Healthy Living

Headaches: the role your diet plays

By Dr. Jill Mckinnon

Migraines are one of the top disabilities in young adults across the globe. 14 percent of the population suffers from migraines and like most aches and pains, we often tend to reach for quick fixes. Although things like pain meds, peppermint oil and manual therapies may help in the moment, it’s always better to tackle the source of the problem instead of just treating the symptoms. Rather than asking how you can get rid of pain, try asking why you’re experiencing it instead.

Growing up, I believed headaches were normal as myself and everyone in my immediate family experienced them regularly. Now, as a chiropractor, I’ve realized that while some of us identify as “headache people,” there are many lucky enough to rarely, if ever, experience headaches. The best explanation I’ve heard around this has been coined the “bucket theory.” Imagine that within our brain we all have a bucket. When your bucket overflows, you experience a migraine and “headache people” tend to have particularly small buckets. So, what makes the bucket overflow? Can I increase the size of my bucket? First off, stimulus and inflammation contribute to “bucket overflow,” and therefore, a migraine. Overstimulation can be caused by weather, pressure changes, stress, food or environmental intolerances, bright lights and noise, hormonal imbalances and musculoskeletal stressors. While we may not have control over things like the weather, or how bright the fluorescents in our workplace are, there are some things we can control. What many of us fail to realize is just how much of an influence the things we put into our bodies has on our wellbeing. When I ask a headache sufferer what their diet is like, the reaction I get is often shock for being asked that by their chiropractor. This is always one of the questions I ask because the food we eat influences our hormones, our pH, our mood, our energy and yes, our “buckets.”

To begin, we need to identify potential foods or environmental factors that could be overflowing your “bucket.” By identifying and eliminating potential contributors, you can free up space in your “bucket,” meaning you will be less sensitive to stimuli that can bring on a headache. The easiest way to do this is by tracking both your food and your headaches. Yes, this may be a tedious task, but it can be extremely helpful in identifying habits that you may not be aware of. I’ve had multiple patients identify their headache triggers with this step alone. When considering environmental factors, try noting down where you are when you begin to experience your headache symptoms. Remember to note details such as recently used cleaning and beauty products, chemical sprays and lighting at your workplace. When I was a teenager, I remember trying out a new shampoo with a distinct smell. I noticed I was experiencing nausea and headaches following showers. It was tracking this pattern that allowed me to identify that the shampoo was the culprit.

When it comes to diet, most of us are creatures of habit and tend to eat similarly most days of the week. However, if you’re experiencing consistent headaches and you’ve not noticed any patterns with environment tracking, it’s a good idea to track food next. I typically suggest seven straight days of tracking all food and beverages along with headache symptoms. If you are a female suffering from headaches, be sure to also track your menstrual cycle. For many women, headaches coincide with menstruation due to low levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Once you have tracked a full seven days of food and symptoms, it is time to start identifying patterns. For many migraine sufferers, the most common dietary culprits are amines, additives and chemicals. Dietary amines are a result of the breakdown of proteins in food and are found in many processed meats, aged cheeses, fermented foods and beverages like beer and wine and dried or very ripe fruits. It is thought that “headache people” lack the enzymes required to properly break down specific amines, so eliminating these foods for four weeks is often recommended. Now for some light at the end of the tunnel—the word amine is a category involving histamine, tyramine and a few others. That said, when you reach the reintroducing phase (after four weeks of elimination), I suggest researching which specific amines are present in the foods you find yourself reacting to and this will help you determine a more specific grouping to avoid instead of avoiding all amines.

When it comes to chemicals and additives in food, we tend to be more familiar with these offenders because they’ve already been given a bad reputation. It’s not a coincidence that many headache sufferers also experience digestive issues, irritable bowels and skin irritations or rashes. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, high sodium and nitrites are some of the more prominent triggers that would be good to avoid if you experience any of the above symptoms. MSG is not only found in restaurants and fast-food joints, but is a common additive to many sauces, canned veggies and soups you likely have in your fridge or pantry. Aspartame in diet soda is another common trigger I see. Nitrites are most commonly found in processed meats like bacon and deli items.

Now that you have an idea of the common headache triggers, it’s time to begin tracking your food, identifying your problem ingredients and eliminating your triggers. Stay tuned for next month’s blog, “Five steps to identify and eliminate headache triggers.”


