Johnston Service Highlight – The Pulstar
If you are suffering from back pain, you’re not alone— about 80 percent of adults in the U.S. report experiencing back pain at some point in their lives, and many of them never seek treatment.
Yet in today’s chiropractic world, multiple impulse technology offers a gentle solution that leaves patients pain-free in a fraction of the time without the twisting, popping and cracking of traditional chiropractic methods. In fact, chiropractors are finding that multiple impulse therapy tools such as the PulStar can effectively treat pain from musculoskeletal misalignments anywhere on the body— not just in the back.
The PulStar System’s gentle precision pulses are ideally suited to treat the following musculoskeletal conditions:
Five Tips to Reducing Chronic Pain
Below you will find an article written by The Canadian Chiropractic Association outlining the sources and possible solutions for reducing chronic pain caused by inflammation.
Do you have an old injury that flares up from time to time or other concerns about chronic inflammation? Book a consultation with Dr. Will or Dr. Erin and learn more about reducing your inflammation and pain.
The human body is pretty amazing. It can convert food into energy and sunshine into vitamins. And, when everything is working as it should, the human body also has the ability to heal itself. When you get injured, a protective response is triggered that dilates blood vessels to improve blood flow to the injured area. You might experience immobility, heat, pain, redness and swelling, and this is normal. Acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to a threat. White blood cells move in and are then replaced by anti-inflammatory compounds to begin the healing process. Common examples of the normal process of acute inflammation include a sore throat, a sun burn or sinusitis.
Sometimes, however, when the negative stimulus continues, the inflammation “on” switch gets stuck and there is a persistent activation of inflammatory molecules. This is referred to as chronic inflammation, and can last for days, months, or even years, often with no visible signs. Chronic inflammation can result from a viral or microbial infection or environmental factors, including common allergens such as pollen. The condition can cause damage to the body’s tissues, replacing healthy cells with fibrous tissue. Chronic inflammation is abnormal and does not benefit the body – it signals a failure to eliminate whatever caused the initial acute inflammation. If your medical practitioner suspects that you may be suffering chronic inflammation, he or she can test for biomarkers that indicate inflammation, such as white blood cell count or albumin levels.
Inflammation and MSK Conditions
Chronic inflammation can lead to or complicate a number of diseases and conditions, such as asthma, Crohn’s disease and arthritis. Some cells in the body, such as neurons, cardiac cells and skeletal muscle cells are especially vulnerable to the effects of inflammation. Particularly, some systemic inflammatory MSK conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis can leave individuals susceptible to chronic pain and even signs of inflammation.
In some cases, biomechanical issues, trauma or injury can also lead to chronic inflammation and pain if left untreated. For example, an injury to the knee may cause additional weight loading on the joint and alter the gait. With time, the knee is more and more susceptible to injury and inflammation, and if left untreated, that condition can become chronic or recurrent.
Tips for Reducing Chronic Inflammation
Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats, as well as foods with a high glycemic index. A Mediterranean-style diet that incorporates olive oil, fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains is thought to act as a natural anti-inflammatory. A good diet also helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Also, it is recommended to avoid or limit alcohol, tobacco, sugar and refined carbs among others.1
Regular exercise keeps your body moving and joints lubricated, your muscles toned and your energy level high. Those who exercise regularly are more likely to heal faster from injuries and less likely to develop chronic inflammation.
Several studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have an impact on inflammation and even increase it. For example, a 2006 study concluded that sleep loss alters molecular processes that drive cellular immune activation and induce inflammatory cytokines,2 which in turn can increase pain.3
4. Drink water
Water is an essential element to maintaining the body’s proper function. In fact, there are many benefits associated with drinking water aside from the basic need to stay hydrated. Water can help optimize energy throughout the day by nourishing your cells, keep the discs of the spine hydrated and even help modulate your calorie intake. It is also thought to help reduce chronic inflammation by reducing acidosis and keeping the body’s PH level in balance.
