I was interviewed on the weekend by The Outlaws of Health podcast show.
This was my first experience in “the hot seat” about Chiropractic. I expected both Tommy and Dr. Mike (a Medical Doctor) to ask me some tough questions regarding the profession I love. I didn’t have the questions ahead of time and I definitely found this experience to be a challenging one. I was even stumped a few times on the best way to answer the questions! I hope you find it both informative and entertaining.
Click on the link here to listen to podcast #30: Is Chiropractic Legit?:
Summer is on its way!
And in my world, this means an increase in overhead activities and increased chance for shoulder pain … yay for baseball and volleyball!
Chiropractic is crucial for prevention in the body in general, but today I will specifically talk about the SHOULDER. Maybe this can help you or maybe you can help by telling a friend.
Up to 35% of the adult population experience shoulder pain and I can imagine this number is hugely increased in the active and athletic population. Shoulder pain can be chronic and awful, even disabling.
Most people with shoulder pain try soft tissue therapy first (working with the rotator cuff muscles only). This helps the symptoms and is beneficial, but often neglects the hugely important relationship of the cervical and thoracic spine (neck and mid back). Cervical and thoracic joint restriction / dysfunction / subluxation not only affects the movement of the shoulder biomechanically, but also affects the nervous system. The nerves in the mid back and neck supply the shoulder area (and sooo much more – a topic for another blog post!). This, once again, goes back to why I work with seemingly non-symptomatic (non-painful) areas to improve function in nearby and referred areas.
Let me explain with some patient cases …
Patient 1: This patient had shoulder problems for years. An extremely active young man (think elite athlete) who has tried self-mobilizations and stretching / strengthening for months. The thought of a Chiropractor for shoulder problems didn’t enter his mind. Luckily, he knew me through a friend and decided to give Chiropractic a try – sort of a last resort you might say.
As an aside … how many times have I heart this Chiropractic as a last resort thing?? Ugggg…. usually daily … unfortunately. I hope Chiropractic becomes a “first try” kind of thing soon!
Long story short, this patient had spinal restrictions (subluxations) in his neck, mid back and RIBS! Yes, rib dysfunction is very common in shoulder problems and too often is not addressed. I did some minimal muscle work with the shoulder, but it was the adjustments (that released beautifully, I might add) that increased his range of motion, decreased his pain level and allowed him to PR (personal record) just days after his first adjustment on an overhead lift that he was previously having significant problems with.
A woman had pain in her “shoulder” for months and it was getting worse. I use “shoulder” in quotations because her pain was located in the right-sided RIB area (mid back to the right side). Her rib was so dysfunctional that it was creating a referral of numbness and tingling down her arm and an impingement feeling at the front of her shoulder. She even reported shortness of breath and some pain referred into the front of her chest. Once the rib, mid back and neck were adjusted, the numbness and tingling resolved and her pain was almost completely reduced.
You might be thinking … how does this happen? I help shoulders without spending a ton of time on the actual shoulder?
As many of you know, I have a two-sided approach in my practice. I believe and use the biomechanics of the body to cue me into the areas to adjust, but my primary goal is to remove all interference and dysfunction to the spine with the intent of the body being able to heal itself. This results in a symptomatic change and an overall healthier body.
If you are looking for research regarding shoulder pain and spinal adjustments and in case you don’t believe me, check out McClatchie et al. in 2009. This study looked at patients with at least 6 weeks duration of “standard treatment” that was unresponsive including physiotherapy, strengthening and modalities. After adjusting the neck, pain decreased significantly and the shoulder painful arc was much improved. Strunce et al. in 2009 also showed that one session of thoracic adjustments, including the rib, showed a huge decrease in pain and shoulder range of motion was significantly improved.
I know this blog post was mostly about pain and function of the shoulder, which isn’t my usual style, but I felt a need to share this with you. These principles are applied to all areas of the body. For example, the neck and mid back relating to shoulders and the low back and hips relating to knees and ankles.