Originally posted on: https://albertachiro.com/ACAC/Chiropractic_in_Alberta/BLOG/Headaches__the_role_your_diet_plays.aspx

How many of these road trip troubles have you experienced?

Life can be a little strange in 2020, but summer road trips don’t have to go away. We maybe can’t spend much time exploring the world on foot this year, but we can still drive! If taking an extended road trip is new territory for you, there may be some unpleasant aches just around the bend.

How many of these painful “long-haul” driving experiences have you encountered? Check out our tips to mitigate them!

 

Comfortable Position Dilemma

Your favorite podcast is playing, and the AC is blasting. You’ve been driving down a nice, long stretch of road for awhile. You’re comfortable and have settled into the groove… literally! Enter the Comfortable Position Dilemma – you’re comfortable now, but the minute you get out of the vehicle you’re going to feel stiff and achy. You might not be able to escape the stiffness, but you can reduce its effects.

Solution – Take a driving break every two hours, even if it’s just for five minutes. Your chiropractor will have accessible suggestions on stretches you can do during breaks.

 

Sore Hip Conundrum

Not everyone has a roomy driver’s seat. Sometimes you need to drive for some time with your right leg and hip at a slightly bent angle. While you can’t necessarily change the dimensions of your vehicle’s driver side, you can do something about the sore hips!

Solution – Before you start your trip and during breaks, briefly do a couple of sets of lunges, hip flexors, or leg swings. Ask your chiropractor for advice on improving your hip’s range of motion.

 

Stiff-Necked Quandary

Your passengers in the car have every opportunity to “ooh” and “ahh” at the sites, but not you! You’re laser-focused on your duties as the driver. You need to make sure to keep your neck muscles unstrained so your watchful gaze can continue to smoothly scan the horizon.

Solution – The best way to stay ahead of the curve is to be proactive. Work with your chiropractor to develop plans to strengthen and stretch your neck muscles. Until then, try out an upper trapezius stretch to get the ball rolling!

 

If you do any extended driving this summer, talk to your chiropractor! They can give you some excellent advice on battling the sedentary nature of the open road. Remember: your chiropractor has a wealth of knowledge to help you be proactive instead of reactive about your health.

Staying Healthy During the Pandemic

During these challenging times, it is the responsibility of every Canadian to practice social distancing in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases. In other words, we should all avoid coming into close proximity with others. This goal means we have to forgo visiting the gym, restaurants, swimming pools, and other gathering places. The isolation that this pandemic imposes can lead to some unhealthy habits, but we have useful tips on how you can stay in good health until things return to normal.

 

Eating

Many people have reported increased eating during this quarantine, especially the consumption of unhealthy snacks and meals. Most individuals don’t usually spend their entire day with easy access to food. However, the pandemic means we are stuck in our homes with plenty of food readily at hand.

To combat unhealthy eating, make deliberate and wise choices at the grocery store. Instead of picking what seems easiest or most convenient, try to include plenty of fresh or frozen vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. High-carbohydrate snacks may seem to be tempting treats, but a proper, healthy meal is always a better selection.

 

Exercise

Just because you can’t visit the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get great exercise. A huge variety of workout instruction programmes are available on television and the internet. Many of these programmes require no special equipment and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Also, remember that the quarantine does not prohibit you from going outdoors for exercise. Enjoy the spring weather by bicycling, running, walking, or participating in other activities. Team sports are – unfortunately – out, and you will always need to maintain at least two metres distance from other people. Still, there are plenty of opportunities for indoor and outdoor exercise even now.

 

Mind

It is just as important to take care of your mental health as it is your physical health. There is no question that this is a stressful time. The inability to be physically close to friends and family can certainly add to the stress.

Hobbies can provide much-needed distractions and stress relief. Gardening, crafts, cooking, and myriad other pursuits will help take your mind off the situation and make time seem to pass more quickly. If you don’t have a hobby, now is a great time to pick one up.

Technology can significantly help with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Make efforts to stay in touch with loved ones during this time. You may not be able to exchange a hug, but you can stay connected with phone calls, video calls, and even old-fashioned letters.

Giving Feedback to Your Chiropractor

Everyone enjoys hearing that they’re doing a job well. However, feedback is crucially important between a patient and their healthcare team, even if that feedback is less than stellar. A good chiropractor will always welcome your respectful, candid feedback so that they can provide you with the best care possible.

