All Posts tagged health

Thrive is FIVE!

This month marks the five year anniversary of our opening of Thrive.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Thrive family, which includes the inspiring patients we have met over the years, the amazing practitioners that we have been so fortunate to work with and our own families for the support they have shown us through this journey! We are thrilled to say that Thrive is “thriving” and continues to grow and evolve as we hoped it would.

To celebrate our “birthday”, we are having a Google review contest! If you think Thrive is a great place to get healthy and want to help other families get healthy too, please leave us a google review and WIN FREE PRIZES!  All you have to do is show your support for Thrive by leaving a comment or star review telling Google what you think about our office. At the end of the month, we will enter you into a draw to WIN 2 movie passes or a gift card at Body Blitz.

Thank you to all of you for your dedication to thrive and to your own health goals.  We look very forward to many more years serving you!

In health,

The Thrive Health Team

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Surviving the Dark Canadian Winter

By Dr. Kristin Heins
 

I read an interesting article recently about beating the winter blues. I was then reminded the next day, when a boost of sunshine elevated my spirits in a noticeable way, that “winter blues” is a catch phrase for a spectrum of mood related changes that affect many of us in winter months. As a naturopath, I work with patients to physiologically support their neuroendocrine (the complex interplay between our brain and hormones) system. Now as a psychotherapy student under supervision, I look at the social and psychological implications of these mood changes. Both these options would be ideal for someone who is feeling that the quality of their life is being notably impacted by the change of season.

For others who may feel “winter blues” to a lesser extent – I have listed a few lifestyle ideas to help increase the pep in your step until our longer days and warmer temperatures fill our spirits once again.

  1. Brighten your environment: using a light box / SAD lamp for 30 minutes a day has shown to be highly affected in some studies on SAD ( a clinical diagnosis of seasonally related depressive symptoms).  Sit close to Windows and draw open curtains when possible.
  2. Eat for Mood: speaking to a naturopath or nutritionist to help support mood through diet can be a great support. Simple carbohydrates like sugar can provide short term boosts but longer term patterns of mood instability. Alternatively increasing proteins and in particular tryptophan and tyrosine containing foods can help boost mood.
  3. Exercise: A 2005 study by Harvard university suggests fast walking 35 minutes daily 5 days a week to improve mild to moderate depressive symptoms. Exercising under brighter light may also improve general mental health and social functioning according to a preliminary study on exercise and mental health.
  4.  Get Outside: Being outside and in nature when possible can help improve focus and lower stress levels. So add a layer and bundle up!
  5. Get Involved: Social isolation in cold winter months can add to poor sense of wellbeing. Make social arrangements or find volunteer or charity groups to be involved with as a way to boost spirits and outlook.

If you would like individualized support please email drheinsnd@thrivehealth.ca or online at www.thrivehealth.ca

 

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Managing Stress this Holiday Season!

Managing Stress this Holiday Season!
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My formula:
  1. Acceptance
  2. Self-care
  3. Social engagement
  4. Assertiveness

Accept there are things that you can’t change or control. Focus on the positives, consider forgiveness.

Self-care: Don’t postpone exercise, pleasurable activities, good sleep, or healthy eating because “you are too busy”; you are only giving away your anti-stress “free medication”.

Be social: time to follow the plan and not the mood! Stressful times are the right time to say “yes” to that coffee, that drink, that dinner with friends/family etc..

Be assertive: say what you need and want respectfully, don’t hold back. Also learn to say “no” to unnecessary commitments.

Take pauses, get into mindfulness practice! Meditation is the “new thing” for a reason. Download a meditation app to your smartphone. 5 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Warmly,
Dr. Maria Chaparro, Registered Psychologist in Supervised
Practice

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Suffer from Headaches?

Did you know that there are many different types of headaches? The most common types of headaches include:

  1. Migraines
  2. Tension-type headaches
  3. Cluster headaches
  4. Cervicogenic headaches

This post will focus on tension-type headaches, as they are one of the most common types of headaches suffered by adults. These headaches are often described as “band-like pressure” or “tightness around the head”.

Some common signs and symptoms associated with tension-type headaches include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Mild sensitivity to light or sound
  • General muscle aches and pain

What Causes Tension-type Headaches?

There are many factors that may contribute to the onset of tension-type headaches. How many of the following factors apply to you?

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Eye strain
  • Overexertion
  • Hunger
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cold/sinus infection
  • Muscle tension around the head and neck

Most of these triggers are lifestyle factors, which we are able to modify on our own. However, chiropractic care has also been shown to be an effective approach to help battle these nasty headaches!

