Exercise – Time for Outdoor Activities and Sunny Weather!

Sunny and warmer weathers are approaching, why not enjoy the sun while exercising outdoors?

There are many benefits when it comes to exercising outdoors with fresh air rather compared to indoors.  Exercising in a natural environment can increase enjoyment and improve self-esteem. Studies have also shown that exercising outdoors not only improves physical health but also mental health. There are many ways to motivate yourself to do outdoor activities, such as, setting goals that allows you to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. You can also invite a friend to work on similar goals and achieve them together as this can increase your motivation. Exercising outdoors does not only involve intense cardio such as running, you can play sports or even go on a hike. If you enjoy those activities, it can help you coordinate it into your daily physical routine without making it seem like a chore you need to complete.

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Outdoor activities can be beneficial but it can also be dangerous if you do not take care of your body throughout the process. During hot weathers, your body temperature will increase and naturally produce sweat to cool down. As you actively move, your body temperature will increase along with the increased body temperature caused from the sun. The body will then have to compensate for both situations. The body compensates this by increasing blood circulation to your skin to cool off and increase heart rate.

It is very important to understand the signs your body is telling you since there are many heat-related conditions that can occur on sunny days and can become life-threatening. Some heat-related illnesses you can experience are heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Signs and symptoms you may experience are muscle cramps, nausea and dizziness, weakness, headaches,  or confusion.

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To avoid these conditions, remember to stay hydrated, avoid midday sun, dress appropriately, and know your fitness level!

Caffeine – How Much Should You Consume?

Many of us always say we need coffee or caffeine in order to start our day. Some may even require more than a cup of coffee in a day. We do not normally see caffeine as something dangerous because it is so commonly used but consuming a lot of it can be quite harmful. Exactly how much caffeine is considered as too much then?

Caffeine is found in many consumable products. They are most commonly found in coffee, cola, and energy drinks. Consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine is considered a safe amount and will not cause potential health dangers. 400 mg of caffeine is equivalent to 4 cups of coffee or 10 cans of coca-cola, which is a lot in a day! Although the maximum for a healthy dose of caffeine is that high, some individuals are sensitive to caffeine and experience side effects such as faster heart beats, headaches, insomnia, and becoming a little jittery. A moderate amount of caffeine to consume in a day would be 300 mg.

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We drink caffeinated beverages because we have to stay focus and awake enough to perform our daily activities, whether it is heading to work or school. However, as we continue to rely on caffeine, a cycle will form and our new routine will be having caffeinated drinks in the morning to start our day. There could be an underlying reason as to why so many individuals have caffeinated beverages. One most known reason is the fact adults do not receive the recommended hours of sleep every night due to work and this can highly affect a person’s performance during the day. Most adults need seven hours of sleep to fully function during daytime without the consumption of caffeine. Drinking caffeinated drinks can cause people to stay awake longer than required and this can shorten their sleep time which can affect the body and its health.

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Overall, consuming moderate amounts of caffeine is safe and most likely would not be a health problem but there are always the exceptional cases.

Types of Headaches – How Can Chiropractic Care Help

Majority of individuals had experienced a headache. Headaches can last ranging from a few minutes to many hours and some may come back more frequently in some people than others. What could be the causes to these headaches? Headaches occur due to many different reasons, even being in a certain environment can initiate a headache. Let’s discuss a few different types of headaches you may be experiencing and how chiropractic care can help:

Tension headaches

The most common headache you experience will be tension headaches. This type of headache does not prevent you from performing daily activities as you would normally do in a day. They are also known as chronic daily headaches. These headaches are results from stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, or anger. Limited range of motion and stiffness in the neck are associated with this kind of headache. You will most likely experience tightness occurring at the temples of your forehead.

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Sinus headaches 

If you have inflamed sinuses, it can lead to a sinus headache. This type of headache are associated with fever, runny nose, and pain in the cheekbones and nose area. Sinus headaches can be treated with a humidifier and possibly antibiotics if it is a bacterial infection.