 

Types of Feedback

Feedback concerning healthcare should center around your care journey and experiences. For example, it is essential to let your chiropractor know how you’re faring at each visit. Be honest and upfront instead of telling your chiropractor only what you think they want to hear. Inform them if your pain is improving or worsening, if you find your daily activities less or more difficult, or if you’ve encountered a new problem.

Also, tell your chiropractor how you feel about the actual treatments. Don’t be afraid to let them know if a treatment is uncomfortable or if you would prefer a gentler approach. Chiropractor therapies are non-invasive and tend to be gentle, but only you truly know your pain tolerance. Plus, pain is subjective, so speak up if you are uncomfortable. Your chiropractor will likely have milder treatments available.

 

Realistic Expectations

While you should certainly inform your chiropractor if you feel that you’re not making progress with your treatments, you should also have realistic expectations. Chronic pain is unlikely to disappear totally with a single treatment session. In fact, it can take dozens of visits to make progress on severe issues. Also, remember that chiropractic therapy is as much about maintaining good health as it is about addressing problems.

Ask questions of your chiropractor if you have concerns about your progress. They should have the experience to give you an estimation of when you’re likely to start seeing results.

 

Communicating Your Daily Routine

You should also keep your chiropractor up-to-date on your general daily routine. Have you gotten a new job that involves physical work? Do you spend long hours seated in front of a computer? Have you taken up a new sport or hobby? These facts may very well have a bearing on your body mechanics and health.

Of course, you also need to inform your chiropractor right away if there is any change in your medical history. Such changes include new or discontinued medications, surgery, health issues, and more. Your chiropractor is an integral part of your healthcare team, and they need to know your health status to make the best decisions.

Remember, your chiropractor is not here to judge you. Help them to help you by sharing feedback and information on your health and treatment course.

Heat vs. Ice: Which Works Best for Treating Injuries?

Originally posted by the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors

Heat vs. Ice … It may sound like the title of an upcoming blockbuster movie, but it’s a question most active people have mulled over during their life after they’ve sustained an injury. Like most dilemmas, there isn’t really an easy answer to this question. Whether to treat an injury with a hot pad or an ice pack depends largely on the situation.

Ice

How cooling an injury works

Applying ice or a cold pack works by reducing blood flow and pain sensation to a particular area. Cooling an injured area, especially a tendon or joint, can reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain.

When is it best to apply ice to my injury?

Ice is meant to calm down damaged surface tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. Think of icing as a way to simply dull the pain, and reduce inflammation, nothing more or nothing less.  Ice therapy is most beneficial in the first 24-72 hours of sustaining an injury.

After you’ve sustained your injury, you should aim to apply ice to the inflamed area as soon as possible.

Use cold therapy for short periods of time, several times a day.

It’s important not to treat an area with ice for too long. Ten to fifteen minutes is fine, but no more than 20 minutes of cold therapy should be used at a time.

Also, don’t cool an area to the point where you are shivering. If you are already shivering, you should discontinue applying ice until you warm up. The brain interprets an excess of cold as a threat and when the brain thinks there’s something wrong going on it may actually amp up your area of pain as a defense mechanism.

How to apply cooling therapy

Before you apply ice or a cooling pack to the injured area, always make sure there is some sort of barrier between the ice and your skin. Whether it be a Ziploc bag or a washcloth, it’s imperative that the barrier exists. Applying ice directly on the skin can cause damage to the skin and tissues.

 

Heat

How Applying Heat to an Injury Works

Heat therapy works by improving circulation and blood flow to a particular area. Heating an affected area can soothe discomfort, increase muscle flexibility and help heal damaged tissue.

When is it best to apply heat to my injury?

Heat therapy is most effective for sore muscles, chronic pain and repetitive stress injuries. A comfortable, not scalding, heat can take the edge off symptoms like muscle aching and stiffness.  Heat can be most beneficial 36-72 hours after the injury is sustained.

 How to apply heat therapy

When applying heat therapy to a small, afflicted area you could use small heated gel packs or a hot water bottle.

There are certain cases where heat therapy should not be used. If the area is bruised or swollen, it may be better to use an ice pack. Heat therapy also shouldn’t be applied to an area with an open wound.

Heat therapy, unlike cold therapy, is most beneficial when used for long periods of time.

Minor stiffness can benefit with only 15 to 20 minutes of heat therapy. Moderate to severe pain can benefit from longer sessions of heat therapy lasting between 30 minutes and two hours.

