Benefits Of CBD

CBD oil benefits

CBD oil benefits are now becoming mainstream. But what exactly is CBD oil and how does it work?

CBD oil is short for Cannabidiol and is found in the oils of the Cannabis plant species, including marijuana and hemp. Cannabis oil is the concentrated liquid extract of the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa – sativa being the “euphoric” type of Cannabis. Similar to the herbal extracts, the chemicals in CBD oils vary depending on how the extract is made.

Many have worried that CBD oil will give you a “high” feeling which marijuana is believed to do. However that part of the marijuana is called THC which is not used in CBD oil.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana and usually what people search for when they want to feel “high”. But unlike THC, CBD isn’t known to cause psychoactive effects. So, if you want to avoid the “high”  but still want to feel the outcome, CBD oil is a good option. Especially for those just looking for the medical CBD oil benefits and effects of cannabis.

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All You Need To Know About CBD And The Therapeutic Use Of It

What is CBD? What is THC? Where does CBD oil come from?
Debunking myths about CBD, the therapeutic use of CBD oil, benefits of CBD oil and much more
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How Does CBD Oil Work?

Usually the method of extracting the oil from the plant for consumption is done using CO2; a temperature control applied to force concentrated CO2 through the plant. As such, the CBD molecules are confined from other plant nutrients and compounds. Thus avoiding ruining the final product, leaving a pure, distilled form of CBD which can then be put cautiously in food-safe oils.

All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors. Our brains have specific receptors designed to accept cannabinoids, known as CB1 and CB2.

Such receptors are responsible for the consumption of cannabinoid molecules into your system. Resulting in psychoactive and immune responses corresponding with cannabis consumption.

When these receptors are activated within the body, serotonin and adenosine receptors are reached. Thus allowing your mood to enhance and regulate your central nervous system.  The brain can then suppress perceptions of pain and reduce stress on the mind and body.

CB1 receptors in the brain affect;

  • Coordination and movement
  • Pain
  • Emotions and mood
  • Thinking
  • Appetite
  • Memories and other functions

Whereas CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system which affect inflammation and pain.

how to take cbd oil

Ways To Take CBD Oil

There are many ways to take CBD. However, it’s important to note that the effects can vary from person to person. CBD oil is the most common form of taking pure CBD for medicinal purposes and is generally used for the purpose of either oral ingestion or through food.

Also, it can be consumed in a variety of ways which includes;

Examples include;

  1. Ingesting oil-filled capsules
  2. Eating edibles which is food infused with the oil
  3. Sprays and Creams which allows the oil to soak into your skin
  4. Vapes or Inhalation type of Pens which allows smokers to have a higher affect and get into your system quicker and are easy and quick to use
  5. Powders can even be used to mix into liquids such as protein shakes

However, the most commonly used method is with a Tincture.

A tincture allows you to easily distribute drops into your mouth or on food. A tincture may also help distinguish the bad taste. However the downside is that you cannot use it in a vape. It is not only dangerous when lighting up the oil but it also means constantly imbibing a small amount of alcohol whenever you’re trying to get your CBD. In addition, using a tincture can actually alter the quality of your food.

Click here to read more about the Dangers Of Vaping .

health benefits of cbd oil

What CBD Oil Benefits

First off, in addition to affecting the brain, CBD influences many body processes. Thus help to maintain a numerous amount of medical, neurological and physical conditions and appearances.

Secondly, CBD Oil can be used as an:

Moreover, help general conditions such as;

How CBD Oil Impacts the Body

Overall, CBD oil has been studied to prove the remarkable effects it has on people trying to maintain a healthy life. Whether from acne to glowing skin, or from back pain to being able to move more…CBD oil can help it!

How To Start Running And Avoid Injuries

How To Start Running

Running is an activity that humans have been doing since the beginning of time. In the past, it was a means of survival similar to animals out running predator’s. Today, running is considered as a means to get healthy and stay active. Regardless to why you do it, knowing how to start running is so important. 

Many of us in our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, have forgotten how to run. Something that we used to do for fun on the school playground, and that our ancestors did daily in order to live, now fills us with dread and loathing at the mere thought of it. The phrase “Oh, I can’t run!” is one of the most common responses I hear when I tell someone that I am a runner.

Here’s the thing: Yes, you can run.

Of course you can run! Our bodies were built to do it. Your body has just gotten out of practice. In this article, I am going to coach you through how to start running again. Beginning with proper preparation all the way through to recovery afterwards. So let’s get running!

what muscles does running work

What Muscles Does Running Work?

This is a complex topic, so for now I’ll give you an overview so you know just how amazing it is for your body. 

Muscles Worked When Running

  • Abdominals (Abs)
  • Hip flexors
  • Glutes (aka your butt)
  • Quadriceps (front of the thigh)
  • Hamstrings (back of the thigh)
  • Calf muscles
  • Tibialis anterior (this muscle runs along the front of your shin)
  • Pereoneals (these run down the sides of your shins)
  • The back and shoulder muscles (from swinging your arms)

Not to mention your respiratory and cardiovascular systems, also known as your lungs and heart which also get an incredible workout!  Running, just like all cardio exercise, helps to keep those systems strong and healthy.

5 Running Tips for Beginners 🏃 5 Things I Wish I Knew about Running from the Beginning

How To Start Running Again

I am deliberately using the word again here, because whether you haven’t run since the last time you were forced to in grade nine gym class or you participated in your company 5k two years ago and haven’t tried again since, you used to “know how to run”. I’m just here to remind you. 

First of all, I highly suggest that you run outside as opposed to a treadmill. You will learn to run properly and develop the proper muscles better than on a moving belt that does some of the work for you. What’s more, is that running outside gives you better views and fresh air.