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Migraines

Migraines are frequently associated with headaches but often result in symptoms that can interfere with your daily activities. Migraines are caused by inflammation of blood vessels wrapping around the brain. Symptoms include throbbing pain around the temples, sensitivity to noise or light, nausea, and possibly loss of appetite. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help relieve some pain.

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Cluster headaches 

Cluster headaches are not as common as tension headaches and pain is normally on one side instead of both sides of the head. On a rating scale of pain, it can be comparable to migraine pain but the duration is a lot shorter than migraines. The pain is usually located behind the eye and near the nose bridge area and can be accompanied by watery eyes and runny nose. This type of headache can happen 1-3 times a day during a period of time and then disappear for months before it recurs.

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Chiropractic care can help with some headache issues. Your chiropractic doctor can see if the underlying issue to your headache is caused by joint dysfunction of the spine or muscles surrounding it. Having incorrect posture can also be a reason to why you experience headaches and your chiropractor can recommend exercises to help improve your posture which eventually can relieve your headaches. They can perform spinal manipulation or provide nutritional advice in order to relieve your headache problems. If you are experiencing chronic headaches, come in and make an appointment with one of our practitioners today!

Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuff injury is one of the causes when you are dealing with shoulder pain. Tears in the rotator cuff can occur when there is a single injury or due to gradual onset of repetitive motions around the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injury is when there are inflammation, tears or overuse of the muscles or tendons that make up the rotator cuff in the shoulders. They are important for motions such as rotating your arms inward (internal rotation of the arm at the shoulder joint) or outwards (external rotation of the arm at the shoulder joint).

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Some symptoms you may experience if you have injured your rotator cuff are pain, weakness, limited motion, and feelings of instability at the shoulders. There are many factors that contribute to an increased risk of developing injury to the rotator cuff; some factors are age, family history, occupation or sports that rely on repetitive prolonged movements of the shoulder girdle. If you believe your shoulder pain is associated with rotator cuff injury, it is always recommended to make an appointment with your family doctor to eliminate other common causes.

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As mentioned above, the best method to understand what your body is attempting to warn you is to visit your family doctor or a shoulder specialist to be properly diagnosed with rotator cuff injury. There are different ways for your doctor to check what is the cause of your shoulder pain. One method would be the physical and history exam which consists of applying different motions around the shoulder to know which movements makes it better or worse and what occupation or repetitive motions you have done leading to this gradual onset of shoulder pain. Other methods consist of x-rays and MRI to see what is occurring at your shoulder comparing with a healthy shoulder girdle.

There are a wide variety of treatments depending on the type of injury you were diagnosed with. If it is a mild condition, the most common treatment would be exercises that target the rotator cuff muscles aiming to provide stability and strengthen the shoulders. If the injury is more serious and critical, then surgery may be suggested. Depending on the type of injury, there are different kinds of operations to help with shoulder pain.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Posted on May 5, 2017 by

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a term that is commonly mentioned about when people have pain in their wrists. Exactly what is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

First of all, where is your carpal tunnel? It is located in your wrist or the base of your hand and it is a narrow tunnel containing ligaments, bones and specifically the median nerve. The median nerve is important for bending the fingers, specifically the thumb, index, middle and ring finger. The median nerve does sensory innervation in the hand as well. Now that we know where it is in your body and what runs through it, we are able to understand the symptoms that occurs when someone has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

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This condition happens when the surface area has been decreased which results in the compression of the median nerve. Symptoms include tingling or numbness of the fingers, weakness, and pain. As this condition prolongs, the muscles at the base of the thumb begin to waste away and grip strength of the hand decreases significantly. Also, sensation in the fingers or hands can worsen to the point where it can be difficult to determine whether something is hot or cold. How do you know if you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? If you are experiencing some or all of the symptoms discussed above then it could be a possibility and making an appointment with a doctor would be the best diagnosis. Your family or chiropractic doctors will do a few examinations to determine the pressure within the carpal tunnel and how much the median nerve is compressed.