When to see a chiropractor

Whether you go the ice or heat route, both treatments are meant only to mask the discomfort of your injury. If your pain hasn’t subsided after a few days of either heat or cold treatment seek advice from a chiropractor.

Doctors of Chiropractic are highly educated and specially trained musculoskeletal experts. If you experience stiffness or pain related to sport or active living, consult your chiropractor. If you don’t have a chiropractor, visit here to find one near you.

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Chiropractic care for arthritis

Chiropractors see many patients who present with various forms of arthritis. Here are some things people don’t typically know about arthritis and how chiropractic may help relieve the associated pain they are experiencing.

First off, let’s define arthritis

‘Arthritis’ can sometimes seem like a catch-all term. It literally translates to ‘arthro-‘, meaning ‘pertaining to the joints’, and ‘-itis’, meaning ‘inflammation of’.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis tends to be localized to individual joints, where the protective cartilage between bones begin to wear down. This may occur in a singular location, or in multiple locations.

Chiropractors can treat your arthritis whether it’s in your back or not

It’s a common misconception that chiropractic treatments are only for neck and back conditions. Chiropractors can help with arthritis, whether it’s in your back or not! Your chiropractor will work with you to create an appropriate plan for each area of the body arthritis is affecting.

If you’re curious about chiropractic and how it can help you, have a conversation with your local chiropractor for an individual assessment. Your chiropractor will then be able to give recommendations to help serve you in a way that appropriately meets your needs.

It is safe to see a chiropractor if you have arthritis?

Chiropractors have the expertise and knowledge to be able to assist patients with all kinds of new or pre-existing conditions. Chiropractors are trained to differentiate the various forms of arthritis, with joint problems being one component of health management by chiropractors.

Chiropractors will assist patients with mobility and other health challenges at many different stages of their life. The care for patients may span from education to lifestyle modifications to hands-on body work.

There is nothing special or different that a person with arthritis needs to do to prepare for a visit to the chiropractor. When you visit a chiropractor, they will have a conversation with you about your unique needs and then perform an assessment to ensure chiropractic is a safe treatment for you.

Chiropractic care can help support a patient in several ways

One of the benefits of chiropractic care is the focus on improving joint mobility and helping patients move more. This is done primarily through manual adjustments to a joint or joints, along with corrective exercises like the program available through Straighten Up Alberta. Patients often report improvements to pain and increased quality of life.

Another component of care can involve lifestyle modifications, such as advice on diet or sleep modification, which can have a positive influence on the overall health and wellness of an individual.

Chiropractic adjustments of the spine are shown to not only restore movement to the affected joints, but also influence the surrounding tissue and muscle tone to help re-engage the spinal stabilizers, restore ease and improve posture.

________________________________________
If it hurts, see a chiropractor.

Maintenance care can help prevent pain and keep your joints functioning to the best of their ability but injuries can still happen. If your pain is persistent, seek advice from a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are highly educated and specially trained musculoskeletal experts. Your chiropractor can treat aches and pains, as well as build customized stretching routines and whole-body wellness strategies in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractic care for arthritis

Originally Posted by the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors

Chiropractors see many patients who present with various forms of arthritis. Here are some things people don’t typically know about arthritis and how chiropractic may help relieve the associated pain they are experiencing.

First off, let’s define arthritis

‘Arthritis’ can sometimes seem like a catch-all term. It literally translates to ‘arthro-‘, meaning ‘pertaining to the joints’, and ‘-itis’, meaning ‘inflammation of’.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis tends to be localized to individual joints, where the protective cartilage between bones begin to wear down. This may occur in a singular location, or in multiple locations.

Chiropractors can treat your arthritis whether it’s in your back or not

It’s a common misconception that chiropractic treatments are only for neck and back conditions. Chiropractors can help with arthritis, whether it’s in your back or not! Your chiropractor will work with you to create an appropriate plan for each area of the body arthritis is affecting.

If you’re curious about chiropractic and how it can help you, have a conversation with your local chiropractor for an individual assessment. Your chiropractor will then be able to give recommendations to help serve you in a way that appropriately meets your needs.

It is safe to see a chiropractor if you have arthritis

Chiropractors have the expertise and knowledge to be able to assist patients with all kinds of new or pre-existing conditions. Chiropractors are trained to differentiate the various forms of arthritis, with joint problems being one component of health management by chiropractors.

