Patient Story: Lower Back Pain Almost Cost Me My Passion

Patient Story: Lower Back Pain Almost Cost Me My Passion

I’ve been playing floor hockey in Calgary at least once a week for the last 6 years. I thought I knew a lot about taking care of my body for that level of activity, but I started experiencing severe lower back pain.  My ignorance almost cost me my passion… I considered myself an healthy 30-year-old. I was always very conscientious of what I ate and how much exercise I was getting, but after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 28, my routine took an even stronger turn towards balanced health. I worked with a nutritionist to tailor my diet to my new blood sugar requirements – and to make sure I was intaking enough calories to support my level of activity. I made sure I was getting enough sleep at night. I made some changes to my work schedule so that I could manage my time without stress. When I started to experience a dull, throbbing lower back pain, I didn’t think much of it. Maybe it was a tweaked muscle; I treated myself with hot/cold therapy. As the weeks went on, however, the pain got worse. The simple act of walking became a chore that had me gritting my teeth. I went to see my doctor, who prescribed me anti-inflammatory medication and a follow up in a week…except I didn’t want to take more pills. As I pulled back into my driveway and realized getting out of the car was going to hurt, I wondered if maybe, despite all of my best efforts, 30 was my breaking point. After all, the diabetes thing was...
Why Active Isolated Stretching is Good for Everyone

Why Active Isolated Stretching is Good for Everyone

A Detailed Look at Active Isolated Stretching Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) trains your body and mind to accept a greater range of motion and flexibility in a safe and controlled manner. It’s often associated to athletes and active people, but AIS has been proven to help inactive people maintain healthy movement too. Unlike traditional stretching where you hold a stretch from anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds, AIS has you going into a stretch that is slightly deeper than what you might feel is comfortable – and holding it for 2 seconds only. This reprograms your body and mind to remember new ranges of motion, while improving your muscle flexibility and strength. Beyond this, AIS techniques are designed to support and work through the whole spectrum of muscles in a particular area – including those responsible for rotating, bending, extending and flexing – so that you don’t focus only on those that are most frequently used. How Active Isolated Stretching Works Your muscles have two basic actions: they can either contract or relax. When your body feels as though a particular movement is going to hurt it, a protective mechanism called the stretch (mytatic) reflex kicks in. This stretch reflex is normally triggered in the muscle at about 3 seconds. It makes sense that only relaxed muscle tissue can stretch to its maximum length, so by holding stretches for under 3 seconds, the muscle’s protective reflex to contract isn’t triggered and it has the chance to stretch to its full length. Repetition of the movement trains the body and mind to accept this new range of motion without signaling...
Think Differently About 2014

Think Differently About 2014

THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT 2014 Did you make any resolutions for 2014? Many of us sit down at some point in January and draft up a list of things we’d like to accomplish for the year; things like “Work out,” and “Get out of debt,” and “Quit smoking.” We mean well, start strong, yet we eventually veer off course after these goals fade into the scenery of our day to day routines. I want to challenge you to think about 2014 differently. What if we give up the concept of “resolutions” entirely and instead decide on 10 simple things we can do daily that will have the biggest impact on our day to day? I’m not talking about BIG changes…I mean little changes that add up throughout the year and leave you feeling like you’ve had a successful, awesome 2014. Here is my list of 10 things I’ve committed to doing every day…and it’s been glorious. 1. Morning Coffee and 5 Minutes of Peace I live on a 41 ft sailboat with my husband, his teenage son and a 4 month old kitten; mornings are hectic and crowded. So I’ve set my alarm a half hour earlier, and have been getting up to enjoy a cup of coffee before anyone else wakes up. This has given me the time to sit with nothing but my thoughts for company, and I’ve been finding that it’s given me the chance to really visualize the goals I want to accomplish for the day. This, in turn, has really put my productivity in high gear. 2. Local First, Organic Whenever Possible, with Aloha Always...
Arthritis and Cold Weather