There are different forms of treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There is non-surgical treatment and then there are surgical ones. It is best to check with your doctor to know which treatment is suitable for you. One non-surgical method would be to wear braces or night splints to sleep, this prevents the wrist from bending (flexion) while you sleep in order to relieve some pressure. Another method would be surgery, which widens the carpal tunnel so there is less compression on the median nerve.

Who is at risk for this condition? Everyone can have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but some individuals are more at risk than others. People who have a family history of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, pregnant women, individuals who are always creating repetitive flexing motions on the wrist, and people who have injured their wrists have a higher risk of getting this condition.

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Your wrists are very important for hand movement and you use your hands everyday to complete tasks so make sure to stretch and let your wrist rests and they will appreciate it!

Custom Orthotics and How They Can Be Helpful

Posted on May 4, 2017 by

Everyday, we use our feet to help us get to our destination, whether it is to the bus stop or walking around the mall looking for a gift. We rely on our feet for the majority of our daily movement that we do not realize how much stress is put upon them. When we stand, a lot of our body weight is supported and stabilized by the hips and feet to prevent us from falling over. If our feet has to endure the amount of stress we give daily then what can we do to give them our support back?

Wearing custom orthotics is one of the solutions for providing our feet some support.

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Orthotics can be custom made or found off the shelf because every individual has different arches and foot structure. They are devices that are externally used and can help with many issues such as reducing pain when standing or walking, controlling biomechanical alignment, and ease pressure from muscles and tendons. By giving the right support for your feet, it can help eliminate pain in the lower leg or hip. When you walk, many muscles in the leg work together to create that motion which is why foot pain can be associated with other pain located in the knee, ankle and hip.

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Everyone has differently structured feet. Some have a higher foot arch than others and some experience overpronation, meaning the foot rolls inward and the arch of the foot flattens. This is where orthotics play a role.

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If someone has a high foot arch, we can imagine that the heel and the ball of the foot will be receiving a greater level of pressure compared to the middle portion of the foot. To make it simple, we can look at the foot as a bridge where there is an arch in the middle that makes no contact with the ground while the two ends of the bridge does. How orthotics can help is that it shapes the foot of interest and evens out the weight and lower the pressure points localizing to specific areas. Another problem associated with foot pain is when the connective tissue lining the bottom of the foot, the plantar fascia, is irritated and inflamed, pain would occur when there is moving and stretching of the foot. This is known as Plantar Fasciitis. With orthotics, it helps shape the bottom of the foot so there is less tension on the plantar fascia therefore reducing inflammation and pain.

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Here are Rupert Health Centre, our practitioners, Dr. Kevin Leung and Dr. Jason Cheng, provide custom made orthotics after a careful evaluation of the foot’s condition along with a slipper cast. This cast is then sent to Excel Biomechanics to be made and picked up here at Rupert Health Centre. If you are experiencing pain or would like to get a new set, do not hesitate to make an appointment with one of our practitioners today!

 

Lower Back Pain – Degenerative Disc Disease

Despite the seemingly alarming name, degenerative disc disease (DDD) is one of the most common causes for lower back pain. It is not strictly considered a disease, as most everyone has some form of disc degeneration as they age, but depending on the condition, the symptoms may flare up more often and intensely than others.

The spine is built up of segments of bone, each called vertebrae, with intervertebral discs in between, acting as a shock-absorbing ‘cushion’ to protect the vertebrae from damage. These discs are made of two structures: the nucleus pulposus, a jelly-like substance in the middle of the disc that absorbs shock, and the annulus fibrosis, the external fibres that keep the nucleus pulposus intact. A healthy disc is thick and flexible, but over time it becomes thinner as the nucleus pulposus leaks through the disc and annulus fibrosis, leading to a decreased ability to absorb shock within the backbone, causing pain. As we age, the disc also becomes more rigid and dehydrated, which creates a lesser range of movement.