Chiropractors will assist patients with mobility and other health challenges at many different stages of their life. The care for patients may span from education to lifestyle modifications to hands-on body work.

There is nothing special or different that a person with arthritis needs to do to prepare for a visit to the chiropractor. When you visit a chiropractor, they will have a conversation with you about your unique needs and then perform an assessment to ensure chiropractic is a safe treatment for you.

Chiropractic care can help support a patient in several ways

One of the benefits of chiropractic care is the focus on improving joint mobility and helping patients move more. This is done primarily through manual adjustments to a joint or joints, along with corrective exercises like the program available through Straighten Up Alberta. Patients often report improvements to pain and increased quality of life.

Another component of care can involve lifestyle modifications, such as advice on diet or sleep modification, which can have a positive influence on the overall health and wellness of an individual.

Chiropractic adjustments of the spine are shown to not only restore movement to the affected joints, but also influence the surrounding tissue and muscle tone to help re-engage the spinal stabilizers, restore ease and improve posture.

________________________________________
If it hurts, see a chiropractor.

Maintenance care can help prevent pain and keep your joints functioning to the best of their ability but injuries can still happen. If your pain is persistent, seek advice from a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are highly educated and specially trained musculoskeletal experts. Your chiropractor can treat aches and pains, as well as build customized stretching routines and whole-body wellness strategies in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment. Consult with your chiropractor or find one near you.

What is Patient Centred Care Anyhow?

This post is a summary of Sue Robins’ talk at ACAC’s AGM in Red Deer on September 22, 2019.


What Is Patient Centred Care Anyhow?

Patient centred care is sadly an often misunderstood term. Simply put, patient centred care means doing things with patients, not to them or for them.

Creating Connection

At its heart, chiropractic care includes trusting therapeutic relationships between patients and chiropractors. Positive health care experiences start with connections. Both patients and chiropractors need to know each other as people – not just roles – in order to trust one another.

Being human with patients is an essential part of patient centred care. This means engaging in chit-chat or asking questions to get to know patients beyond the issue that brings them to your office.

Remembering Your Why

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk Start with Why explains the importance of why you do what you do. Most people focus on what they do. How you do things is crucial. But the critical question for professionals is why you do what you do. Why did you choose to be a chiropractor? Why do you get up in the morning to go to work? Why are you treating this particular patient? The why question helps you refocus and remember your intention which leads you back to the meaning of your work. Your why likely brings you back to patients.

How Does It Feel To Be A Patient?

“Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.” -Susan Sontag

We all prefer to stay in the kingdom of the well, but eventually everybody crosses over to the kingdom of the sick, injured or disabled.

Becoming a patient can make one feel vulnerable or scared. Patients can be angry because they are grieving the loss of their healthy selves. Often patients present to you in pain or discomfort. Sometimes it takes a long time of looking for relief before patients finally find you, so they might show up frustrated too.

Understanding how patients feel is necessary to cultivate compassion through your words or actions and is an important cornerstone of patient centred care.

Why Practice Patient Centred Care

Patient centred care makes good business sense. If patients are happier, they will return for treatment. It is easier to have repeat patients than attract new ones, and satisfied patients talk to each other, which can help with building your reputation and word-of-mouth referrals.

Patients are likely to follow directions from clinicians they like and trust. Feeling listened to and understood is a part of building trust. If patients aren’t satisfied with their experience, then trust will be eroded. It is extremely difficult to get trust back once it has been broken.

There is a moral imperative associated with patient centred care. Are you just doing things right in your practice? Or are you doing the right thing?

The Foundations of Patient Centred Care

There are four main elements of patient centred care: respect, dignity, information sharing and collaboration. These can be considered soft skills, but soft skills are often the hardest skills because they involve relationships with human beings. Humans are all different, so there is not one formula that works with every single patient. However, respect is a good place to start with everybody.

Respect

In health care, respect looks like smiling, eye contact, introducing yourself, telling patients what you are about to do, not appearing rushed even if you are rushed and using people’s chosen names instead of nicknames. Giving time for questions is crucial to respect. This can be done by reframing questions. For instance, ask ‘What questions do you have’ and waiting for a response instead of asking ‘Do you have any questions’ as you are hurrying out the door.

Dignity

Dignity is about privacy. This includes health information privacy. This can be as basic as ensuring that people can’t overhear receptionists talk about other patients in the waiting room. Privacy is about being vigilant that patients retain as much dignity as possible during appointments with their clothing and how they are positioned.