Secondly, check your shoes. You don’t need brand-new, top-of-the-line runners, but you don’t want to be running in sneakers that you’ve had for years, either. When buying new running shoes, your best option is to go to a running store (yes, they exist!) and ask someone who works there. They can assess your stride and recommend a shoe based on your body, your foot, and your running goals.

For more information on how to choose the best running shoes, click here.

how often should I run

How Often Should You Run?

The most important tip when starting to run again: Don’t do too much too soon.

If it has been months or years since the last time you ran, you can overdo it easily and end up injured, most likely shin splints. The easiest way to avoid this is taking things slowly and ensuring adequate rest. My suggestions for this include:

  • Running less than you think you’re capable of, and
  • Not running consecutive days

Running every other day, or three to four non consecutive days per week at the beginning, will allow your body to adjust, particularly your small muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They do a lot of work keeping you stable and take a huge amount of pounding when you are running, so give them the break they deserve. Once you have more experience, you can start adding additional days if you want to.

how many miles should i run a week

How Many Miles Should I Run a Week?

This is highly dependent on the person and what their baseline of fitness is. Some will be able to handle more than others, and that is perfectly okay. This is about you and your personal fitness journey.

That being said, not doing too much too soon is not just about the number of days you run, but also about how far you go each time. This is especially problematic for those who have a decent cardio base from other types of workouts. You may be physically capable of running 5k right off the bat, but it doesn’t mean that you should. As I said, you need to give your body a chance to get used to this new kind of activity.

Try going for time instead of distance, for example going out for a 20-minute run instead of a certain number of kilometers.

Once you have built up your endurance and are running steadily for 30 minutes or more, you can then consider adding more. Much of this magical number of miles is completely dependent on you, your goals, and your body. If you are training to run a 5k you will need to run less than if you are training for a marathon.

If entering races, particularly long ones, is something you aspire to do, then finding a running crew, coach, or online program is recommended to reach your goal.

Run Longer, Build Endurance: 3 Proven Ways to Improve Stamina

How To Build Running Endurance

At the beginning, you will want to take things slowly. The best way to do this is with a walk-run. This looks like this:

  • Week-1: Run for two minutes, walk for four.
  • Week-2: Run for three minutes, walk for three.
  • Week-3: Run for four minutes, walk for two.

For each run, you start and end with five minutes of brisk walking. Walking/running for 30 minutes. You should fit about five rounds in each run, with the idea of getting to 30 minutes of non-stop running in just 10 weeks.

Click here for A 10-week run-walk plan for complete beginners. You know your own fitness level best, so you will know what you are capable of. 

Once you are able to run for 30 minutes without stopping, you then want to increase your mileage by 5% per week, if running longer is your goal. This means you would run 31.5 to 32 minutes the following week. Then 33 minutes the next week, so-on and so forth. This seems conservative, however the goal is to avoid injury that could end up taking you back to square one.

how to run faster and longer

How To Start Running Faster

There is a quote you’ll hear many running veterans say about training to run faster:

“The only way to run fast is to run fast!”

Confusing, but if you really think about it, true. You can’t train to run a distance faster if you don’t spend time running fast! Many new runners just go out and try to push themselves to run their same neighborhood loop a little bit faster each time. While this will work for a little while, you will eventually plateau, and also get bored.

To run faster you need to do workouts. In the running world, workouts mean things like interval sessions, tempo runs, and fartleks. 

  1. Interval Sessions


    These are similar to a fartlek run, however are typically somewhat more structured and involve standing rest as opposed to active or jogging rest. Often you will see people doing intervals on a track. This could look like five to six times 400m (one lap of a track) with one or two minutes rest between each interval.

  2. Tempo Runs

    A tempo run is a longer, sustained effort at a higher pace. Typically these runs are paced at ten to twenty seconds slower than your goal pace. If you want to run 5km in 30 minutes, then your pace per kilometer would be 6 minutes. This means for your tempo session, your pace would be 6:15-6:20 per kilometer. This could look like a 10 minute jog warm up, 20 minutes of tempo pace, followed by another 10 minutes of cool down jogging for a total of 40 minutes.

  3. Fartlek

    Fartlek is a Swedish word that means “speedplay”. This is when you change up the pace during your run. For example, you start your run at a consistent speed for five or ten minutes, then you run faster for two, slower for one, faster for four, slower for two, and so on. You can make it up beforehand or make it up as you go. Sometimes you can use visual cues as well. This could be sprinting for the length of two telephone poles with one length jog in between, or running fast every other block of your neighborhood. 

Another great type of training to help build power and speed are hill repeats. Just as they sound, they involve sprinting up a hill, jogging back down, and repeating. 

All of these workouts would be part of a standard training plan, which will vary depending on your experience and your goals.

Proper Breathing While Running | How To

How To Breathe While Running

One of things that many people say when they first start trying to run is that they feel like they can’t breathe. It usually takes the first five to 15 minutes for you to regulate your breathing, depending on how fit you are. As you run more and improve your cardio, this will get easier.

In the beginning, remember is to relax: Focus on taking one or two deeper breaths every so often. Relax your shoulders and face. You are running, not dying. Your breathing will regulate after some time, and that will go faster if you aren’t panicking.

Breathing while running is not like breathing while weight lifting or doing yoga – you want to breathe to your full capacity, which may mean breathing in and out through your mouth. If you are trying to breathe in only through your nose, you will likely get a stitch in your rib cage area.

what to eat after a run

What To Eat After A Run

Everyone likes to make nutrition complicated, however just like Michael Pollan says:

  • Eat food
  • Mostly plants
  • Not too much

Food Means Real Food

Think items you would find on the perimeter of the grocery store, or those with less than five ingredients listed.

Mostly Plants

This means just what you think it does – vegetables! Try to eat a variety of colours, especially dark, leafy greens. For more information, click here to read, Are You Eating Enough Colour?