Arthritis and Cold Weather

Most patients have admitted to believing that cold and/or damp days are the days when the stiffness and pain in their joints act up the most. So what are the cold, hard facts (pun intended) about arthritis and cold weather? What can you do to ease the discomfort you may feel? Does cold weather affect joint pain and arthritis? I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but the truth is that there is reasonable debate as to whether the cold winter months directly affect joint pain and arthritis. Some studies have supported the theory that the barometric pressure changes from weather affect the pressure within the joint capsule; it’s similar to the pressure you might feel in your ears when you fly or dive. Other studies support the theory that cold temperatures have a direct effect on the synovial fluid within the joint capsule – which would affect the inflammatory mediators the same way cold temperatures can affect the oil in your car. Still, other studies have found little to no link to cold weather and joint pains like arthritis. For the sake of this article, let’s just focus on the FACT whether there’s a viable link or not, you feel pain when it’s cold out. Things you can do to minimize joint pain and arthritis Eat these: Fruits, wild seafood, nuts and deeply-pigmented vegetables like spinach, kale and cabbage. This will help put more Omega-3 fatty acid into your diet, as well as some fiber and natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Herbs and foods such as turmeric, oregano, garlic, green tea, blueberries, and ginger contain bioflavonoids and...
Resolution to Health: 5 Easy Ways to Be Healthy

Resolution to Health: 5 Easy Ways to Be Healthy

What if we told you that there are 5 things you could start doing today that would have a huge impact on your every day routines — for the better? These 5 easy ways to be healthy are SO easy, you don’t need to buy anything or do anything out of the ordinary. You just need to commit to doing it, and it’ll instantly you kick-start your health and KEEP you feeling amazing. Drink more water Sounds easy, but people underestimate the amount of good drinking more water can do for your body. Not only does it help your kidneys a heck of a lot, but it keeps your skin looking fresh, it helps maintain a healthy bowel function, and it help curbs hunger. It will also help improve your mood; in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, mildly dehydrated individuals experienced headaches, fatigue, worsened mood and difficulty concentrating. Eat breakfast Kick-start your metabolism for the day by eating a balanced breakfast that includes high-fiber grains, fruit and protein as soon as you get up. This gives your body the boost it needs to function at a higher pace, and it will also mean you’ll be less likely to overeat at other meals. Check in with your body throughout the day As I write this, I’m pulling my shoulders back and down. I’m lifting my chin up. I’m making sure I’m sitting on my sit bone and not slouching forward. I’ll even take a break in a moment to do some light stretching. It feels strange at first, but as you keep checking in with your posture...

Exercise and my Health

Benefits of exercise We all know exercise is good. But is it just because it makes me look good? The answer is No, exercise increases circulation too many areas including muscles, bones and yes even the brain (see below)!! Here is a short list of the benefits: Decrease in the incidence of degenerative brain diseases. Increase in self esteem Can help manage depression Decrease in incidence of heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Improves flexibility Increases stamina Strengthens and tones Maintains/Controls weight, improves digestion. Improves quality of sleep Increases bone density. The Active Brain! Many recent studies have found the cardio vascular activity, increases cognitive function thereby increase quality of life. Studies predict that by 2050 the number of people with Alzheimer’s (Currently the 5th leading cause of death in the United States) could TRIPLE!!! People who are physically active (cardio vascular) are 38% less likely to develop degenerative brain disease than their non-physically active counter parts. Activity slows down the progression of degenerative brain disease (Dementia, Alzheimer’s). Fitness and self esteem! Intuitively we all know, exercise makes us feel good.– Just watch a season of “The Biggest Loser” and watch to see how the participants become more positive and confident as the season progresses. Studies show exercise elevate endorphins (mood elevator hormone) and alter cortisol (stress related hormone)-chemicals that effect mood and stress levels. Exercise can also improve our physical appearance (by controlling our weight, developing and toning muscles) which can directly improve how we perceive ourselves. So, armed with all this knowledge…, How do I get off the couch? Grab a friend and walk with...