Dignity is also about treating patients like full human beings, not just a diagnosis or problem. Importantly, dignity is about giving patients as much flexibility and choice as possible. Letting people make their own decisions gives them agency and allows them to retain some control over their lives.

Information Sharing

Information sharing is communication. It includes patients fully understanding the benefits and risks for treatment and having the right information shared with other members of the patient’s health care team.

For patient education materials, considering clean graphic design, translating materials into other languages and communicating in plain language to make sure what you are trying to communicate is understood.

Health literacy underpins all information sharing. It is the responsibility of the health professional to make sure they have communicated effectively with patients. As Da Vinci said, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. This does not mean ‘dumbing down’ language – it is a skill to make sure complicated health information is shared in an understandable way.

Collaboration

Collaboration is the final element of patient centred care. It includes setting goals together for shared decision making. Believing that patients are experts of their own bodies is the best start to collaboration. True partnerships happen when two bodies of knowledge come together – your chiropractic knowledge and the patients’ own expertise.

Conclusion

I often get asked, “What do patients want?” The answer is, “It depends.” It depends because every single patient is different. The key is to ask individual patients what they want.

My challenge to you is to think about ways you can enhance patient-centred care in your practice. This could include improvements like designing your waiting room so it is more patient-friendly or giving your reception staff feedback about their customer service skills.

A trusting therapeutic relationship in chiropractic care is built on the foundation of respect, dignity, information sharing and collaboration. These are worthy investments to guarantee a positive patient centred care approach which benefits everybody – patients, staff and chiropractors alike.


About the author

Sue Robins is an author and health care advocate. She was the family centred care consultant at the Stollery Children’s Hospital for 4 years and was recently the family engagement advisor at the B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Sue’s writing has been widely published and includes articles in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, The New York Times and The Globe and Mail.

Her first book Bird’s Eye View: Stories of a life lived in health care will be published in November 2019. Sue is a senior partner in Bird Communications, a health communications company.

Kick up your heels!

Reprinted with permission from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

Not only can those brand new high-heeled shoes cause pain in your feet, they can cause low back pain as well. In fact, poor footwear can cause difficulties in the feet, knees, hips, low back and all the way up the spine. Generally, the best shoes for your body are relatively flat and provide adequate support.


Try these tips to reduce the pain on those high-heels days.

Shopping for shoes

Shop in the afternoon or evening, as your feet tend to accumulate fluid and swell throughout the day.

Choosing a shoe

  1. Choose a heel height that you can walk in gracefully. The effect of a high heel is easily negated by a clumsy walk.
  2. Try to choose a shoe with a heel height of no more than 2 inches. It’s a good compromise height that will still create the arched posture associated with high heels without sending you tipping out of them.
  3. Avoid buying shoes with a recessed heel, as it is one of the most unstable heel styles.
  4. Avoid shoes with many thin straps; these can dig into your skin causing pain and swelling.
  5. Ensure that the shoes have good support for the arches of your feet.

Give your feet a fighting chance

  1. Place a cushioning pad into the front of the shoe to pad the balls of your feet. This will also help keep your toes from getting wedged into the front of the shoe.
  2. Take a break from your heels now and then. Slip off your shoes discretely and stretch some of the tensed muscles. Wiggle your toes and make circles with your ankles to help increase circulation.
  3. Finally, after a long day or evening on your feet, give them a break. Wear a low, comfortable shoe the next day to rest your muscles. Soak your feet in warm water or give them a nice massage.

If it hurts, see a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are highly educated and specially trained musculoskeletal experts. Your chiropractor can treat aches and pains, as well as build customized stretching routines and whole-body wellness strategies in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment. Consult with your chiropractor or find one near you.

Easing into activity to prevent injury

Before you jump into your outdoor plans, or go from any period of inactivity to activity, chiropractor Dr. Alanna Tinney provides some tips to help you make the most of being active outdoors and stay injury-free.

Easing into activity to prevent injury

by Dr. Alanna Tinney

No one wants to spend nice weather stuck on the sidelines nursing an injury. But I’ve noticed an unfortunate trend—when good weather occurs, like at the beginning of summer, I see an uptick in patients coming in with strains, sprains and pulled muscles. The cause? Starting rigorous activities like golfing, jogging, gardening and other activities after a period of inactivity.