 

Many people with DDD do live without pain, however, symptoms are fairly common and vary from patient to patient, depending on a variety of factors including fitness level, age, lifestyle, or the presence of an injury. The pain can flare up lasting for days or months before returning to baseline levels. It can be related to certain activities such as bending, twisting, and sitting down, and it can even disable a person, albeit rare. For some people, the pain may radiate from your back to your legs or shoulders.

If you are living with back pain, modifying your daily activities to better support and lessen the strain on your back can be a step toward improving your physical health. Lessen activities that require too much lifting, bending, and twisting, or learn proper ergonomics to put the least strain on the back. Exercise such as low-impact cardio (e.g. swimming), stretching programs, and exercises that strengthen your back and core can also provide a lot of support, given that they are completed properly. Avoid sitting for long periods at a time, as it puts a lot of weight on your lumbar region, and read our recent blog post on sleeping positions that help and harm your back.

For those suffering from debilitating back pain, a chiropractor can diagnose the condition, provide treatment, and offer professional advice on how to properly live and relieve these symptoms. Make an appointment with a Rupert Health Centre chiropractor today!

 

Your First Chiropractic Appointment

Chiropractors can work wonders for those suffering from musculoskeletal or joint pain. Whether you have back or neck pain, have recently been injured in a car or work-related accident, or are suffering from conditions such as sciatica or some headaches, a chiropractic appointment can help relieve many of your symptoms. Here at the Rupert Health Centre, our practitioners work hard to improve your physical well-being, while guiding and supporting you along the way. For those who are new to chiropractic, this is what you can expect during your first visit.

At Rupert Health, the first appointment will usually last around 45 minutes, depending on the severity and complexity of your conditions. A chiropractor will meet with you and inquire about your symptoms, your medical and family history, discuss with you any possible risks to injury that can occur during treatment, and make sure you have given informed consent before any treatment begins. Afterwards, they may complete a series of physical tests to measure your range, strength, and neurological integrity, in order to assess what treatments might be necessary for recovery.

Based on your medical history and symptoms, a chiropractor may choose to use a diagnostic study to more accurately diagnose your condition. If needed, the Rupert Health practitioners occasionally use an on-site X-ray to get more information on any conditions.

Treatment may or may not be offered during the first appointment. Within the chiropractic practice, there are many different treatment options available for a variety of symptoms and patients. The practitioner will discuss with you which treatment options may be best, which can include spinal mobilization and manipulation (manual therapy), shockwave or laser therapy, heat pads, and other modalities, all of which are non-invasive. In addition to therapy, the chiropractor may suggest and demonstrate some stretches or exercises to help you improve your condition, with Rupert Health also providing products such as exercise balls, resistance bands and supports for purchase.

If you’re experiencing muscle or joint pain and wondering about seeing a chiropractor – don’t fret! The practitioners here at Rupert Health will make sure you have all the information, and support you through the steps and treatment toward your recovery. Make an appointment with a Rupert Health Centre practitioner today!

Eating Organically

Eating organically is a hot topic in discussions of food and healthy eating. How much do we actually know about organic foods, and how does it affect our body and our health?

Defining organic foods concerns the way that crops are grown and how livestock are raised. Livestock are given organic feed with no growth hormones, and have access to the outdoors. For organic produce, farmers avoid using synthetic pesticides, genetic engineering (GMOs), and turn to natural pesticides and fertilizers, with methods reducing pollution and water usage [1]. The food must follow the Canadian Organic Standards in order to have the organic label.

It is debatable whether the levels of pesticides and GMOs in non-organic foods are harmful. It was suggested to cause headaches, nausea, allergen problems and even cancer [2]. However, the studies are still unclear on the effects of pesticides. Apples are generally seen as having one of the highest levels of pesticides compared to other produce. Yet, according to one study, even when buying non-organic apples, “a woman would need to eat 529 servings of apples in a day to reach an unsafe level [3].” As for nutritional levels, many studies have shown no difference between organic and non-organic, and even when studies do find changes in nutritional levels, the small differences are unlikely to impact our health.