Consider how a person experiences shoulder symptoms because the spine is subluxated / dysfunctional / restricted, however, the spine itself does not express any apparent symptoms. The spine doesn’t hurt, but it is the cause of the problem.
Think about this … how many other parts of your body are functioning poorly, yet not expressing symptoms? Symptoms do not tell us everything. This is why I advocate so much for getting your spine checked before symptoms occur. Prevention and performance!
So … who is YOUR Chiropractor?
Reference of journal articles: Dr. Shawn Thistle, Research Review Service
Spring is an exciting time!
I love when the weather changes from snowy and dull to warm and sunny days. I can’t wait to get outside for trail runs, beach volleyball, golf and of course my personal favourite, baseball.
Right about now, people start to plan for the different summer activities they are going to participate in. We get excited and plan for these activities, but sometimes we forget to get our body and mind prepared before we jump right in. We should prepare to help prevent injuries, avoid frustration and improve performance. Now’s the perfect time to spring clean not just your home, but also your self. You can head into the warmer months feeling your best.
I am taking this next month to really focus on preparing my body and mind for my summer activities. I am learning how important it is to listen to my body. Here are some of things that I am doing.
1) Active Care aka Physical Fitness. Whatever activities you enjoy and are preparing for, start moving now. Please don’t go and play in a baseball tournament after sitting at home and not exercising all winter, unless of course, you are asking for an injury. Think about the movements you will be using in your activity and mimic those in the gym. Baseball is your sport? Start working more on core and shoulder stability and strength. Soccer? Focus on ankle mobility, core and legs and train your cardiovascular system. Stretching /mobility and yoga are also high on my list. Don’t know how to lift weights properly or unsure what to do? Get assessed and start a program. I train at Hybrid Fitness and love the community there.
2) Passive Care aka Chiropractic and Massage. Get checked by a Chiropractor to detect any imbalances or misalignments in your spine. Be proactive to fix the problem before it causes serious injuries. Chiropractic assists in prevention and overall performance and it helps to heal your body faster. Massage therapists work with muscular imbalances and the tightness you may be experiencing from long of hours at the office or left over problems from your winter activities. I work with great massage therapists and you can check them out at Active Wellness.
3) Nutrition aka eating “clean” or “detoxing”. I will be making more of an effort to clean up bad winter habits, which for me have included red wine, too much coffee and home made cookies. I will keep taking supplements consistently to help my body to perform optimally. I am taking the month of April to clean up my diet and get rid of those bad cravings. I will let you know how it goes.
4) Proper equipment / training. Be sure that whatever activity you are participating in, you get the proper equipment and have proper instruction. The risk of injury is greater when you aren’t performing skills correctly or using proper equipment. A coach or a personal trainer is a great asset.
5) Mind preparation / planning. Your thoughts predict your behaviour and your thoughts create actual changes in your brain. Positive self-talk is one of the most important steps in getting yourself where you want to be. You need to make a plan and commit. I use positive affirmations and my next goal is to begin meditation. Changes first start in the mind. Here is a resource for some examples of positive affirmations. Whatever your goal is, there is an affirmation for you. Take these examples and make them your own.
And one last thing …
When you start getting back into your summer activities, listen to how you are feeling. How often does our body show us symptoms or signals that something is going on in our body that we need to listen to? When we don’t listen, that is when problems can occur. It is important to be open to your body. It is always speaking, so be willing and listen. Trust your body.
Wishing you a fun, happy and healthy summer!
Thank you for voting for me for the London Free Press Best of London Chiropractor!
I am honoured and humbled to find out that I am voted as the Runner Up for Best Chiropractor for 2013!
I have been in solo practice for just over two years in this community and it is great to know I am making a difference. I feel so honoured to know that my friends, family and patients think highly enough of me, what I do, and my style of Chiropractic to take the time to write my name down for this award.