Because people jump into too much activity too fast, they end up hurting themselves. With our long winters, it’s hard not to rush outside as soon as warm weather hits to go for a run, bike with the family or engage in any other outdoor activity. The fact is, doing so may put too much strain on your body.

Keep injuries out of your outdoor plans

These tips may seem common-sense but they’re easy to forget when you’re trying to maximize your time enjoying the summer months.

  • Start slow. By slowly increasing the amount and difficulty of your activity, your body is able to build strength and adapt to the new challenges it encounters.
  • Change up your activity. Prevent injuries from repetitive motion by varying the types of activity you do. While it’s tempting to spend your week out on the golf course or tennis court, make sure you give the joints you’re using a break and exercise other parts of your body.
  • Take time to rest. If you need an excuse to sit out on a patio, this is the one for you. Including recovery days and gentle activity is important because it allows your body time to rebuild the muscles you’re using. Ensuring you’re getting enough sleep is also very important to preventing injury.
  • Stay hydrated. Working up a sweat is extra easy on a hot day, so make sure you’re regularly replacing the fluid you’re losing with water.
  • Eat to fuel your body. If you’re going to be extra active, make sure you’re eating the kinds of food that can help you build muscle and sustain the activity you’re engaging in.

What to do if you are injured

Even if you do everything right, injuries can still happen. A light sprain or bump may have you considering RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) to treat your injury. Instead, try this new guide for injury recovery – POLICE.

POLICE stands for protect, optimal loading, ice, compression and elevation.

  • Protect means protect your body by listening to your body. Pain is an alarm the body sounds to say something is wrong. It is important to listen to that pain; has it increased? If it’s decreased, you should pay attention to that, too.
  • Optimal loading is a key difference from RICE. This term urges people to continue to use an injury through slow, progressive weight bearing. In short, bearing an optimal load for their injury. For example, if you have twisted your ankle, optimal loading may look like continuing to use your ankle but lessening the weight you are putting on it by using a cane.
  • Ice, as it also represents in RICE, reminds patients to use cold (and if appropriate, hot) therapy to help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. If you decide to use an ice pack, wrap it in a thin towel and apply it to your injury for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours.
  • Compression recommends applying pressure to an injury to help prevent swelling. You can do this by wrapping a bandage around an injury. The bandage should be firm but not too tight. If a limb starts to tingle, swell, feel cold or turn bluish after wrapping it, your bandage needs to be loosened.
  • Elevation guides you to raise the injured body part above the level of your heart to help reduce pain and swelling. For example, if you injure your knee, consider lying on the couch with your knee resting on pillows to bring it above your chest.

The introduction of “protect” and “optimal loading” is an important change from RICE because it embraces a new model of recovery known as “active recovery.” Active recovery is the understanding that using an injury gently and carefully, shortly after the injury occurs helps maintain strength and shorten the recovery period. Active recovery is relevant to everyone, from young athletes, to weekend warriors, to grandparents trying to keep up with kids.

While rest is important, people tend to rest an injury for longer than the injury requires. The same thing that happens when you stop going to the gym for a while happens when you stop using a part of your body. You lose muscle mass and flexibility, which can in turn lengthen the amount of time it takes for you to get back up and using your body like you were before the injury.

Most important of all – listen to your pain

No matter the injury, it’s vital that you listen to your body. If your pain hasn’t subsided after a few days, consider seeking advice from a health-care professional such as a chiropractor.

Once your injury has been diagnosed and treated, you can begin the road to recovery.

Whether it’s a sprained ankle or a case of tennis elbow that brings a patient into my clinic, I evaluate and diagnose the injury. Then I work with my patient to build an appropriate treatment plan. Because each patient is unique, treatment may include chiropractic adjustments, laser therapy, stretches and/or other therapies to get them back on their feet and out enjoying the sunshine.

 


About the author:

Dr. Alanna Tinney practices at Back on Track Chiropractic in Spruce Grove, and Sublime Health in St. Albert. In addition to her chiropractic degree, she also holds a Master of Science in Sports Medicine. When not in the office, Dr. Tinney can be found in the hockey rink working with athletes, camping, hiking or planning her next backpacking adventure.

If it hurts, see a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are highly educated and specially trained musculoskeletal experts. Your chiropractor can treat aches and pains, as well as build customized stretching routines and whole-body wellness strategies in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment. Consult with your chiropractor or find one near you.