Research has shown that chiropractic adjustments are effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of tension-type headaches, as well as reducing the usage of over-the-counter medication.

If you are suffering from tension-type headaches, the following 5 steps can help:

  1. Manage your stress: One way to manage your stress is to plan ahead and organize your day.
  2. Relaxation Techniques: This may include deep breathing exercises, listening to music, or yoga.
  3. Diet and Exercise: Eating healthy and exercising often. Quitting smoking is also very important to help reduce the onset of headaches.
  4. Heat or Cold: The application of a heat or cold pack around the head may provide some relief.
  5. Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic treatment can assist with muscle tension and postural correction to help re-align the body for optimal functioning!

References

Boline PD, Kassak K, Bronfort G, Nelson C, Anderson AV. Spinal manipulation vs. amitriptyline for the treatment of chronic tension headache: a randomized clinical trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1995 Mar-Apr;18(3):148-54.

Fumal A, et al. Tension-type headache: Current research and clinical management. Lancet Neurology. 2008;7:70.

Pluta RM. JAMA patient page: Tension-type headache. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011;306:450.

 

article_headacheTo read more about tension headaches, click on the link below.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7790794

 

 

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Keeping Families Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

As school starts back up, many families start to anticipate, or fear, cold and flu season. Yikes! Naturopathic treatment for colds and the flu can help reduce symptoms and shorten illness time; but, an even better approach for the fall is prevention. Take active steps to boost your family’s immunity and reduce exposure to the germs that get you and your little one(s) sick in the first place.

The body’s immune system works to ward off and kill germs that we are exposed to. Children are more vulnerable to sickness because they are still ‘growing’ an immune system…and because they touch everything!! In order for an immune system to function optimally, it requires adequate nutrients, proper rest and balanced exercise. While these principles may seem basic, they can be tricky to implement regularly in a busy household. Below are some specific strategies to help you maximize your children’s health. Apply them to yourself and double the benefits.

  1. Keep a routine bedtime that ensures your child stays well rested through the winter. White blood cells (the guys that fight germs) multiply most while we sleep.
  2. Enroll children in lessons or make time as a family to engage in activities through the fall and winter – be it swimming, skating, skiing or sledding.
  3. Increase protein, vitamin C and zinc in your family’s diet as they are all required for optimal immune system function.
  4. Reduce germ exposure through regular hand washing and proper nasal rinsing. Sound strange? If we breathe in germs and they grow and multiply, in part, in our nasal passages, cleaning them out regularly also flushes out the germs. Infant and child nasal rinsing products are easily available through health and drug stores and are best used in the evening

 

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Straighten Up!

We’ve all heard it since childhood- “straighten up!”, “stop slouching!”  When we’re kids, we think our parents and teachers are just picking on us, but as adults we start to see the effects of many years of slouching and the chronic issues that follow.  Although most people are concerned with the physical appearance of slouching, the consequences are much more profound than a rounded upper back.

If you sit at a computer all day, chances are that you already know that poor posture can cause pain in your joints and muscles.  Poor posture can also be responsible for numbness and tingling or weakness in the extremities and can certainly lead to body aches and headaches.  What most people don’t consider is what is going on in the inside.  Slouching and slumping can actually cause compression of organs, making it more difficult to breathe, digest our food, eliminate toxins from our bodies and can cause a number of symptoms including fatigue and digestive disorders.

Taking care of your spine today, means better health tomorrow.  Take the time and make the effort to care for your spine so that you will be strong, healthy and pain-free later on in life!  Follow these six steps to straighten up:

1. Get up:

Take breaks from your desk every 30 minutes.  Even if you just stand up and walk around for a minute or do some light stretching, this gives your body a chance to relieve the tired muscles that work so hard while you’re sedentary.

2. Invest in a good chair:

Because we all come in different shapes and sizes, an adjustable chair is a great investment to be sure that it will fit your body perfectly.  Get something with good lumbar support to be sure that your low back is protected.

3. Take a look at yourself:

When sitting in your chair, your hips, knees and elbows should be at least at 90 angles and your feet should be flat on the floor.

4. Practice awareness:

Making and breaking habits is a tough thing to do.  Place a post-it on your computer screen to remind you to straighten up (you don’t even have to write anything on it, you’ll know why it’s there).  You should be trying to keep your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips.

5. Get moving:

Joining a yoga or pilates class can be a great way to support your spine through both strengthening and stretching.