Many opt to go organic for ethical and environmental purposes. It helps support the local farmers that deliver fresher produce to your grocery. The use of natural fertilizers that do not contaminate the soil and water, the less transportation required, and its friendliness to the local ecosystem also make it a viable choice for the environmentally-friendly folk. Additionally, since organic produce do not have the waxy covering to protect them from spoiling, they are usually fresher than non-organic counterparts.

The costs of growing organic food does mean that their prices are usually higher. If you want to start eating organic while balancing costs, buy produce in-season, or attend local farmers’ markets, which usually has organic foods at a discounted price. If you decide to buy non-organic produce, it is recommended to wash it with water to remove traces of pesticides, soil, or residue. The Environmental Working Groups develops a yearly list of produce that contain the least and the most amount of pesticides. It is most helpful to buy apples, strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, etc., organically, as they have comparatively high amounts of pesticides, while buying non-organic corn, avocados, and onions would be fine if you want to save on cost. If you can afford it, consider buying organic meats, dairy, and eggs, as the unnatural diet of livestock raised non-organically can include growth hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, and even some drugs.

Possibly the most important thing is to stay knowledgeable about the process of organic foods. Organic does not always mean healthier, so pay attention to the labels. And whether or not you buy organically or non-organically, stick with a healthy diet and your body will thank you!

 

 

Sleep posture on your health

Most of us spend about 33% of our lives sleeping, so it’s not a huge surprise that your sleep posture would play a big part in determining your musculoskeletal health. Improper sleeping habits and pose can strain your body, from causing problems such as neck and back pain, muscle cramps, headaches, and sleep apnea. Depending on your physique and any pre-existing conditions, there is a sleeping posture that may work better for you than others!

Most possibly the worst sleep position for your body is sleeping on your stomach. The only benefit is that it does help relieve snoring, but the strain it puts on your spine can be potentially damaging. Because your spine is healthiest when it is in a neutral position, or when your vertebrae are aligned properly, sleeping on your stomach puts extra pressure on the discs leading to prolonged unnatural bending in the spine. Possibly leading to neck and back pain, and irritation of the nerves, it would be healthiest to adjust the position to put less harm on your musculoskeletal system, or just take on a new sleep posture all together [1].

If you are a stomach sleeper at heart, you may want to consider using a very thin pillow for your neck, or none at all, to re-position the neck and put less strain on it. A firmer mattress may be something worth looking into to put less pressure on the lower back, or put a pillow under your hips for the same effect. Lastly, try the “Child’s Pose” to stretch out the hips and lower back.


 

Back sleepers should be proud of themselves – sleeping on your back is one of the best positions for your body! Since the spine is in its natural alignment all throughout the night, there is less, if any, added pressure on your back and neck, meaning that you are less likely to experience back or neck pain during the day. If you want to stay youthful, this position also allows for less wrinkles! However, because your tongue can fall and obstruct your windpipe, this position may not be the best for snorers or those with sleep apnea. Also, sleeping on your back is usually not the most comfortable position, as only 8% of the population sleep this way [2].

One comfortable pillow should be enough, granted that it’s not so high that it strains your neck.

 


 

With most of the population being side sleepers, this position is fairly beneficial in terms of spine health. The position keeps the spine elongated, and puts minimal strain on your back and neck. Sleeping on your side also lessens snoring, and it may be ideal if you suffer from sleep apnea, acid reflux, or heartburn. For some pregnant women, it may be suggested that they sleep on their side in order to put less strain on their stomach and back. Nonetheless, this position can constrict and put pressure on some of your crucial internal organs, including your lungs, heart, and liver. Aesthetically speaking, it may also lead to premature face wrinkles, as well as a saggy chest for women.

A thick pillow would be optimal for side sleepers, in order to accommodate for your shoulders and give your spine a neutral alignment. It is also advised not to sleep in the fetal position (ie. your knees tucked toward your chest), as this can also cause neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Depending on any health conditions and the existence or severity of back, neck, and shoulder pain, it may be wise to consider adjusting your sleeping position to better your health. No matter what, make sure you end the day with a good night’s sleep!