In the two years that I have been practicing in London I have been so blessed in my career. I am grateful to be a the President of the London Chiropractic Society, lucky enough to serve as a volunteer for the Salvation Army Chiropractic Clinic and every day I love love love taking care of my people at my thriving and growing practice seeing “everyday miracles”. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this because I am so happy that I found Chiropractic … or as some would say, Chiropractic found me.
I am so happy where I am, but I am always moving forward. I am looking forward to teaching at Fanshawe college in the spring and engaging in more speaking involvements in the community of London. I have so much I want to accomplish. I am so happy to call London my home and will continue to give wherever I can. My most purest and most global intention is to make the world a better place.
That being said, I take this award with humility. I take it with responsibility and the expectation that you will continue to see only great things from me. I take it with the fact that “you ain’t seen nothing yet from me, London!”
I thank you for this award and I thank you to all those that voted for me. I wish to say congratulations to the winners of this award and say thank you to them for doing their BEST to make London a healthier community. I also wish a huge congratulations to Active Wellness for being voted best Registered Massage Therapists in London. So happy to be partnered with Active Wellness!
There is something to this serving for the sake of serving, loving for the sake of loving and giving for the sake of giving!
Sending you love and happiness with gratitude.
New years resolutions are a constant topic in the first few weeks of January. Many patients and friends have told me how they are giving “bad” things up, or doing “good” things more often. Some resolutions that I commonly hear from patients are people wanting to exercise more, eat more vegetables or drink less alcohol. If now is a time for you to re-assess your goals and take stake and control of your life, then that is awesome! I am always happy for those that want to set goals and improve their lives. But for the first time this year, instead of trying to make resolutions about being healthier in what actions I could take to make my life better by adding something in, I decided to make a resolution to LET GO.
So what do I mean by “LET GO”? Sometimes there are circumstances in life that are beyond our control. We can only do so much. I can only do so much and I can’t control everything, no matter how hard I try. And believe me, I have tried! What I CAN do is do my best. My best to be open, communicate and offer positive energy. If someone is not open and aren’t accepting of it, I need to let it go. Forgiveness is about freeing me and loving me. It is not about the person than I am forgiving. I am the only person who suffers from not forgiving someone.
Life is a constant lesson. If we don’t learn it the first time, it will keep resurfacing until we figure it out. I am a passionate person, which is great in so many ways, but I have a bad tendency to hang on too long to situations that aren’t serving me. I have decided that once a situation or a person is causing too much stress in my life or we aren’t on the same page, it is time to step away. Deep breath in … let it go! It is more than okay. I remind myself everything comes into my life for a reason and also leaves to teach me something, whether this situation is familial, romantic, friendship or collegiate.
I have a very strong belief that life is a journey – kind of like a “choose your own adventure” book. I am here to learn as much as I can and my job is to make the world a better place. Each lesson that I can learn, and the faster I can learn it, the better able I am equipped to learn the next lesson and make a bigger impact.
So … here is my insight for today. Each sorrow or stress can be viewed as a “poor me” mentality. Not the greatest choice. Or, it can be measured as a “how can I kick this situation’s butt and be better because of it?”. Without a doubt, I am better because of my challenges. Yes, some have super sucked. My dad having cancer over and over again hurts and dealing with the medical mistakes made on his case have frustrated me beyond words, but … it makes me more motivated. More motivated and inspired to share with the world what I, and the Chiropractic profession, have to offer to our health care system. It makes me more confident that adding Chiropractic to health care in Ontario and the world will help not only the government to have a healthier society and to lower tax care dollars spent on health care, but to also have more patient centred health care. And this means more lives saved and more quality of lives improved.
So, yes, some things suck, and some situations are tough, but if you can’t control it, you need to let go. For 2013, if it isn’t serving you and making you a better person, let it go! Less stress and negative energy focusing on the past means more positive energy focusing on the hope for the future. Onward and upward – better things lie ahead!
“What happens is ON the way, not IN the way” Dr. John Demartini