6. Get your spine checked:

After major traumas (car accidents, serious falls and sports injuries) and minor traumas (repetitive stress, prolonged improper sleeping, sitting or standing positions), spinal bones can become misaligned and stuck, which can also affect posture.  A chiropractic examination will allow your chiropractor to see if there is something biomechanical that may be interfering with your ability to achieve proper posture.

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A Healthy Balance of Eating and Exercise for Weight Loss

A Healthy Balance of Eating and Exercise for Weight Loss
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When you are trying to lose weight you may be thinking of taking a fast a furious approach eating as little as possible while working out as much as possible. However this is not only unwise, but also ineffective in the long run.

Healthy Eating Habits

When you skip a meal or cut calories drastically you will slow down your metabolism. This is because your body is concerned you are not getting enough calories to survive and is trying to conserve energy. You will lose weight using this method for the first few days or even a week, but as your body goes into panic mode it will fight starvation by storing fat. Therefore the only weight you will continue to lose will be water and muscle, which is not only bad for you, but will also make you reach a plateau far more quickly than you should. This makes all of your efforts for naught as your system will decide it is not safe to lose weight. Therefore it is important to eat healthy foods throughout the day. Taking an approach that reduces carbs and adds more veggies and fruits is the best approach as well as eating 5 small meals instead of 3 larger meals. Obviously cutting out sugars is important as well.

Exercise

When your body’s metabolism slows due to dieting this is where exercise helps. Exercising in hand with dieting provide the energy required to help you burn more calories and do so naturally and safely. Regular exercise is a must to lose weight and it will give you more energy and keep your metabolism working at peak efficiency to continue to burn calories at rest. Do not forget the importance of weight lifting as the more muscle you can build the higher your metabolism remains.

Before and After Work Out Foods

Prior to a work out this is the best place to have a combination of simple and complex carbs. Have a slice of whole grain bread a smear of peanut butter and a banana sliced on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon for the perfect combo. You can also eat something like Greek yogurt with a few nuts or a meal with protein and carbs or oatmeal with blueberries. Following a work out you can eat a yummy omelette with eggs and fresh veggies and a slice of avocado for morning workouts or salmon and some sweet potato for dinner for late afternoon workouts. Lunch time work outs work well with a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread.

The key to weight loss is balance. You must exercise and eat a modified amount of calories without cutting meals to lower your calorie count. Moderation, variety and dedication are the key to a successful weight loss plan.

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Improving your Life with Proper Ergonomics

Many people do not realize that the pain they may be experiencing each day could be alleviated by making some basic changes to the ergonomics of their lives. Ergonomics is the science of efficiencies in the work place. More specifically it is finding the most efficient way to work and included in this study is also the proper way to work to avoid injury. Applying ergonomics to your everyday life will help you avoid repetitive stress injury as well as injuries from lifting and moving improperly.

Your Commute

The average person travels just under an hour to and from work. A few basic adjustments to how you travel will help you avoid back pain, the second most common reason for people missing work:

  • Public Transit: When using public transit you can be faced with a lot of walking, waiting and standing. It is important to have the proper shoes. Cue the scene from the movie Working Girl where career women en masse walk the streets of New York dressed in top quality business suits with comfortable runners and white socks on their way to the office. That is the right way to travel. Men can consider inserts for added support to dress shoes. Make sure you are always holding on to handrails up and down stairs leading to and from subways and bus platforms as well as when standing on buses, subways and streetcars. Proper balance helps avoid back strain and accidents.
  • Highway Commute: Drivers should try to maintain proper posture while driving which means firmly placing your back against your car seat. The base of your spine should be touching the back of the seat and you can place a rolled towel at the base of your spine for added support. If you have a head rest adjust it so you can rest your head against it for added support and comfort.

Your Desk

If you have a desk job use the following techniques to experience less stress to your body:

  • Sit with your feet positioned flat on the floor
  • Have your monitor positioned at a 15 degree angle at eye level and one arm’s length away for less strain on your neck
  • Keep your lower back supported
  • Keep hands and forearms out straight towards your keyboard

Standing at Work

If you work in a warehouse, retail or other jobs that require standing, you should always stand in the “neutral position”. The key is to be relaxed as follows:

  • Neck aligned with spine
  • Shoulders relaxed not forward or back
  • Elbows close to torso at a slight angle
  • Forearms held with thumbs up
  • S shaped spine
  • Wrists aligned with forearms
  • Fingers together and curved
  • Slight bending at hips and knees

Lifting

When lifting follow these standard rules:

  • Bend at the knees
  • Centre the load
  • Arms and elbows tucked in
  • Lift with your legs
  • Keep the item close to your body
  • Don’t twist from the waist, instead start with your feet

Sticking to the basic rules of ergonomics will lessen strain on your body and help avoid injury.

