic care
Although many people associate chiropractic care with the treatment of neck, shoulder and back pain — and this would be correct — visiting a chiropractor regularly can also aide your immune function. At Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage, our patients understand that by keeping their spine in proper alignment, all systems in their body are able to function at optimum efficiency, allowing messages to travel throughout their body freely and keep illness at bay.
The Village Chiropractic Clinic consists of a group of knowledgeable, and friendly professionals that have worked as a team to help me obtain and maintain my optimal health goal through chiropractic and massage therapy.