5. Quit smoking
We have already discussed the negative impacts of smoking on the musculoskeletal system, and it is well known that the toxic minerals contained in cigarette smoke are associated with premature death. Smoking triggers an immunologic response and can increase the level of inflammatory markers.
Reducing Sugar Intake and Its Negative Impact on Our Health.
The ingestion of excess sugar in our diet can lead to many health issues including obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, just to name a few.
According to the American Heart Association
(AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
- Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
- Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
To put that into perspective, one 12oz can of coke contains 140 calories from sugar, while a regular sized snickers bar contains 120 calories from sugar.
According a 2017 article published in the Globe and Mail, data from the most recent Canadian Community Health Survey suggests that kids consume 33 teaspoons of sugar a day, far above the World Health Organization’s recommendation that sugars ideally make up 5 per cent but no more than 10 per cent of a person’s daily calories.
The health consequences are troubling, to say the least, including an increased likelihood of everything from high blood pressure or heart disease to type-2 diabetes, sleep apnea and depression, as well as bone and joint problems. Obesity rates for children in Canada between the ages of 2 and 17 have tripled in the last 30 years, according to Statistics Canada.
Gulping down 33 teaspoons of sugar a day isn’t a direct route to any one of these conditions, but certainly gets kids pointed in the wrong direction.
The article goes on to share that a single glass of apple juice contains the same amount of sugar as four or five apples do, without any of the fibre. “Have an orange for breakfast, don’t drink orange juice.
The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees. In its strongest language yet on the subject, the organization declared that fruit juice has absolutely no essential role in healthy diets. “Essential means something you need to have. You simply don’t need fruit juice in your diet,” says Dr. Steven Abrams, chair of the AAP’s committee on nutrition.
And while fruit juice is most easy for parents to mistake for a smart choice, other drinkable sugars are also big problems: Don’t be fooled into thinking that “vitamin-enhanced” energy drinks, sports drinks, flavoured waters or drinkable yogurts are ever a better choice than water or milk.
Learn To Identify Various Sugars On A Food Label
Many processed foods are laden with sugar adding surplus calories to today’s meals. Soft drinks, fruit juice beverages, confectionary products, baked goods, breakfast cereals, and yogurt can all be culprits of calorie overload due to sugar.
High caloric intake is a known contributor to obesity and Canadian waistlines continue to expand. The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that the rate of obesity in Canada is close to 25%. Statistics Canada confirms that one in every five calories consumed by Canadians comes from sugar.
Despite such concern, Health Canada has yet to recommend a limit on sugar consumption. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for Canadians to gauge – how much is too much?
Food labels present additional challenges that are far from sweet:
- Many different names identify added sugars. Some are more obvious, such as brown sugar and icing sugar, however, many are unassuming such as barley malt, evaporated cane juice, and agave nectar;
- Sugars are rarely grouped together in the ingredient list. Listing them individually disguises their true prominence within a product and means they may appear further down in the list of ingredients where they may go unnoticed;
- The total amount of sugar on the Nutrition Facts table does not differentiate between ‘naturally occurring’ sugars (i.e. sugars found in fruit, vegetables and milk) and ‘added’ sugars. Foods that contain ‘added’ sugars are typically higher in fat and/or calories and lower in nutrients than foods containing naturally occurring sugars;
- In some cases, sugars may be completely hidden from an ingredient list due to loopholes in Canadian labelling regulations making the total amount of sugars declared on the Nutrition Facts table an important source of information.Shopping tips to help you identify sugar on labels:
- Look for ingredient names that actually incorporate the word ‘sugar’ (i.e. liquid sugar, invert sugar, brown sugar, golden sugar);
- Realize that ingredient names ending in ‘ose’ indicate sugars too (i.e. glucose, sucrose, fructose, glucose-fructose, lactose, sugar/glucose-fructose);
- Note that honey, molasses, maple syrup and corn syrup are also added to sweeten foods;
- Don’t be fooled by ‘concentrated fruit juice’ that sounds healthier than sugar but is typically added to processed foods as a sweetening agent;
- Beware of the ingredient names ‘glucose-fructose’ and ‘sugar/glucose-fructose’ that are typically used in Canada for high fructose corn syrup;
- Keep in mind that although cane sugar and organic cane sugar may sound more enticing, both contain 4 calories per gram – same as regular sugar.