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Why Holistic Healing Treats the Cause not the Symptoms

Have you ever noticed that more often than not when you are suffering from an illness many doctors will treat the symptoms? For example, if you have chronic sinus infections you are just given antibiotics. When you visit a Naturopath, they will not ONLY treat your symptoms. Instead they will get to the root of what is causing the symptoms, eliminating the cause and WORKING TO STOP the symptoms once and for all.

In-depth Analysis and Discovery

The holistic approach to healing treats the whole person addressing every aspect of your health: Physical, mental and spiritual. You will be given a thorough examination considering all contributing factors that could be affecting your health such as diet, stress and lack of exercise. Each individual requires a very personal analysis to address what treatment will work best for you.

The Many Aspects of your Health

In order to achieve perfect health you may require many disciplines to begin your path to recovery. Your treatment will use a multi-disciplined approach from many areas such as:

  • Environmental health
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Massage
  • Homeopathy
  • Meditation
  • Dietary changes
  • Food allergies
  • Vitamin supplementation
  • Exercise
  • Oxygen or hydrotherapies
  • Organic living

Heal Thy Self

Your body is designed to handle illness and naturopaths believe health conditions are often brought on by imbalance. The naturopath will work with you to help realign your body and return balance in order to allow your body to follow its natural course of self healing. Together, you will come up with an agreed upon strategy that will work for you. Your lifestyle will play a huge role in your healing process and compliance is required for your treatment to be MOST effective. That is why it is important for you to work together with your naturopath to find a course of action that will suit you AND YOUR LIFESTYLE.

Mental Health and Coping

You may not realize what ill effects your mental health can have on your body. Changes to your life such as marital problems, job related stress, family CHANGES or the death of a loved one can all contribute to your sense of well-being. Sometimes holistic healing involves psychotherapy to provide you with the coping skills you require to maintain a well-balance mind. Stressful and traumatic events from you past may also still be affecting your ability to function properly in the present and these issues can be addressed.

As you can see the holistic approach to healing works towards complete treatment that will result in overall health for life long relief of all of your symptoms

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3 Terrible Ways to Sit

Back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain are all incredibly common- particularly for those who spend most of their day sitting. While it may seem that you’re more likely to sustain an injury during rigorous activity, the truth is that sitting for extended periods of time produces chronic pain and limits range of motion for many people. There are plenty of ways not to sit. Here are some of the worst- and the most common.

1. Still. Yes that’s right! One of the worst ways to sit is to sit still for hours on end. This causes muscles to stiffen or atrophy from lack of use, slows circulation and can make your energy dip. It’s also easier to feel bored, lethargic and chilly. So take regular breaks to stand, stretch and move around- this will help you feel alert and give your muscles some much-needed action. Do you ever notice that when you’re driving for a long time you don’t feel the stiffness until you finally step out of the car? The same can be true of your desk chair- so get out of your seat regularly, and test out your legs, neck and back.

2. Hunched over a device. We are particularly negligent when it comes to our devices, because we often lose track of how much time we spend on them. While you may not be aware of how often you’re tilting your head downward to text, type, check email or work on a tablet –it adds up. In fact there’s even a term for it: text neck. When you extend your neck forward on a regular basis or for extended periods of time (or both) it can lead to muscle soreness, strain, pinched nerves and herniated discs. You may experience more than a stiff neck –tense, sore shoulders, headaches and even jaw pain are also common results of “device posture.”  Save your emailing and extensive work for your desk, or invest in a proper iPad stand.

3. In the wrong seat. Your chair dictates your sitting position- and has everything to do with your comfort while seated. If your chair isn’t the right height, you’ll notice you have to extend your forearms downward or upward to type. The resulting pain will either shoot up to your shoulder blades or sit in your wrists. If your chair doesn’t have your sightline level with your monitor, prepare for a sore neck from craning even at the slightest angle.  And lumbar support? It’s critical. Make sure your lower back is properly cushioned to avoid slouching, slumping or twisting around in your seat. These positions can cause pain in your hips and middle back.

Which of these three are you most guilty of?

work back pain

For more workplace health tips, check out this article: “Is Your Job Killing You?”

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