Not Too Much

Do not over-eat. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and stop when you are full (not when your plate is empty). If you are hungry again later you can eat more then.

Eat A Balanced Meal

  • A protein source
  • A carbohydrate
  • Vegetables
  • Plenty of water

Whether it’s cold or hot out, you sweat when you run and you need to replace that lost water. The micronutrients in vegetables will help combat the oxidative stress your body is under when exercising. 

The carbohydrates you take in will help to replace the glycogen stores you used while doing longer, sustained cardio. These are important for recovery, so that you can have energy for the rest of your daily activities and your next run.

Protein is important for rebuilding some of the muscle that you worked while running. This can be in the form of lean meats, beans and legumes, eggs, soy, or dairy products.

what to wear running

What To Wear Running

You are probably tired of me saying “it depends” but that’s the honest truth. Especially when it comes to the weather.

How to run in the heat versus what to wear for winter running are two very different things. However, the basics are somewhat the same:

  • Sunscreen (all seasons)
  • A hat with a visor
  • Lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers

From there you can change things up depending on your climate. You can add layers or take them away, as long as they are breathable and easy to run in. Avoid cotton for a base layer, as once it gets wet from your sweat you will get cold quickly in the cooler temperatures.

For the men out there, look for softer materials that won’t chafe your nipples. Also, those of us who want to wear shorts in the summer but deal with thigh chafing, put some vaseline in between your legs before heading out the door. 

Beyond that the main point is that you are comfortable. 

The Bottom Line On How To Start Running

We were all born to run and to move our bodies, you included. If you start slow and maintain a positive attitude, you’ll be amazed at how far your body can take you.

Happy running!

Importance Of Exercise During Pregnancy

Importance Of Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for us, but you may not know the importance of exercise during pregnancy and how it benefits both mom AND baby. It is well known that exercise improves mental and physical health. But what about exercise during pregnancy? Exercise during pregnancy not only boosts the mother’s mental and physical health, but also has specific benefits for a healthy pregnancy, smooth delivery and faster postpartum recovery. What’s more, when a mother exercises during pregnancy, both mom and baby reap the benefits!

safe pregnancy exercises

Importance Of Exercise During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy imposes a lot of unique physical demands on a woman’s body. Regardless of your level of physical activity before pregnancy, there are many benefits to exercising during pregnancy for both mom and baby.

Benefits For Mom Include:

  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Reduced discomfort
  • Higher incidence of vaginal delivery
  • Lower incidence of: excessive gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertensive disorders, preterm birth, and Cesarean birth
  • Faster postpartum recovery
  • Lower risk of postpartum depression

Benefits For Baby Include:

Furthermore, the benefits of maternal exercise during pregnancy extend beyond birth. This study discovered that babies whose mothers exercised during pregnancy had better motor skills than those whose mothers did not exercise during pregnancy.

Nutrition also plays a key role in maternal and fetal health during pregnancy. Click here for more information about pregnancy nutrition and supplements.

Study: Exercise During and After Pregnancy Increases Benefits of Breast Milk for Babies

How Often Should I Exercise During Pregnancy?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends regular strength and aerobic training throughout pregnancy for women with uncomplicated pregnancies.

More specifically, the ACOG recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week during pregnancy, aiming for 20-30 minutes each session. These guidelines apply to women of all fitness levels, though the type of exercise and level of intensity will vary. Furthermore, women who exercised vigorously pre-pregnancy can continue to do so during pregnancy.

Need some new workout gear to boost your motivation? Check out my post Pregnancy Fitness Essentials.

best prenatal exercises

Best Exercises For A Healthy Pregnancy (And Beyond)

The following exercises will strengthen your body for a healthy pregnancy, smooth delivery and faster postpartum recovery. These exercises are safe to do in all trimesters for healthy women with low risk pregnancies. Although the importance of exercise during pregnancy is well documented, consult your doctor about what your individual exercise routine should look like during pregnancy.

prenatal squat

Squats

Squats are an excellent exercise for strengthening your entire body, especially your pelvic floor. Many midwives and physicians recommend this exercise specifically to prepare for labor and delivery, and some women even give birth in this position! Try doing 3 (or more) sets of 25 reps 3 days a week, either with or without weight. If you are going to use a weight, it’s best to hold it at your collarbones to help with posture and balance.

prenatal glute bridges

Glute Bridges

Strong glutes are essential for maintaining a strong core throughout your pregnancy. Along these lines, having strong glutes will also help with lower back pain that is common in pregnancy. Glute bridges can be done in the supine position (lying on your back), with or without weight. However, exercises in the supine position can be uncomfortable for some women as pregnancy progresses. In this case, you can perform the exercise with your head and upper back elevated by a bolster/pillow, small exercise ball or bench. Perform 3 sets of 25 reps (or more!), 3-4 times per week.

prenatal bird dog

Bird Dogs

This exercise strengthens the entire core unit and is a great way to ensure your core remains strong without having to do any crunches or planks, which can put unnecessary strain on a pregnant woman’s body. Bird dogs also help with balance, which is often compromised during pregnancy. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps (each side), alternating sides, 3-4 times per week.

prenatal dead lift

Deadlifts

This exercise strengthens the powerhouse muscles of the posterior chain, or back-body. This is your go-to exercise to prevent back pain! Deadlifts can be done with a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbells; however, start with light weight if you are new to this exercise. Try doing 3 sets of 15 reps 2-3 times a week to strengthen the back and core.

prenatal push ups

Push Ups 

Push-ups are known for building upper body strength and muscle tone, but they also play a key role in core strength for a comfortable pregnancy. Plus, you’ll need strong arms to carry around a baby in a few months! Because this exercise becomes increasingly harder as pregnancy progresses, try doing push-ups on your knees, or with your hands elevated on a bench. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10 reps, 3 times per week.