- Be cautious of ‘No Sugar Added’ claims. True – the product has no added sugars, however, it still can contain a lot of sugar (i.e. fruit juice). Products that display this claim may also contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame-potassium;
- Look for the claim ‘Unsweetened’ to indicate a product is void of both added sugars and sweeteners;
- Bear in mind that ‘Reduced in-’ or ‘Lower in-sugar’ claims simply indicate that a product contains at least 25% less sugar and at least 5 grams less sugar than a similar product that could be very high in sugar. Always reference the amount of sugars on the Nutrition Facts table for more accurate analysis.
Looking for tips on how to reduce your sugar intake? Read through MINDBODYGREEN’s January 2018 article for some tips –
Eating lower sugar is an easy, obvious health commitment that many of us make in the New Year. The only problem? With sugar lurking behind every corner, it can be tricky to discern when you’re actually eating sugar. Beyond that, even if you have the willpower of an ox, you will, at some point in your low-sugar journey, find yourself unable to think about anything but sugar. Sugar is a real addiction—according to holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora, it’s 20 times more addictive than cocaine—so step one is to allow that it’s a real struggle and forgive yourself for not easily letting go of the white stuff. After that, try these seven easy steps to make sure you’re aware of your sugar consumption and help you kick your cravings for sweets when you do have them:
1. Read labels.
The easiest way to break your sugar addiction is to know when you’re actually consuming the stuff. Even food that looks healthy and organic can pack a whopping amount of sugar. The shorter the ingredient list, the easier it is to find hidden sugars and know exactly what you’re getting, which is why we love brands like SKYR’s, which have simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar (plus a ton of delicious flavors to satiate any cravings you’re having).
2. Limit artificial sweeteners.
A huge part of cutting back on sugar is resetting your taste buds, and beyond health concerns about artificial sweeteners (including Stevia!), their powerfully sweet flavor makes it hard to acclimate your palate. While it’s tempting to go high-sweet, no sugar, try to just cut back on the amount of sweetener generally—you’ll be thankful at the end.
3. Add more fat.
Hopefully, in recent years, any fear of fat you’ve had has subsided, but beyond being a reborn health food, fat is a powerful ally in your fight to cut back on sugar. Fat fills you up, turns off your hunger hormones, and satiates you so that you’ll be able to say no to a plate of cookies in front of you. Go for full-fat food when given the option, add healthy fats like avocado and hemp seeds to your smoothie, and keep a stash of fat balls in your freezer to nosh on when sugar cravings strike.
4. Eat fermented food.
Photo: Jill Chen
Not only does fermented food help balance your gut bacteria, which will ultimately help you crave less sugar in the long run, the tangy flavor resets your taste buds in a way that instantly eliminates cravings. Reach for low-sugar, simple ingredient yogurts like SKYR’s, or keep a stash of your own fermented vegetables in the fridge. When sugar cravings strike, simply eat a tablespoon or two of your fermented food of choice and wait 10 or 15 minutes to see how you feel. You’ll be surprised by the difference!
Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!
Dr. Will & Dr. Erin
Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shoveling is often to blame. The Ontario Chiropractic Association has outlined some key tips to help prevent injury –
But shoveling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here’s how:
Before You Start
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
- Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
- Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
- Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
- Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.
All Set to Go – Push, Don’t Throw
Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.
BEND YOUR KNEES.
Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
WATCH FOR ICE.
Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
Once you’ve mastered safe snow shoveling techniques, you’ll be free to have fun and stay fit all winter.
Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!
Dr. Will & Dr. Erin