prenatal step up

Step Ups 

Step ups are a full-body exercise that will serve as both strength and cardio! It’s simple—all you need is your body and a step, bench or box. You can also hold dumbbells to make it even more challenging! However, because balance is compromised during pregnancy, make sure the height of your step, box, or bench isn’t too high. Perform 3 sets of 15 step ups on each leg 2-3 times per week.

prenatal monster walk

Monster Walk 

During pregnancy, your hips and glutes can become tight and/or weak. Monster walks help strengthen these muscles to support your changing body and help with lower body discomfort that is common during pregnancy. You can vary the intensity of this exercise by varying the resistance band. When you step laterally, make sure to lead with your hip and knee in alignment, rather than the foot, to engage the muscles properly. Aim for 3 sets of 10 steps (each direction) 2-3 times per week.

prenatal hydrant

Hydrants 

This exercise likewise strengthens the core, including the back and glutes. You can do this exercise with or without a resistance band to vary the intensity. Make sure you keep your hips and shoulders square to the floor, pressing evenly into the floor with both hands. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg, 2-3 times per week.

prenatal band pull apart

Band Pull Apart 

This exercise is the solution to poor posture and back pain that is common during pregnancy. With a light resistance band, squeeze your shoulder blades together to strengthen the postural muscles of the back. Make sure to engage your core and keep your knees soft so as not to strain your low back. Complete 3 sets of 25 reps, 2-3 times per week.

healthy pregnancy

A Healthy Habit For A Healthy Pregnancy 

I hope you now understand the importance of exercise during pregnancy and how it benefits both mom and baby. There will be times where exercising is the last thing you feel like doing, and that’s okay! Do your best to stay consistent while also listening to your body. Remember that exercise will both alleviate pregnancy discomfort and yield long term benefits. A regular exercise regimen that includes the above exercises will promote a healthy pregnancy, smooth delivery and faster postpartum recovery.

Now that you know the importance of exercise during pregnancy (and beyond), check out my post, 4 Types of Exercise For Your Strongest, Healthiest Body.

Text Neck Syndrome

text neck

Chiropractors are reporting more cases of strain than ever before.  Commonly referred to as text neck, resulting from the overuse of today’s tech such as cell phones or tablets.  I often squirm when observing guests using their cell phones at my office.  They all tend to mimic this horrifying posture:

  • Flexed at the hip
  • Hunch-backed
  • Staring down at their mobile device (sometimes just inches from the screen)

I jokingly say that it’s just a matter of time before our bodies merge with technology and we transform into robo-humans.

Ideal Posture

First, allow me to clarify that I’m excluding individuals who suffer from specific spinal conditions.  Our spines are generally capable of handling certain loads and stresses without injury.  If not, we would all be suffering from some form of spinal damage each time we carried something heavy or engaged in activities requiring us to be in less than ideal postures.  However, this doesn’t mean that repetitive movements don’t have a detrimental effect on our spines long-term.  Rather that we are built to take on high amounts of physical stress.

Due to gravity, our bodies constantly endure downward stress on our spines.  This usually occurs without injury every day.  There is an argument to be made about what the “ideal” posture is to minimize the amount of stress on our spines.

For the purpose of this article, it’s important to note that the ideal curvatures of the spine are based on theoretical models that are published in reputable peer-reviewed journals. (1)

Click here for Exercises to Help Improve Your Posture.

natural neck posture
text neck posture

How To Evaluate Your Posture

There are two simple ways to visualize your posture at home; the side and front.  From the side, draw a line (often called a plumb line) connecting your ear to your shoulder joint (AC joint) to the hip, knee and ankle.  Observe how these landmarks fall in line.

Next, observe your posture from the front.  Note any deviations left or right that you notice if you were to draw a line splitting your image in two through the middle.  Anything falling outside of the line would be considered “out of alignment”.  A health professional would analyze the effect that your posture has on your musculoskeletal system.

For more information consult a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist to have your posture assessed for a more detailed analysis.

Physical Proof

Research has been published on the health consequences associated with poor spinal or postural alignment.  Thoracic kyphosis (hunch-back syndrome) for example, has been associated with the following health concerns (2):

  • Impaired physical function,
  • Pain and disability,
  • Impaired pulmonary function,
  • Increased mortality

As a practicing chiropractor, I have seen first-hand the clinical benefits of reducing excessive curvatures in my office.  Patients who had their mis-alignment addressed have reported less aches and pains, improved breathing, better sleep, and overall improved physical function.

What Texting Does To Your Neck

How ‘Text Neck’ Affects Your Spine

As your head leaves the plumb line it effectively weighs more.  The effective head weight in some individuals can result in it weighing as much as 60lbs more than their natural head weight!  Can you imagine the consequence over time of that posture on our bodies?!  This leads to an increased demand on the soft tissues of your neck and back to hold the head in a forward position for an extended amount of time.

Obviously, limiting the amount of forward and flexed head posture to shorter duration’s helps to minimize the stress on your body.  Since our spines are resilient, it is able to withstand these movements under normal circumstances as stated earlier.  Otherwise, we would all be suffering from neck and back pain every time we used our mobile devices.

Reality Of Technology

This is the point at which we may start feeling the effects on our bodies.  Strain on our muscles, joints, discs and eyes are entirely possible if we are using technology for most of the day.  It’s also possible that we will ultimately feel the strain after having our head forward and flexed for a long period of time.  In my opinion, this is a learned behaviour and as such can be unlearned.  Therefore, try to limit your exposure to mobile devices for short periods of time.

But the reality is that technology and the applications that we are accessing on our mobile devices are highly addictive.  This causes us to keep our heads glued to our phones or tablets for an extended period of time.  Many cell phone manufacturers now include a timer with the newest operating system update in order to detail the amount of time you spend on your phone.  I would argue that these companies knew all along just how addictive their products were, as it was built into the design.

Posture Test

Tips To Implement Change

  • Limit your use of cell phones to help protect from text neck.
  • Pay attention to the metrics of phone use and see where most of your time is spent.
  • If social media is the culprit, assign a specific time during the day that you will check your news feed.
  • Get out of the habit of feeling “FOMO” (fear of missing out) when checking social media.
  • Set the notifications on your device to OFF no matter how many times the app reminds you to do otherwise. This way the device doesn’t rule over you and you avoid constantly checking your phone each time you receive a Like, Share, or Comment on social media platforms.

If after trying all these tips you still find yourself in pain, consult with a health professional trained to address your concerns. See a Chiropractor!  The master system controlling all your body’s function and healing is your nervous system.  It controls all your muscles, cells, glands, organs, and tissues.  Removing interference to your nervous system and addressing the underlying cause of your problem is the only way to truly heal.

Click here to learn more about your Nervous System – What Conventional Medicine Doesn’t Want You To Know.

 

References:
1. https://idealspine.com/cbp-research/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26378354

Chronic Neck Pain Solutions

neck pain

Neck pain is a common symptom suffered by the worlds population.  Studies have shown that in general, women suffer chronic neck pain more than men. (1) Literally everyone I know has experienced neck pain in their life at one point or another.  Believe me, they make it known to me at social outings.

However,  this story is about me and a nagging case of pain in the lower left side of my neck of 2 months duration.  Just typing out that sentence brings me back to that uncomfortable feeling.  Every day I woke up with this feeling and it never really went away.  I tried everything from massage to exercises and even multiple chiropractors.  Of all three interventions, I found certain chiropractic adjustments to be the most successful in eliminating the pain.

chronic neck pain

Daily Routine, Daily Neck Pain

Just like the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, I would go to sleep, wake up and go through the pain all over again.  What a nuisance!  It wasn’t debilitating as I could still function rather well.  Anyone, reading this right now who has been in my position knows precisely what I’m writing about.  I’m sure it resonates with many readers.

People assume that since health professionals deal with these musculoskeletal problems daily with their patients, we take heed of the advice we provide.  In this case, I missed a very important question I ask my patients or they ask me during their care.

What Position Do I Sleep In To Avoid Chronic Neck Pain?

Typically, most individuals sleep in one of three positions.  On their back, side, or on their stomach.  I’d prefer patients sleep either on their back or on their side as it may cause the least amount of stress on your back.  Stomach sleeping appears to put the most strain on your back and neck so it’s the least desirable of the three sleeping positions.

Proper sleeping positions - Dr. Nenos on Hamilton Life

What Kind Of Pillow Should I Use?

The pillow market is saturated with options.  There is a variety of pillows out there that I could write a whole paper on the topic.  However, I would rather tell you how to choose the right pillow for your sleeping position.

Back Sleep Position

If you are sleeping on your back, you require a very thin pillow or no pillow at all. The reason behind this recommendation is that your spine needs to be in “neutral position.” Using a large pillow or several smaller pillows for example, would move your spine away from neutral into a flexed position and thus may cause strain.

A neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when its three curves (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar) are in proper alignment.  This is a very stable position for the spine to be in.  When it deviates away from neutral it can apply pressures to parts of the spine that may result in pain and discomfort.

Side Sleep Position

If your desired sleeping position is on your side, which happens to be my preferred sleeping position, a proper pillow keeping your neck in neutral position with another pillow in between the knees is ideal.  Here is a video demonstrating this side sleeping position with proper pillow support.

Stomach Sleep Position

Stomach sleeping places the most stress on the spine. However, a number of patients have expressed to me that it is the only position they are able to fall asleep in. Having uninterrupted sleep is important and vital for proper body functioning. I talk about the number of hours you need to achieve that in this TV segment.

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem affecting many people.  If sleeping on your stomach is the only position that allows you to fall and stay asleep, then I recommend placing a pillow under your stomach to minimize the pressure placed on your back.  If you want more tips,  click here to read Bedtime Woe’s? – 5 Simple Tips For Blissful Zzzz’s.

How To Find The Right Pillow - The Pillow Test

The Solution For Chronic Neck Pain

As chiropractors, we are tasked with finding the cause of a complaint and not necessarily treating the symptom itself.  In my case, I made the mistake of searching for symptom relief thus forgetting the fundamental principle of locating the cause of the problem that you are treating.  Chiropractors as well as manual therapists can help people address problems like this.  If you’ve tried to alleviate the pain on your own with little to no success, seek out help as we may be able to discover the cause of the irritation.

My clinic sells water-based pillows that allows the pillow to adapt to shifting sleeping positions.  Personally, I find this very beneficial for people that move around in their sleep.  Have you ever fallen asleep in one position and woken up in an entirely different position or part of the bed?  This type of pillow may be of help.

Water-based pillows are associated with reduced morning pain intensity, increased pain relief, and improved quality of sleep according to a study. (2) For more information you can visit my website and contact my office.  To watch a video on how to pick the perfect pillow, click here!

What Was The Solution To My Problem?

My pillow was too high for my neck position.  How could I forget! I  had placed too much water in the pillow which had shifted my neck position from neutral to a side-flexed position.  Add 6-8 hours of sleep in an awkward position and of course you will wake up with chronic neck pain every day!  Since correcting for that error and continuing to see my chiropractor regularly the change was almost instantaneous.

I hope you learn from this common and simple solution to waking up with neck pain.  For more information, click here for my  Top Ten Tricks To Get The Best Sleep EVER!

Reference:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489448/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9041902

Chiropractic Care Study Reveals Surprising Results

chiropractic care

Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common and costly problems in the world today [1]. While it is not the sole reason people choose to seek Chiropractic care, it is the most common [2, 3]. Most Chiropractors recommend maintenance care (MC) after the resolution of a patient’s primary complaint [4] and is generally offered as a secondary or tertiary prevention strategy.

Until recently, empirical evidence investigating the effectiveness of MC was scarce. The alternative to MC is to discontinue care and instruct the patient to schedule a new visit when they experience a new episode of pain or when the patient perceives a need (symptom- guided treatment). In other words: one is controlled by the doctor (maintenance care), the other is controlled by the patient (symptom-guided treatment). So, which is more appropriate? Let’s look at the evidence!

This article examines the outcomes of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial that investigated the effectiveness of MC for patients with recurrent or persistent low back pain. The study compared MC to symptom-guided treatment with regard to the total number of days with bothersome LBP over 52 weeks, the prevalence of days with pain per week over time, and the total number of treatments.

Are Chiropractors Doctors?

Chiropractic Care Study Results

Treatments mainly consisted of spinal adjustments followed by information and/or advice. The total number of days with bothersome LBP over 52 weeks was significantly less in the maintenance care group. Patients who received MC had approximately 13 fewer days of bothersome LBP over 12 months compared to patients who only sought care when a new episode of pain occurs. The MC group also had a FASTER reduction in days with bothersome LBP and reached a lower steady state earlier.

While maintenance care resulted in only a slightly higher number of visits to the Chiropractor, it was MORE effective than symptom-guided treatment in reducing the total number of days in a year with bothersome low back pain.

Although these results may be surprising to you, they don’t surprise clinicians that offer maintenance care. It’s a valuable step towards validating the prevention strategy used by many Chiropractors around the world for the benefit of their patients who suffer from persistent or recurrent low back pain.

Click here to find a chiropractor near you!

chiropractic benefits

Further Reading

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References

1. Hoy D, March L, Brooks P, Blyth F, Woolf A, Bain C, et al. The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014; 73(6):968–74. https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204428 PMID: 24665116

2. Leboeuf-Yde C, Hennius B, Rudberg E, Leufvenmark P, Thunman M. Chiropractic in Sweden: a short descriptionof patients and treatment. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1997; 20(8):507–10. PMID:9345678

3. Sorensen LP, Stochkendahl MJ, Hartvigsen J, Nilsson NG. Chiropractic Patients in Denmark 2002: An Expanded Description and Comparison With 1999 Survey. J Manip Physiol Ther. 2006; 29(6):419–24.

4. Axen I, Jensen IB, Eklund A, Halasz L, Jorgensen K, Lange F, et al. The Nordic Maintenance Care Pro- gram: when do chiropractors recommend secondary and tertiary preventive care for low back pain? Chiropr Osteopat. 2009; 17:1. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-1340-17-1 PMID: 19161611

Types Of IBS Causes And Your Best Solutions

types of IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, has become the go-to, catch-all diagnosis for any digestive complaints that don’t have an obvious cause/solution. However, the types of IBS causes and solutions vary from patient to patient.

Common IBS Symptoms Include:

To put it simply, IBS refers to a dysfunctional digestive tract. So, if you or your child have been given this diagnosis, it is likely that you were told the same generalized advice;

“It is stress related and to resolve it you need to better manage your stress.”

Sadly, this is very common response and often doesn’t fully help the problem. Now, I agree that stress is absolutely a big factor in IBS, however it is not the ONLY factor. In fact there are 3 which we need to consider to accurately treat IBS.

3 Major Contributing Factors To IBS

  1. Stress
  2. Unbalanced Microbiomes
  3. Food Sensitivities

Stress Versus Rest And Digest

To understand IBS, we need to understand the basics of digestion which is;

digestion occurs when we are at a RESTED state

To be more specific, it occurs when we activate our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) a.k.a. rest and digest. This is our recovery mode where we nourish and repair our systems.

The PNS sends cues to activate proper digestion such as:

  • Producing stomach acid
  • Releasing digestive enzymes
  • Activating intestinal movement

These are all essential to break down food properly. The PNS is in direct opposition to our sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Or in other words, fight or flight.

Our SNS is activated when we are under stress. Biologically, our stress response was designed to respond to physical threats (i.e. running from or fighting off predators). Therefore, our SNS directs all energy to our:

  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Muscles

And slows down “non-essential” functions such as digestion and reproductive function, which of coarse makes sense. Think about it, if you are running from a bear, you don’t need to be digesting your last meal at the same time?

However, the issue is that our current stressors usually are not physical in nature. Therefore, this response is no longer well- adapted. For example, if you get stressed at your morning meeting, you will likely not able to digest your lunch properly.

Why?  Well, when we are chronically stressed and chronically activating our SNS, we lose proper cues to the digestive system. Therefore it is unable to function optimally. In other words, we aren’t able to break down our food properly and end up with:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Balanced Microbes

You cannot have a conversation about IBS without talking about the microbiome. The microbiome are the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other micro-organisms that live in our body. Especially our digestive tract. They play crucial role in active digestion as well as being involved in mood regulation signalling.

When it comes to our microbiome, we are mostly concerned about maintaining proper balance. The ratio of different microbes in our gut directly influences our digestive functioning.

Therefore, too much or too little of specific microbes, will throw off proper functioning. So, if the digestive system is not functioning optimally, undigested foods will be consumed by our microbiome producing excessive amounts of gas (i.e. bloating).

Balancing the microbiome is key for effective treatment of most types of IBS symptoms. This might include anti-microbial treatments, probiotics, and specific diets.

To learn more, click here to check out my previous article, What’s The Big Deal About Probiotics?

Food Sensitivities

Our food choices are crucial when it comes to our health. This is especially true when it comes to digestion. When you are dealing with a dysfunctional digestive tract, there are certain foods that are more difficult to digest and thus cause further issues. People with IBS are also more sensitive to certain foods.

Now, food sensitivities are very different from food allergies. However, they are both immune reactions.

Food allergies cause big inflammation throughout the body such as hives, itching, and anaphylaxis. Where as food sensitivities cause small amounts of inflammation specifically in the digestive tract. This irritates our intestinal lining which can cause constipation, diarrhea, and discomfort.

The Most Common Food Sensitivities In Most Types Of IBS

  1. Gluten
  2. Dairy (especially milk, cream, and soft cheeses)
  3. Foods high in preservatives (i.e. prepackaged granola bars, crackers, yogurt)
  4. Foods high in FODMAPs or Fructose

Eliminating these foods on a trial basis while providing support to eliminate the inflammation and damaged caused, is a key step in treating IBS. Quite often you can significantly reduce the number of food sensitivities you have through this temporary elimination when it come to these types of IBS symptoms.

What I Eat in a Day for IBS + Bloating | Elimination Diets 101

Final Thoughts

IBS is both chronic and complex. There is no quick solution thus several different treatment approaches are available. However, with the proper guidance and support, it is possible to live without daily gas, bloating, and pain.

A functional treatment approach to IBS should always include:

  1. Lowering stress and activating the parasympathetic nervous system
  2. Restoring microbiome diversity
  3. Eliminating food sensitivities.

If you’re looking for start taking action today, download my free guide to Beat Bloating in 7 Steps. These are my foundational steps to start re-training your digestive tract and gain control over your IBS.

DIY Sunscreen That Is Natural, Safe And Effective!

DIY sunscreen

This article will help you to determine which natural sunscreens are both safe AND effective but also what you NEED to avoid. I even include a natural DIY sunscreen that even helps to repel insects!

With the summer upon us, many of us are eager to soak up lots of sunshine. The sun is great for boosting mood and immunity but in excessive amounts the UV rays can also cause skin damage and an increased risk for skin cancer. This is why most of us know to reach for a sunscreen before heading out into the sun.

Unfortunately, many of these products that protect us from the sun’s UV rays, also get absorbed into our bodies and disrupt our hormones. Hormone disruption can cause issues with:

  • Mood regulation
  • Sleep quality
  • Energy
  • Fertility

Things we definitely want to avoid just as much as the skin damage we risk from the sun. This has led to an increase in the production of “natural” sunscreens as a safer alternative. This is great, however you must be cautious of clever marketing and false claims.

toxic chemicals in sunscreen

Look For The Active Ingredients

The first step in picking safer sunscreen is knowing the ingredients to avoid. These are the main chemicals we find in sunscreen that we know cause hormone disruption:

1. Oxybenzone
2. Octinoxate/Octyl methoxycinnamate

We also need to cover the natural products that claim to have sun protecting factors (SPF) but don’t have enough research to back them up.

I would recommend avoiding these if they are the ONLY active ingredient:

  • Carrot seed oil
  • Red raspberry seed oil

They are not harmful so you don’t need to avoid them but they cannot be relied on as your sole sun protection.

6 Common Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients Can Get Into the Bloodstream

Safer & Effective Active Ingredients

The best alternative active ingredients are mineral sunscreens which do not get absorbed. These ingredients are:

1. Zinc Oxide
2. Titanium Dioxide

These both have proven broad spectrum UV protection and have not been shown to interfere with our hormones.

There are also some natural products that do have evidence to support their sun protecting factors (SPF). The following natural ingredients all have around 5 SPF:

  • Coconut oil
  • Almond oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Peppermint oil

These are all great additions to your sunscreen but should not be relied on solely as they do not provide enough protection.

how much spf do you need?

How Much SPF Do You Need?

SPF stands for sun protecting factor and it is a measure of how much it blocks UVB rays. The higher the number, the more protection it provides. However, the numbers are not equivalent to the amount of protection. For example, SPF 30 does not provide double the amount of protection as SPF 15.

SPF 15 blocks out 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks out 97%. SPF 50 then blocks out 98%. This means there really isn’t a significant benefit to getting sunscreen above SPF 50.

SPF also has nothing to do with the length of time spent in the sun but rather with the intensity of the sun. If you are out in the sun when UV rays are higher (i.e. mid-day), you need to limit your sun exposure in addition to applying sunscreen, instead of simply trying to apply higher SPF sunscreen.

Click here to read everything you need to know before having Fun in the Sun.

make your own sunscreen

Try Making Your Own Sun Screen

If you love DIY best for your natural products, you can also make your own sunscreen at home. I’ve adapted this recipe from Wellness Mama and added essential oils to provide some protection against insects as well.

DIY Sunscreen Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of almond oil
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. beeswax
  • 1-2 tbsp. shea butter
  • 2-4 tbsp. non-nano zinc oxide
  • 20 drops of lavender augustifolia essential oil and/or peppermint essential oil

Instructions For DIY Sunscreen:

  1. Fill a big saucepan half full with water and put on medium heat
  2. Mix all your ingredients except the essential oils and zinc in a large mason jar and place in pan
  3. Stir your ingredient every few minutes until completely melted (wash the stirring instrument immediately when your done or you will be scrapping beeswax off)
  4. Remove the jar from the pan and slowly stir in each tbsp. of zinc.
  5. Add in the essential oils and stir them thoroughly
  6. Allow to cool on the counter. You may need to add more or less beeswax to get the right consistency.

This formulation gives about 20-30 SPF. The problem with homemade formulations is that you cannot guarantee their composition. This formulation is also not waterproof and should be applied every 3-4 hours.

In addition to sunscreen, always use safe sun practices. Wear hats and try to avoid prolonged sun exposure, particularly between 12-4 pm. Cover the skin where you can to reduce exposure to sun rays.

If you are looking for more direction on sunscreen products that are safer for your skin, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.

Alimentary Canal Organs And Their Role In Digestion

Alimentary Canal Organs

So, I know what you might be thinking, why in the world do I need to know about alimentary canal organs and how my digestion works? Well, it is YOUR body! Shouldn’t you know what happens to the food you put in your mouth? Furthermore how it’s processed by your body?

The Digestive Process - University of Michigan Health System

Alimentary Canal Organs And The Digestive Process

The process of digestion starts in the mouth and buccal cavity. This is where large pieces of food are broken down mechanically by your teeth. Here, saliva is secreted by the salivary glands which are located on the lower jaw, between the tongue and teeth.

Saliva softens the food, making it easier for ingestion. It also helps break down starches to sugar. Once the swallowed food passes into the esophagus, the food is moved down the digestive tract by peristaltic muscular movements into the stomach.

Next, the food mixes mucus and stomach acids, secreted by the inner lining of the stomach. This step is responsible for killing bacteria in the food and breaking down proteins and carbs into simpler substances and usually takes an average of two hours.

The broken-down substance then continues through the digestive tract where it enters the small intestine.

function of small intestine

Function Of Small Intestine

Your small intestine are a highly coiled structure that stretches about 20 feet long and is divided in 3 parts:

As it receives food from the stomach, digestive enzymes, such as bile produced by the liver, breaks down fats. At the same time, pancreatic juices produced by the pancreas, break down proteins and carbohydrates.

The inner wall of the small intestine is covered by hair-like organisms (microvilli) that help food be absorbed which takes an average of 3 hours. Next, undigested food enters the large intestine.

Function Of Large Intestine

Spanning about 5 feet in length, the large intestine contains 3 parts:

Food generally spends around 19 hours in the large intestine—far longer than in the small intestines! There, the food mixes with mucus and bacteria that live in the large intestine to begin the formation of fecal matter.

function of the colon

Function Of The Colon

Another important step takes place in your colon as it absorbs most of the water and remaining vitamins and minerals. The 4 sections of your colon include:

  • Ascending
  • Transverse
  • Descending
  • Sigmoid

Furthermore, the bacteria present in your colon are responsible for producing some of the vitamin B’s and K which turn unabsorbed carbs into:

  • Methane gas
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Hydrogen

In addition, the large intestine flora is responsible to ferment soluble fibers. Producing approximately 20 to 30 grams per day of the short-chained fatty-acids (SCFA):

With a ratio of 3:1:1, 95% can be absorbed and the remaining 5% excreted. In fact, it is estimated that about 5% – 10% of total body energy comes from SCFA’s.

Lastly, the fecal matter reaches the rectum and triggers what is called, ‘the defecation reflex’. In other words, the urge to go the bathroom. It is here where the fecal matter exits by the anus and what we commonly refer to as a bowel movement.

So there we go, the complete role of alimentary canal organs and the digestive process, from top to bottom!

For more information be sure to click on the following links:

True Health – Why Most Of Us Get It Wrong

true health

I want to start this article with what could seem like a simple question, what is true health?

Most people living in western culture judge the state of their health based on how they feel and how they look.  It’s this mentality that is actually causing people to develop health problems and chronic pain.

Ask anyone that has survived a heart attack, “How did you feel 10 minutes before having your heart attack?”  Many will tell you that they felt fine, good or even terrific. Yet they were 10 minutes away from having a potentially fatal heart attack!

There’s a great chance this person looks like the ‘average Joe‘, like you or me.  They may have looked good and even felt good. However, they were NOT healthy!  This is why we need to change they way our minds work by asking this important question. What is true health?

Susan Lucci’s Heart Warning for Women: Listen to Your Bodies

Stop Looking And Start Listening!

How many people are walking around your town RIGHT NOW with diabetes or cancer but have no idea?  All because they still look and feel fine!  Conversely, just because you are experiencing symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t heal!

Remember we said, “symptoms can be a blessing”.  It’s actually your body doing a good thing (I know, bear with us!) letting you know there is a problem. Furthermore giving you the opportunity to fix it!

Your body giving you a symptom can be an example Of your body actually performing a proper function, so listen to your body!

how to listen to your body

Body Talk

Have you ever hurt your knee?  The pain can literally prevent you from:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Walking
  • Stairs
  • Crouching, or bending down

Sometimes even taking a few steps feels almost impossible.  However, what the pain is actually preventing you from doing is the things you shouldn’t be doing. Things that could actually make the actual problem worse.

Often, people will take a muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, or painkiller to help ease the symptom of the knee pain and allow you to get through your day with more ease.  However, what you are actually doing is fighting the body’s natural self-protection mechanism and overdoing it and making the problem worse.  Click here to learn more about why medications can be dangerous to your health.

definition of good health

The Definition Of Health

True health is not about how you feel or look.  The World Health Organization’s definition of health is when your body is in a state of “complete physical, mental and social well-being”. That’s true health.  Nowhere in their definition does it say being healthy is looking good or feeling fine!  It’s all about function and healing!

Your body is designed to function and heal optimally IF you give it the opportunity to by removing the cause or interference.  Put simply, this means removing or minimizing physical, chemical, emotional stress.

Click here to read more about the Effects Of Stress – Stress Can Be Good For You?!

final thoughts on good health

Final Thoughts

Make the important decision today to stop ignoring the symptoms (and signs!) and start looking for solutions.

It’s like getting a rust spot on your car.  Sure you can throw a little paint on it and make it look ok on the outside. But, eventually that rust will spread and deteriorate to the point where it’s no longer an easy fix.  Don’t treat your body with that same disregard.

Stop taking medication to mask the pain! Instead, start looking for solutions so you body can heal properly and even prevent problems from rising in the first place!

I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom:

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

― Thomas A. Edison

Click here if you want to learn more about how to find the best diet for you.